Impossibly Rare Lotus Elan Barn Find Unearthed Wearing Super Limited F1 Livery

Nothing gets the blood pumping like a fresh (dirty) barn find. That moment a crusty relic long forgotten is pulled from its dusty depths into the light is what vintage car nerds live for. Take this insanely rare Lotus Elan Barn find, for instance. Not only is it a Lotus, but it is also an extremely rare version wearing the gold and black livery of Lotus F1 cars from the time. 

Lotus Elan barn find pulled out into the sun
Lotus Elan “John Player Special” | H&H classics

Imagine finding a Lotus Elan barn find

There are so many cool layers to this barn find. Each next layer makes this situation all the cooler. According to Silodrome, this is no normal Lotus Elan. This is a 1973 Lotus Elan +2 130S/5 “John Player Special.” 

Lotus Elan barn find pulled out into the sun
Lotus Elan “John Player Special” | H&H classics

Only 155 of these black on gold Lotuses were ever made. These special edition Lotus Elans were built to commemorate Lotus’s 50th Grand Prix victory. This one is also the coveted +2 130S/5, widely considered the best Elan because it was fitted with a highway-friendly five-speed gearbox and the “Big Valve” version of the Lotus Twin Cam engine producing 126 hp. 

That may not seem like all that much, but for this time period, most British sports cars came in under 100 hp.

This barn find is a rare bird, indeed 

There isn’t much information about where this car came from. Silodrome says the Elan was drained of its fluids and put away in 2002. Nearly 20 years later, it has re-emerged and been taken away to auction. 

Lotus Elan barn find pulled out into the sun
Lotus Elan “John Player Special” | H&H classics

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Not only is the Lotus Elan +2 a rare car in its own right, but the John Player addition with the best options also makes it a real unicorn. Lotus never kept great records, and as a result, we don’t really know the production totals of the Lotus Elan +2. Most people agree that the total production is somewhere between 3,300-5,200. 

To make this more exciting, it has the coolest gearbox and the best version of the little Lotus four-banger. Not to mention its gold and black. This is scientifically the coolest color combo known to Man. 

What is the difference between a Lotus Elan +2 and a regular Elan?

The +2 designation means there are now an additional two seats in the back – granted, these seats are only meant for small children. However, to make room for these seats, Lotus had to stretch and widen the Elan, giving it more stability with the higher powered motor option. 

Lotus Elan barn find pulled out into the sun
Lotus Elan “John Player Special” | H&H classics

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Aside from any actual performance benefits, many Elan fans prefer the +2 because the larger dimensions take it out of toy car territory and give it proper sports car appeal.

The designers still used the same basic concept from the original Elan – a steel backbone chassis with a fiberglass body, a front-mounted twin-cam engine, independent suspension on all four corners, and disc brakes front and back. 

Some barn finds have it all

This Lotus dressed in fancy gold, and black is truly a sight to behold. This little British ripper may not be a dust-covered Ferrari F40 that was forgotten and made someone millions of dollars.

However, this represents a very cool and rare car that has true value to the automotive world.