Ultra Rare Barn Find: 1973 Lotus Elan +2S 130/5

This is a 1973 Lotus Elan +2S 130/5, proudly wearing the original black and metal flake gold that marks it as a John Player Special. At 10:06 on the morning of the 5th of September, 2001, as it rested among the townhouses on Spencer Road in southwest London– just around the corner from the Roundhouse and Wandsworth Common– a parking ticket was placed on its windscreen. Shortly after, it was rolled into storage, ticketed still, and has only now emerged after twenty long years as a fugitive from justice. Advertised here on the website of H and H Auctioneers, it will be offered at auction on the 26th of May at the Imperial War Museum Duxford.

If the original Lotus Elan was, arguably, the most perfect roadster ever built, then the Elan +2 was what Colin Chapman thought a family car should look like. Lotus maintained that it was designed to comfortably accommodate a family of four, with luggage. In reality, it might be more of a choice between two small children in the back seat or sufficient luggage for two adults with the seat folded down. No matter: although it might have been marketed as a family car, there was no disguising the fact that it was really made for the grown-up behind the wheel.

This particular example might be thought of as the ultimate evolution of the Elan. The 130/5 has a five-speed transmission and the Big Valve engine, producing 126 brake horsepower. With the whole car weighing in at under a ton, it was quick, with a reported 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 120 mph. The black and gold paint, though damaged by time, was a tribute to the Lotus racing team’s successes: “John Player Special” is a tobacco brand and the name of the team’s principal sponsor. The car is presumed complete and comes with “sundry paperwork.” No word on whether the engine turns or the condition of the electronics, but it’s likely that the new owner will have some work ahead before this coupe is ready to hit the road.

It’s estimated that there are fewer than 1,200 Elan +2 coupes left, and there can’t be many of those that are John Player Specials. So what we have here is an extremely rare specimen of a beautiful sports car from a legendary marque. The high bidder will likely have to have some relatively deep pockets, and that’s before you consider the 12.5% buyer’s premium and the 20% VAT. He might want to budget just a little extra, though: somebody has to deal with that ticket.

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Having trouble finding the “beautiful” in this car. That’s some heavy duty rust on some of the parts in the engine compartment. Without pictures it’s hard to imagine that the steel frame under all that fiberglass doesn’t have some problems of it’s own. Like folks on this site keep asking “why not just clean it up” if it’s going out for sale?

    Like 6
  2. alphasud Member

    Beautiful car! Bob look on the bright side. All that rust is doing what Colin Chapman envisioned. It’s adding lightness.

    Like 11
    • doone

      Rust actually increases the weight of an object.

      Like 2
      • alphasud Member

        Not after you remove the oxidation.

        Like 5
    • Pat

      But the mold probably adds a few lbs.

      Like 4
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Hadn’t looked at it that way. Don’t know if new frames are available for the long wheel base cars. They were available for our Europas but we didn’t need one. Agree, good looking machines.

    Like 2
  4. Dave

    This is a first rate car when you know what your looking at. A labour of love too!

    Like 3
  5. Derek

    Oooo, it’s got a Twink too…

  6. Raymond

    Lotus and their cars only a midget could fit into always made a big deal of these John Player Specials….the top of the fiberglass iceburgh…my question has always been, who the hell is John Player and what makes him so special?…any human of normal size cannot fit in to anything lotus ever built…not a sports car one, just clown cars with terrible wiring…good luck giving it away…

    Like 1
    • Jwaltb

      Better watch out for those iceburghs…

      Like 1
    • billtebbutt

      Raymond,

      I am six feet tall, 190lbs. Fit very well into all 3 Lotus I have owned. So, no, you are incorrect about that.

      And the owner of this won’t have to give it away either. it will bring a pretty penny – they are sought after cars

      bt

  7. bobhess bobhess Member

    John Player was a British cigarette brand that sponsored racing from Formula 1 down in the ’60s and ’70s. Lotus was running Formula 1 in those days and put out a couple different Lotus John Player Specials.

    Like 4
  8. bill tebbutt

    While I own an S2 Elan, and previously owned an S2 Europa and an Elise, I have never snuck up on a +2. However, having hung round the marque for 40 years, this is the first I have ever heard of a JPS +2. Could be wrong, but I believe the only Lotus of the era that wore JPS livery from the factory was the JPS Europa.

    cheers,
    BT

  9. Greg Millard Member

    I agree with bt – never heard of a +2 JPS,
    Greg

  10. Harveywalks

    Had a 72 plus 2. Great car. Burned rear wheel bearing every 10 miles. Cried when had to sell it. $ problems. Harvey Mendelson

  11. Steve Clinton

    Just proves that even Lotus could build an ugly car.

    • Jwaltb

      Everyone is entitled to my own opinion!

      Like 1
  12. Howie Mueler

    I am the same as Bill never heard of a JPS Elan +2S, but i did Google it and yes they did make these. Yes this is in rough shape to be dependable, and RHD.

    Like 2
  13. DavidL Member

    Only if it includes the original parking ticket. If it does I’m in. Maybe.

  14. RobertV

    So much uninformed comment! Here are the facts, based on ownership. There’s plenty of room in them . Yes a new chassis is available and will likely be needed in this case. The headlights in up position point to rust in the plenum that holds a vacuum to keep them down. Oh and it’s one of the most beautifully designed cars ever made. Facts!

    Like 1
  15. bobhess bobhess Member

    RobertV… Glad to hear the longer frames are available. It’s a lot easier fix than most folks realize just because of the way the cars are built. And yes, it does qualify for the ” bring a chair and a beer and just sit and look at it” sequence.

    Like 1
  16. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    These are awesome looking cars, uninformed opinions is putting it so diplomatically. There was just a local non running no title 1971 Elan 2 +2 ‘parts car’ on FB Mktplce a month ago for $1500, I had just bought a Karmann Ghia and had to resist, I’m battling autoholism..

    Like 1
  17. Michael B Member

    I owned a JPS Elan 2+2 in the ’70’s . It was totally wrecked with 3000 miles on the clock , by the garage that sold it new . I bought the remains from them , and replaced the body and chassis with parts directly from the Lotus factory . The gold flake roof looked fabulous , and the whole car was stunning . I cannot remember the money , but it was a pretty exciting and affordable rebuild for an amateur to take on . I wish I had the same energy today as I did then .

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