The Backbone Chassis Still Looks Like a Good Idea

Lotus Elan's Backbone Chassis
The Lotus Elan was one of the early wave of Lotus’ chassis innovation: the backbone chassis. This ad for the Elan is from 1964, but this platform still looks reasonably modern.

Look how easily this chassis could be adapted to fit any number of one-off or series built fiberglass rebodies. A few years ago, General Motors’ “skateboard chassis” touched on many of the same principles. Alas, it was just a concept.

A major reason for the sad lack of modern racing specials is the unibody chassis. If the tubular frame is indeed a thing of the past, can’t more modern manufacturers consider the backbone chassis as an alternative? We have to work together if we want to preserve the future, not just the past, of racing specials.

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