Lot 261 - 1971 Lotus Elan S4/Sprint Drophead Coupé
|Odometer reading||78,052 miles|
|Estimate||£42,000 - £49,000|
|Result||Sold - £44,800|
The Lotus Elan was introduced in 1962 and would go on to become one of the most successful sports cars of all time. It was the first Lotus road car to use the steel backbone chassis with fibreglass bodywork embodying Colin Chapman’s minimum weight design philosophy, weighing in at just 1,600 Ibs. Powered by a 1558cc, twin-cam-four-cylinder engine, the Elan adopted several other firsts for a Lotus road car including four-wheel disc braking, rack and pinion steering and four-wheel independent suspension.
Lotus debuted the Elan Sprint in 1970 at the Earls Court Motor Show with the official launch following in February 1971. The Elan Sprint went on to become the most desirable of the early Elans. The power was subsequently increased to 126bhp, this in turn offered a top speed of over 120mph and a 0-60mph time of just under eight seconds. These impressive performance figures were achieved through an increased compression ratio, big valve head and high lift cams. In between the time of the public announcement of the Sprint and its official launch, the decision was made to convert a small number of ‘SE’ S4s to Sprint specification at the factory. From the VIN records it appears there was no logical order to the selection of which S4 cars were converted and in March 1992, the then Lotus archivist, Michael Pomfret, claimed that just 79 S4s were converted to Sprint specification in early 1971, the last on 27th March. These factory-converted cars, known colloquially in Lotus circles as ‘S4/Sprints’, often retained the bonnet bulge from the S4. Today, the cars from this select group are highly sought after due to their rarity and pioneering role in the story of the ultimate Elan.
This Lotus S4/Sprint DHC is an original, documented, factory converted S4 to Sprint specification number eight. Finished in Carnival Red over Cirrus White with black leather interior, the car was supplied new by Hammonds and Oakwood of Beckenham and first registered on 22nd April 1971. This four-owner example has covered an indicated 78,052 miles. Purchased by its third owner, a Lotus technician at Paul Matty Sports Cars in 1996, this Elan was maintained to an extremely high standard. The current owner purchased the car from Paul Matty Sports Cars Ltd in 2014 and carried out a full nut and bolt restoration with invoices totalling over £30,000. These works took close to three years to complete and comprise of a cosmetic makeover and a full mechanical overhaul including an engine and gearbox rebuild. This is certainly one of the nicest Elan’s currently on the market and one of the best we have seen. Offered for sale with a V5 registration document, a current MoT test certificate and a substantial history file including invoices, old MoT test certificates, Lotus Classic Certificate of Vehicle Provenance, the original Owner's handbook, the original green Registration Book and photographic record of works carried out.
This is a unique opportunity to own a stunning example of a British classic, which we expect will appreciate over time.