Lotus Elan

The Utterly Smooth & Charming David Niven

PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Jan 03, 2024 11:02 am

David Niven, a marvelous English gentleman and actor, owned a +2. Or at least he certainly used one in a film. Lotus called it 'his'.

Niven also wrote a couple of extremely humourous autobiographies, one of which was required reading when I was an officer cadet at RMA Sandhurst!

Here he is with 'his' car, as reported in Lotus News at the time. The car was silver, rather like Graham Hill's I suppose. It is currently listed by DVLA as being SORN'd, having been first registered on 15 Sep 1969 as VAH 853H, a Norfolk number. Last V5 change was in January 2012, no export marker.

Anyone know of this car, by any chance?

Tim
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PostPost by: mark030358 » Thu Jan 04, 2024 9:22 am

Another quality photo…
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PostPost by: pharriso » Thu Jan 04, 2024 2:32 pm

Anyone know the name of the film? Might be interesting to watch...
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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Jan 04, 2024 3:19 pm

Phil, I have just researched that. It was 'The Statue', a comedy.

Here are two stills from the film.

Tim

PS I had forgotten until I re-read his bio online that he actually lived in Switzerland from 1960, so it is highly unlikely that the +2 was his personal car. However, it still has a connection to him. It was probably on loan to the film company from the Lotus PR department, witness the Norwich registration.
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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Thu Jan 04, 2024 5:10 pm

Phil,

Tim beat me to it. There is this website that lists the films cars appeared in:

https://www.imcdb.org/vehicles.php?make=Lotus&model=Elan+Plus+2&modelMatch=1&modelInclModel=on

..but it doesn't list 'The Statue' - which by all accounts was a career low for Niven.

Andy.

Edit - I goofed, the website does list 'The Statue' in the middle of the page about 2/3 of the way down.
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PostPost by: elan66 » Mon Jan 08, 2024 9:22 am

Hi Tim,
You're right about David Niven's autobiography, I think it was called 'the moons a balloon ' or similar, I am sure I listened to it on audio book format read by David Niven well worth reading or listening to
It's a matter of life and death is one of my favourite films
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PostPost by: reb53 » Tue Jan 09, 2024 5:16 am

I recall his autobiography giving the reason as to why he, ( probably), never received a Knighthood.
He was attending some rather posh party in the Med somewhere where the guest of honour was, as she was then, Princess Elizabeth, ( eventually Queen Elizabeth the Second).
When she appeared there was reverential silence and then she was followed into the room by Philip.
In the polite silence came the clear voice of David Niven,

"Good god, she's brought that bloody Greek with her".
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PostPost by: mwhitaker » Wed Jan 10, 2024 12:41 am

Thanks so much for the reminder re David Niven's autobiography "The Moons a Balloon", published in 1972 I seem to recall. I read it shortly after that and then once or twice more over a few years. It is an absolutely brilliant read which I could never put down; in fact, I recall a singularly amusing section in which he describes receiving his first military assignment after graduating from Sandhurst. While filling out his assignment request, figuring that the Black Watch was in the bag and listing it first, he wrote as third choice "Anything but the Highland Light Infantry." As I recall the next sentence was something like "Someone at the War Office was funnier than I and I was promptly commissioned in the Highland Light." My family still makes reference to that and modifies it for our own use. In fact, I have a set of Highland Light drinks coasters from a long-ago Christmas! The entire book is like this and well worth a read if you can find it. Oh, his sequel was "Bring on the Empty Horses", also amusing but not to the same level. Also, I didn't realize he had any connection to the Plus 2. Thanks again.

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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Jan 10, 2024 11:47 am

Mark, just to be militarily pedantic and to save your family any embarrassment in case of visitation by an HLI veteran, they are always referred to as the Highland Light Infantry, along the same lines as the Light Infantry, the Durham Light Infantry or the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.

Like many of our glorious old regiments, all those mentioned above have now gone, absorbed into amalgamation upon amalgamation. My own regiment was one of the first large amalgamations. When I was commissioned it had four regular and three territorial (volunteer) battalions. It now has two (much smaller in numbers of soldiers) regular battalions and one territorial battalion.

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PostPost by: mwhitaker » Wed Jan 10, 2024 3:15 pm

Tim-thanks for the update/clarification re the Highland Light Infantry! I wouldn't want to get it wrong and embarrass myself unnecessarily. I agree it is sad that these glorious old regiments with such history have essentially disappeared in the modern age. Similar changes have occurred in the U.S. although to a lesser extent and we certainly don't have the centuries of tradition you folks have. Cheers and Happy New Year.

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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Thu Jan 11, 2024 2:35 pm

Thanks for posting up Tim. Always interesting to see the famous folk and their "Lotus".

What I find most interesting given it's a period photo is the pronounced gap between the front tyre and wheel arch.
Mr Niven sitting on the nearside wing wouldn't affect it to a great degree other than compressing the suspension both sides.

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