1970 LOTUS ELAN S4 FHC

Lot Description

This Lotus Elan S4 FHC is a largely original example of a wonderful lightweight driver’s car, which was recently acquired from a vast private collection, where it was kept alongside the likes of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster and Lamborghini Miura. Under the bonnet is the characterful 1.6-litre Lotus twin-cam inline-four, fed by dual Stromberg carburettors, driving the rear wheels through a four-speed manual transmission. The odometer shows 47,938 miles, which is not warranted, but may be correct.

As a later S4 model, this coupe features the flared wheel arches, new rear lights borrowed from the Jaguar E-Type, wider tyres, rocker switches on the dashboard console, and the optional Stromberg carburettors.

A well-known fan of the original Elan is the designer of the McLaren F1 road car, Gordon Murray. There are two examples in his personal collection, and he famously said that it was the classic car he most admired, calling it “the ultimate, better than the F1”.

This is an original UK car, first registered on 13 November 1970, and has just six previous keepers on the V5C. In 2007, this Elan was acquired by a French former racing driver, whereafter it became part of a significant European collection of road and race cars for the next 13 years. However, the car was never re-registered in France, and remains on its UK V5C with no export marker showing on HPI or the DVLA website.

It was acquired by the current owner last year, and while the car had been very well preserved over more than a decade in dehumidified storage, it needed a thorough mechanical recommissioning. Several significant items were attended to in December 2020, and the car is now ready to use on the road straight away. It would benefit from some further tuning to enhance the performance, but there is no urgent work required. He is now offering the car for sale to provide funds for other projects.

The vendor reports that the Elan is still on its original chassis, which is increasingly rare to find, and its lightweight fibreglass bodywork is said to be in excellent condition for its age. There are only a few imperfections in the appearance, with the vendor noting in particular a small blemish on the nearside door and rear panel, a stone chip on the chromed front bumper, plus some chipped paint on the lower front section. Its brightwork is in generally very good order, with only minor blemishes, and the car sits on a set of 13-inch steel wheels that were recently replaced.

The original factory colour was Arctic White, and it is understood that the car resprayed to its current blue hue in the 1990s. The finish still looks very smart, and it also retains the correct badging, including the ‘World Champion Car Constructors’ motif on the offside rear quarter. Some of the window seals looked aged, but this would be an easy improvement for the next owner. Its 13-inch steel wheels are of the correct type, and have just some minor surface corrosion showing on the rims.

Stepping inside, the black vinyl upholstery is believed to be entirely original, and still presents in fair condition. There is a large split in the outer base bolster of the passenger seat, and the top inner corner of the driver’s seat has also worn through to expose the frame. Both door cards show some minor wear but are generally in good order, while the headlining is sagging slightly in places, so would benefit from some attention.

The woodwork is aged but sound, and the bottom section on the passenger side is included in the sale, but was not fitted when the photographs were taken. There is some discolouration of the central rocker switches, but they could be rejuvenated by a trim restorer. The vendor also notes that the driver’s side window is currently inoperative, and while the radio is original and apparently functional, there is currently no speaker connected to it.

Having been in storage for 13 years, the car was evidently in need of mechanical attention. Upon its arrival back in the UK, YEG300J was dispatched to AF Tuning in Chesterfield in December 2020, where it was treated to a differential oil change, new fuel pipes, and a thorough flush of the fuel tank to remove any residue. A new choke cable was fitted, as were four replacement wheels.

Following this work, the vendor also gave the car a full service, with fresh engine oil - using Millers Classic Sport 20w-50 Semi Synthetic - and filter, new NGK spark plugs, a new ignition coil, and a replacement battery. He also changed the gearbox oil and installed a new fuel pump. While not a recent addition, the car also has a high-flow air filter placed just behind the front grille, where the original would normally be.

While the car now starts and runs without any major issues, the vendor says that the carburettor needles and jets would benefit from some fine tuning in the future to enhance the performance. Furthermore, the suspension and brakes have not been refurbished, so this may be a sensible next step for the buyer – although pads and discs appear in good shape. The only other note from the vendor is that there is a small vacuum leak from the headlight pop-up mechanism, although the lights currently still go up and down as they should.

Now exempt from annual MOT testing, its last inspection was in September 2006 at 47,938 miles, which resulted in a first-time pass with no advisories or defects noted. Bidders will note that the odometer reading remains the same today, which reflects the fact that the Elan was never re-registered or driven while in the European collection. All of the tyres are brand-new Toyo Nanoenergy items, which were specifically chosen rather than grippier rubber that might spoil the classic driving experience.

This Lotus Elan S4 FHC is a charming British classic, which should be a straightforward improvement project for its next owner. Having been treated to some mechanical recommissioning after its period in a major collection, this car would now benefit from some further fettling, plus some particular focus on refurbishing the interior trim. With coupe versions of the Elan S4 now increasingly rare - as many have been lost to age or conversion to roadsters - this is a sound example of the breed, which would be a fun addition to any collection.

The description of this auction lot is, to the best of the seller's knowledge, accurate and not misleading. Collecting Cars requests a range of detail about the lot from the seller, and performs a level of due diligence. However, bidders must satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of the description, and conduct any research they feel is necessary before committing to a bid. Please see our Terms and Conditions for full details.

All UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Collecting Cars are run through an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and has no finance owing.

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Car Overview

  • 47,938 miles
  • manual
  • RHD
  • Blue
  • Black
  • 1.6L
  • VIN7004080029A


Lot Overview

  • Lot #02356
  • private Sale
  • London, United Kingdom

Seller

  • Luca

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