Some Assembly Required: 1972 Lotus Elan +2S 130

The Lotus Elan is a sports car that seems to embody all the things that Britain wanted in the sixties: freedom, speed, fun, and a break from tradition. When the producers of The Avengers wanted to signify that Emma Peel was an independent, modern woman– and an agent equal to John Steed– they gave her an Elan. It was a car that was embraced by race drivers and rock stars. This one, an Elan +2S 130 from 1972, is located in New Brighton, Pennsylvania, and is advertised here on Craigslist. A mere $8,900 takes this classic fiberglass coupe home, but be forewarned: some assembly is required. Thanks go out to Chuck Foster for the tip!

First produced in 1962, original Elan has been called the perfect roadster, a car unrivaled in its class until the introduction of the Mazda MX5 in 1989. Incremental improvements continued through the model’s run, with a coupe added to the lineup in 1965. By 1969 a slightly lengthened version was pressed into service as the Elan +2, which Lotus advertised as a family-friendly four-seater. In 1971 the engine was upgraded to the Lotus Big Valve, a higher-compression version of the Twin Cam that increased output to 126 horsepower. Cars equipped with the new engine were branded as 130s, which brings us to this example.

This seller states that this Lotus was disassembled for paint 45 years ago and never put back together; I doubt that those sandwich bags are from the seventies, though. Whoever has taken on the unenviable task of sorting the parts has done an amazing job, with everything labeled and in its own place. This is one online advertisement where one can really see if every part is there. The body itself looks to be in good condition, ready for restoration work to resume. In fine British tradition, many of the parts on these cars were sourced from other models, so if the odd piece does turn up missing, it might not be too hard to find a replacement. If all else fails, there is a passionate community built around these cars that a new owner can turn to for advice and assistance.

To many, this might feel like a particularly daunting project, yet perhaps this is all a matter of perspective. The more one looks at the array of parts neatly assembled on the concrete, the more it seems to take on the character of pressed plastic, freshly pulled from a Monogram model kit and ready to be popped from its supporting frame. As long as you follow the directions, all it should take is some careful assembly, some glue here and paint there, and soon you’ll have a running, driving Lotus Elan. Bonus points if it looks like the picture on the box.


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  1. Steveo

    Lotus Hobby Kit

    Like 1
  2. Bultaco

    This would be a good candidate for a discreet modern engine and gearbox swap. It’s a 4-seater and not a roadster, so AC would be nice, and that ain’t gonna fly with the Ford/Lotus twin cam. Honda VTEC power, anyone?

    Like 2
    • Husky

      318 Poly swap🤪

      • Quidditas

        Definitely not.

        Like 3
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Have seen AC installed in both Elans and Europas. Never did one myself but did do a lot of British sports cars and a few VW Beetles.

    Like 1
  4. bill tebbutt

    Really? Won’t fly? You’ve not owned one, clearly. Dead simple to build a 150hp twincam, so no need to swap out anything. It’ll “fly” just fine – not everything has to be bastardized with a modern engine.

    IF the bodywork is in good shape, and the paint has been done well, and the chassis is good, the price is appealing. Its interesting, as the model kit shows extra parts (it ain’t a roller w/o rear a-arms on it, so those in the pics are extras). Having owned 3 Lotus over the years, the price is reflective of the cost of decent body and paint for one of these – you get the rest for free.

    Actually, look slike a good deal the more I think about it!


    Like 9
    • Frank

      Your Correct Bill. I see you know Lotuses. This is a nice vehicle to rebuild and drive. These cars are fine once they are sorted out. Light and nimble just what Colin Chapman was all about lightness for winning.

      Like 1
  5. Bruce

    These will shock many who have not driven one. Modern cars are so much heavier than the LOTUS of this era and they have no idea what true balance of performance is. My S2 Europa would frequently out run far more powerful cars on a twisty piece of road because I did not need to slow down but just drove the the corners. I have driven a couple of these and the same thing applies. If you are taking about a total driving experience these are amazing cars and the price is really good for what you are getting. I also agree with Bill on this one. Never seen one is silver or gun metal gray but it looks good. I believe from the factory they all had a light silver top to them. If anybody knows better please comment.

    Like 1
  6. Howie Mueler

    If this comes with step by step instructions great, if no i would pass.

  7. angliagt angliagt Member

    I met a friend in Portland,Oregon,on the day before the
    British Field Meet.He has a place in Tillamook,about an hour
    away.He asked me “Do you want to drive my Lotus out from-
    Tillamook?”.I thought about it for about 2 seconds,& replied-
    I followed him to his place,wher he showed me the Plus2.
    It had Yokohama 008’s on it,& I had never seen it until then.As
    I was getting ready to leave Tillamook,I thought to myself –
    “This is either the coolest thing I’ve ever done,or the stupidest”.
    Oh,& it was starting to get dark.I couldn’t clearly make out the
    speedometer,but realized later that I was hitting over 100mph
    in it.Luckily,I never encountered any cops along the way.
    These are really cool cars (& great driving too),& have a
    decent sized trunk.I really hated giving it back to him.
    He later told me that he sold to Peter Egan’s good friend,
    Chris Bebee (sp.).

    Like 1
  8. Lowell Peterson

    Sneaky quik and easy to drive fast. So simple to assemble and work on its ridiculous. Fabulous car for a drivin’ owner.

    Like 1

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