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1971 Lotus Elan S4/SE FHC 1k Miles since Frame of Restoration 181HP Orig. CA Car

1971 Lotus Elan Elan S4 SE FHC

Make: Lotus
Model: Elan
SubModel: Elan S4 SE FHC
Type: Coupe
Trim: Elan S4 SE FHC
Year: 1971
Mileage: 47,700
VIN: 0047-J
Color: White
Engine: 1600cc
Cylinders: 4
Fuel: Gasoline
Transmission: Manual
Drive type: RWD
Interior color: Black
Drive side: Left-hand drive
Vehicle Title: Clear
Item location: Costa Mesa, California, United States
Power Windows

Description for Lotus Elan 1971

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1971 Lotus Elan SE S4 Coupe

Twin Cam 181HP Cosworth Motor

Original California Imported

Fresh Frame Off Build

Stock #0963

VIN # 0047-J

47,700 Miles on Odometer

Less than 1,000-Miles on Build

Cirrus White on Black Leatherette
4-speed manual transmission

Clean and Clear California Title

Clean, straight, and dry example

By the early 1960s, the culmination of Colin Chapman’s success in racing and missteps in automobile manufacturing provided the foundation of one of his greatest contributions to sports cars: The Elan. This car utilized a revolutionary backbone box frame underneath a beautiful GRP (glass reinforced plastic) body and powered by a new dual overhead cam motor. The result was a perfectly proportioned sports car that was light, fast, durable, and affordable.

The cost and time involved in restoring one of these cars has resulted in very few turnkey examples and only a handful (in any condition) on the market at one time. That is what makes this Elan so unique. Not only is it a fresh restoration, but it also benefits from an upgraded motor producing significantly more reliable power than stock.

This Lotus left the factory in February of 1971 finished in Lotus Yellow. It was assembled at the factory and designated for export to the U.S. Although not much is known about the car’s early life, it was originally designated as a California car. Eventually, the car made its way to Australia in the hands of a capable engineer. This owner had built motors for Australian F2 Championship winning cars back in the 70’s. His goal was to completely restore the car to mostly stock with the exception of the motor. Here he wanted to showcase his years of expertise by building a very streetable, yet fast engine…basically, a sleeper.

The restoration was a frame off complete build (see archive pics taken by builder). Many parts were replaced in addition to saving good original parts. During the build, the color was changed to a subtler Cirrus White, a factory correct color. There is no evidence of the original color. Not including the hundreds of hours invested in this build, over $40k was spent just in parts.

Highlights include:

Motor built to 181hp/134 lb. ft. torque (1600cc)

Engine block was sleeved, honed, and decked

Lightweight and balanced stroker steel crank

Cosworth connecting rods

JE forged pistons (custom specified)

48 DCOE dual Weber carburetors

Lotus wiring loom/harness

Upgraded CV joint drive shafts

Toothed belt drive for water pump/alternator

Odyssey lightweight dry cell battery (mounted in trunk)

Big bore exhaust system

Magnesium bell housing

New brake system (stock style)

New factory spec suspension

New front wishbones and bushings

Powdercoated chassis

Fresh street clutch and master cylinder (just installed…Tilton race clutch included)

Lightweight/racing flywheel (new)

New fuel pump (just installed)

New starter (just installed)

The restoration was finished 4-years/1,000-miles ago and it’s only been used for light weekend events. As a result, this example is still in very good condition. The exterior looks nice and stock with very with minimal signs of wear. There are some small chips on the silver part of the front bumper as well as a paint blemish on the passenger door (see pics). The side mirrors are not the correct originals and have some chips. Early chrome mirrors would be more appropriate. The doors have been carefully refitted and have one of the best fits for an Elan I’ve seen. The glass is in excellent condition and appears to be original. All of the rubber and lights are new. The window trim appears to be original and in decent condition with some signs of age (see pic). The original steel lotus knock-off wheels are wearing tires with near full tread. The front brakes have over 75% life and the rears have around 50% life remaining. The current owner purchased (from the U.K.) a complete 26R headlight conversion kit, but never installed it. It is in a box and included with the car.

The interior is equally as nice and was restored along with the rest of the car. The seats show no signs of wear. The carpet, headliner, dash, and door panels are all new. There are a couple superficial cracks on the wood fascia (see pic). All the gauges operate properly. The interior and exterior lights all work properly as do the rest of the switches. It appears that the visors, rear view mirror and hardware might be original. The power windows do work but are very slow and the regulators are fragile.

This Elan starts easily and holds a smooth idle. It does not require the use of the choke. Power is quite strong (no surprise here with the hp to weight ratio). However, the power delivery is surprisingly smooth and the car feels as though it wants to just keep revving. The steering is light and very communicative. The balance is spot on and very easy to drive on the twisty bits. The brakes have plenty of stopping power with no fading or pulling. This example would be a blast on your local backroads or even on vintage touring events.

This Lotus includes an original workshop manual, extra keys, wheel wrench, many receipts from the build, Tilton clutch, 26R headlight conversion kit, and a Lotus parts manual.

**Note: VIN and other numbers withheld to protect against fraud. All numbers including VIN, Engine, and color will be provided to serious buyers.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Paul at 714-335-4911

Click here to go to our AutoKennel Store to see a link to see 100 additional photos of this vehicle:


This vehicle is sold “as-is” with no warranty, written or implied. In some cases, the vehicle does have the remaining factory warranty still in place and will be described above if that is the case. All taxes and fees are the responsibility of the buyer and are not included in the listed price. All vehicle sales will require a $65 document fee. The vehicle listed is described to the best of our ability. The information is based on our own research and statements made to us by the previous owner(s). To the best of our knowledge, the above information is accurate. We are not responsible for errors in our description of options or any other details. The above-mentioned vehicle is used and can be expected to show some wear and tear. It is not a brand-new vehicle. We do welcome all local pre-purchase inspections on vehicles in order to verify condition.