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Lot 34: Lotus Elan Sprint Convertible

Cars, H&H Sales Limited (1 October 2010)

The brainchild of Lotus design and development engineer Ron Hickman, Lotus's Elan was introduced at the 1962 Earls Court Motor Show. Based around a steel backbone chassis clad with lightweight glassfibre reinforced plastic bodywork, it boasted such niceties as all-round independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, pop-up headlights and integral bumpers. It was powered by a 1600cc (initially 1500cc) 'twin-cam', Ford-based, four-cylinder engine mated to four-speed (later five-speed) manual transmission. The Sprint was the Elan's final iteration. Launched at the 1970 Earls Court Motor Show, it was sold between 1971 and 1973 and was essentially an uprated version of the S4. Definitive production numbers don't exist, but history suggests around 52 S4s were converted to Sprint specification by the factory and around 1,353 Sprints were manufactured from scratch. Most (not all) featured the duo tone livery that reflected Lotus's F1 sponsorship of the time. Most were also built with a flat bonnet, as the bulge created for the previous Stromberg-engined cars was not required for the more powerful Sprint unit that was (initially) fed by a pair of Weber 40 DCOE carburettors. The change in carburation together with bigger inlet valves, a raised compression ratio, modified camshafts and redefined inlet ports resulted in a notable twenty percent hike in power.

The RHD Drophead Coupe Sprint on offer was made in 1971. It has an orange/white paint scheme and black vinyl trim. The car apparently sustained some front end damage in the late 70s/early 80s, at which time it is said to have received a galvanized factory replacement chassis and appropriate new bodywork. Over the following 10 years the Lotus's engine and gearbox were overhauled, the suspension modified to allow the fitment of Spydersport 14in wheels, a Lumention ignition and stainless steel exhaust fitted, and the dynamo replaced with an alternator. The vendor has owned the car since 2004, during which time many further items have been replaced or upgraded. The major changes include: a halogen headlamp conversion; the replacement of the flexible brake pipes with Aeroquip ones and the replacement of the standard cooling fan with a clover type. The Lotus is taxed and MOT'd until the end of April 2011.

Lot Details
Auction Cars
H&H Sales Limited, The Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire
TypeCar
Lot Number34
Estimate£8000-£9000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£13090
Year1971
Condition rating0
Registration numberBNR906K
Mileage-
Chassis number0440G
Engine numberN24849
Engine capacity (cc)1588
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2