SOLD 01/24

1967 Lotus
Elan S3 Drophead Coupe

Bring A Trailer NO RESERVE auction preview: An excellent example of one of most fun cars ever built.

  • VIN456487
  • Exterior ColorRed
  • Interior ColorBrown
  • Mileage58489 Miles (TMU)
  • Engine1.6L inline 4-cylinder
  • Transmission4-speed manual
  • StatusSold
  • StockFJ2834


1967 Lotus Elan S3

Chassis Number – 456487
Exterior Color - Red
Interior Color – Tan and Brown
Engine Type – 1.6L inline four-cylinder with twin Weber Carburetors
Gearbox – 4-speed manual
Current Miles – 58,489 miles TMU
Current Owner – Purchased in 2020
Miles since Purchase –1,200 miles

General History

The Lotus Elan arrived at the British International Motor Show at Earls Court in October 1962. Already facing significant marketplace competition, Jaguar had launched the E-Type, AC had begun to offer the Cobra, and Ferrari revealed the GTO. But these powerful and expensive machines were a bit of a contrast against the lightweight and cleverly engineered Elan. Using a revolutionary monocoque construction chassis and new production methods, the Elan made it clear that Lotus was ready to compete against volume manufacturers with a freshly engineered world class sports car. The steel backbone chassis, lightweight molded fiberglass body, four-wheel independent suspension, and new 100+hp Lotus Twin Cam engine provided eager enthusiasts a delightful package capable of delivering exhilarating performance at a nominal cost.

The Elan would eventually become Lotus’s largest 20th century commercial success with improvements through the series which concluded in 1973. Known for the gradual improvements in the series, the S3 (2,650 built) featured a larger trunk access lid, rear mounted battery, improved front suspension castor angle, rear suspension strut bracing, electric windows with chrome frame surround, and an updated hood design. Though a small car, this giant of Lotus history literally revived the company from near collapse, essentially saving the Lotus name so that it might thrive today.

Owner History

This example was comprehensively restored under prior ownership and completed just after the current owner purchased the car in 2020. The restoration began with a sound example that had reportedly traveled just 18,500 miles when the restoration commenced. Believed to have been under single long-term ownership located in Florida, the restoration began when Hayes Harris, owner of Wire Wheel, Vero Beach, FL purchased the car in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Enlisting the assistance of Dave Bean, Dave Bean Engineering, a frame off restoration was reportedly performed. Nearing completion in December 2004, the car was sold to a San Diego, CA based British car enthusiast who finished the restoration with important upgrades including a custom tan/brown interior. This prior owner enjoyed the car for fifteen years adding an additional 40k miles to the car as an active participant in Southern California British car events achieving Best in Class awards in the Lotus Class for 2012, 2014, 2017, and 2018. Under his long-term ownership some of the notable improvements performed on the car included:

Prestige hardwood burl walnut dashboard
Top end engine rebuild by Bill Schlossnagel (October 2018, @55,500 miles)
Ported and polished head with new SS oversized valves and bronze valve guides
3:91 differential with JAE CV joint axles
Bean Engineering water pump cartridge
RD Enterprises high torque gear reduction starter
RD Enterprises alternator
RD Enterprises electric cooling fan with manual override
Bean Engineering pressure plate and 8.5” heavy duty clutch
Bean Engineering differential stiffening brace
Exhaust headers

In 2018 a major service and tune up was performed including new belts and hoses, Weber carburetors disassembled, cleaned and tuned, all fluids replaced, and an oil and filter change performed in May 2019.

In 2o2o, the current owner purchased the car, accumulating approximately 1, 200 miles over the past three years. Services performed in April 2021 included new tires and tubes, exhaust mount adjustment, new alternator and alternator bracket, and rewiring for charging circuit improvement. Also at this time, the headlights, taillights, and side lights were replaced with LED light bulbs. In January 2023 the car was serviced by Mountune, Carson, CA including servicing the front and rear suspension with new uprated top shock bushings, a rear coil over kit including new rear shocks, adjusting the ride height (Elan front 10” 150 lbs springs), repacking and adjusting front wheel bearings, and pressure checking the cooling system. Services continued with a new distributor cap, rotor, front bearing kit, and new spark plugs. In August 2023, the car returned to Mountune where both Weber carburetors were rebuilt, a new fuel pump installed, engine mount supports welded (engine removed for this work), a new heater valve installed, and a front-end alignment, corner balance, and suspension adjustments performed at a subcontracted alignment service center.

Current Condition and Features

Today this beautiful S3 presents in excellent condition with high gloss vivid red paint that shows very nicely in all respects with just a few small imperfections noted in the paint. There are a few chips on the passenger side front wheel opening, minor chips on the silver painted front bumper, and slight warping to the front bumper trim strip. The doors fit quite well, however the hood sits a bit proud of the body surface when closed as does the trunk lid which displays a raised profile on the driver’s side edge. The lighting and emblems are in excellent condition, showing not only great fit, but care in detailing. The glass appears to be original to the car with some evidence of road use showing on the windshield. A set of silver painted steel wheels are correctly finished with chrome lug nuts, wearing Michelin 155 80R13 tires and inner tubes installed in 2021.

The interior is beautifully finished with high quality materials, correct carpeting, nicely matched door panels, and a black rear section tonneau cover. The convertible top and top bows are included with the car and stow under the rear tonneau. The vinyl convertible top is included loose but can be fitted to the top mechanism. The seats and door panels have been trimmed in two tone brown and tan interior which creates a very pleasing look and feel to the interior. The burl wood dashboard, beautifully finished instruments, Lotus emblem wooden gear shift knob, and alloy spoke steering wheel deliver a nicely balanced vintage touch to the interior. The trunk is lined with high quality black carpeting and houses a 12V battery fitted with a trickle charger dongle.

Under the hood, the Lotus twin cam engine displays excellent finishes including the painted twin cam head, proper hardware, and generally correct components with a few important contemporary upgrades including a high torque starter, modern alternator, electric cooling fan, and tuned header-type exhaust. Attention to detail continues throughout the engine compartment highlighted by a pair of correct and recently rebuilt dual throat Weber carburetors. The tidy engine compartment is both clean and well-prepared. The underside of the car has been restored and detailed including the red painted underbody, grey chassis, and black suspension components, some of which are now showing signs of age since the restoration was completed.

The car starts easily and idles smoothly with a nice warm tone to the exhaust. The ride is confident, solid, and greatly improved via the suspension upgrades. As anyone who has driven these cars in the past will attest, these cars are differentiated by thoughtful and persistent mechanical refinement from dedicated owners and specialists driven to achieve that “just right” balance of originality and engineering improvements resolved from years of refinement. This example benefits greatly from the history of enthusiast ownership improving both the mechanical features and delightful Lotus packaging that so eagerly captured enthusiasts when first released and continue to do so with new generations of Lotus Elan enthusiasts.

Included with this car

The car is accompanied by 2021 and 2023 service invoices, a black convertible top, assorted spare parts, an owner’s handbook, and a spare red shifter boot.

The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.

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Fantasy Junction  •  510-653-7555  •  1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608