1971 Lotus Elan Sprint

Trade Classics > Auctions > Lotus > 1971 Lotus Elan Sprint
Auction ID
Reserve Not Met
Posted on
17th of June 2018 at 6:00 AM
Highest Bidder


    Elan Sprint
    Reg. Date
    73,613 miles
    Interior Colour
    Chassis #
    Engine #
    Matching #s
    Yes - Seller Confirmed
    Yes - Exp. March 2019
    MOT Exempt
    Road Tax Exempt
    HPi Clear
    In Progress
    Former Keepers
    1 in UK
    Tyre Tread
    Tyre Brand
    Tyre Age
    LHD or RHD
    Vehicle Visited
    Sale Type
    2 Years
    Key Feature
    Drivers' Car
    3763 times


Update 29th September 2018 – This car has now sold to Steve for £35,000 including buyer’s premium.

Please read the How it Works page for more information and our Terms and Conditions of sale.


Recent Buyer Review – Eamonn McParland on 11th May “From my first general enquiry through to the purchase of my very own MGA, Adam and the team at Trade Classics were quite simply, awesome.  I fully recommend Trade Classics without hesitation nor reservation to everyone who is seeking a classic car.  A brilliant business model, supported by a really neat and usable website though ultimately managed by a great group of professional, sincere and trustworthy people”. Click here to see this and all reviews on Trustpilot.



The Lotus Elan was the first Lotus road car to use a steel backbone chassis with a fibreglass body. This style of construction was to be repeated in numerous later Lotus models for nearly three decades. At approximately 680 kg, the Elan embodied the Colin Chapman minimum weight design philosophy. The Elan was technologically advanced with a DOHC 1,558 cc engine, four-wheel disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, and 4-wheel independent suspension. Gordon Murray, designer of the McLaren F1 supercar, reportedly said that his only disappointment with the McLaren F1 was that he could not give it the perfect steering of the Lotus Elan.

The original Elan 1500 was introduced in 1962 as a roadster. After a very short production run of just 22 cars the engine was enlarged and the car was redesignated the Elan 1600. The Elan 1600 of 1963 was replaced by the Elan S2 in 1964. An optional hardtop was also offered. The S2 gave way to the S3 in 1965, which provided a fixed-head coupe (FHC) alongside the drop head coupe (DHC). The S4 followed in 1968 and the Elan Sprint (our car on sale) was introduced in 1970, both available in DHC and FHC form. Production of the Sprint ceased in 1973 after making between 900 and 1,353. The number is uncertain due to Lotus’ somewhat erratic record keeping at the time meant that vehicle serial numbers were not entirely sequential or consistent.

Take a look at the review video made by evo magazine’s Editorial Director and Founder, Harry Metcalfe – Harry is a true petrolhead, loves the Sprint and shows us just how good it is.



This drivers’ example of an Elan Sprint is owned by Mark. Mark has owned this car for just over two years and has built a beautiful car collection of over fifteen cars with the help of his brother-in-law; Rob Carrigan. Mark loves the thrill of buying the best examples he can, once added to his collection he then enjoys driving them when he’s in the country. Mark really does only buy the best-of-the-best examples, and we are very fortunate to be handling the sale of his collection.

So why is Mark now selling his collection? Well, Mark is based overseas and these days he doesn’t get the opportunity to drive his collection as much as he’d like, as more recently his business opportunities are keeping him abroad, so the time has come to pass the cars to new custodians.

Rob looks after the collection for Mark and no expense has been spared in the maintenance of the vehicles. Rob makes sure that whatever the cars need are actioned straight away using specialist garages and original parts. Even the finest indoor covers have been purposely made for each individual car at a cost of over £300 each, and are included in the sale. Every car is securely stored in a new and dry professional unit, as can be seen in our media footage.

Please take a look at the video to meet Rob and drop him a note in the comments below if you have any questions.



This is a genuine and honest Sprint that shows its history in the patina it’s picked up along the way. When I say ‘patina’ that’s exactly what I mean – it’s wear that you can’t replicate and totally suits this car. This is a driving machine, not a garage queen.

Wheels & Tyres
Original factory ‘knock off’ steel wheels are fitted that are in good condition with just some marks to the paint, as shown in the media pack. Michelin radial tyres are fitted and stamped 2014 with good level of tread.

Being fibreglass there is of course no rust, instead it’s stress cracks that needs to be identified. The good news is there are no significant stress marks visible on the outer panels of the car. There are a few chips on the leading edges on some of the panels, i.e. engine lid, doors and sills. The panel gaps are as expected with a nearly 50 year old fibreglass car.

It’s uncertain if the car has been repainted during its life. It could well be original paint, as we didn’t notice any telltale signs of spray, and there are no invoices for any spray work that we can see in the history file. You’ll see slight swirl marks in the paint in the images and videos, so the car would benefit from a light machine polish to remove these marks.

Glass and Trim
The glass is in excellent condition and no stone chips were found on the front screen. The chrome is also in good condition and reflects the age of the car, i.e. there is some evidence of light pitting on various bits of chrome, e.g. the filler cap.



Lotus really did a great job on this car, and that’s why it’s so well regarded and listed in many publications as one of the all time great cars. Of course part of the attraction is the way it makes you feel when you sit in it. Ergonomically this is spot on and you instantly know you’re sitting in a ‘proper’ sports car.

Seats and Carpets
The black vinyl seats are in good condition – there is very little wear on the driver’s seat squab and bolster. The black carpets are also in good condition.

The dashboard and gauges are all good condition and look original to the car. There is a period correct Radiomobile fitted and may be original to the car, but we are not 100% sure.

Steering Wheel / Gear Stick
The car has its original steering wheel and gear stick and both are in good condition. The steering wheel is signed Colin Chapman.



We took the car out on our regular ‘on the road’ run and it performed without a problem, along with starting on the button. Please review the video footage to see the cold start and how the car performed on a run with Kulraj interviewing Rob during the drive.

Engine and Gearbox
There are no issues with the engine or gearbox. The engine, gearbox and clutch all perform perfectly during our short on the road test.

Suspension and Brakes
The car has no knocks or rattles coming from the suspension. As mentioned, the car has always had the best care in the last two years of Mark’s ownership, and you’ll see receipts for all work carried out.

The Drive
The drive was without fault.

Electrics and Other
We checked all the main electrics and they performed without fault – you can see the electric windows working in the videos. A battery conditioner is fitted when the vehicle is not in use to maintain the levels of the battery.



This car comes with a massive history file (nearly 200 images in the media pack). It was initially sold to a UK person that worked in South Africa and was sent there after manufacture. The owner enjoyed the car until 1999 before being exported to Holland and then in recent years back in the UK. This actual example was featured in the ‘Car of the Century’ book (see images) wearing its Dutch plates at the time (they come with the car).

Please review the picture file to see the invoices and previous MOT’s that come with the car.

The car is showing just over 73,613 as of 13.06.2018.

HPi Check Results
– This car is reported HPi clear by the owner and will be supported by our own HPi check.

Mileage Records – MOT
– 21-10-2014 – 72,752 miles
– 05-02-2015 – 72,872 miles
– 19-03-2016 – 72,963 miles
– 16-03-2017 – 73,547 miles
– 17-03-2018 – 73,607 miles



I love this little Sprint, it really is a ‘proper’ British sports car and makes you a bit sad that we don’t make cars as simple as these anymore.

I also think the condition really matches its heritage. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with this car that you would ever want to fix. There are no bad panels, no paint colour mismatches across panels, no torn seats, no bad chrome work, no cracked windows. Instead these areas of the car are simply touched by both time passing and use, and cannot be replicated – patina in the truest sense of the word.

Personally I think it would be a crime to turn this into a show car – it’s a car that’s ready and eager to be driven, just like it was way back in 1971.

Mark has set a very realistic and low reserve, as he is keen to find a new enthusiast that will drive and enjoy the car, just as much as he has.



This auction listing was written by Adam from information gained from Rob, the custodian of the collection, and having visited and photographed the vehicle.

If you have any specific questions about the vehicle then please use the comments section below. Rob will receive a notification and will reply as soon as he can.

UsernameBid AmountDate MadeWinner
jsalinge£19,000.0005-Jul-2018 20:28:27 
elanplustwo£18,000.0005-Jul-2018 19:58:57 
tradeclassics1963£17,750.0005-Jul-2018 18:32:26 
jsalinge£15,000.0003-Jul-2018 11:53:19 


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still for sale? Is it in Leicester and possible to view?


Hi I’m interested in the lotus what was the reserve price

Kulraj Salh

Hi Ian, please give us a call to discuss when you get a chance.


Hi, Adam…did the car sell at the auction?

Kulraj Salh

Hi, the car did not meet its reserve and so now is available for a negotiated sale post auction. Please feel free to give us a call on 01926 426 635 to discuss further.

Maralyn Robinson
Maralyn Robinson

Hi Adam. This was my husband’s car! He exported it to South Africa in 1971 and sold it in the early 1990s to Holland. She was a much loved member of our family and was certainly never in an accident. So happy to see these lovely photos of her – she is just as I remember her.