Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s 1972 Lotus Elan at the Silverstone Auction

January 27, 2023 By Mike
Last updated on January 27, 2023

Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s personal 1972 Lotus Elan +2 s130/5 joins seven other celebrity Lotus Elans at the Silverstone Auction on February 25th at Stoneleigh Park – estimate £60,000 -£70,000

The late Lotus founder, Colin Chapman’s own 1972 Lotus Elan +2 S130/5, joins the line-up of seven other Lotus Elans from the Piddington Collection to provide bidders at the Silverstone Auction on February 25th with the luxury of a once in a lifetime choice of these lovely Lotus’.

Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman CBE (19 May 1928 – 16 December 1982) was the brilliant English design engineer, inventor, and builder who created the Lotus Sports Car Company in 1952. His cars became synonymous with light weight 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 Constructors 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.

Yet another important Lotus road car to add to Silverstone Auctions offering at Race Retro, Colin Chapman’s own 6,920-mile Elan Plus 2S 130/5 is estimated to sell for £60,000 – £70,000.

Whilst current market values often don’t show it, the Elan Plus 2 was a pivotal car for Lotus when it launched in 1967. Its Ron Hickman lines and shared name, may have pinned it with the petite breakthrough Elan of five years prior, but the Plus 2 was much more than a mere variant of the first mass market Lotus. It was the marque’s first real concerted push towards the upmarket sports car sector it inhabits today. Where its junior sibling was aimed squarely at the enthusiastic hobbyist, 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 Lotus 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 and the extended and widened Elan backbone chassis ensured that the Plus 2 retained the urgency and reactiveness that had proved such a hit with the original. This was something special, a light sporty concept that was brand new to this sector of the market and so much more than an enlarged Elan.

Simon Langsdale of Silverstone Auctions who consigned the car, says: “This very special example of the Plus 2 130/5 was manufactured by Lotus Cars in September 1972 and allocated to the Sales Department on the 9th of October 1972 for the personal use of ACBC, Colin Chapman. We imagine that the team assembling this particular Plus 2 would probably have spent a little longer getting everything absolutely right knowing that ‘the boss’ was going to be driving it in a few days. It was finished in Tawny with a Silver Roof and an Oatmeal Vinyl interior, this being only the second example painted in this particularly attractive shade. 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 as you might expect and JAH 567L was popped into the Lotus Museum where it was to reside for many years before the decision was taken to dispose of a few of the earlier cars.”

There is a copy of the car’s first V5 in the history file showing it logged to Lotus Cars and it’s accompanied in the file by a Lotus Classic Certificate of Vehicle Provenance issued on the 13th of November 2017 by a Mr Andy Graham, the company Archivist, supporting the fact that Chassis number #72090886L was indeed Colin’s personal car.

On offer from a private collection, the Chapman Lotus still presents very well and appears to have been maintained in its original factory state (interested parties are welcome to come along on our viewing day and confirm its originality and provenance) and also wears its original Dunlop SP rubber on each corner making this a rare find. Now showing just 6,920 miles on the odometer, we understand that it’s ‘on the key’ and is ready to be enjoyed by its next owner.

This is a rare opportunity to acquire a piece of Lotus history and, being offered alongside the seven important Elans and other Lotus cars at our sale, will be sure to attract some real marque enthusiasts.

The Colin Chapman car joins a fantastic Lotus line-up. The Piddington Lotus Collection was put together by one man, Deryck Norville, a former Cosworth engineer, many of his cars have celebrity connections which are sure to excite any enthusiast for this marque.

The Piddington Collection cars.

  1. 1968 Lotus Elan S4 Coupé ‘Keith Duckworth’
  2. 1966 Lotus Elan S3 Drophead Coupé ‘Emma Peel – The Avengers’
  3. 1969 Lotus Elan – ‘Jochen Rindt’
  4. 1968 Lotus Elan SE ‘Rob Walker’
  5. 1971 Lotus Elan Sprint Drophead Coupé ‘Ron Hickman’
  6. 1975 Lotus Elan Sprint
  7. 1966 Lotus Elan S3 – Ex-Peter Sellers

These eight Piddington Lotus Elans are also joined in this sale by a further 16 Lotus, so buyers will be spoiled for choice.

More information about these vehicles and the others consigned for Silverstone Auctions next sale at the Race Retro Show on the 25th February at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, can be found on their website www.silverstoneauctions.com. Here you can also find details of how to get a free valuation for your car, along with an online form to submit your vehicle for sale or to register to bid.

Rob Hubbard
Tel 01926 691141