Auctions and Brokerage
The Lotus Elan Sprint
Colin Chapman’s Lotus Elan stunned the sports car world in 1962 with the application of the composite monocoque construction of the revolutionary Formula One Lotus 25 to a tiny two-seat sports car. Its GRP body was bonded to a backbone frame on an 84” wheelbase and weighed only 1,498 lbs. The 1,558 cc Ford engine was fitted with a Lotus-designed twin-cam cylinder head giving a top speed of 112 mph, the independent suspension was precise and compliant, and the Elan was notably quick. The Elan’s iconic status was assured when actress Diana Rigg drove one in The Avengers television series.
About 9,000 Elan roadsters and coupes were built in 11 years. The most desirable model is the final one: the Sprint, which debuted in 1971. Its “big-valve” engine generated 126 bhp, and the Elan accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds with a top speed of 125 mph. Only 845 roadsters and 562 coupes were built.
This example is quite possibly the best original Elan Sprint Coupe in existence. Delivered on November 21, 1972, this was the last Lotus Elan received by Lind Bros. Motors in Waterloo, Iowa, and it has since remained in the care of the dealership’s proprietor.
Believed to be one of two cars specially ordered in solid colors by the Lotus distributor in Toronto, this Elan is finished in plain white – instead of two-tone Sprint colors – and is fitted with a sunroof. The car was heavily optioned ￼ ￼with Lotus “knock-off” wheels, Audiovox stereo, Maserati air horns, and Lucas “tripod” headlights, adding to its original $6,427 purchase price.
The Lotus was initially used as a demonstrator, but when Elan production ceased in 1973, it was sparingly driven and finally stored under a cover at the dealership in 1974. Routine maintenance was continued, and extensive records, including the original MSO, window sticker, and Bill of Sale accompany the car.
In May 2007, the Elan was treated to a mechanical freshening by MK1 Motorsports in Westmont, Illinois, at a cost of $5,730. It was sympathetically rebuilt, and all seals, hoses, boots, and gaskets were replaced, along with the clutch, brakes, radiator, water pump, motor mounts, and drive couplers. A new stainless steel exhaust was fitted, and the Lotus was then completely detailed. The original parts accompany the sale, along with tools and manuals.
With its trim lines, lively performance, and pop-up headlights, this Elan is the clear inspiration of modern, two-seater sports cars. The new owner of this Lotus Elan Sprint Coupe will be the first retail owner in 41 years and is bound to appreciate its impressive styling and performance.