A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £32,063
Attractively presented in the rare Sprint livery of Pistachio Green over Cirrus White A genuine, home-market FHC 'Sprint' model New chassis fitted in 1997 and a full restoration between 2001-2003, including many new parts Packed history file with numerous invoices and old MOT Certificates When Colin Chapman was drawing up plans to replace the slightly troublesome Elite, he was intent on sticking to the glassfibre monocoque principle and using a Ford-based twin cam 1000cc engine (effectively creating a rather expensive Lotus Spridget). However, serendipity got in the way and a steel backbone chassis, designed for testing the prototypes-mainly because the mechanical parts needed to be attached to something for testing-had proved such a successful and cost-effective solution that it was adopted for production. Meanwhile, other larger variants of the Ford Kent block, up from 997cc to 1340cc, became available and Chapman was eager to exploit the potential for extra performance. So by the time the 1962 Type 26 Elan Roadster took to the roads, it had moved up a class. The glassfibre-bodied Elan may only have been available initially as a Roadster Kit but its specification was very advanced and adhered to Chapman's “just add lightness” engineering philosophy. Power came from Harry Mundy's Ford-based Lotus 1558cc dohc engine, it was fitted with disc brakes all round, and the independent suspension was set up to optimise ride quality and handling finesse, qualities for which this little car is still admired. It soon sired other derivatives including the Type 26R racer, the Type 36 fixed-head coupe, the Type 45 drop-head coupe, and the Type 50 Elan +2 of 1967. The 1971 Elan Sprint was essentially based on the Series 4 Elan bodyshell and was primarily designed to rekindle demand and improve the performance of the nine-year-old sports car. Conceived by Lotus Sales Director, Graham Arnold, the Sprint's most notable feature was the horizontally-split two-tone paintwork echoing the livery of the Gold Leaf Team Lotus Formula One cars. Meanwhile providing the 'go to match the show' a new big-valve cylinder head with high-lift cams and a raised compression ratio, the work of Engineering Director Tony Rudd, provided a 25% increase in power to 126bhp. The drivetrain was suitably toughened and braced and the front callipers were redesigned to cope with the increased performance. The car presented here is a genuine home-market FHC Sprint model that was first registered in 1972 and is particularly striking in the more rarely seen Sprint livery of Pistachio Green over Cirrus White. We are advised that the car was fitted with a new chassis in circa 1997 and that between 2001-2003 it underwent extensive restoration. The latter involved a complete strip-down and re-spray, an engine rebuild (believed to have been done by marque specialist 'Nick Stagg Engineering'), conversion to unleaded compatibility, an overhaul of the steering, suspension and brakes, a new interior, and the fitting of a host of new parts (see image attached for details). An interesting history file accompanies the little coupe and includes a record of all journeys from 1979 at 23,377 miles through to December 1985 at 47,133 miles, showing just how cherished this car has been. In the years that followed, it appears that it was only lightly used after being restored, as by 2007 the mileage indicated was still just 48,000 (approximately) and to date is only 52,525. There is an invoice for a recent service at 52,498 miles, MOT Certificates from 2006 to 2018, plus numerous invoices for work/maintenance/parts (from 2002 up to 2018, totalling almost £15,000) from specialists 'Christopher Neil Lotus', 'Paul Matty Sports Cars', and 'QED Motorsport Ltd'. Furthermore, there are specific invoices from 2008 that might indicate further restoration, plus £3,131 spent with Paul Matty in 2012 for various maintenance items. There is no doubt that NHN 620K has received more than its share of care and attention and continues to look crisp and fresh. We understand that it's as agile and eager as a 'Sprint' should be and imagine that Mr Chapman, whose signature is etched into the steering wheel, would be proud that his inspired creation is as desirable now as the day it rolled out of Hethel all those years ago.