SOLD for £14,175
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“LOTUS +2S 130 has great reserves of performance and safety combined with luxury and head-turning style. LOTUS expertise ensures perfectly balanced handling and superb road holding which, with powerful non-fade braking and vivid performance, give the car primary safety - the ability when in capable hands to avoid accidents caused by other people's mistakes or the driver's own errors of judgment.”, Lotus Cars Ltd Elan +2S 130 Sales Brochure.
So it seems even Lotus owners could be subject to ‘errors of judgement’. That is telling it like it is... As Lotus strove to move their range upmarket and their balance sheet out of the red, the Plus 2 version of the Elan became the backbone of that strategy; it extended the Elan ownership demographic by another perhaps ten years with a hopefully associated increase in their customers’ disposable income. The additional two seats helped but an altogether more luxurious machine was required so the +2 was considerably better equipped than its two-seater sibling, admirably fulfilling Lotus’ own design brief that it "must be capable of transporting two adults and two children 1,000 miles in comfort with their luggage”. Having said that, until the more luxurious still ‘S’ arrived in late 1969 the weight gain was kept to a minimum and the early +2s are sort after in their own right as the lightest of the family man’s Elans.
Not much is known about the Elan’s early history though there are a number of bills on file from Lotus Specialists Kelvedon dating back to the 1990s which relate to servicing and general ‘wear and tear’ rectification. There is also a 1991 report, again from Kelvedon, which indicates that the Lotus’ engine was not in the best of health, though the +2 seemed to soldier on for at least a few more years. From 1999 onwards things are much clearer as the Elan was very comprehensively restored with a new Lotus galvanised chassis and body by renowned Lotus specialists Banks Service Station. The brief was to rebuild the car to standard specification with the sole exception of a modern engine and the ‘Silver Top’ version of the ever-popular two litre, twin overhead cam, sixteen valve Ford Zetec unit was selected. Straight out of the crate (as this one was) these engines give good power and torque either on throttle bodies or, to retain much of the original Ford based Lotus twin-cam unit’s character, a pair of twin choke side draft carburettors. The right spark at the right time is provided by up to date electronic ignition so reliability and damp morning starting is also greatly improved.
The Lotus was then used regularly over the next ten or so years and some six thousand miles until, after a couple of changes of ownership, it was purchased by the vendor in 2016 as a lightly disassembled project. He then proceeded to reassemble the Elan, adding various new parts along the way including a lovely walnut dashboard (£366 from Paul Matty) and a full set of top quality Wessex Blue wool carpets (ex Coverdale at £405) to compliment re-trimmed front seats. He rebuilt the suspension utilising ‘polybushes’ while new solid drive shafts (£612 from Kelvedon) and good second hand rear wishbones were fitted. The roof and scuttle were professionally resprayed as the lacquer had started to lift slightly and the opportunity to fit new screen rubbers was taken.
The bodywork is, as one might expect given it has covered minimal mileage, in excellent condition with just one small area of crazing at the trailing edge of the bonnet; older and harder used examples tend to suffer much more extensively and it can prove expensive to rectify. Given its fibreglass construction, the closing panels fit very well and the lines of the car are arrow-straight. The paintwork is in similarly very good order with no micro-blistering, shrinkage or runs while there are just one or two chips evident below the front bumper, passenger door and adjacent to an air vent – please see the photo gallery. Roof and scuttle aside, the rest of the Elan’s finish is thought to be original to its Banks rebuild and relative to a car that has been repainted numerous times, the Elan’s contours remain sharp and well defined, not having been blunted by either repeated sanding or excessive paint thickness. The ‘Spectral Blue Mica Metallic’ is in fact a Vauxhall shade but we feel it is entirely appropriate for the Elan’s still contemporary lines.
Against the lustrous paint the chrome is excellent throughout being bright with a very good shine and no clouding or pitting. The exception is the Mazak rear lights which have some blemishes in their finish though on this type of metal it is often a lot worse. All the hard to find trims are present with the exception of the radiator grill surround and being an early +2 it doesn’t have the bonded in screens, the finishers for which tend to suffer from unsightly clouding. A very nice pair of ‘bullet’ door mirrors have been fitted for that period look (back).
The Brand Lotus wheels as fitted to later +2s are for the most part in good order with just a little oxidation starting to creep under the lacquer in a couple of places. The tyres all have a reasonable depth of tread remaining though the sidewalls are just starting to crack slightly on one or two of them.
The interior is in excellent condition and a lovely place to be with a full 1960s GT feel to it. A superb studded wood rim steering wheel, slightly thicker than some for a more precise feel, fronts and compliments the new walnut dashboard. The front seats have been professionally repaired and new wool carpets have been fitted throughout the cockpit and capacious boot, the photo of which is intended to show its carrying capacity not the tools required to keep the Elan on the road! The dash top and sundry plastics are all in great condition and an up to date stereo has been fitted which apparently sports “MP3, USB, SD, with BT aux in and FM radio”, whatever all that means. Adjacent to that a twin USB port phone charger/power take off replaces the standard cigar lighter and supplementary light switches have been neatly fitted in the ashtray aperture, obviating the need to drill the pristine dash. There is no lock on glovebox lid.
Underneath the Elan the chassis looks to be in very good condition, due in part to its relative youth and the fact that the Lotus has been garaged since it was installed. The finish of the suspension components was attended to when the new bushes were installed and everything looks to be presentable if not over-restored.
The Zetec power unit, in our opinion, looks as if it was made for the Elan’s engine bay (or vice versa) being snug but with everything still reasonably accessible. This particular instillation is a very neat one with good attention to detail such as correct black satin paint in the right areas of the bodywork while a bright red cam cover sets things off nicely. The twin 40 Dellortos fitted with generous K and N air filters look suitably impressive against say a fuel injection set up; the induction sound is just a bonus and the free flowing exhaust ensures the gasses sound every bit as good going out as they do going in. A Raceline water rail has been fitted, an important modification which is not always carried out while a very nice stainless steel spark plug cover and heat-wrapped exhaust manifold again demonstrate good attention to both aesthetic and functional detail. An adjustable Kenlowe fan keeps temperatures where they should be. Mating the Zetec to the Elan’s standard four speed gearbox, one of the very best in the business, in our opinion makes for a very strong combination indeed. The engine has been set up on RE Performance Centre’s rolling road; a compression test was carried out which showed an even 200 PSI across all four cylinders and new carburettor jets were fitted resulting in improved power and driveability. Showing 30 PSI oil pressure at idle when fully up to temperature and 55 at speed, the engine is clearly in good health though it is worth noting that the tachometer over-reads by a factor of two due to the wasted spark ignition system though this could be recalibrated reasonably easily – for now you just have to practice your long division.
There is a good history file with the Lotus which includes numerous invoices from the likes of Kelvedon, Paul Matty and SJ Spotscars dating back to the 1990s. The current MOT certificate showing no advisories and valid until September 2021 along with seven earlier ones and a history report accompany the V5C. A selection of used spare parts accompany the Elan along with the wheel nut tool.
The owner has enjoyed both bringing the +2 back to life and some six hundred miles on the road but a house move now precipitates the sale of this well-sorted classic Lotus. In excellent condition throughout and benefiting from more than enough additional power to keep up with modern sports cars while not overstressing its original running gear, the Elan is on the button, fully sorted and ready to go. 100% 1960s Elan with a modern reliable engine and a useful power hike to boot, what’s not to like?