SOLD for £13,730
“Now I am confident, both as an engineer and as a family man that in the new ‘LOTUS ELAN+2’ we have one of the finest cars available for the discerning motorist who demands safety, performance, styling and comfort in a motor car which reflects his own taste and ideas.”, A. C. B. Chapman BSc Chairman, The Lotus Group of Companies. Lotus Cars Ltd Elan +2 Sales Brochure.
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an altogether more luxurious machine was required so +2 became lush, plush, +2’S’ and the DIY build option was finally withdrawn in an attempt to improve build quality – putting your wishbones on upside down is apparently a bad thing. The ‘S’ was an appreciable step up in quality with a raft of ‘luxury’ fittings from Quartz Halogen fog lights to a burr walnut facia. The sales brochure of the time boasted, “Standard equipment includes leather-rim wheel, steering lock, cigar (note, not cigarette) lighter, dipping mirror, air horns, electric washers and two-speed wipers.” Mechanically, the engine was to “Special Equipment” specification, sporting twin Weber 40 DCOEs or Dellorto equivalents (seemingly depending on price and availability on any one day) and gave 118 BHP at 6,250 RPM for a sub eight second dash to 60 MPH. It was mated to a semi-close ratio version of the impeccably changing Ford sourced four-speed gearbox while a 3.77:1 differential kept engine revolutions within an acceptable range when cruising without the need for five ratios.
Registered on 1st August 1970, doubtless to qualify for a shiny new ‘J Plate’, this +2S seems to have started life in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne area, given its rather nice ABB 8J registration number (we wonder if it might be worth a bit of Money, Money, Money though a “misplaced” number plate bolt might result in you meeting your Waterloo…). By the time a Mr Desmond Holden acquired the Lotus in 1996, it had passed through five owners’ hands since 1976 and a further one was added in 1998 when Mr Christopher Nordon of Harrogate took it over. Shortly after this the Elan went to Southern Ireland, possibly in need of some work; there is a January 2000 Kelvedon Motors invoice on file for engine parts that were delivered to ‘Safety Services’ of Naas, County Kildare. The Lotus was eventually registered ZV 36749 on 23rd March 2004 and a letter on file indicates a Mr John Dalton, also of Naas, was invited to join the Dunboyne Motor Club organised Classic Car Parade at Mondello Park in June 2013. The +2 returned to England in August 2014 with sufficient documentation for it to be registered with its original number.
Though it has seen limited use since then, in February 2017 the engine was comprehensively rebuilt by Ford-based engine experts Specialised Engines Ltd. of Grays, Essex at a cost of over £5000; please see the photo gallery for a small selection of the more than three hundred and fifty photographs detailing this work. A new stainless steel exhaust system was fitted and the carburettors were also rebuilt. As this work was carried out less than 100 miles ago, the engine still needs to be run in.
Specialised Engines later undertook a program of gentle recommissioning prior to the Lotus being successfully MOT tested in October of last year with new wiper blades, horn, battery and brake servo fitted along with some to be expected ‘fettling’ at a total cost of some £700.
Impressed though we were with the bodywork and particularly the lack of crazing (the bane of any fibreglass car) on the last +2 we sold (Lot 150), this example is, we feel, at least as good if not better. Try though we might, we could not find a single tell-tale spider’s web-like area of cracking or gel-coat damage and the fit and finish of the panel work is really very good with virtually no need to resort to the usual ‘it’s a fiberglass car’ excuses. There is a little (possibly garage wall inflicted) damage to the trailing edge of the driver’s door as shown in the photo gallery.
Though perhaps not the Elan’s original shade (the chassis plate suggests it left the factory in Lotus Yellow, a particular favourite in the Berlinetta offices) the paint finish is currently good and looks as though it might respond well to a polish, either by machine or good old fashioned hand. There are no runs or micro-blistering evident and the only significant blemish we could find was a chip at the base of the off-side boot hinge, possibly caused by the lack of a stop/support on the boot lid. On the upside, this chip reveals a minimal number of paint coats suggesting a conscientious repaint has been carried out in the past.
Set against this the chrome is in good to excellent condition with no significant pitting evident even to the often problematic ‘pot metal’ light surrounds. The window frames and bumpers are more than acceptable as is the delightful wing mirror, though the roof trims are slightly discoloured in a couple of places, again shown in the photo gallery. As seems to be standard these days, the air intake surround is missing though these are available from the usual Elan parts specialists. The black nose badge (the significance or otherwise of which we won’t go into here) has a small chip in it but that somehow makes it more believably the Elan’s original (see above!). On the subject of badges, the correct ‘S’ on the off-side rear wing and World Champion Car Constructors 1963, 1965, 1968 on the opposite side are both present. The Lucas fog lights specific to the +2S are present and in our opinion an easy quick win would be some silver on black number plates, the front ideally mounted within the air intake.
An eclectic mix of tyres from Pirelli, BF Goodrich, and Kingstar are fitted with varying degrees of wear but they are of consistent 175/70 dimensions; something the new owner can attended to on a tyre by tyre basis rather than shelling out for four new ones in one hit. The Factory Lotus alloy wheels and spinners are in great condition with barely a chip in their paint or mark to their metallic surfaces.
The interior of the +2 is highly original and for the most part in fine shape with great carpets and good basket weave vinyl. There is a small mark on the driver’s seat back and what looks like it might be a cigarette (cigar?) burn on the rear seat though if you are small enough to fit in there, you shouldn’t be smoking anyway. Neither of these imperfections have broken through the vinyl and they are shown in the photo gallery for your assessment. The main headlining is a little stained but the biggest eyesore is a torn section on driver’s side B post; a repair to or replacement of this one panel would pay dividends though a whole new headlining would not be expensive and it would improve the interior dramatically. The leather on the correct steering wheel has cracked and would benefit from some attention and the same can be said of the dashboard varnish, though most of the switch labels are still present. As standard the cockpit is very well stocked with dials, remarkably (and somewhat less 'standard') all of which work including the ambient temperature gauge and clock, while the Sharpe FM radio/cassette player fitted is perhaps a decade or two younger than the rest of the car. The slender gear lever sports the correct round wooden knob, another nice original item that often goes missing. There remain a few cheap and easy fixes with one or two sections of carpeting and trim panels which would benefit from re-fixing and though the driver’s side window fair flies up and down, the passenger’s side could do with some attention along with the door lock which operates only from inside the car. In the boot no board, carpet or spare wheel are present though there is a cut-off switch and electric aerial fitted.
Neat, tidy and clean, the engine bay sports a pair of Dellorto DHLAs dressed with K&N air filters and fed from the aluminium tank by a Facet pump via a Filter King fuel filter and pressure regulator. Air filters and choke cable aside, it is again a very original area of the Elan with the correct cam cover, washer and expansion bottles and so on. The engine number is hard to read but it looks to match that on the chassis plate and V5C.
Getting underneath (you can use the owner’s lift should you choose to inspect the Lotus yourself), everything looks to be in good order; a galvanised chassis and fiberglass body take care of probably the biggest single issue with cars of a certain age, ferrous oxide, and the additionally protected chassis appears to still be in excellent condition. Far be it from us to criticise the originals but the aftermarket tubular front wishbones do look to be a worthwhile upgrade – ‘adding lightness’ could also be translated as ‘subtracting cost’ – and while the rears have a few chips to their paint, they have been well protected with a good water repellent finish. Generally the mechanical components look to be free of significant surface rust and fairly clean while the suspension bushes look to be good shape. The brake callipers seem to have been refurbished (there are old pistons and seals with the car) while the safety critical drive shaft ‘donuts’ show no signs of any cracking.
There is a decent history file with the Elan which contains the current V5C, an old V5, an Irish registration and road tax document, sundry invoices and a 1998 Tax disc. There are also sixteen MOT certificates covering virtually every year from 1982 to 1999 along with two CDs of photographs relating to the engine rebuild as previously mentioned. Two boxes of spares parts come with the car, some of which will be usable and some such as the brake calliper pistons probably will not.
The engine fires easily using a little choke which can quickly be dispensed with and after a few minutes it settles to a steady 700 RPM idle with a healthy 40+ PSI oil pressure.
A very original example this +2 has much going for it from an excellent body with good paintwork to a Factory galvanised chassis and recently rebuilt engine. With a few relatively cheap and easy cosmetic ‘wins’, mostly in the cockpit, it could be taken to the next level. Having covered very few miles in the last few years, what it is really crying out for is using.