Lotus Elan

The Sprint Prototypes

PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:06 am

I promised over on the 'Let the Pictures do the Talking' thread, to post about the first four prototype Sprints, two of which featured on the 1970 Lotus London Motor Show stand.

[attachment=1]First Sprint Flyer.jpg[/attachment]

Four of these prototypes were produced in July or August 1970; these were a LHD fixed head and LHD drop head, as well as a RHD drop head and RHD fixed head. These cars were all matt black over yellow, with the black line much higher on the flanks than the eventual Elan Sprint gold stripe livery.

Who thought of the Sprint name is not known. Probably Graham Arnold as he was still Marketing Director at that time.

Publicity shots of the left hand drive DHC, show Jochen Rindt at Brands Hatch posing with it before his death at Monza on 5 September 1970. However, these were S4 cars with the paint job and Sprint on the registration plates; underneath mechanically they were pure S4. The resulting publicity sheet confirms this and includes some blurb attributed to Colin Chapman, concerning the design concept of the paint job.

[attachment=0]Second Sprint Flyer.jpg[/attachment]

The Sprint was announced at the Earls Court Motor Show on 14th October 1970 and the right hand drive DHC and FHC concept cars were on the stand. However, a revised publicity sheet had the Big Valve engine specifications added to it. Lotus World carried the press announcement, which indicated that the Sprint would be sold with three final drive options, thus justifying the Sprint name. It also mentioned the Big Valve engine, of 135bhp, as well as the two tone paint finish.

It is believed that these four cars were all converted to Sprint specification, including the paintwork and then sold to customers through the dealer network. I have heard from someone claiming to have an original in its yellow and matt black livery, but have been unable to confirm that at this time.

One of them became a press car and was used in several tests, registered as BAH 550J. It is still around, though not on the road. I suspect another became AVF 444J, which is still around and was a road test car.

Tim
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second-sprint-flyer.jpg and
The second flyer, used at the Motor Show, with Sprint details
first-sprint-flyer.jpg and
The first flyer, showing the tarted up S4
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PostPost by: Rob P » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:40 am

Thanks for sharing Tim, interesting info.
I do like that paint work on the flyer,
Simplify and add lightness

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PostPost by: Mazzini » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:39 pm

Thank you Tim.

Not so sure about the paint scheme, that said it's taken me the best part of forty years to warm to Gold Leaf.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:17 pm

Reminds me of the scheme used on the 737 prototype.
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PostPost by: prezoom » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:26 pm

My first thought on seeing the picture of the 737 was killer whale. Appropriate for a Boeing product.
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PostPost by: JimE » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:03 pm

Tim - Here is some info Graham Arnold put out at the time just in case you haven't seen this. Jim
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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:07 pm

Thanks Jim, I haven't seen that newsletter before.

Another shot of the prototypes at Hethel, below.

Tim
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:11 am

What happened to "Pub Lotus" I have never heard about it before

cheers
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PostPost by: trw99 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:28 am

It ran for a few years. More here: lotus-elan-f19/pub-lotus-t19006.html

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