Fixed Frames: 1969 Lotus Elan S4 – SOLD!
July 17th Update: we were excited to feature this rare Lotus Elan S4 when the private seller first posted it for sale at the end of March with an asking price of $32,000. It appears he did not get many people interested and as a result, has just provided a fresh listing and the price lowered four thousand dollars to $28,000.
We get very excited on the rare occasions we see a Lotus Elan posted for sale such as this 1969 S4 example listed recently on Craigslist in Bristol, Connecticut where the current caretaker now has it listed for $28,000. A review of the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool reveals this private seller has his Elan priced between the #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $34,500 and the #3 “Good” estimate of $26,700.
A handling benchmark to this day and to this day and Mazda’s styling inspiration for the original Miata, Colin Chapin introduced stylish and capable Elan in 1963 and from there it became an instant hit, especially once actress Diana Rigg started driving one as Mrs. Emma Peel in the TV series The Avengers. The Elan has the distinction of being the first Lotus road car designed with a mild steel backbone chassis and a non-structural fiberglass body. At only 1,500 pounds, the Elan symbolized Colin Chapman’s design philosophy of “simplify, then add lightness.” Compared to other entry-level British sports cars of the period, the Elan was technologically advanced with a double overhead cam 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine, four-wheel disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, and four-wheel independent suspension. Unfortunately, shoddy build quality and non-existent rustproofing of the backbone frame make these cars very rare sites today. The easiest way to confirm the example presented here is an S4 is the chrome fixed frames for the side windows. Other more subtle changes included Federally mandated safety items such as flush dashboard rocker switches, side marker lights, dual circuit brake system, seat headrests, and emission controls. Other convenience items added included a new tail lamp cluster with back-up lights shared with the Jaguar E-Type and two-speed windshield wipers with an electric washer, and most importantly conversion of the Lucas electrical system to a more convention negative ground layout.
If you’re not familiar with the Lotus Elan, this video we came across on YouTube for another ’69 model will get you up to speed on why these cars are so special:
The seller provides a nice set of pictures detailing this S4’s restoration process. The aluminum radiator upgrade combined with and updated wiring harness have a good chance of overcoming the typical issues encountered with the original Lucas system. That combined with all of the details below have us a convinced this very likely a quality Elan for any Lotus enthusiast to purchase. The only flaw we see is the small tear documented by the seller in the passenger seat. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“Very nice high level driver condition. We purchased it from a gentleman that races and restores Elans and Mini’s, he spent a number of years rebuilding this. Complete body-off restoration, frame powder coated, engine and all systems rebuilt. Runs, drives and looks very good. Colin Chapman autographed steering wheel, Jim Clark honorary Lotus Badges.
Has upgrades of the new aluminum radiator, alternator, and new aluminum fuel tank. Dash is refinished and very nice. It also has a nonstandard AM/FM CD (we have the original, who really cares about the radio in these). Knock off steel wheels with new Vredestein Sprint tires, and have the original center caps with a spanner as well.
What doesn’t it have? Windshield washer and the parking brake needs adjustment and there is one small tear in the passengers seat (see picture). Everything else works as it should.
Comes with wiring schematic for the newly installed loom, Brooklands Workshop Manual, and The Original Lotus Elan by Robinshaw and Ross.
52,985 miles as this is written. If you’re looking for a very nice Elan you won’t be disappointed.“
Do you have a Lotus Elan story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!