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Lot 052: Lotus Elan Sprint S4 DHC

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (18 July 2012)

Lotus launched a legend in 1962, the Lotus Elan. Following on from the previous Elite model, the new Elan offered improved handling and performance and had a less fragile feel to its overall design. It was the first Lotus road car to use the now famous steel backbone chassis with a fibreglass body. At 1,500lb all up, the Elan embodied the Colin Chapman 'less is more' design philosophy, paring weight to a minimum in a quest for the ultimate driving experience. Below the bonnet sat an engine that would become a legend in its own right, the Lotus-Ford twin-cam with a Cosworth alloy head which went on to power other classic Lotus models including the Cortina sports saloons. As development progressed the Elan became more civilised, the final Series 4  introduced in March 1968  benefiting from dashboard fresh-air vents and improved interior trim and fittings. The bodyshell was slightly thinner and lighter than the S3's and featured flared wheelarches accommodating wider wheels, side repeaters and larger rear lights. It could sprint to 60mph in 7.8 seconds and hit 122mph flat out. Light, powerful and with sensational handling, the Elan proved an immense commercial success for Lotus, slightly fewer than 9,000 being produced by the time production ceased in 1973. Even today there are few more rewarding driver's cars around. First registered in September 1971, this particular Sprint DHC was treated to a nut-and-bolt restoration in 1984 as detailed in a hand-written record in the history file. This included fitting a new Spyder space frame chassis and a replacement engine from a +2S 130/5 which was rebuilt by Palladin of Dundee. Koni shock absorbers were also fitted front and rear along with chrome vanadium coil springs, a roll bar and a new hood. The current mileometer reading is 16,500 which is believed to be the total distance covered since the restoration was completed, with most old MOTs being present back to 1989 at which point the clock was showing some 7,500 miles. The current vendor acquired the car from Paul Matty Lotus in 1990 and has had it religiously serviced by Matty virtually every year since, regardless of the low mileage covered, with many bills to prove. It was last serviced in February this year less than 100 miles ago when many items were attended to at a cost of just over 1,000. Bills also show that the head was rebuilt in 1995 due to a defective exhaust valve at 12,864 miles. Taxed and MOTd until February 2013, the car remains in good condition throughout and is said to drive superbly. It is only being sold because the vendor has found so little time to use it in his 22 years' ownership. With many Sprint DHCs being advertised at almost twice the suggested guide price, it looks a very tempting prospect.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
Lot Number052
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£20800
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration numberHTE 374K
Chassis number7107160415G
Engine numberP27726
Engine capacity (cc)1558
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2