1970 LOTUS Elan +2S

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1970 LOTUS Elan +2S


Following the success of the original ‘small’ Elan, the +2 model was introduced in 1967, featuring a longer wheelbase, enlarged body shell and two rear ‘bucket’ seats, allowing the carriage of two rear seat passengers in a 2+2 body shell.

Marketed to broaden Lotus’ appeal beyond the sporting couples market, the +2 was designed to draw in young, established families who were looking for a four-seat vehicle with sporting pedigree, something that the Elan +2 had in its droves.

Interestingly, despite its enlarged dimensions, the +2 was largely similar in its construction to its ‘baby’ brother, featuring a glass-fibre body over a backbone chassis, Ford-derived 1.6-litre twin-cam inline-four engine, and double-wishbone front suspension all being carried across from the two-seat Elan.

For those looking for a slightly more luxurious take on the 2+2 coupé design, the +2S was unveiled in 1968 and featured a more ‘upmarket’ interior specification, along with some minor styling and mechanical revisions.

Arguably, for those looking for an early example, the +2S is the one to go for. Here’s one we found earlier…

The Vehicle

First registered in April 1970, this delightful and well-kept +2S has been in the care of its current owner - only its sixth since new - for just over 25 years now, during which time it has been cosseted, fettled, used and enjoyed to its fullest extent, having completed runs to/from the Le Mans Classic twice, along with numerous other rallies, road-trips and shows.

The owner - a consummate Lotus enthusiast who shares the passion for these Hethel-built sports cars with his son - is not afraid to get stuck in with the spanners, stating that everything has been done by himself or with a few close friends in terms of mechanical overhauls and tinkering, with the exception of ‘big jobs’ such as the paintwork, cylinder head rebuilds and the like.

Not only is this a very hands-on owner, but also an incredibly fastidious one too, having recorded each item of expenditure, maintenance and restoration that has been carried out since he took ownership of the vehicle in 1996, with both a self-designed spreadsheet and also a veritable treasure trove of invoices, correspondence and paperwork documenting his ownership period.

Whilst the colour of the vehicle is not the factory original - it was re-sprayed into the gorgeous claret/burgundy hue you see in front of you during the previous owner’s time with the vehicle - the bodywork has been ‘refreshed’ during June 2016, being sprayed the same colour again, along with the fitment of new badges at the same time.

In terms of mechanical work, the engine has had a full head rebuild twice during the owner’s time with the vehicle, in 1996 and again in 2009, with the timing chain replaced at the same time in both instances. Similarly, the main and big-end shells have been replaced twice in the vendor’s ownership, as have the oil pump, main fuel hoses, crank and flywheel/clutch assemblies.

Used and enjoyed to the fullest extent, maintained to a very high standard by the current owner and with a history folder that would make the British Library hot under the collar, this is a mechanically strong, useable example of the classic 2+2 British sports car that is ready to jump in and enjoy.

On the Outside

Whilst the current shade that adorns the fibreglass shell may not be a factory-order colour, there’s no denying that it suits the shape and character of this +2S rather well indeed, and still looks good to this day, thanks to the body-on respray in 2016.

Naturally, there is some wear-and-tear visible, such as light ‘spidering’ marks to the fibreglass, some bubbles underneath the paintwork from a chemical reaction, and the usual commensurate usage marks such as stone chips, light scratches around areas such as the door handles, and other light imperfections befitting of a vehicle that is used and enjoyed, rather than being kept as a garage queen.

That said, whilst the paintwork may show some age, the body shell as a whole is in good order, with no signs of any impact damage that we could see, and only some minor adjustment required to get the doors to sit perfectly flush.

Both of the pop-up headlights work correctly.

At the rear, the chrome bumper was recently re-finished and presents fantastically, whilst the rest of the chrome on the vehicle is in good order throughout, though there are the usual signs of age-related patina and pitting to be aware of.

All four wheels are wrapped in matching Avon rubber, though the wheels themselves would benefit from a refurbishment to bring them back to their best.

On the Inside

Lowering yourself down into the vehicle, it is clear that despite being a 2+2, the Elan +2 still retains much of its sporting heritage, with the cockpit seemingly only inches off the floor, and the low-set seats giving you a true ‘sports car’ feel, one which you can share with two passengers in the rear.

Whilst the bodywork is generally in good condition, the vendor admits that the interior is where the majority of the next owner’s efforts will be focused from an aesthetic point of view, on account of the number of hours, miles and years of enjoyment spent in this surprisingly spacious cockpit.

The front seats, for example, will require some attention from a competent home trimmer or a professional outfit, with the driver’s side item in particular showing its age now, with numerous splits and tears. Similarly, the carpet requires attention around the foot wells and door shuts, though this is of a less important nature.

The rear seats are in good order still (likely on account of their sparse usage) and up above the headliner does not show any signs of sagging or heavy wear.

Ahead of the driver, the full brace of Smiths gauges remains, with exception of the clock which was replaced a number of years ago with a dark grey-faced item, though this too has now ceased operation. Other than the aforementioned timepiece, all of the clocks and gauges are in full working order, informing the driver of everything from external temperature to oil pressure and voltage.

Similarly, the switchgear is working as it should be, though the passenger door window is a little slow to operate, and benefits from some manual assistance.

The wooden dashboard itself has seen better days, with some cracking evident in the lacquer and wear to the overall finish, though we’d argue this is part of the car’s character, rather than being detrimental to its condition.

In the rear, the boot is in good order, with a new floor fitted in 1996 and no other issues being evident during our inspection.


Underneath the bonnet, the 1.6-litre Ford-derived twin-cam engine looks to be in good order, with everything in its right-and-proper place. The vendor is more one for the spanners than the rapid detailer, so no doubt a full valet would transform the appearance of the block and ancillaries, though everything is mechanically sound and the vendor is not aware of any faults, issues or idiosyncrasies with the drivetrain or engine.

There is a slight misting/leak of oil noted along the nearside edge of the engine, though this is very much a case of “they all do that, sir” and is a known character trait of these engines, rather than being an issue in its own right, to the point there is even a running joke among enthusiasts about the patented ‘Lotus self-lubricating chassis’!

Looking underneath the bodywork, the chassis appears to be in good order throughout, with only some flaking paintwork, light ‘bloom’ on the exhaust system and some oil misting making themselves known during our brief inspection, the photographs from which can be viewed towards the end of the gallery below.

The car is, of course, exempt from mandatory MoT examinations on account of its age, though it has been regularly tested during our vendor’s time with the vehicle, which is always a strong indicator of fastidious ownership in our view. The most recent exam took place in February 2020 at 75,997 miles, and showed a pass with only one advisory for a minor oil leak.

History Highlights

Included with the sale of this Lotus Elan +2S is a genuine treasure trove of documentation, covering both the current owner’s tenure with the vehicle (which spans two well-stocked bulldog clips of paperwork) but also more historical documentation from the 1980s and before, which in itself occupies a thick A4 document wallet.

As ever, we’ve photographed this extensive history, and it is available to view at the end of the gallery below, with the following highlights included:

- The V5 registered keepers document, showing five former keepers

- The vendor’s own spreadsheet, documenting all of the mechanical, aesthetic and routine works carried out on the vehicle since purchase

- MoT history paperwork to verify the mileage of the vehicle

- Invoices for parts, cylinder head rebuilds and off-site work including the paintwork which took place in 2016

- Other miscellaneous documentation supporting the cherished history of this four-seat wonder.

What We Think

Mechanically proven, cherished, in long-term ownership and with numerous trans-European road trips under its metaphorical belt, this 1970 Lotus Elan +2S offers a tantalising prospect for any British sports car fans looking for a car to use, enjoy with the family and slowly upgrade/fettle as and when time allows, with no signs of any immediate maintenance or mechanical work being apparent.

Offered from long-term ownership and with an incredible history folder, we estimate this particular Elan +2S to fetch in the region of £14,000 to £20,000 when the virtual hammer falls.

Viewing is always encouraged. This particular car is located with the vendor in Highclere, Hampshire; To arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

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If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage can offer you options, plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping both domestic and international.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using basic cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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  • Location: Newbury, Berkshire, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 76000 (unwarranted)
  • Chassis Number: 502415
  • Engine: 1558
  • Gearbox: manual
  • Steering position: RHD
  • Colour: Red
  • Interior: Black
  • Estimated Price: £14,000 - £20,000

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