In 1971 Lotus released the Sprint as the ultimate Elan. It used the big-valve cylinder head in conjunction with striking paint schemes that cerebrated the success of Lotus Players F1.
The Sprint followed four series of Lotus Elans that were a major commercial success for Lotus. At the 1970 Earls Court Motor Show Lotus announced the Sprint model
Key to the Sprint was the big valve engine which produced 126 bhp thanks to its D camshaft and 10.3:1 compression. This was developed by Tony Rudd in only 10 days.
The Sprint also came with all the S/E features such as knock-off wheels (painted black), inertial-reel seat belts, servo-assisted brakes, nylon-pile carpets and a leather-covered steering wheel.
Many Sprints were imported to the United States as ‘Federal’ cars. These used Stromberg carburettors instead of Webers which necessitated a large power bulge on the hood.
Most sprints came with the Gold Lacquer bumpers. Standard colors were Cirrus White, Carnival Red, Pistachio Lime Green, Colorado Orange, Maroon, Metallic Lagoon Blue, Metallic Ford Tawny and Lotus Yellow.
Corresponding with the Lotus F1 Championship win in 1972, a redesigned badge was fitted from November 1972 onwards.