HOME > Lot 154 - 1970 Lotus Elan +2S

Lot 154 - 1970 Lotus Elan +2S

Lot 154 - 1970 Lotus Elan +2S

  • Recent Engine rebuild by Specialised Engines Ltd.
  • Lotus galvanised chassis
  • A highly original example
  • In good condition throughout
  • Excellent bodywork
  • One or two areas for cosmetic improvement
  • Estimated at £13,000 to £17,000

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an altogether more luxurious machine was required so +2 became lush, plush, +2’S’ and the DIY build option was finally withdrawn in an attempt to improve build quality – putting your wishbones on upside down is apparently a bad thing.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.

  • Registration number: ABB 8J
  • Chassis Number: 7005090224L
  • Engine Number: F/22431 (See Text)



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B e r l i n e t t a  8

September 20th at 12:23 PM

Confirmation of the engine's 'vital statistics' from Specialised Engines: Mains 20 Big ends 20 Thrusts 5 Bore 40 So, for a standard engine it has quite a bit of life left in it - frequent oil changes and you may never need to grind the crank or bore the block again. Many thanks to the chaps at Specialised Engines. Good luck and thanks to all bidders, remember the auction finishes at 8.00 tonight.

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B e r l i n e t t a  8

September 20th at 11:19 AM

A bit of additional information from the very helpful people at Specialised Engines: New items fitted at the time of the engine rebuild include pistons and rings (looks like 0.030 but they are checking their records to see if they can confirm this), timing chain, tensioner, water pump, distributor, HT leads, and oil pump along with the obvious parts such as bearings and gaskets. They also fitted a new clutch master cylinder and rebuilt the brakes.

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BID OF £11,150.00 PLACED BY Colin

September 19th at 11 : 55 AM

B e r l i n e t t a  8

September 17th at 05:18 PM

Hi Berni Sorry we've been tied up with other cars today, some answers for you. Yes, Specialised Engines refitted the engine, the last picture in the gallery shows the car in their workshop. The slight marks on the sump may have been picked up on the road. Yes, looks like a little surface rust on the crank pulley. The exhaust is stainless steel so it won't have any corrosion and it will start to discolour as soon as it gets hot. As per the description, there is some water repellent spray on the underside of the car and I suspect this is what you are seeing rather than engine oil. The car is over fifty years old and its life has not been documented in finite detail so it is impossible to categorically say it has never been damaged or had any replacement body sections but we could find no evidence of any. Looking at other Elans (and we have done so frequently), this car is as 'straight' as we have seen. We had not noticed it but you are quite right, the nose badge is mounted a little higher than on other 2s - good spot. We know the car has been repainted at some time so suspect the badge mounting holes got filled in and it was positioned slightly higher when it was replaced though sorry, we do not know if it is stuck on or bolted on. Hopefully you will be able to view the car in person and be able to evaluate it first hand as well as talk to the owner. One final update, we have spoken to Specialised Engines and yes they have records of the engine rebuild and other work they did on the car. They were very busy when we spoke but are going to try to dig the paperwork out on Saturday morning and we'll update the listing once we have any further details. Thanks again for the great questions.

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b e r n i 2 9 0 7  1

September 16th at 11:35 PM

Hi Thank you. I was wondering, did specialised fit the engine after the rebuild or did the owner? I am guessing from the scrapes on the bottom of the sump it might have been the owner. Also it appears that the crankshaft pulley is rusty? Its hard to see from the supplied photos. Perhaps you have some better ones. The exhaust looks to have quite a lot of surface corrosion/discolouration, especially for just 100 miles of use. It looks like some oil/fluid has been sprayed around the sump and some of the components. I know from experience that with these engines that if there is oil in them then there is oil on them, but I do not think so in this case given the work done. I am curious to know if the car has been in any accidents in the past that required the replacement of any body sections? I am thinking in particular about the nose which has the badge mounted quite a way up the panel for some reason. Is it bolted as it should be or stuck on (perhaps)? Apologies for so many questions! If someone were to go to look at the car would the owner be available to speak to? Many thanks again.... Berni

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B e r l i n e t t a  8

September 16th at 09:09 AM

Absolutely Berni, keep them coming, it all helps people evaluate the condition of the Lotus. If you would rather, you can email us direct using the 'Contact Us' tab at the top of the page. As soon as we get a response from the engine builders we'll get back to you. Thanks again for your bids.

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b e r n i 2 9 0 7  1

September 15th at 08:00 PM

Thank you for the reply, Im sure the engine is perfect, its just something that should be known with a rebuilt engine, especially on a car nearing 50 years of age where it is very difficult to know its full mechanical history. By the way is this the right place to ask further questions?

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BID OF £11,100.00 PLACED BY berni2907

September 15th at 06 : 27 PM

BID OF £11,050.00 PLACED BY desyrascal82

September 15th at 03 : 29 PM

B e r l i n e t t a  8

September 15th at 03:19 PM

Absolutely Berni, understood and all very valid questions. Blocks can be sleeved successfully but take your point, let's see what the engine guys can tell us. The engine is currently very sweet and doesn't smoke so if well looked after, hopefully it will never need another re-bore or re-grind, if it has ever had them in the past!

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BID OF £10,550.00 PLACED BY berni2907

September 14th at 10 : 31 PM

BID OF £9,800.00 PLACED BY Adam.G.

September 14th at 09 : 01 PM

b e r n i 2 9 0 7  1

September 14th at 03:02 PM

Hi Thank you. If you have a close up picture showing the pistons it might be possible to read the size off of them. That would not tell you anything about the crankshaft though. The reason I ask is that there is a maximum size you can bore the engine out to before a new block is required. Similarly with crank grinding etc. Many thanks again.

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B e r l i n e t t a  8

September 14th at 12:46 PM

Hi again Berni Though there are loads of photos of the engine being rebuilt, we don't have those specifics. Leave it with us and we'll talk to Specialised Engines and see if they have that information.

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b e r n i 2 9 0 7  1

September 13th at 12:08 PM

Hi With respect to the engine, do you know how much oversize (if any) the block was bored to (and matching piston size please? Also if the crank was ground at all? Would it be possible to email the worklist to me? Many thanks! berni29@hotmail.com


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B e r l i n e t t a  8

September 13th at 05:43 AM

Hi Berni Many thanks for your question and bids. The Lotus can be viewed in Shaw, just outside Oldham, Lancashire. Drop us an email or give us a call and we'll sort out a mutually convenient time with you and the seller. Best wishes


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BID OF £8,050.00 PLACED BY berni2907

September 12th at 09 : 55 PM

b e r n i 2 9 

September 11th at 10:53 PM

Hi There Where can the car be viewed please? Many thanks Berni

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BID OF £15,716.00 PLACED BY steve1

September 08th at 11 : 55 AM

BID OF £2,500.00 PLACED BY Mscoltock

September 07th at 07 : 15 AM