1973 Lotus Elan +2S 130/5 Commemorative Edition (JPS)
Colin Chapman built his first car in 1948. Built on an Austin 7 chassis and with its running gear, the car was known as a Lotus Mark I. Chapman built further ‘specials’, however, it wasn’t until 1952 that Lotus Engineering was formed by Chapman and colleague Colin Dare. It was at this time that Lotus built its first production car the Lotus Mk VI. The legend was born and Lotus grew to become one of the world’s most respected and successful manufacturers of sports and racing cars. Over the years Lotus race cars claimed many victories and world championships. Their road cars used much of the technology and experience from the race cars and were equally as successful.
In the early years Chapman focussed on race cars, however, he soon realised that in order to be able to afford his racing efforts he would have to be successful in building commercial sports and touring cars. In the mid-1950’s Chapman presented his first road car – the Lotus Type 14 or Elite – which was first shown at the 1957 London Motor Car Show at Earls Court. The Elite was quite revolutionary, featuring a monocoque, fibreglass reinforced plastic (FRP) body rather than a chassis. It was powered by a Coventry Climax FWE all aluminium single overhead cam 1.2 litre engine providing 75bhp. The car was very well received and ultimately very successful with just over 1,000 cars built through until 1963, however, it was not the commercial success that Chapman was hoping for. Not surprisingly the Elite was also a very successful race car, winning its class at Le Mans six times.
In 1959 Ron Hickman, who was brought into the company by Colin Chapman to further improve the troublesome GRP unibody design, started working on a new production car, the Type 26 or Elan. The initial plan was to continue to develop the fibreglass monocoque used on the Elite, however, that proved too difficult for a two-door sports car with an open top. The Elan was ultimately built with a backbone steel frame chassis and a fibreglass body.
The Elan was introduced at the 1962 London Motor Show at Earls Court and stayed in production through until 1975. The model range consisted of five different models, the Type 26 (a roadster with an optional hard top – sold as the Elan 1500, Elan 1600, and Elan S2 or Series 2), the Type 26R (a race version), the Type 36 (a fixed head coupe – sold as the Elan S3, Elan S4 and Elan Sprint), the Type 45 (a drop head coupe – sold as the Elan S3, Elan S4 and Elan Sprint) and the Type 50 (a longer wheel base 2+2 – sold as Elan +2).
The Lotus Elan is one of the most popular and successful sports cars ever built. It is not known exactly how many Elans were built, however, it is somewhere between 15,000 and17,000 cars.
Chapman became famous for his engineering philosophy to ‘add lightness’. His cars were incredibly well engineered and always pushing the boundaries of the technology of the day.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1973 Lotus Elan +2S 130/5 Commemorative edition (JPS).
In 1973, at the Spanish Grand Prix, the Lotus Formula 1 team reached a very unique milestone. Lotus became the first manufacturer to win 50 Grand Prix races. The 1973 Spanish Grand Prix was won by Emerson Fittipaldi driving the Lotus 72E in the famous JPS livery. To commemorate this milestone Lotus decided to produce a special edition of the Lotus Elan +2S. The initial plan was to build 50 cars, but in the end approximately 115 cars were produced. The Lotus Elan +2S commemorative edition (JPS) was easily recognisable. It was finshed in black with a gold roof, gold sills and gold pinstriping. Equipped with the big valve engine producing 126hp and a 5-speed gearbox, the Lotus Elan +2S 130/5 Commemorative Edition was the top of the line in the Elan series.
Correspondence on file from the Lotus Archives confirm that this Lotus Elan is one of the 115 Lotus Elan Commemorative Editions. It also confirms the car still retains its original engine. The car was sold through Lotus dealer Hexagon of Highgate in London, England, however there is a note on the production file stating this car was a personal export.
It is understood the car was imported into Australia in 1974 by the first owner. He owned the car for about 10 years and during that time the car was basically used as a weekend/show car. The current owner acquired the car in November 1984 from Stewart Robinson Motors, Brighton, Victoria. At that time the car was registered as LTG 309 and the odometer read 24,127km.
In his ownership the car was hardly used at all but it was continuously improved both mechanically as well as cosmetically. In February 1988, the car was stripped back to fibreglass and repainted in acrylic in its original colours by DJ & J McIlroy in Red Hill South, Victoria. In October 1989 at the cost of $3,500 the interior was retrimmed by McBride Auto Upholstery in Dromana, Victoria and in April 1995 the car again was taken back to fibreglass and repainted by D.J & J McIlroy in Red Hill South, Victoria. Mechanically, the owner has had the following done to the car over the years. The rear drive shafts have been upgraded. A kit was acquired from Lotus Marques in Melbourne and the original donuts were replaced with a more modern and reliable tri lobe system. The gearbox has been rebuilt, which included replacing all the bearings & synchros and all the gears & shafts were crack tested before the gearbox was put back together with new seals. The clutch has been replaced, the carburettors have been rebuilt and new gaskets have been installed to reseal the engine. Additionally, the starter motor and alternator have been rebuilt, electronic ignition has been fitted and the exhaust headers have been ceramic coated.
Today the odometer reads 31,864 km, which is most likely genuine mileage!
As with all classic Lotus, it is all about the drive! However, before we get to that we’ll take a walk around the car. Overall, the paint is in very good condition with a nice deep gloss finish. You would not believe that the car was repainted 25 years ago, but to be fair it has travelled very few miles in this time. If you look closely there are a few marks, specifically around the door handles and the antenna. As with all fibreglass bodied cars there are a few small paint cracks here and there, most noticeable near the front windscreen. The glass appears to be original and the windscreen still carries a Vinylex sticker. Generally, all the glass is in good condition but there are two small areas on the front windscreen where there is some evidence of delamination. All of the external trim is in very good condition, including the chrome work, badges, lights and lenses.
Open the door and you are welcomed by the gorgeous interior finished in a beige colour and with contrasting timber work. The seats have period fabric inserts which are pretty cool and they appear to have been hardly used which is not surprising seeing the history of the car. The seats have ample support and they are quite comfortable. The rear seats appear to have never been used. The dashboard, with the exception of a small area around the glove box is in really good condition as are all the instruments and controls. Almost surprising for a Lotus, all the instruments are in good working order. Even the clock works! This little Lotus feels surprisingly spacious inside. There is plenty of room in the cabin and it is not difficult to find a comfortable driving position in the car. The carpet in the front of the car is in good condition, however, the carpet in the rear is missing.
The engine bay is exceptionally clean and very well presented. These Lotus big valve engines look the part, particularly with a pair of whopping great Dellorto carburettors bolted on the side! The boot is in excellent condition and looks to have been sparingly used, if at all. There is a spare wheel and wheel brace, but no jack.
We’re getting impatient, so it is time to get behind the wheel and take the car for a drive! When the engine is cold the car needs the choke to start but it starts pretty much with the first turn of the key. You can then slowly push the choke back and the car quickly settles into a smooth idle. After giving the engine a little bit of time to warm up, you are good to go. The car is everything you expect from a Lotus and more. First impressions are how tight and firm the car is on the road. Elans can be ‘rattly’, but this car is not! The big valve twin cam engine has plenty of power on tap and it revs willingly right through the range. The car just wants to go. The gear changes are easy and encourage you to go up and down the box because you can! The handling is as you would expect from a well sorted Lotus. With minimal body roll this car just goes around corners like it’s on rails. Put simply, driving this car will put a massive smile on your face.
Accompanying the car is a detailed history file with records back to 1984 as well as other miscellaneous documentation and magazine articles.
A Lotus Elan +2S 130/5 is a ‘special car’, however, the Lotus Elan +2S 130/5 Commemorative Edition is a ‘very special car’. This car is one for the serious Lotus enthusiast or astute classic car collector.
- Confirmed by Lotus as a genuine Lotus Elan +2S 130/5 Commemorative Edition (JPS).
- 1 of only 115 examples ever built.
- Understood to be the only one in Australia.
- Good history file
- A very well presented and well cared for example in excellent condition.
- Lotus Elan +2S 130/5 - Commemorative Edition (JPS)
- 31,864 km