SOLD for £10,417
“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’. And we thought the customer was always right... 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an altogether more luxurious machine was required so +2 became lush, plush, +2’S’ and the DIY build option was finally withdrawn in an attempt to improve quality – putting your wishbones on upside down is apparently a bad thing.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 giving 125bhp 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 burr walnut facia and electric windows. 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 and was mated to a semi-close ratio version of the impeccably changing Ford sourced four-speed gearbox. A 3.77:1 differential kept engine revolutions within an acceptable range when cruising without the need for five ratios.
You say recommission we say restoration, let’s call the whole thing a great opportunity to acquire a terrific Lotus Elan at a potentially bargain price; we have certainly seen worse cars offered for ‘light recommissioning’ and while we think there is a good chance you could do just that with this car, it probably deserves restoring even if it maybe doesn’t need it in all areas.
In the recent past when Plus 2 Elan values were on the floor, many cars were broken for the components they had in common with their more valuable two-seater brethren and consequently the supply of good restorable cars has dwindled considerably. Coupled with this, the market has started to appreciate the qualities the family man’s Elan offers and prices have consequently increased dramatically. To come across such an eminently refurbishable machine is an increasingly rare occurrence and the icing on this particular cake is that the Elan is not only untouched and 100% complete but also blessed with a valuable collection of new parts.
The body is really very good with closing panel fit excellent and no crazing visible. Straight and true, if one decided to repaint the car there should be a minimal amount of repair work to do, if any at all.
As the Elan was originally blue you could argue in favour of a full strip and repaint or it could be just cleaned and polished, though there would still be the odd nick and chip. It actually looks far worse than it is and would provide some instant gratification, it rather depends what you want to achieve. Trim details such as the sill strips are present and correct though the ‘World Champion Car Constructors’ badge includes 1972 which is tight given the +2 was built in August and the championship wasn’t mathematically secured until September of that year.
The chrome shows some dulling but it is all there and structurally in good condition with, for example, no major hammer marks to the wheel spinners. If constrained by budget or your preference is for a stage payment approach to restoration, the bright-work would sit comfortably against the current paint but it may need re-plating if the bodywork were to be refinished. The plasti-chrome (OK that may be a made up name but you know what we mean) needs replacing as it has ‘clouded’. The front bumper is fitted and has no major dinks or dents while a new rear number plate is in (nearly the right) place.
Inside, the ‘S’ specification interior is in presumed original ‘oatmeal’ vinyl; a great colour but hard to keep clean and this is certainly fairly grubby though we just see that as another moral boosting ‘quick win’. It is complete and largely undamaged aside from a small tear or area of wear to the centre console by the driver’s left leg – please see the photo gallery. The comprehensive dash has some cracking to the varnish but we can’t tell if it goes into the walnut veneer itself. There are no additional dials or switches fitted and encouragingly the ambient temperature gauge is registering correctly. The instrument bezels would benefit from refinishing as would the wood gear knob. The correct +2S steering wheel and horn push are in place and should just need some re-colouring of the leather rim while the headlining is free of rips or tears, though it does have some ‘standard’ factory glue staining evident. The boot and engine bay are complete and ostensibly standard with such hard to find items as the carburettor air-box in place.
It is known that some years ago the 130’s original big-valve head was urgently required to complete a race engine and it was replaced with an alternative, all be it rebuilt by Twin Cam experts QED, though unfortunately the relevant bill on file does not specify the valve sizes employed. Lotus aficionados tend to take the view that the power increase credited to the valves actually had much to do with camshaft profiles but then we doubt the marketing men thought ‘High Lift Long Duration Cams’ sounded as cool as ‘Big Valve Head’. Though the correct cam cover is present, strictly speaking it should be wrinkle finished black.
Currently not running, we can’t tell you all that much about the Elan’s driving or mechanical condition though given its ‘for restoration, refurbishment, or recommissioning’ status, perhaps this is less important than it might otherwise be. There isn’t much point in going down the ‘it looks mechanically OK’ route but obvious issues such as disintegrated anti roll-bar bushes can be clearly seen in the photo gallery.
Underside some surface rust to suspension components, drive shafts and brakes is evident, though the Lotus patented rust-proofing system (a slightly leaky engine) has kept the centre section well protected. The rear of the car looks pretty oil tight though differential output shafts are weeping slightly. The replacement Spyder folded steel (rather than spaceframe) chassis looks to be in very good order again perhaps thanks to Mr Castrol so that should be a couple of thousand pounds off the renovation bill.
The Elan is being auctioned with a good selection of valuable and useful new parts that should allow for many a happy hour spent in the garage without significant further expenditure. These are shown in the photo gallery but for those who don’t want to play ‘identify the object’, the highlights are, a clutch plate and cover, set of four discs, front and rear bumpers, two sets of brake hoses (spare spares?), clutch master cylinder, wheel bearings, hand brake pads, spark plugs, fuel pump, upper ball joints, track-rod ends, steering coupling, rear light lenses, badges (possibly too many?) and a pair of wing mirrors. Significantly there is also a pair of sliding spline drive shafts which look to be similar if not identical to those sold by the major Elan parts suppliers at around £650 a pair and a quick back of a fag packet tot up came out at around £1,500's worth in total. We could not ascertain if the four wheel trims and Lucas fog lights are new or the car’s originals but they are included in the parts package anyway.
The Elan’s history file includes the current V5C showing a registration date of 1st November 1972 (maybe there was time to get that badge on after all) and just four keepers in total, the last two accounting for all but ten of the cars forty-five year existence. The invoice from QED previously mentioned details a full cylinder head rebuild including bronze valve guides for unleaded fuel compatibility and a ‘minimal face skim’ all for £804.88 back in 1997. Various other bills from the likes of Christopher Neil are also present.
So, a more than worthwhile project as the nights draw in and something that could be undertaken by the competent amateur. If we didn’t already have a shedload of projects and a slight time shortage…