NEC Classic Motor Show Sale 2015

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1972 Lotus Elan Sprint DHC

Lot No.: 346

Registration: NGN 134L
Chassis Number: 72050686G
Engine Number: N26726
CC: 1558
Year of Manufacture: 1972
Sold for (£): 34,313

Lotus launched a legend in 1962, the new and ground-breaking Lotus Elan. Following on from the Elite, the new car offered improved handling allied with better performance. Below the bonnet sat a new 1558cc, twin-cam four-cylinder engine which would become a legend in its own right, powering other classic Lotus models including, of course, the Cortina sporting saloons.

Initially the Elan was produced as an open two-seater, but in 1964 a fixed head coupé became available, with both bodies being constructed from GRP and mounted on a separate chassis. In 1967, the very distinctive Elan+2 joined the range and both models continued to sell well throughout the late sixties with various detail changes.

The desirable ‘Sprint' model was introduced in 1971 and was the ultimate incarnation. It justified its name thanks to a substantial increase in power to 126bhp resulting from the adoption of a big-valve head with high-lift cams, a raised compression ratio and (initially) Weber 40 DCOE 31s. The drivetrain was suitably toughened and braced and the front callipers were redesigned to cope with the increased performance.

This charming and genuine Lotus Elan Sprint Drop-head Coupé was manufactured in May 1972 as detailed in the accompanying Lotus Certificate of Vehicle Provenance, and was supplied new to Hammonds & Oakwood Ltd. of Kent. It was initially sold to a local doctor, doubtless to escape the pressures of his day to day ministrations, and he eventually passed it on to his son.

Still sporting its original registration of ‘NGN 134L', this amazingly packaged, extremely capable and surprisingly roomy classic sports car is simply a great example of British automotive design.

The car is presented in the unusual colour combination of Colorado Orange and Cirrus White. According to Lotus, this attractive orange colour was the 2nd rarest out of the 8 different colours available for the UK Sprint DHC. It certainly looks fantastic and makes a refreshing change from the regular red over white, two-tone ‘Gold Leaf' livery. With its contrasting black interior, with wood and trim in fine and nicely patinated condition and its desirable Colin Chapman signed steering-wheel, this is a truly lovely example.

The car retains its original and matching chassis and engine, showing numbers that correlate correctly for a UK-market Sprint DHC. It is accompanied by a wealth of servicing records and invoices from as early as 1973 right up to the present day.

The most impressive history file is home to a number of old MoT Certificates corroborating the mileage, and also contains the very rare original service booklet and handbook. Interestingly, also in the history file, are numerous hand written, in-period letters from previous owners demonstrating diligent ownership and helping verify the car's mileage and originality. Prior to our vendor, the car's custodian since 1990 was an enthusiastic engineer who kept a detailed account of maintenance and repair work done over the 20 years of his ownership. On a recent inspection the car's original chassis is said to be in good condition.

In a letter from the file, dated 16th November 1976, the Doctor's son makes reference to a speedometer change after 12,500 miles which helps confirm the car's current indicated mileage of only 83,500.

The car drives and pulls well, with good pressures and balanced handling and has a current MoT until 22.09.16.

Everybody loves Elans, particularly the Sprint, and with their addictive blend of performance and agility they are a very desirable little sports car and welcome anywhere.