Lotus Elan

Graham Arnold’s Elan +2 NAH 120F

PostPost by: daverubberduck » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:38 pm

Elan +2 reg NAH 120F. Originally this plate was on a baby Elan and featured in the Dr Hammerton Lotus ads. Then it was transferred to Graham Arnold’s personal +2 and converted to take a Borg Warner 35 automatic gearbox and Super Weber S/E high torque engine fitted by Expert Engineering of Ware. This black and gold car was later lost and only recently re-discovered, completely original. Arnold wrote that it was the only factory automatic conversion and fitted out to test the concept of an auto Plus 2. We also believe that it was the first car to be painted in black and gold JPS colours. Now nearing completion of a full restoration with the original automatic gearbox, the car is located in Mersea, North Essex.

There are a lot of magazines and documents that go with this car. It has been mentioned in the Club Lotus magazine in an article about special Elans, Motorsport magazine (May 1969) featuring a 2000 mile road test, and in Miles Wilkins book on the twin cam engine (page 35). According to Miles Wilkins: “… the late John Bolster, of Autosport, wondered why his 1971 production Sprint never went as fast as the press +2 car (NAH 120F with a 3.9 diff) which weighed considerably more.”

Please PM me if you would like more details of this car.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:52 pm

Thanks for this update Dave.

The car also featured in an article in Car magazine of June 1970, when it was actually fitted with the BW autobox, unlike the Jenks write up for Motor Sport in May 1969. I have attached a copy below.

Incidentally, and I am rather loathe to point this out looking at the photos of your car's good-looking re-paint, Jenks mentions that the car is black and silver: 'Also, it was black in colour with a silver section to the rear of the doors as a styling experiment. Lotus thought the black and silver layout was a failure, but I received many favourable comments about it in Italy.'

The JPS cigarette brand was introduced in 1972 with the iconic black and gold livery, the same season Team Lotus sported that colour scheme. The first Plus 2S 130 development car painted in black and gold was 73051398L, produced in May 1973. I am afraid that it is highly unlikely NAH 120F was black and gold whilst still with Lotus Sales. Arnold wrote that the hi-torque engine by Expert Engineering of Ware produced 130 bhp. I think from memory he also wrote that it was black and silver and badly vandalised in 1971.

Either way, you definitely have a very interesting and historic car there and I hope it's not too soon before it's on the road and you're able to enjoy it. Thank you for rescuing it.

Tim
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PostPost by: daverubberduck » Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:53 am

Hi Tim
Many thanks for the additional info. You are right about the engine being 130bhp.

Regarding the paintwork, here is the story: the car was found in an outbuilding and was coloured red. When the red paint was removed it was found to be black underneath with gold panels behind the doors as in the photos. This pattern is exactly the same as in the (black and white) pics in the road test article in Motorsport magazine. Strangely the article says the panels were silver, but there was no hint of silver paint anywhere on the body (and it is definitely the original body). So that's a bit of a mystery.

The car belongs to a friend of mine and it is his intention to sell it as soon as it is complete. If anybody is interested then I can send you his contact details. I have no information on price.
Dave
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PostPost by: gus » Sat Aug 08, 2020 1:39 pm

Would love to get pictures of the Borg Warner install before this goes off into someones collection
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PostPost by: daverubberduck » Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:52 pm

OK, will try and get some pics and post them
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PostPost by: daverubberduck » Tue Aug 11, 2020 1:19 pm

Some pics of the Borg Warner install as promised.
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PostPost by: gus » Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:20 pm

Very cool

Thanks so much for the pics

Slightly intrusive, but as when I installed the slightly wider heater unit in my plus two, until you get where tunnel is narrower than where your feet are, it doesn't bother you
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PostPost by: daverubberduck » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:17 am

No problem. The chassis is the original chassis which was in excellent condition so just needed cleaning up. Note that there is also an oil cooler for the transmission which is located in the nose. I forgot to photograph that.
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