HOME > LOT 189 - 1973 Lotus Elan +2 S 130/5

LOT 189 - 1973 Lotus Elan +2 S 130/5

LOT 189 - 1973 Lotus Elan +2 S 130/5

  • A late example of the pinnacle of Elan +2 production
  • Excellent condition throughout
  • Beautiful interior
  • Mechanically strong
  • A very original example
  • Estimated at £15,000 to £20,000

Not Sold. Please contact us


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, hopefully, an associated increase in their customers’ disposable income, theoretically allowing them to indulge themselves with an inherently more expensive product, in turn boosting Lotus’ margins. Though conceived way back in 1963, the grown up (and out) Elan for grownups did not reach production until August 1967 with Lotus busy keeping up with demand for and developing the two-seater version, launching the Europa, relocating to Norfolk, winning a couple of Formula One World Championships and cleaning up in pretty much every other form of motor sport including the previously US-only Indy 500. Obviously it made sense to retain the link to the hugely successful smaller version though there was an added bonus in terms of development and production costs to be had from utilising as many common parts as possible; it is just that on the +2, those parts were mounted further apart. Though there was a family resemblance, the +2 appeared sleeker (wind tunnel tests proved this was not an illusion) and more sophisticated which was in keeping with its upmarket pitch and allowed Lotus to charge a premium for a product that probably didn’t cost dramatically more to produce - see above.

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an altogether more luxurious machine was required so +2 became lush, plush, +2’S’ and the DIY build option was finally withdrawn in an attempt to improve build quality - putting your wishbones on upside down is apparently a bad thing. A performance hike was provided with the Big-Valve version of the Twin Cam engine which gave 126bhp hence the “130” suffix. Obviously. Don’t ask us, we didn’t come up with it. Questionable nomenclature aside, the +2S 130 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 Big-Valve engine sported twin Weber 40 DCOE carburettors, or equivalent items from Dellorto depending on which way the wind was blowing and in October 1972 the five-speed gearbox the press and public alike had been clamouring for finally arrived transforming the Elan’s cruising abilities on the new fangled Motorways.

Registered on 7th September 1973, not much is known of this Elan’s early life though an enquiry to the ever-helpful Lotus Factory Archivist would doubtless reveal a plethora of original build details, supplying dealer information and so on. The car’s original paint code is not shown on its chassis plate (not an uncommon occurrence and it is even rumoured that cars left the Factory unpainted to allow customers an almost endless range of colour options) so we can not confirm its current shade of Lagoon Blue is its original though we can say that it features in our top one of Elan +2 finishes.   

Despite the lack of concerns with regard to corrosion, fiberglass cars often have their own set of bodywork issues, namely crazing and poorly repaired damage and it is encouraging to note that this +2 has no evidence of either. It is straight and ripple-free with no sign at all of the tell-tale ‘spiders web’ effect in the paint that betrays deeper seated issues with the body. Bearing in mind we are not talking about an Audi, the panel fit is generally very good with even gaps and good shut lines. A great barometer for the quality of any body work carried out on +2s are the ridges on the tops of the front wings which are often blunted or lost altogether during careless pre-paint rubbing down or even by the application of too much paint; in this case it is great to see they are still factory-sharp.

Speaking of paint, the finish is very good with a great shine and depth to it. There are no drips or runs and it is even with no significant ‘orange peel’. On close examination there is a little chipping to the trailing edge of the driver’s door, a small scratch on the nearside rear wheel arch and some micro-blistering present in a few areas as shown in the photo gallery but this does not significantly detract from the overall impression that this is a very smart +2.

For the most part the chrome-work is either excellent (door handles, window frames and roof trim strips) or very good (bumpers, light units, filler cap and sill trims) with just the lightest of misting or pitting present. One gets so used to ‘pot metal’ light bases being pitted to some degree that it is nice to see both front and rear units, along with their lenses, in excellent condition on this Elan. Being a late car, the boot is released from inside the cockpit so there is no exterior boot handle to worry about and it is good to see the ‘moustache’ air intake trim is present; it is surprising how often this item is missing and it really finishes the front end of the car. Correct ‘Tex’ style wipers and single door mirror are fitted and in very good condition. One of Berlinetta’s assistants (who frankly needs to get out more) pointed out that the badge that lists Lotus’ success’ in the Formula One Constructors World Championship includes 1973 and with that year’s title not wrapped up until the last round in the USA on 7th October (exactly one month after this +2 was registered), one must surmise that either an updated badge has been fitted or someone in the Purchasing Department at Lotus was supremely confident in the abilities of Emmo, Ronnie and the Lotus 72.

The top tinted windscreen has no chips or scratches while the side windows and rear screen are in similarly good condition. Though the rear screen rubber is a little perished, there is no evidence of any leaks.

The Brand Lotus alloy wheels are a slightly mixed bag with the two on the nearside of the Elan in very nice order while the pair on the opposite side of the car have some oxidation on the alloy sections as shown in the photo gallery, though a little effort with your metal polish of choice would surely improve this. In all cases they are free from scuffs or dents to their rims and there is no flaking of the paint finish. The tyres are correct profile 165/80 R 13s with a generous amount of tread remaining and the octagonal centre lock nuts are in good condition though perhaps in need of some more of that metal polish.

The Oatmeal interior is in very nice condition with the seats and door trims clean and virtually unmarked - no small achievement with such a light colour which has the tendency to show every mark and can look a bit grubby. The carpets are very good with those in the footwells protected by superb new Lotus branded over-mats in a matching cream shade. The excellent dash is one of the best we have seen with just a tiny section of flaking varnish on the glove box lid; all too often these items display cracked veneer and misting lacquer. The occupants of the luxurious cockpit are well supplied with information from the no less than eight dials, all to correct Factory layout with nothing added and nothing taken away. All are correct Smiths units though the clock may be from a different vehicle; this and even the ambient temperature gauge work though the speedometer seems to be on strike. A Radmobile medium and long wave push button radio is present along with the correct black spoked +2 steering wheel. There is a very small split on the trailing edge of the dash top crash pad (cleverly hidden by your left hand if you hold the steering wheel correctly at 10 to 2) that may well be repairable with some vinyl weld. The headlining is in excellent order with barely a hint of discolouration while something that is rarely seen these days are the lovely Lotus logo coat hooks on the B posts. The boot is nicely finished in bound carpet over undamaged boards and it contains a safety and security cut off switch, steel spare wheel, jack and the brace for the spinner nuts.

Under the bonnet everything is well presented from the crackle black cam cover to the prominent servo while the join between body colour paint and satin black is perfectly executed. The correct grey painted cylinder head sports Dellorto carburettors, the original cooling fan is present and some extra relays have been neatly fitted to help with the +2’s sometimes slightly marginal electrical system.

Underneath, due to the previous owner’s rural location, things are quite grubby though what looks to be a Lotus replacement chassis seems very solid and undamaged. There is some surface rust on various suspension components though the bushes and driveshaft donuts look to be in good order. A part stainless steel exhaust system is fitted along with a braided clutch hose. There is evidence of new galvanised sills having been installed relatively recently.

The original mechanical fuel pump has no problem priming the carburettors and the engine fires instantly after the traditional few pumps on the throttle. Once warmed through it ran smoothly with no appreciable smoke or nasty noises, idling at a rock steady 600 RPM - the sign of a well set up engine - with the oil pressure gauge showing the Factory standard 40 psi. Our slightly limited test drive confirmed traditional Elan strengths such as lovely steering feel and tight gear change though a slight pause and/or throttle blip helps engage 3rd gear smoothly; this is a known weak spot on the five speed ‘box. Being such a light car the brakes are more than up to the job and have a nice ‘feel’ to them. The taut suspension has no clonks or rattles and everything points to this being a very well sorted Elan.

The history file is ‘compact’ containing the current V5C which confirms the Lotus’ Historic Vehicle status. There is a very nice original Owner’s Handbook, a wiring sketch for a fan and a note detailing some service work carried out in April 2018 at 82,000 miles.

Late +2s are rapidly gaining in popularity as the ultimate iteration of the ‘Family Elan’ breed; their slightly sharper lines are increasingly finding favour and the value gap between them and the two-seater Elans is closing. It is also worth remembering that originally the +2 cost some 35% more than the “+0” Elan, whereas today the situation is dramatically reversed with the value of the family man’s car something like half to two thirds of the two seater’s which only reinforces just what cracking value +2s represent.

Overall, this is a very well sorted +2S 130/5, mechanically and cosmetically between excellent and very good, with some room for improvement to the underside, though in our opinion this is of the ‘jetwash and duck oil’ type of task.

Please note that back in 1997 the Lotus suffered some damage which though it was classed as repairable, the relevant insurance company decided not to have this work carried out, perhaps not surprising given how little these machines were worth twenty-five years ago.

  • Registration number: TGO 333M
  • Chassis Number: 73071551L
  • Engine Number: P/30555


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BID OF £8,500.00 PLACED BY Cheguava

December 28th at 07 : 43 PM

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