1966 Lotus Elan

Type 45 Convertible
Sale Price
$50,000 - $60,000
Est. Range
19 August 2022
Sold Date
Lot Number
Modified restoration
Auction House
Chassis number 456406. Green with Safety Cone Orange bumpers with Tan cloth top over Tan leather. 1578cc L4/140hp, dual Webers, 4-speed, alloy wheels, Yokohama tires, modern brakes with cross-drilled rotors, roll bar, woodrim steering wheel, wood shift knob, Willans harnesses, original pushbutton radio. Includes two sets of bumpers, Lotus steel wheels.

Evaluation: BRM clone built by a former Smiths Instruments engineer (save your British electrics jokes) to the tune of about $75,000. There is some waviness in the paint plus some scratches, and a small scuff on the left headlight door. Some hammer marks are visible on the wheel lobes, and some dirt and light stains are visible on the top. Good restored interior. Tidy underneath. A neat usable Elan in eye-catching colors that is super cool despite its cosmetic shortcomings.

Bottom Line: The brainchild of BRM racer and Lotus dealer Mike Spence, the BRM-tuned Elan essentially took Colin Chapman’s featherweight and gave it a little extra punch. Since those were the days when Lotus would still sell you a car in kit form, Spence would take unpainted Elan kits and send the Twin Cam engines to BRM for either a 130 or 140 hp tune. BRM conversions were expensive and the Elan was already so very good that few of those conversions were completed.

Actual production numbers aren’t clear for genuine BRM Elans but they’re extremely rare no matter what the number is, and in this country they’re practically unknown. This is a very cool tribute and clearly a labor of love. The price it brought reflects all the tasteful upgrades and is a rather high price for an Elan, but it’s entirely deserved and fun-per-dollar still one of the best values of the auction, far cheaper than any of the horde of vintage 911s also offered at Bonhams.

by Andrew Newton
6 September 2022
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.