• Chassis # 264021
  • Engine # 2353
  • Very Original Throughout & Never Hit
  • A Running & Driving Example With Few Needs

The Overview

In the 1960’s, technology such as fully independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, and twin overhead cam engines combined with an aerodynamic fiberglass bodies were very rare attributes to find in road cars. These items coupled with lightweight materials were early in their development with scattered implementation of them by manufacturers. However, Lotus managed to engineer a car boasting all of these advancements. The Lotus Elan, a small, light, and simplistic sports car that was clever in design and performed marvelously on the road. It utilized an extremely rigid steel backbone frame which the extremely light fiberglass body was mounted to. A 1,558cc power plant, largely engineered by Ford, produced 106bhp which does not sound like much but in a car that narrowly weighs 1,500 pounds, makes the Elan a swift roadster. This progressive sports car was able to go toe to toe on the track with the hairy chested Corvettes, stunning the motoring world with its clever design and performance. The Elan was also utilized by the lovely Emma Peel in the British television series The Avengers as her preferred mode of transportation.


The example on offer, an early 1965 Lotus Elan S2, chassis number 264021, engine number 2353 is a recent garage find that exemplifies strong characteristics of originality while lacking evidence of any mistreatment or modifications. Unfortunately, the majority of this car’s history is unknown but it has been said to have spent a portion of its life in California.


The exterior of the car resembles a humble car that has received some moderate use; there are blemishes/deterioration that are consistent with years of enjoyment, use and long term storage. The fiberglass body is straight and structurally sound, free of any significant damage. The soft top appears in good shape and the frame shows as the original. The exterior paint is strictly rough driver quality, having been touched up in several areas. The fiberglass body itself is very fragile, as is the paint which lays on top of it making the paint prone to flawing. There is a substantial chip in what would be considered the left front fender where is meets the front bonnet as well as a four-inch scratch in the same area. Located around the bonnet is some chipping where from removing and reinserting the bonnet. The paintwork around the front mouth of the car displays visible runs in the paint as well as by the indicator lights on either side. The front and rear bumpers show similarly having incurred moderate scratches and scuffs from use but not be unexpected with these cars. Surrounding the door handles, mirror, and trunk hinges one will notice that the paint is beginning lightly crack as those are weaker areas in the paint due to the additional stress from the doors/trunk being opened and closed. The chrome items all have developed moderate pitting, being that it is most likely the original chrome, and ultimately need to be refinished or at least polished. The gaps on this car all seem to fall in the appropriate clearances and all factory-correct. Looking at the wheels, they are in presentable condition with no curb rash or notable damage to report. The exterior cosmetics of this example are by no means perfect but nothing that would be considered uncommon for an old as found Elan.


Moving to the interior of the car, the door jams are presentable but do resemble the car’s age. The seats are not original to the car, coming from what appears to be a later Elan but are in good shape having developed a welcomed patina, managing not to have incurred any tears or punctures. The wooden dash face is intact, the proper gauges, with both items showing as driver quality. The gear sifter boot and surrounding center console have both cracked but can both easily be replaced if desired, though likely original. Currently installed is an aftermarket MOMO steering which provides for an improved driving experience but the original steering is also present and will be offered with the sale of the car. The rubber mats are presentable, in a condition consistent with the remainder of the interior, very original and a nice thing to see as most go missing. The vinyl on the door panels are worn but still intact and usable. The only items that are nonfunctional in terms of the interior is two switches with unknown purposes and the radio but in a car such as this, the engine and exhaust noise make it obsolete anyway.


Lift off the front bonnet and there resides the 1,558cc engine equipped with Weber carburetors. The engine bay shows correct to the car, absent of any real modifications. There are some hoses and clamps that are not correct for the car but can be easily changed. In addition, the stock generator has been replaced by an alternator which, although not correct, is a common update. The original data tag is present, indicating that this is indeed a matching numbers example. The paint on the valve cover has chipped away in a few areas but is in accordance with the patina of the rest of the car. One item it could benefit from is a good detail just to tidy things up. The trunk is in good shape, showing its age but still presentable as a drive quality example. The trunk mat has held up well with no significant damage. Lift up the mat and work your way to the compartment for the spare wheel and the original spare is still present. An inspection of the underside of the car will conclude all items to be in order for a car of this condition. The undercarriage is not shiny and new but lacks any evidence of damage or inconsistencies as an original car in long term storage. One item worth noting is two areas near each rear control arm where a portion of the fiberglass was removed. It appears this was done in order to widen the track of the rear wheels and allow the control arms to still clear which would need to be corrected. Aside from that issue, the remainder of the underside indicates a frame and body that is straight and true.


Mechanically, the car was just recently brought out of long term storage and made to run and drive again. The majority of which entailed sorting through bad wiring, replacing broken leads, and locating proper grounds. The car starts relatively easy but is missing a choke cable. Once warm and on the road the car holds good oil pressure and a stable operating temperature. The small 1,558cc engine equipped with newly rebuilt Weber carburetors makes a lovely noise that would be appreciated by any enthusiast. The car goes in and out of gear without hassle, the clutching operating as it should. The stopping capabilities of this car are spot on given the disc brakes and the lightness of the car. It makes for some great cornering and confidence in the handling of the Elan. This car would not be described as turn-key however it would not take much to make the car deserving of that status.


In conclusion, this is an unmolested, mostly correct, and honest car that provides a solid base to pursue one of two directions. The first being the option to execute a complete nut-and-bolt restoration to remedy any all flaws on the car, and make it as close to or better than the car was when new. The other, is to ensure that all mechanical systems are dialed in, perhaps tend to some of the cosmetic eye sores on the car, and simply drive it. There is great value in a car one can get into, flick the key, and engage in some spirited driving without having to hinder one’s enjoyment with the concern of adding chips in the paint or getting the car dirty. A rare, small, light sports car such as the Elan is a car that would be great fun to drive in addition to having the privilege of owning. While not perfect, it is honest and would be a splendid car to induct into a collection of any size and focus.