Lotus Elan

Gauging Interest in 1970 S4 Elan

PostPost by: sabbot » Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:29 am

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I'm hoping that the forum will allow this post for a soon to be for sale car and while it's not an auction I'm curious to find out if I'm significantly over or under valuing the car given the current condition and sales climate. I've attached details below and would appreciate feedback on a notional sale price of ~$36k.

The 1970 Lotus Elan, is in good condition and outwardly original but has a number of non-original features, primarily to enhance reliability.

The car was originally a 1969 import into Canada and made its way to California via New Jersey. I bought it sight-unseen in 2012 primarily for the BDA engine that was in it but also because the previous owner had invested in a nut and bolt rebuild of it's major mechanical components over a 18 year period that it sat off the road. However, as a very part-time hobby it took me another 6 years for me to finally finish the car and swap the engine back to a 1700cc "tall-block" twincam on dual 40 Weber's built by Quicksilver Race Engines (which dynoed at 145bhp). By the time I got around to registering it in the US I had moved fron NJ to CA, and to cut a long story short it is possible to register a Canadian bill of sale import in California, but it takes a lot of phone calls and emails.

The body sits on a Spyder Engineering chassis, complete with upper rear control links but no rear anti-roll bar. Power gets distributed via a 3.55:1 open diff with a copy of TTR's diff brace then into Spyder single CV / single rotoflex combo drive shafts and on toward freshly repainted (to match the bumpers) and clear coated 4 ½ J steel rims with new Dunlop Street Response 155x80R13 tires The front anti-roll bar is a 3/4 inch unit and all of the running gear has been refurbished. It also has a full Spyder roll bar, side and foot well intrusion bars, integral head rests and new inertia real belts attached to the Spyder roll bar.

Fuel delivery is via a solid steel line from a reproduction, but internally baffled, alloy tank and pumped via a 2psi Facet pump in the trunk which is switched via an Autolec on the dash. Cold air is supplied via a nose-mounted K&N filter and trunking to the Webers and exhaust is via a mild steel 4 into 2 into 1 manifold (from RD Enterprises) and out via stainless steel center pipe and sprint twin outlet exhaust. The manifold down pipe is asbestos wrapped under the clutch slave cylinder and an aluminum heat shield is fitted over the single rear silencer.

The interior was treated with 1.5 gallons of sound-deadening paint and acoustic pads but I removed the felt from under the carpet. The carpet is new but a few of the panel seams are a little more obvious than I would like when you look carefully. The door cards have been recovered with original material inserts and vinyl (the passenger side has a slight wrinkle where it didn't stretch perfectly).

The ignition is driven via an Aldon Ignitor magnetic pick-up and the internals of the rev counter have been rebuilt using the internals from a new modern replacement, it works well but reads 400rpm high across its range.

I'm a little paranoid about the potential for electrical fires in my Lotuses so the original fuse box was replaced with a five fuse modern blade fuse unit and each of the major current circuits (high and dim beam lights, horn, electric rad fan and compact air horn) is independently switched via a fused relays. Vacuum pods are not new but in good condition although I removed the microswitches from the circuit when installing the modern fused relays.

Under the bonnet I swapped the single circuit brakes for a dual circuit (courtesy of a new Caterham master cylinder) without servo assistance, and stainless steel braided hoses and brake disks have less than 5000 miles on them.

Cooling is via a 3 row aluminum Griffin rad, with a 12" electric pusher fan which is fed via a Caterham thermostat housing that provides a high-point for filling and somewhere to plumb one of two independent thermostatic fan switches (massive overkill but I really didn't want it to overheat)

Internally it sports an aftermarket fiberglass dash-pad and refurbished plywood dash (aesthetically pleasing and functional but not as nice as a walnut burr dash) and all the gauges and electrics work as they are supposed to (yes - complete somewhat slow to rise side window). The hood was new 8 years ago and although it has only ever been fitted twice it has the windows have a few scuffs from lurking around in the garage before I fitted it via the permanent Tenax fasteners in the middle to allow it to stay attached but fold up under the hood cover.
The bodywork is in good / very good condition with only a couple of stress cracks around the trunk handle (I found out the hard way that replacement seals are stiffer than originals). The trim pieces under the door are actually stick on ¾” plastic rather than chrome, because a) the originals were on back-order from Paul Matty for ages and b) unless I point them out most people wouldn’t notice. After a lot of fettling the doors have typical S4 gap issues i.e. they protrude by about ½ at the back but to be honest a lot of that is because of the stiffer replacement door seals that I fitted. I never did get around to painting the hood frame so it has a couple of patches where the paint has come off.

I’ve included a bunch of photos and would appreciate if I’m way off on the potential value.

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PostPost by: steve lyle » Tue Jun 23, 2020 5:19 am

IMHO, if you list at $36k, it will sell quickly.

It sounds like a #2 Hagerty, which they value at $34.5k.

If it were mine, I wouldn't let it go for less than $40k, but then, I'm not a willing seller.

Good luck to you.
Steve Lyle
1972 Elan Sprint 0248k @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-Lot ... 48K.30245/
1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
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PostPost by: pharriso » Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:36 am

You're in the right ballpark.

Your hood (bonnet) is an early one (S1?) with the diagonal ribs...
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PostPost by: sabbot » Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:12 am

Thanks for comments and suggestions and yes the hood / bonnet is from an earlier car, the “original” was modified to clear the BDA. I still have it if anybody needs a bonnet with a bump.
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