Following in the wheel tracks of the radical Elite, Lotus’ equally brilliant Elan proved to be Colin Chapman’s most successful venture to date. The Elite made headlines with its highly advanced fiberglass semi-monocoque body with steel subframes that gave it exquisite handling in a featherweight package. While the Elite was highly regarded for its deft handling and brisk performance, it suffered from quality control issues and a high price which hampered sales. With the Elan, many of the Elite’s quality issues were addressed and the costs were kept low by replacing the costly Climax engine with a Ford-based four-cylinder topped by a twin-cam head. A rigid and light backbone chassis was developed to ensure the exquisite handling buyers expected. The Lotus Elan proved to be a massive success and Lotus production was booming throughout the 1960s and into the 70s. Very early into the Elan’s development, Colin Chapman ordered the addition of a “family man’s Lotus” to the lineup; one that would return nearly the same performance as the Elan, but with more luxury, sophistication and a bit of extra space for children. Chapman asked for a car with “the front of an Elan and the rear of an Elite”, so designers set about stretching the Elan’s chassis and revising the styling to better suit the longer wheelbase. The result was the Elan +2, introduced in 1967.
Despite the brief for a more luxurious Elan, the +2 continued with Lotus ethos of “simplify, add lightness”, and even with the additional 7 ½ inches of length added to the chassis, the bigger car exhibited superior stability in cornering and at speed. Throughout production, the +2 was continually fettled by the factory, with the renamed Plus 2S arriving in March of 1969 with larger carbs and a host of other refinements. The Plus 2S 130 added yet another boost in performance courtesy of the Big Valve cylinder head and enlarged Stromberg carburetors on US spec cars. The Elan Plus 2S 130 was a worthy competitor to the likes of the Porsche 911, Datsun 240Z, and even the E-type 2+2. Despite its comparatively tiny displacement horsepower deficit, the Elan came in at just 1,975 pounds – that’s nearly 400 pounds lighter than a 911E and a whopping 1,300 pounds shy of an E-type 2+2! Proof that power isn’t everything, as soon as the road gets bendy, the Elan truly shines.
Our featured example is a rare and desirable 1973 Elan Plus 2S 130 finished in the original colors of Lagoon blue with a metallic silver roof. It is one of just 153 US market cars of this type and is a very well-documented two-owner example that has been sorted at no regard to cost and treated to numerous yet discreet performance upgrades. It presents in beautiful, standard appearance, yet has been thoroughly upgraded to deliver outstanding performance.
Records indicate the Elan was delivered new in 1973 from Lotus Cars UK to the primary East Coast distributor Lotus East of Millerton, New York. From there, it was sold via F.A. Kinsella Auto of New Milford, CT to Boris Churyk of Stamford, CT. Mr. Churyk cherished his Lotus, as shown in a letter to his insurance company dated 1991 which states: “Under no circumstances will anyone other than myself be driving the 1973 Lotus Elan”. He goes on to explain that he bought it new as a present to himself – clearly a man who was passionate about his Lotus!
After 34 years with his prized Elan, it was sold to Alan Andrea of Lake Forest, IL. Mr. Andrea kept the car for another decade, performing extensive restoration work and performance upgrades, all while ensuring the car retains a stock outward appearance. The paint presentation is very good in the factory correct Lagoon Blue (LO12) on the main body, accented by a metal-flake silver roof. The paint is attractive and glossy, with just a few superficial flaws visible. The included Lotus Heritage Certificate confirms this as the original paint scheme – including the metal flake roof, which was a standard treatment for S130s. Body fit is very good, consistent and factory appropriate, while the chrome bumpers, window trim, and rain gutters are in excellent condition. The car retains its original Lucas fog lamps with their plastic covers as well as an original tool roll and jack. It rides on beautiful 13” knock-off wheels with Vredestein sprint classic tires that give the right look without sacrificing performance.
Speaking of performance, a highlight of this Elan is under the bonnet in the form of a 1,721 CC Twin Cam built by PHP Racengines Inc. of Wauconda, IL. Built in 2008 at a cost of nearly $12,000, the fully documented build includes 10:1 compression pistons, a flowed head, enlarged 34 mm carburetor chokes, and numerous other upgrades for power and reliability. Breathing through twin Weber carbs and a custom exhaust, this little powerhouse produces 140 horsepower at 6,000 RPM – on its way to a screaming 7,000 RPM redline. Wisely, the owner used a donor engine and the original, numbers-matching Stromberg-spec engine is intact and will be included in the sale. To handle the extra power, the rear axles were upgraded with billet units from Tony Thompson Racing, and the brakes upgraded with stainless caliper pistons. Cooling is handled via a high flow alloy radiator. Suspension features new Tony Thompson shock absorbers and thoroughly refreshed bushes and hardware. A large binder of receipts from the previous owner documents the tremendous amount of work that went into this fabulous Lotus.
Like the body, the cabin has been maintained in exceptional factory-correct condition. Much of the interior, including the dash, door panels, and seats, remains in remarkably good original condition. The wood dash is an excellent original, showing a few cracks in the lacquer which is not unusual, and retaining the original labels, gauges (including the S130s ambient temp gauge) and even the original Clarion radio. The tachometer has been upgraded to work properly with the Pertronix ignition and the electrical functions work as they should.
Extensive documentation courtesy of the most recent owner demonstrates how no expense was spared to ensure this is one of the best driving examples of its kind. Included in the sale are the original tool roll, factory service manuals, owner’s manual, original brochure, a Lotus Classic Certificate of Vehicle Provenance, and copies of the original registration verifying this as a two-owner example. We are thrilled to offer this outstanding and very rare Lotus Elan Plus 2 S 130; an exciting car that is sure to charm its next keeper with its intoxicating power, astute handling and understated good looks.