1971 Lotus Elan Sprint FHC


  • Gorgeous Elan Sprint with Big Valve engine
  • Absolutely stunning condition
  • Kept in private collections from 1978 to present day
  • Original UK car, currently in ireland


Listen up closely at the back as this one’s a bit special - a rare opportunity to get your hands on one of the most iconic Lotuses of its era, with a genuine low mileage and which has been kept in careful preservation since 1978, when it was first taken off the road and put into a private collection.

The Elan Sprint was the last version of the original, sold between 1971 and 1973, following the Series 1, 2, 3 and 4. Essentially, the Sprint was an up rated S4, fitted with a more powerful version of the Lotus Big Valve twin cam engine. Though there are some who see the Sprint as a tuned S4, there is no doubt that Lotus intended it to be a separate version of the Elan (an “S5” in effect) and that it was marketed as such. 

The Sprint has become one of the more sought-after Elan types and they are relatively few in number – especially in coupé form. This one is an original UK car but has been in Ireland since 2006. The vendor has spent a small fortune on it in that time, recommissioning a number of parts and keeping the car in a heated, carpeted garage stored on tyre pillows. 

It’s an absolutely fabulous example.


  • Irish registered
  • Tax and MOT exempt
  • Old paperwork
  • Workshop manuals
  • Lotus Certificate of Provenance
  • 1 of around 140 made in the classic red, white and gold-leaf colour scheme
  • Invoice from last UK service and MOT in 1978
  • Substantial pile of invoices and receipts for work carried out by current owner


  • Immaculate black vinyl seats
  • Wooden dash
  • Electric windows
  • Colin Chapman inscribed steering wheel

With a three-spoke steering wheel inscribed with Colin Chapman’s signature and deep bucket seats, the Elan’s cabin is nothing if not sporty. But that doesn’t stop it from being luxurious – it has a smart wooden dash, along with electric windows, for example.

The carpets are in excellent order, as are the door cards, while the black vinyl bucket seats are in exceptional condition and look fantastic. One area where it does differ from standard is the headlight switches, which have been moved to sit in the radio blanking plate in the dash instead of the traditional rather fragile switch arrangement. 

The rubber boot lining has been renewed and it is also fitted with a “Dis-Car-Nect” battery cut-off anti-theft system.


  • Carnival Red over Cirrus White
  • Powder-coated steel sports wheels
  • Superb body with excellent paint finish
  • Authentic Elan Sprint decals
The condition of this car is exceptional, with no notable bodywork damage at all and the fibreglass panels are all in excellent order. The steel sports wheels have been power-coated in silver and are in fine order, with recent new tyres. A spare set of refurbished wheels is also included in the sale.

The paint finish is excellent, the pop-up headlamps pop-up on demand and the panels are all straight and true. The front grille and badges have all been replaced with ‘as-new’ items and the front and rear light lenses have been renewed. 

Underneath, the vendor reports that the steel backbone chassis in in good order with no signs of any rot.


  • 1,588cc Lotus ‘Big Valve’
  • Four-speed manual transmission
  • Flawlessly maintained – huge list of new and replacement parts
  • Drives without fault
The twin cam ‘Big Valve’ 1,588cc Lotus engine is an absolute classic and bestows the Lotus with superb performance, thanks in no small part to its light weight. It handles wonderfully, too. It’s a car that is among the absolute best of its era to drive and will hold its own very happily in modern traffic. 

This one has a huge list of recently completed work including a new radiator core, adjustable thermostat, electronic ignition, new ignition coil (plus a spare) and a dynamo to alternator conversion. It also comes with a spare Tony Thompson Racing distributor, cap and leads and air intake pipe. 

The engine is fuelled via a pair of twin choke 40 Weber DCOE carbs with mesh covers for carb trumpets and all the hoses have been replaced, with the car now running on Evans waterless coolant and Aeroquip fuel pipes.

Both the brake and clutch master cylinders have been renewed and it has new front and rear brake discs, with Green Stuff pads all-round. 

 The Elan also has a new alloy fuel tank, a new fuel filler cap and sender unit and a stainless exhaust system. 


If you want one of the most collectable Elans then a Sprint is the first place to start. If you want the very best, then here’s an ideal candidate. This is an absolutely impeccable example of the breed in superb order, with no major flaws and in the kind of condition that’s ready to take home all the show trophies, as well as being a fabulous car to drive and a surprisingly easy to own classic British sports car. It’s divine – a really, really nice car.

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1971
  • Make Lotus
  • Model Elan
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 28,587 Miles
  • Engine size 1588
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Dublin
  • Location NOT STATED
  • Country Ireland
Bidding history
19 bids
  • JD•••• €36,850 20/09/23
  • el•••• €36,600 20/09/23
  • JD•••• €36,500 20/09/23
  • el•••• €36,250 20/09/23
  • el•••• €36,000 20/09/23
  • cj•••• €35,000 20/09/23
  • ct•••• €34,000 20/09/23
  • cj•••• €33,500 20/09/23
  • ct•••• €33,000 20/09/23
  • cj•••• €32,500 20/09/23

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