BF Auction: 1966 Lotus Elan S/E

Sold For: $17,350

UPDATE – We have added a video of the engine running and a photo of the engine number below. We can also confirm that the original top, side bows, and tonneau are with the car. A replacement top is also included.

This Lotus Elan is one of three British sports cars that I purchased out of a collection a while back. All three cars were parked in the late seventies when the owners started their family. The years passed and now it is time to retire so they decided to let them go. I would really like to keep all the cars but have decided that they might help us get our BF Auctions going again. This car is very original and is a desirable S/E model so I’ll probably regret it but, hopefully, the car will go to a new owner who will be able to get it back on the road.

The interior is in decent shape and what appears to be the original steering wheel is included along with a bunch of spare parts. There’s even a NOS side view mirror to replace the broken one on the driver’s side. This car could be a good restoration candidate but I had planned on just cleaning it and driving it. There are cosmetic flaws inside and out but nothing unbearable if you want a driver. After putting a little oil in the cylinders and some fuel in the carbs, the engine started right up and ran surprisingly well!

I did talk to the previous owners and they claimed that all the cars in their collection ran when parked. They did enjoy the cars when they first got them but life just got in the way. They always planned to get them going again someday but when that day came they were not as enthusiastic as they once had been. That’s a shame too but this Elan would have been a hoot to drive again. It sure sounds good! With its fiberglass body and revvy twin-cam, the Elan was about the perfect combination of power and weight.

The frame is always a concern when we are talking about Elans. As you can see, there’s not a lot to that steel backbone. The frame does have some surface rust visible but I haven’t found any rot yet. Luckily the car was stored inside and must not have been driven on salted roads. Replacement frames are available but I’m hopeful that this one is solid and can be used as-is. As with any barn find, the next owner’s top priority should be replacing the master cylinder and all the brake hoses. No sense in going if you can’t stop.

This little Elan may be a little rough around the edges but the fact that it’s all there and is a rare S/E model should make it a worthwhile endeavor. The S/E package added knockoff rims, some interior upgrades, and a hotter cam. Supposedly it adds 20 horsepower – which is a lot considering the base car came with 95hp. Even that number isn’t insignificant when you consider that these only weigh around 1,500 pounds! The only thing the next owner will need to do in order to keep motivated is to fire up that dual Weber fed twin-cam. It could be one of the greatest sounds in the world!

Since this is my personal car, we are waiving the 5% buyer’s premium on this one. Be sure to look through all the photos and please leave any questions you may have in the comments section below.

  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Mileage: 32,031 Miles Shown
  • VIN: 26/5646
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Vehicle

Sold for: $17,350
Register To Bid
Ended: May 27, 2022 1:08pm MDT
High Bidder: StephenT
Buyer Premium: 5%
  •   StephenT bid $17,350.00  2022-05-27 13:04:01
  •   SDRED bid $17,100.00  2022-05-27 13:02:30
  •   StephenT bid $16,800.00  2022-05-27 13:01:46
  •   StephenT bid $16,550.00  2022-05-27 13:01:35
  •   Intngbl bid $15,800.00  2022-05-27 12:58:01
  •   StephenT bid $15,550.00  2022-05-27 12:30:07
  •   mlc66 bid $15,300.00  2022-05-27 09:56:32
  •   Intngbl bid $15,000.00  2022-05-27 09:50:26
  •   mlc66 bid $14,400.00  2022-05-27 09:30:59
  •   siestaman bid $14,000.00  2022-05-27 09:28:10
  •   mlc66 bid $13,520.00  2022-05-26 18:34:45
  •   hubrick bid $13,000.00  2022-05-25 14:25:22
  •   Thomas bid $12,000.00  2022-05-25 09:24:01
  •   Werner bid $11,111.00  2022-05-24 12:01:17
  •   mlc66 bid $9,000.00  2022-05-23 21:07:58
  •   GKelley bid $8,500.00  2022-05-22 14:56:15
  •   siestaman bid $8,000.00  2022-05-20 10:02:48
  •   Crawdad bid $4,000.00  2022-05-19 18:21:47
  •   Benbeames bid $3,000.00  2022-05-19 13:38:14
  •   TeamTuck bid $1,000.00  2022-05-19 10:41:19

Comments

  1. bill tebbutt

    Should have wood rimmed steering wheel from factory, I *think*. But a great car nonetheless, quite possible to do a running restoration and have some fun with it! (My own S2 restoration is going on far too long!)

    GLWTA

    BT

    Like 3
    • Joshua Mortensen Staff

      I’ll snap a photo of the original steering wheel and add it to the photo gallery! I found photos of several other Elans with this same steering wheel. Some are wood-rimmed and others are leather wrapped like this one.

      Like 2
      • George

        Great looking car, best of luck with the sale. You’ll be sorry!

        Like 2
    • Racer417

      SEs had a leather rimmed wheel.

  2. DON

    Thoughts of Emma Peel race through my mind whenever one of these pop up ….

    Like 10
    • Steve Clinton

      My first thought…
      “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed.”

      Like 3
  3. Rv winsen

    That’s a triumph spitfire steering wheel.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Maybe or just an aftermarket wheel The original is included.

  4. Howie

    Sweet car, hope it sells.

  5. Russell

    Tempting and not that far from me. Owned a ’64 and ’66. Sold the ’64 6 years ago. As you get older the car seems to get smaller, at least that’s my take on it. In my mind I never got bigger or did I? The steering wheel shown off the car does appear to be the original.

  6. OldCarGuy

    The problem with wood-rim wheels is that, if a failure of some sort sees you transfer weight onto the rim, at 3 and 9 o’clock, the aluminum rim bends, the wood breaks, and you wind up like my chum did: with 200 pieces of wood in forehead and chest, each painfully extracted, one by one, by the medical staff. When this happened, at Mosport in the ’60s, he started phoning from his hospital bed, with the result being wood-rimmed wheels banned from racing events in Canada. His first call, to me, was: When you warned me, I thought you were full of it. Guess where I’m calling from: Scarborough General hospital.

    Like 5
  7. James Hadley

    Is there a top and bows? Is the original air cleaner, cover for spark plug wires, included? From holes looks like there may have once been a hardtop? When you started the car did you draw gas from the gas tank, i.e. are the tank and lines clear?

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      The top and frames you mount around the windows are included. This is an S2 and it was never a hardtop. I will check for the cover and take more photos of the parts included. It was started by removing the tops of the carbs and putting fuel in the bowls. There’s a youtube video right after the photo gallery which shows it running. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Like 1
  8. Stewart Member

    Could you post additional pictures of the underside of the nose and the underside of the front wings, looking to try and rule out accident or jacking damage – thanks

  9. GraySkull

    It was interesting watching your video on getting the car started. If I may, please let me give you a couple pointers on starting a car (especially with a Lotus Twin Cam Engine) that’s been sitting for decades. I like that you took the plugs out and oiled the cylinders. I like that you turned it over by hand before using the starter. I hope you checked the Oil Level prior to starting. I hope you put Fresh Oil in the Car Prior to Starting. I wish (and a big point) that you left the plugs out and cranked the motor until you got oil pressure. IF you did that you would not have needed to remove the tops of the carbs and add gasoline. SO you started a car on that’s been sitting for decades on dry bearings. NOT Good. Also to start these cars, you never need the choke. If there is gas at the carbs, pump the pedal 3 times and crank it will catch. If not pump 2 times and try again. After it starts blip the throttle a few times until it will idle on its own. By the way it didn’t sound like it was running on all 4 cylinders. I’d like to see another video showing the motor running nicely at idle. It would get you a better price. I’ve worked on Twin Cam Lotus motor for 40+ years. This car has potential, but will require a lot of work.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      @GreySkull – Trust me, we did turn it over first to build up oil pressure. The bearings were not dry. It was a process and the video doesn’t show every step we took over the two weeks before we attempted the start. Fuel was put directly in the carb bowls (not the throats) rather than in the tank to avoid picking up any rust that might be in the system. We understand how Webers work but the car has a choke so why not use it? Watch the video to the end. The first attempt was with a little starting fluid and then with fuel. It was firing on all four cylinders and ran great considering the carbs have not been rebuilt yet. This was not our first rodeo.

    • Joshua Mortensen Staff

      Just to clarify, I carefully cleaned out each spark plug hole then removed each plug and put Marvel Mystery oil in each cylinder when the car first arrived. A few weeks after that, I put 0w20 oil in each cylinder and in the valve train to ensure the top end was well lubricated prior to ever attempting to turn it over by hand. Just prior to filming the video, I removed each of the plugs and turned the engine over by hand a few time, then with the starter motor.

      As soon as I have a chance, I will set the camera back up and start the engine so you can get a better look at it idling.

      Like 1
  10. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    I just added a couple of photos to the gallery showing the body and engine numbers to the gallery. The engine number (5597) does match the number plate so that’s a good thing. I will be adding more photos of the top and all the spare parts shortly.

    Like 1
  11. StephenT

    Can you comment on the condition of the chassis?

    • Jesse Mortensen jesse Staff

      Everything that I can see is nice and solid. Please see my comment below for more info.

  12. Jesse Mortensen jesse Staff

    I’m happy to report that all four suspension turrets are nice and solid. I have uploaded photos to the gallery of each corner. The paint has flaked off and there is surface rust but I don’t see any evidence of rot in these vital areas of the frame so that’s a plus for potential buyers. I’m also going to have new tires mounted up today to make shipping easier. The old tires do hold air for a few days but we don’t want it to arrive with flat tires.

  13. mlc66 Member

    Jesse, thanks for the additional chassis pictures, could you comment on what looks like a bunch of bonds on the lower fiberglass just in front of the front suspension?

    • Jesse Mortensen jesse Staff

      It does look like the lower spoiler has been repaired. I’m guessing it’s easy to run that area into parking blocks.

  14. Thomas S

    Can you please advise it the Carb stock air cleaner air box comes with the car? also, in the pic of the open trunk is that a rust hole in the top of the gas tank? looks like a very nice resto project.

    • Jesse Mortensen jesse Staff

      I have not found the stock airbox in the box of spares so just the foam filters for now. There is a small hole in the top of the tank but the next owner will want to replace it with an aluminum one anyway.

  15. zog

    The S/E model came with a leather wheel, not wood like the other S1 and S2 models. So the picture of the original wheel that is off the car is correct.

    The S/E also came with a 3.55 rear gear which makes it more highway speed friendly.

    Sometimes you find a fiberglass vent sending air toward the rear end. Some cars didn’t come with them. Others were knrocked off at rail road crossings and speed bumps. Good price on a nice car. I’ve got enough projects……

    Like 1
  16. Joshua Mortensen Staff

    That was intense! Congrats to StephenT and thanks to everyone who bid/watched the auction!

  17. StephenT

    Now the fun begins.

    • Jesse Mortensen jesse Staff

      Congratulations StephenT, you won it!

  18. Richard Boyd

    There were four bids after the Noon (MDT) closing time. Why? The winning bid is recorded at 13:04 – which is four minutes after the last bid should have been accepted. Something is wrong here.

    • Jesse Mortensen jesse Staff

      Nothing wrong. If a bid is placed in the last few minutes, the auction is extended three minutes. This prevents snipping and is common practice with most online auctions.

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