The late Lotus founder, Colin Chapman’s own 1972 Lotus Elan +2 S130/5, is up for auction at the Silverstone Auction on February 25th. Colin Chapman (1928 – 1982) was the brilliant English design engineer, inventor, and builder who created the Lotus Sports Car Company in 1952. His cars became synonymous with lightweight and fine handling. He said: “Adding power makes you faster on the straights. Subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.” Tragically Chapman suffered a fatal heart attack in 1982, aged 54.
Between 1962 and 1978 under his guidance Team Lotus won seven Formula One Constructor titles, six Drivers’ Championships as well as the Indianapolis 500 in the US. Consequently, his own Lotus Elan carries a great freight of automotive significance.
Whilst current market values often don’t show it, the Elan Plus 2 was a pivotal car for Lotus when it launched in 1967. The Plus 2 was the marque’s first real concerted push toward the upmarket sports car sector. The Plus 2 was conceived to tempt the affluent young family man out of his Jaguar and into a Lotus for the first time.
Consequently, the Elan was generously adorned with Walnut veneers, leather, gauges, switches and the airy interior required by arriving young executives and their families. In confirmation of this, the Plus 2 was the first Lotus not available in self-assembly form.
However, despite its larger overall dimensions, the Plus 2 remained true to the Lotus ‘simplify and add lightness’ mantra. The extended and widened Elan backbone chassis ensured that the Plus 2 retained a sense of urgency and reactiveness.
The car was used by Colin until it had done around 6,600 miles at which point he would have been allocated a newer model. Colin Chapman’s Elan Plus 2S 130/5 is estimated to sell for £60,000 – £70,000.