There’s a lot of borrowed brightware too, with the external door handles coming from a Peugeot 403 (and the window mechanisms inside the doors from a later 404), while the rear bumper will ring a bell with Alfa 1750 GTV owners. Inside, the headlining was adapted from an Austin 1100 but the seats and vinyl-covered dashboard (also made from aluminium salvaged from the computer) containing an array of period Smiths instruments were to his own design.
There was some further parts bin raiding under the bonnet, with a remote air cleaner off a Dodge V8 and an electric motor off an aircraft driving the cooling fan, which sits against a Triumph Herald radiator – as is the case in an Elan. Most of those modifications were done to reduce the bonnet line over the Alfa engine, which is relatively tall thanks to the twin-cam cylinder head.
Phillip first sketched his design in June 1970 and the build took just 18 months, with the car finished in the same lustrous crimson hue he’d favoured for his 203. When he later retired to Nature’s Valley, the Wagener went along and remained in use until his passing in 2010. After that it was bought by a collector in Cape Town from whose estate well-known classic car enthusiast and historic racer, Dave Alexander, acquired the coupé.
As many local historic racers will know, Dave is quite a Lotus aficionado, with two Elans in his garage, along with an Elise and a Six replica – which he campaigns at Simola Hillclimb. Then there’s his other track favourite, an Eleven, and a Type 47, which is under restoration. He’s also keen on specials, so when he heard that there was one based on Lotus bits potentially for sale in Cape Town, his intrigue got the better of him and he paid the then (now late) owner’s son a visit to inspect the car. “I immediately noticed the Elan-style knock-on wheels and when I put my head underneath the car, I could see the central chassis and swing arm rear end – it was all pure Lotus,” recalls Dave.