“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an altogether more luxurious machine was required so +2 became lush, plush, +2’S’ and the DIY build option was finally withdrawn in an attempt to improve build quality – putting your wishbones on upside down is apparently a bad thing. At the beginning of 1971 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.” In October 1972 the long called for five speed gearbox finally arrived to make cruising somewhat less frantic and the snappily named Lotus Elan +2S 130/5 (not exactly adding lightness there) became the ultimate iteration of the fabulous Elan range.
This beautiful Elan was built towards the end of +2 production and registered on 8th June, 1973, finished in the oh so period shade of Tawny Brown Metallic – Code LO 16. Remarkably, a virtually full run of MOT certificates from 1977 onwards show how the cars mileage increased by a few thousand each year from a then 18,000 to some 30,000 in 1985 before a teenage growth spurt saw it add another 16,000 in just three years. Come 1997 the Lotus had hit 53,000 through the consistent annual use of just one owner since 1988, at which point it was purchased by a Mr Darrell Wells of Reading for some £5,750. He was to retain the car until just last year, putting another 20,000 miles under its wheels before taking it off the road in 2007 for a full and thorough restoration, eventually returning the Lotus to the road in 2016.
With relatively cheap replacement chassis either from Lotus themselves or specialists such as Spydercars Ltd. having been available for as long as the cars themselves, it is rare to find a machine still sporting its original and judging by the photographs of its restoration and the numbers we could make out on its chassis, this Elan seems to be one of those; something that we feel may prove to be desirable in the future. Photographs on file indicate that the chassis was found to be in good order and that is was cleaned, stripped and refurbished.
Once removed from the chassis the body was stripped and refinished in its original ‘Tawny’ though the owner’s personal preference was to not reinstate the silver roof the Elan originally sported, something that could relatively easily be altered should a new owner so wish.
Today the body is still in excellent condition displaying good panel fit throughout and no crazing. Ripple free and super-straight it is encouraging to see that the more angular areas such as front wing tops are still sharp and well defined. The paintwork is similarly very good, looking to have been expertly applied though there is one frustrating scratch on a front wing that has been touched in as shown in the photo gallery. The sills correctly finished is satin black also indicate good attention to detail and though strictly speaking the engine bay should also be satin black, the body colour utilised will doubtless help with keeping it clean.
The previous owner obviously wanted to accentuate the Lotus’ clean lines and no badges, wing mirrors or even front number plate have been fitted, though one is supplied with the car. The simplicity of the single body colour adds to the minimalist effect as do the gloss black finished alloy wheels.
The Lotus’ chrome-work is also in very good order with just some slight pitting to the front and rear lights, a little bit ‘nature of the beast’ with the base metal used. The only exception is the rear bumper which has some damage to its near-side corner, (please see photo gallery) though this looks to be repairable. New, correct sized 165/80 tyres are fitted as is a Triplex toughened ‘Hotline’ heated rear window; a nice original item as are the Lucas front fog lights that were standard on the +2S 130.
Inside the Lotus has one of the nicest Elan interiors we have seen. New high quality cream carpets offset the black seat trim, which certainly as far as the fronts go, looks to also be new. Nigh on perfect headlining has been well fitted and the doors re-trimmed again in black, though not strictly to ‘factory’ pattern. With no loose wires hanging from behind the superb new burr walnut dashboard to spoil the effect and a new Moto-Lita steering wheel to grasp, it really is a lovely, well finished, civilised place to be.
Under the bonnet the engine bay also a very nice place to spend time if you enjoy tinkering as much as driving, being clean, tidy and organised. The seminal Lotus Twin Cam engine is correctly fitted with the later (and thought to be stronger) ‘read from the back’ cam cover, Lumenition ignition, twin ‘40s’ and a nicely made tubular exhaust manifold. Commendably leak-free (given its reputation) it fires almost instantly and settles to a smooth idle.
Clambering underneath the Lotus, the few miles it has completed since restoration have not left much of a mark and it remains free from oil leaks and more than presentable. The chassis looks to still be in very good order and Tony Thompson Racing sliding spline drive shafts are evident (so well-greased they have distributed a fair amount onto the surrounding chassis) along with Aeroquip brake lines and a stainless steel exhaust system.
The Elan’s generous History File contains not only the aforementioned sheave of twenty-six MOT certificates but also a couple of historical V5s along with the current one. The bulk (and we do mean bulk) of it however is a huge number of invoices detailing work carried out since the Elan was new. These read like a ‘Who’s Who’ of Elan specialists from the likes of Tony Thompson, Banks (for some Koni shock absorbers in 1978!), Paul Matty, Christopher Neil, QED, Moreland Jones and Ken Myres. While these may not account for every penny spent in the last forty-five years, it is still a pretty impressive record.
Knowing from personal experience just what it costs to restore machines to this standard, we feel this Elan +2S 130/5 represents a great opportunity to acquire a machine for a fraction of that.
Registration number: XVV 448L
Chassis Number: 73051356L
Engine Number: P/29772