A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £30,938
• Absolutely delightful series 4 Sprint dating from 1970
• Seven former keepers. Current owner since 2010
• Barn find in 2007 and fully restored over the next three years
• Only completed 1,000 dry summer miles since. Indicated mileage 11,800
• Full history file with invoices photos, MOTs
When Colin Chapman was drawing up plans to replace the slightly troublesome Elite, he was intent on sticking to the glassfibre monocoque principle and using a Ford-based twin cam 1000cc engine (effectively creating a rather expensive Lotus Spridget). However, serendipity got in the way and a steel backbone chassis, designed for testing the prototypes-mainly because the mechanical parts needed to be attached to something for testing-had proved such a successful and cost-effective solution that it was adopted for production. Meanwhile, other larger variants of the Ford Kent block, up from 997cc to 1340cc, became available and Chapman was eager to exploit the potential for extra performance. So by the time the 1962 Type 26 Elan Roadster took to the roads, it had moved up a class.
The glass fibre-bodied Elan may only have been available initially as a Roadster Kit but its specification was very advanced and adhered to Chapman's “just add lightness” engineering philosophy. Power came from Harry Mundy's Ford-based Lotus 1558cc DOHC engine, it was fitted with disc brakes all round, and the independent suspension was set up to optimise ride quality and handling finesse, qualities for which this little car is still admired. It soon sired other derivatives including the Type 26R racer, the Type 36 fixed-head coupe, the Type 45 drop-head coupe, and the Type 50 Elan +2 of 1967.
The 1971 Elan Sprint was essentially based on the Series 4 Elan bodyshell and was primarily designed to rekindle demand and improve the performance of the nine-year-old sports car. Conceived by Lotus Sales Director, Graham Arnold, the Sprint's most notable feature was the horizontally-split two-tone paintwork echoing the livery of the Gold Leaf Team Lotus Formula One cars. Meanwhile providing the 'go to match the show' a new big-valve cylinder head with high-lift cams and a raised compression ratio, the work of Engineering Director Tony Rudd, provided a 25% increase in power to 126bhp. The drivetrain was suitably toughened and braced and the front callipers were redesigned to cope with the increased performance.
This smart little S4 Sprint is UK-supplied and dates from 1970. It's finished in the traditional 'Gold Leaf Team Lotus' colours and we understand it has had 7 former keepers, with the current owner enjoying the car since 2010. The owner immediately prior to our vendor found the Elan in a barn and commenced a three-year restoration which was completed in May 2010. The car has only completed 1,000 dry summer miles since and there is large photo file in the car's history with a record of the restoration.
The odometer indicates 11,800 miles from new which our consignor believes is accurate but obviously, this is not warranted. There is a full history file with the Lotus with invoices, photographs and older MOTs