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1972 Lotus Elan Sprint FHC

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Sold Price


  • Mileage~76,662
  • TransmissionManual
  • Engine1.6L
  • LocationBracknell


1972 Lotus Elan Sprint FHC

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Darren Rungasamy
Automotive Editor, Photographer and Consigner

One of Lotus' all time greats, the Elan Sprint is a race bred concept for ordinary street use.

With the groundwork of the Super Seven under Colin Chapman’s belt, his next vision was to produce a more usable sports car without sacrificing its lightweight character and agility. The results were astonishing, picking out the best bits from Chapman’s race car playbook, he managed to produce one of the quickest and sweetest handling road cars of the era. Announced in 1962, The GRP body mounted on a steel backbone chassis, was paired up with a Lotus-Ford twin-cam race engine and along with its compact elegant styling and modest production costs, set the Elan as one of Lotus' all time greats.

The Elan evolved over its 11-year run, with the fixed head coupe option adding an element of refinement in 1966 but it wasn’t until 1971 with the arrival of the big-valve engined "Sprint" that its fastest incarnation was created. Quicker from 0 to 60MPH than both the Jaguar E-Type and Lamborghini Miura, the Elan Sprint became one of the most sought-after cars of Colin Chapman's legacy.

This UK-specification Twin-Cam 1.6-litre with twin Dell'Orto's was exported early in its life to South Africa, where it remained for 30 years. Imported back into the UK by the current owner in 2002, this 1972 yellow and white example has been exceptionally well maintained, with several useful mechanical upgrades. Used as an occasional car, it spend most of its time stored in the owner's dehumidified heated garage. It is MOT and road tax exempt, comes with two keys and recent invoices as well as a letter of authenticity from Lotus cars, South African export paperwork and its original UK log book.

This listing was written from information supplied by Darren after meeting Brian the owner, and having visited and photographed the vehicle.

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Secure Auctions

We verify all our sellers and buyers to keep our community safe whilst also providing the highest levels of website security.

Full Transparency

8 out of 10 people that buy cars via our service don’t feel the need to visit due to the transparency and thoroughness of our listings.

Vehicle Delivery

We're there every step of your buying journey and will even arrange pick-up and delivery of your new vehicle.

Meet the owner

After my Super Seven I was bitten by the Lotus bug and I had to have this Elan Sprint.

Brian has a long relationship with 1960s Lotus cars, having been captivated by TV shows The Prisoner and The Avengers. When he emigrated to South Africa in 1971, one of his first purchase was a Super Seven, followed by several other Lotus until he found a sweet spot with this 1972 Elan Sprint.

He imported the car on his return to the UK in 2002 and continued to use the car for shows and driving excursions. He has added several mechanical improvements on the way but has not had much to do much in terms of its visual presentation thanks to its solid structure and decent bodywork, the car still sitting on its original chassis. Having added around ~9,000 miles over the last 22 years, it has seen increasingly less use in recent years and he plans to use the space in his garage to pursue another hobby. Brian will be happy to answer any questions on the car in the comments section below.

Vehicle Owner

Brian saved £5,400* when they
sold their Lotus with us.


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Its life in a warm dry climate support that decent chassis and solid body.

Wheels and Tyres

The 13” black steel rims have light surface chips, most noticeably the nearside rear wheel, but a repaint would easily remedy this minor cosmetic flaw. They’re all finished off by decent chrome rims and knock off spinners.

The front of the car is fitted with Continental tyres dating from 2021, while the rear are a part of Pirellis which are over 15 years old, however all have plenty of even tread by the looks of it. The spare is a Pirelli.


The body tub appears to be free from significant damage by sight and it sits level. The wheel wells, floor pan, boot floor and engine bay are in decent shape. The front cross member and what is believed to be its original chassis appear to be solid, with no issues noted on the suspension mounts or turrets.

Both the lower sections of the passenger doors are slightly proud, typical for a lotus of this era, but they both open and close freely with no obstruction. The boot and bonnet also have acceptable panel gaps and open without issues.

We've highlighted in more detail our observations through our high-resolution images and videos, so please take time to look through all the media files for a detailed view of what’s on offer, and for you to assess the condition of the car for yourselves.


The paint hue is evenly finished with a good match, it has a decent gloss catching some age-related swirling. There are mild paint cracks on the nose, with a few chips spotted on the edges of the bonnet and a mild run on the rear glass aperture. There are also a handful of age-related marks elsewhere.

The images are taken from a few different angles to show off the car as you would see it if you were standing there for yourselves. So please take the time to fully assess these high-resolution images and videos of the car, for you to make up your own minds about the condition of the paint.

Glass and Trim

The glass, lights and lenses are all in decent shape, with no significant marks other than a scratch to the passenger side window. The windscreen is believed to be the original tinted item and still retains the factory-fitted "running in" sticker. The rear screen has an operational factory fitted heating element.

All of the seals are good, with only the boot rubber needing a replacement. The chrome trim is all correct for the car and has lasted well. The car has headlamps chrome trim, which will be supplied with the car. The bumpers are well-mounted but do show a few scuffs and chips.


The immaculate cabin demonstrates the Elan's finesse and sporting background.

Seats and Carpets

The seats are in excellent condition finished in black vinyl, and are fitted with inertia reel belts.

The carpets too are in good order, with no real signs of age and all bone dry.


The dashboard and centre console are in excellent shape, with no signs of age. The facia is very neatly presented, with minor fractures spotted on the veneer finish.

The switches and dials are in positive condition, all were proven to work, including the electric windows. The car has been fitted with an aftermarket Alpine FM/Tape player which was also demonstrated to work.

The headlining is in excellent condition, having been replaced in 2012. The door cards are well-mounted and free of damage.

Steering Wheel / Gear Stick

The leather trimmed steering wheel is in excellent shape having been professionally recovered in 1999, and wears the "Colin Chapman" signature. The wooden gear knob is also very smart finishing off a very neatly presented cabin.


A firecracker behind the wheel, there's plenty of modern improvements to maintain its reliability.

Engine and Gearbox

The cold start didn’t pose any issues, the twin cam engine firing up after the electric fuel pump kicked in. The engine took a minute or so to find its rhythm and once it did, the engine idled smoothly with no undulations or hiccups. There were no signs of exhaust smoke at any point. It was a warm day and the engine had no issues starting up while hot. There were no fluid leaks noted.

The cleanly presented ‘Big Valve’ 1.6-litre engine is the original factory fitted block and has been regularly maintained over the years, with piston rings and bearings replaced around 10 years ago, with the added precaution of retro-fitted valve seats. The water pump has been overhauled, there's a replacement alloy fuel tank and Brian has also fitted a stainless steel exhaust and silencer.

The gearbox operates smoothly, with slick shifts and a fully operational reverse gear. The gearbox bearings have also been replaced and has an uprated 3.5 ratio differential. Brian is happy with the performance of the clutch.

Suspension and Brakes

The car rides smoothly, with no unwanted thuds or knocks. The suspension components are notably in a good visual state.

The car brakes evenly with no negative feedback, and the wheel remained straight as the braking was applied. No vibrations of squeals were heard. The master and slave cylinder were refurbished in 2022.

The Drive

The Elan has forged a reputation as one of the finest driving sports cars ever to be produced, which was ably demonstrated by Brian's command of the car. It handles neatly and tucks into corners with poise and agility. The engine pulls very well, with no misfires or rattles or hesitancy.

The steering was sharp and direct and with no play. We didn’t hear any mechanical clunks or rattles from the wheels.

For piece of mind Brian has kept ahead of any possible engine woes, including a head conversion, custom radiator with upgraded fan and expansion tank, a renewed fuel tank and electric ignition. Happy with the dependability of the car, he confidently told us that there were no issues with the oil pressure or engine temperature.

Electrics and Other

The vacuum-operated headlamp lifts operate with no faults, as the headlamp flasher function system was also demonstrated to work perfectly.

There are a handful of useful additions fitted to the car, including an electric aerial, air horns, a manually operating engine cooling fan, a manually operated electric fuel pump, an alternator conversion and Lumenition electronic ignition.

History and Paperwork

Coming to market from ~22 years ownership, this UK genuine Elan Sprint has been regularly maintained with useful mechanical upgrades and a near-prefect MOT certificates record.

First registered in late 1972, it was ordered for the UK market but soon exported by its first owner to South Africa. Documented by Lotus Cars, there is some provenance of its stay in South Africa, most notably its registration and export papers, the core of the maintenance is demonstrated by the last 20 years of invoices.

This included the stainless steel exhaust in 2010, followed by the aluminium fuel tank in 2011. Engine work covers new piston rings in 2012, exhaust valves and guides in 2014, valve seats and seals in 2015. The most recent work is for the refurbishment of the master and slave cylinder units in 2022. There are no specific invoices for servicing but he has told us that the oil, filter and brake fluid have been periodically changed - the positive condition of the engine suggests a regular routine.

The car also comes with an impressive array of MOT certificates back to 2002, all but one are clean with no advisories. It is MOT and Road Tax exempt and comes with two keys, tool kit and its owner handbook. In addition, it has retained its original UK issue log book and old-style V5's.

We’ve done all our usual seller checks including photo ID, V5 and also actioned an HPI check on the vehicle.

We've summarised our own view on the car based on information gained from the seller in the listing above, however, as you can see, we go to great lengths to photograph and video the car in hi-resolution detail - this has been done for you to make your own assessment from the comfort of your sofa. So please sit back, have a cuppa and take your time to review everything on this listing in order to make your own assessment of the vehicle's condition. Viewings are also welcomed with all our listings, so please get in touch with us to arrange a suitable time - we just need to speak to you first and receive a valid photo ID before confirming.

If there's anything you're unsure about, no matter how small, then please first ask the owner in the comments area below before placing your bids, as bids can't be retracted and form a binding contract if you win the car - just like a traditional auction house.

Brian will be happy to answer any questions about the car in the comments section below.

Service History
Date Type Mileage
19-04-2017 MOT 75,246
12-04-2016 MOT 75,001
13-04-2015 MOT 74,383
10-04-2014 MOT 74,235
15-04-2013 MOT 73,838
11-04-2012 MOT 73,397
20-04-2011 MOT 73,138
10-05-2010 MOT 72,885
09-06-2008 MOT 72,755
05-06-2007 MOT 72,034
19-06-2006 MOT 71,663
14-06-2005 MOT 71,023
16-06-2004 MOT 70,066
16-06-2003 MOT 68,754
21-06-2002 MOT 67,594
Key Details
  • ModelElan Sprint FHC
  • Transmission4-Speed Manual
  • Reg. Date31-07-2002
  • CC1,560
  • Mileage76,662
  • HistoryLast 20 years
  • ColourYellow/White
  • Interior ColourBlack
  • Interior TrimVinyl
  • Chassis #72100567E
  • Engine #N/27983
  • MOT19-04-2017
  • MOT ExemptYes
  • Road Tax ExemptYes
  • HPi ClearYes - All clear
  • Former Keepers0
  • Tyre BrandContinental/Pirelli
  • Tyre Age2021/2011
  • # of Keys2
  • VisitedYes
  • Sale TypePrivate
  • Owned~22 Years
  • Key FeatureOriginal chassis
  • Auction ID1956