Lotus Elan

Anyone with Zetec-in-baby-Elan experience?

PostPost by: Jeff Kyle » Fri Sep 02, 2005 11:58 pm

I'm considering doing a Spyder/Zetec conversion on my S2... and it looks
like most of the talk on the list about Zetec conversions was about a
year ago. Spyder still doesn't list any information about baby Elan
conversions, but supposedly they do them. I'm curious if anyone has done
the swap and what their experiences were.

My situation is that I put a chunk of money into my Elan's Weber head a
couple years ago but it wasn't done right and I'm facing putting another
chunk of money into it. The mechanical bits of the car are mostly good
but it could probably use any number of wear items, a second-gear
synchro, etc. I'm thinking that a Zetec conversion in a Spyder chassis
will effectively make the car mechanically new, give me an excuse to do
the rewiring job I've been putting off, maybe I can finally get the
vacuum headlights working right, and I'll gain a huge amount of power
and improved handling in the process (better mileage, too.) Hopefully
selling the existing mechanical parts of the car will go a ways towards
offsetting the cost.

I've extremely torn between the desire to make it faster and more
reliable, and the desire to keep it more of a "true" Lotus. But then,
the car got flared fenders three decades ago (it comfortably fits
205/60/13 tires) so it will never be original... it's definitely more of
a driver than a show car.
Jeff Kyle
 

PostPost by: elansprint71 » Sat Sep 03, 2005 7:25 am

I spoke to Wiggy at Spyder earlier this year, at that time they had done
six Zetecs into Elan+0 cars. They have done about 60 into the +2, the
reason for the imbalance is that you can buy four knackered +2s for the
cost of one +0. Imho there is no problem with changing the spec of your
car, it's your property after all. Twin Cams have been fitted to Elites,
without too much derision from the "keep it original brigade" and now
Honda engines are being fitted to Elises by some folks.

Cheers,
Pete.

Jeff Kyle wrote:

I'm considering doing a Spyder/Zetec conversion on my S2... and it looks
like most of the talk on the list about Zetec conversions was about a
year ago. Spyder still doesn't list any information about baby Elan
conversions, but supposedly they do them. I'm curious if anyone has done
the swap and what their experiences were.

My situation is that I put a chunk of money into my Elan's Weber head a
couple years ago but it wasn't done right and I'm facing putting another
chunk of money into it. The mechanical bits of the car are mostly good
but it could probably use any number of wear items, a second-gear
synchro, etc. I'm thinking that a Zetec conversion in a Spyder chassis
will effectively make the car mechanically new, give me an excuse to do
the rewiring job I've been putting off, maybe I can finally get the
vacuum headlights working right, and I'll gain a huge amount of power
and improved handling in the process (better mileage, too.) Hopefully
selling the existing mechanical parts of the car will go a ways towards
offsetting the cost.

I've extremely torn between the desire to make it faster and more
reliable, and the desire to keep it more of a "true" Lotus. But then,
the car got flared fenders three decades ago (it comfortably fits
205/60/13 tires) so it will never be original... it's definitely more of
a driver than a show car.







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PostPost by: "Martin Stuart" » Sat Sep 03, 2005 7:57 am

I'm not against the Zetec Elan conversion and as Pete says, it's your car and you have a perfect right to do what you want with it.

But...

I think you need to recognise that this is more than just an engine transplant. A Honda conversion on an Elise is easily reversible and retains the original chassis, suspension, brakes etc.; the only thing changed is the engine/gearbox. And lets be honest, the UK Elise market is just about saturated, so modifying the car in this way will probably enhance its saleability.

My understanding of the Spyder Elan conversion is that the whole drivetrain, chassis, suspension, brakes, steering, hubs and wheels are changed to modern Spyder/Ford components. Lets be honest, what you are left with is NOT a Lotus...it's a Spyder, with a Lotus bodyshell. It doesn't even retain the same suspension geometry, so it's not going to handle or behave the same as an Elan.

Unless you retain the original Elan chassis and running gear, the conversion is not reversible...you have thrown too much of the original car away. Flared fenders are reversible, if (or, more likely, when) Elans become sufficiently precious that originality is crucial. If you have Spyder converted your car, you are left with a hacked-about bodyshell and a chassis plate, and that's all.

You have to balance the undoubted enhancement of performance and useability against the fact that you are destroying the originality of a now rare and historically important vehicle forever, and spending a lot of money doing so. The cost of a full spyder conversion will cost a lot more than sorting the head, gearbox synchro and wiring, even allowing for the sale of your existing parts.

I'd love to have a Spyder Elan for everyday use, if it were cost effective to build one with a new bodyshell/interior etc. so that it is an entirely new car. I'd think VERY carefully about destroying a saveable Lotus to create one, though.

Martin
----- Original Message -----
From: Pete Taylor
To: ***@***.***
Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2005 8:25 AM
Subject: Re: [LotusElan.net] Anyone with Zetec-in-baby-Elan experience?


I spoke to Wiggy at Spyder earlier this year, at that time they had done
six Zetecs into Elan+0 cars. They have done about 60 into the +2, the
reason for the imbalance is that you can buy four knackered +2s for the
cost of one +0. Imho there is no problem with changing the spec of your
car, it's your property after all. Twin Cams have been fitted to Elites,
without too much derision from the "keep it original brigade" and now
Honda engines are being fitted to Elises by some folks.

Cheers,
Pete.
"Martin Stuart"
 

PostPost by: Jeff Kyle » Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:04 pm

Martin Stuart wrote:
I think you need to recognise that this is more than just an engine
transplant. A Honda conversion on an Elise is easily reversible and
retains the original chassis, suspension, brakes etc.; the only thing
changed is the engine/gearbox. And lets be honest, the UK Elise
market is just about saturated, so modifying the car in this way will
probably enhance its saleability.

True; though honestly I would suspect that a Zetec Elan, done properly,
will be as or more valuable than a stock one. But since none have gone
up for sale (that I'm aware of), that's just a guess. Since I have no
plans to sell the car any time soon, that doesn't concern me.

Flared fenders are reversible, if (or, more
likely, when) Elans become sufficiently precious that originality is
crucial.

I think it'd be a mistake to get rid of these. I'm extremely fond of
them. :)

You have to balance the undoubted enhancement of performance and
useability against the fact that you are destroying the originality
of a now rare and historically important vehicle forever, and
spending a lot of money doing so. The cost of a full spyder
conversion will cost a lot more than sorting the head, gearbox
synchro and wiring, even allowing for the sale of your existing
parts.

I'd love to have a Spyder Elan for everyday use, if it were cost
effective to build one with a new bodyshell/interior etc. so that it
is an entirely new car. I'd think VERY carefully about destroying a
saveable Lotus to create one, though.

All points that I've thought about, which is why I'm very iffy on doing
this project at all. I go back and forth. The siren song of bulletproof
reliability, gobs of power, and even better handling is very tempting
though - I guess, basically, it'd be great fun to have a Caterham with
an Elan body.

Although I'm not sure that I agree that I'd be "destroying" the car -
after all, someone concerned with originality could always source a
stock chassis and related bits just in the same way that the Spyder
parts go underneath a Zetec Elan. Of course, should originality become
so important, you'd have a fair number of folks with Spyder chassises
and/or CV joints and/or suspensions and stock twincam engines having to
go back to the old-fashioned chassis, donuts, etc.

At this point, I'm just thinking and researching. Frankly if someone
told me that the project was incredibly difficult and a bit cludgy, I
wouldn't be disappointed, as that would make the decision easier!

I'd love to be able to keep this car as is and find a really tatty Elan
and do the Zetec conversion on it, but I have neither the garage space
nor bucks for such an endeavor. Sigh...
Jeff Kyle
 

PostPost by: tvacc » Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:23 pm

I am the one that can speak to the originality of Jeff's car..as I was the
one the modified it.



It was my first Lotus.back in 1972.and somebody before me had already cut
the wheel wheels with a jig saw when I got the car with a blown engine. I
bought a set of flares from EBY racing and put them on. The car had an
original red interior.which I know now was only 1 of 6 made. I proceeded to
replace the red interior..in very bad condition by the way..with a white
naugahyde..(yes guys..you have to remember there were very few Elans in
those days..and you could not even get a side window.much less an interior).
I was also a very poor college student..and we actually sewed the interior
ourselves.



As to the suspension.I wanted to run larger tires.(why not.I did have the
room with the flares) so I modified the rear suspension by cutting off the
perches and making up an adjustable rear suspension using of all
things.threaded pipe. This worked great.and I would still recommend if
somebody wanted to make a cheap adjustable rear suspension.do it the same
way.



It all worked and I had to sell the car in 1982..as I was a starving Pizza
shop owner that owed NYS sales tax.too much money.



Jeff bought the car.two owners later...about 15 years later.



Jeff should not be held responsible for the modified nature of this Elan.it
was me and I take full responsibility for everything but the cutting of the
wheel wells.which were done before I got it..



In no way is this car going to be hurt.or is the Lotus name going to be
besmirched by Jeff modifying it. I can say that this car has a lot of great
Karma in it. I used that car all the way through college.had a lot of dates
in that car (and all that entails..)I met me wife in that car.my wife and I
went on our first overnight trip in that car.etc..etc. I LOVED THAT CAR.AND
IT LOVED ME BACK.ME AND THAT CAR HAD A GREAT TIME.





I hope Jeff did not mind me posting this.



If I were Jeff.I would put a Zetec in it..and I have told him so already.
Even have a 1.8 here he can have.but I think he is looking at a 2 liter.





Regards



Tony Vaccaro



_____

From: ***@***.***lto:***@***.*** Behalf
Of Jeff Kyle
Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2005 10:04 AM
To: ***@***.***
Subject: Re: [LotusElan.net] Anyone with Zetec-in-baby-Elan experience?



Martin Stuart wrote:
I think you need to recognise that this is more than just an engine
transplant. A Honda conversion on an Elise is easily reversible and
retains the original chassis, suspension, brakes etc.; the only thing
changed is the engine/gearbox. And lets be honest, the UK Elise
market is just about saturated, so modifying the car in this way will
probably enhance its saleability.

True; though honestly I would suspect that a Zetec Elan, done properly,
will be as or more valuable than a stock one. But since none have gone
up for sale (that I'm aware of), that's just a guess. Since I have no
plans to sell the car any time soon, that doesn't concern me.

Flared fenders are reversible, if (or, more
likely, when) Elans become sufficiently precious that originality is
crucial.

I think it'd be a mistake to get rid of these. I'm extremely fond of
them. :)

You have to balance the undoubted enhancement of performance and
useability against the fact that you are destroying the originality
of a now rare and historically important vehicle forever, and
spending a lot of money doing so. The cost of a full spyder
conversion will cost a lot more than sorting the head, gearbox
synchro and wiring, even allowing for the sale of your existing
parts.

I'd love to have a Spyder Elan for everyday use, if it were cost
effective to build one with a new bodyshell/interior etc. so that it
is an entirely new car. I'd think VERY carefully about destroying a
saveable Lotus to create one, though.

All points that I've thought about, which is why I'm very iffy on doing
this project at all. I go back and forth. The siren song of bulletproof
reliability, gobs of power, and even better handling is very tempting
though - I guess, basically, it'd be great fun to have a Caterham with
an Elan body.

Although I'm not sure that I agree that I'd be "destroying" the car -
after all, someone concerned with originality could always source a
stock chassis and related bits just in the same way that the Spyder
parts go underneath a Zetec Elan. Of course, should originality become
so important, you'd have a fair number of folks with Spyder chassises
and/or CV joints and/or suspensions and stock twincam engines having to
go back to the old-fashioned chassis, donuts, etc.

At this point, I'm just thinking and researching. Frankly if someone
told me that the project was incredibly difficult and a bit cludgy, I
wouldn't be disappointed, as that would make the decision easier!

I'd love to be able to keep this car as is and find a really tatty Elan
and do the Zetec conversion on it, but I have neither the garage space
nor bucks for such an endeavor. Sigh...







To search the mailing list archives:
http://www.escribe.com/automotive/europ ... index.html

CopyrightC LotusElan.net and the author:





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_____
Tony Vaccaro
http://www.lotusowners.com
LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York)
Drive Fast Take Chances
71 Spyder Elan, ElanGTS, 93 Caterham, 05 Elise,
99 Elise190, 91 M100 Elan, 74 Europa, 72 Europa JPS #15, 68 Elan Coupe RHD
User avatar
tvacc
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Location: Buffalo NY

PostPost by: saildrive2001 » Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:48 pm

I agree with Martin. Don't destroy the car by fitting a Zetec or any other
engine than a twink. Part of the original appeal of the Elan was & still is
the twink engine. These cars are getting rarer & we should preserve as many
as possible in their original condition. Nobody would think of putting a
Ford Mustang V8 into a Duesenberg so please don't put a Zetec in an Elan.
Keith Marshall,
An old guy who is the original owner of his Elan.

From: "Martin Stuart" <***@***.***>
Subject: Re: Anyone with Zetec-in-baby-Elan experience?

I'm not against the Zetec Elan conversion and as Pete says, it's your car
and you have a perfect right to do what you want with it.

But...

I think you need to recognise that this is more than just an engine
transplant. A Honda conversion on an Elise is easily reversible and retains
the original chassis, suspension, brakes etc.; the only thing changed is the
engine/gearbox. And lets be honest, the UK Elise market is just about
saturated, so modifying the car in this way will probably enhance its
saleability.

My understanding of the Spyder Elan conversion is that the whole drivetrain,
chassis, suspension, brakes, steering, hubs and wheels are changed to modern
Spyder/Ford components. Lets be honest, what you are left with is NOT a
Lotus...it's a Spyder, with a Lotus bodyshell. It doesn't even retain the
same suspension geometry, so it's not going to handle or behave the same as
an Elan.

Unless you retain the original Elan chassis and running gear, the conversion
is not reversible...you have thrown too much of the original car away.
Flared fenders are reversible, if (or, more likely, when) Elans become
sufficiently precious that originality is crucial. If you have Spyder
converted your car, you are left with a hacked-about bodyshell and a chassis
plate, and that's all.

You have to balance the undoubted enhancement of performance and useability
against the fact that you are destroying the originality of a now rare and
historically important vehicle forever, and spending a lot of money doing
so. The cost of a full spyder conversion will cost a lot more than sorting
the head, gearbox synchro and wiring, even allowing for the sale of your
existing parts.

I'd love to have a Spyder Elan for everyday use, if it were cost effective
to build one with a new bodyshell/interior etc. so that it is an entirely
new car. I'd think VERY carefully about destroying a saveable Lotus to
create one, though.

Martin
----- Original Message -----
From: Pete Taylor
To: ***@***.***
Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2005 8:25 AM
Subject: Re: [LotusElan.net] Anyone with Zetec-in-baby-Elan experience?


I spoke to Wiggy at Spyder earlier this year, at that time they had done
six Zetecs into Elan+0 cars. They have done about 60 into the +2, the
reason for the imbalance is that you can buy four knackered +2s for the
cost of one +0. Imho there is no problem with changing the spec of your
car, it's your property after all. Twin Cams have been fitted to Elites,
without too much derision from the "keep it original brigade" and now
Honda engines are being fitted to Elises by some folks.

Cheers,
Pete.







________________________________________________________________________
Keith Marshall
69 S4 SE DHC RHD Original owner
saildrive2001
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Posts: 499
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Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPost by: tvacc » Sat Sep 03, 2005 3:48 pm

Guys.these cars are to be enjoyed. Whatever floats your boat. Jeff is
never going to sell the car..so if he wants to modify it.then he should. And
since this car is far from original..it is do a disservice to no one. I
disagree as to the cars are getting rarer and rarer. They were rare back in
1972 when nobody was taking care of them. I remember going to LOGs in the
eighties..and there were always 4 or 5 Elans in terrible shape.in some sort
of disrepair.or in some stage of restoration. Today..almost every Elan I see
is in good shape. More and more of them are being found and brought back to
life. And with the rising prices..it is finally economical to do so.



Jeffs Elan is a real drivers car. The wide wheel wells and stiff suspension
make it a real drivers car.and it could use more power to really take
advantage of it. The twin cam is a pain the arss.I know. I have owned many
of them. The water pump.the shimming..the oil leaks..the generator.the
cooling.



Sorry guys..but when I get into a car these days..all I want to do is just
DRIVE it. Not saying that is what Jeff wants to do..but when there is such a
nice engine that would give the Elan a fantasic power to weight ratio .so
available.and the car is like Jeffs.I would do it.



Now if it was a pristine 66 S2 or a 72 Sprint in great shape.I see your
point..but it is not. Don't rain on his parade, when for all intensive
purposes..he is already wet.



Tony Vaccaro



_____

From: ***@***.***lto:***@***.*** Behalf
Of Keith I Marshall
Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2005 10:48 AM
To: ***@***.***
Subject: [LotusElan.net] Anyone with Zetec-in-baby-Elan experience?



I agree with Martin. Don't destroy the car by fitting a Zetec or any other
engine than a twink. Part of the original appeal of the Elan was & still is
the twink engine. These cars are getting rarer & we should preserve as many
as possible in their original condition. Nobody would think of putting a
Ford Mustang V8 into a Duesenberg so please don't put a Zetec in an Elan.
Keith Marshall,
An old guy who is the original owner of his Elan.

From: "Martin Stuart" <***@***.***>
Subject: Re: Anyone with Zetec-in-baby-Elan experience?

I'm not against the Zetec Elan conversion and as Pete says, it's your car
and you have a perfect right to do what you want with it.

But...

I think you need to recognise that this is more than just an engine
transplant. A Honda conversion on an Elise is easily reversible and retains
the original chassis, suspension, brakes etc.; the only thing changed is the

engine/gearbox. And lets be honest, the UK Elise market is just about
saturated, so modifying the car in this way will probably enhance its
saleability.

My understanding of the Spyder Elan conversion is that the whole drivetrain,

chassis, suspension, brakes, steering, hubs and wheels are changed to modern

Spyder/Ford components. Lets be honest, what you are left with is NOT a
Lotus...it's a Spyder, with a Lotus bodyshell. It doesn't even retain the
same suspension geometry, so it's not going to handle or behave the same as
an Elan.

Unless you retain the original Elan chassis and running gear, the conversion

is not reversible...you have thrown too much of the original car away.
Flared fenders are reversible, if (or, more likely, when) Elans become
sufficiently precious that originality is crucial. If you have Spyder
converted your car, you are left with a hacked-about bodyshell and a chassis

plate, and that's all.

You have to balance the undoubted enhancement of performance and useability
against the fact that you are destroying the originality of a now rare and
historically important vehicle forever, and spending a lot of money doing
so. The cost of a full spyder conversion will cost a lot more than sorting
the head, gearbox synchro and wiring, even allowing for the sale of your
existing parts.

I'd love to have a Spyder Elan for everyday use, if it were cost effective
to build one with a new bodyshell/interior etc. so that it is an entirely
new car. I'd think VERY carefully about destroying a saveable Lotus to
create one, though.

Martin
----- Original Message -----
From: Pete Taylor
To: ***@***.***
Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2005 8:25 AM
Subject: Re: [LotusElan.net] Anyone with Zetec-in-baby-Elan experience?


I spoke to Wiggy at Spyder earlier this year, at that time they had done
six Zetecs into Elan+0 cars. They have done about 60 into the +2, the
reason for the imbalance is that you can buy four knackered +2s for the
cost of one +0. Imho there is no problem with changing the spec of your
car, it's your property after all. Twin Cams have been fitted to Elites,
without too much derision from the "keep it original brigade" and now
Honda engines are being fitted to Elises by some folks.

Cheers,
Pete.







________________________________________________________________________






To search the mailing list archives:
http://www.escribe.com/automotive/europ ... index.html

CopyrightC LotusElan.net and the author:





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PostPost by: simon.mitchell » Sat Sep 03, 2005 6:12 pm

Jeff,

Having recently finished a full Zetec conversion of my Plus 2 I can
sympathise with your dilemma. My car needed a full rebuild and it was a
choice between the Zetec and restoring it to standard spec. I reckoned that
the costs were going to be similar but what swayed it for me was that I
wanted to use the car every day and didn't want to be forever fixing it -
oh, and the 200bhp potential and better handling played a part too..

The conversion itself was fairly straightforward. I took about 18 months to
finish (including a break imposed by my wife to re-fit our kitchen!) but the
bulk of that time was spent repairing and spraying the body. I used a
scrapyard engine and, once I had the bits, built the new rolling chassis in
a couple of weekends. I think that if you're not doing anything to the body
or interior you could complete the whole conversion in a few weekends at a
push. I didn't have any experience with engine management or fuel injection
but again it was simple to connect up - and Andy at Spyder was always
willing to spend time explaining things if I wasn't sure.

Now that it's finished I'm absolutely convinced that it was the right
decision - the car is a hoot to drive; docile around town but really flies
when you floor it. It's also economical to run and is probably worth more
than an equivalent car in 'standard' spec due to it's comparitive rarity -
although like you I can't see myself selling it. Enhanced rather than
destroyed, I think.

-----Original Message-----
From: ***@***.***lto:***@***.***
Behalf Of Jeff Kyle
Sent: 03 September 2005 15:04
To: ***@***.***
Subject: Re: [LotusElan.net] Anyone with Zetec-in-baby-Elan experience?


Martin Stuart wrote:
I think you need to recognise that this is more than just an engine
transplant. A Honda conversion on an Elise is easily reversible and
retains the original chassis, suspension, brakes etc.; the only thing
changed is the engine/gearbox. And lets be honest, the UK Elise
market is just about saturated, so modifying the car in this way will
probably enhance its saleability.

True; though honestly I would suspect that a Zetec Elan, done properly,
will be as or more valuable than a stock one. But since none have gone
up for sale (that I'm aware of), that's just a guess. Since I have no
plans to sell the car any time soon, that doesn't concern me.

Flared fenders are reversible, if (or, more
likely, when) Elans become sufficiently precious that originality is
crucial.

I think it'd be a mistake to get rid of these. I'm extremely fond of
them. :)

You have to balance the undoubted enhancement of performance and
useability against the fact that you are destroying the originality
of a now rare and historically important vehicle forever, and
spending a lot of money doing so. The cost of a full spyder
conversion will cost a lot more than sorting the head, gearbox
synchro and wiring, even allowing for the sale of your existing
parts.

I'd love to have a Spyder Elan for everyday use, if it were cost
effective to build one with a new bodyshell/interior etc. so that it
is an entirely new car. I'd think VERY carefully about destroying a
saveable Lotus to create one, though.

All points that I've thought about, which is why I'm very iffy on doing
this project at all. I go back and forth. The siren song of bulletproof
reliability, gobs of power, and even better handling is very tempting
though - I guess, basically, it'd be great fun to have a Caterham with
an Elan body.

Although I'm not sure that I agree that I'd be "destroying" the car -
after all, someone concerned with originality could always source a
stock chassis and related bits just in the same way that the Spyder
parts go underneath a Zetec Elan. Of course, should originality become
so important, you'd have a fair number of folks with Spyder chassises
and/or CV joints and/or suspensions and stock twincam engines having to
go back to the old-fashioned chassis, donuts, etc.

At this point, I'm just thinking and researching. Frankly if someone
told me that the project was incredibly difficult and a bit cludgy, I
wouldn't be disappointed, as that would make the decision easier!

I'd love to be able to keep this car as is and find a really tatty Elan
and do the Zetec conversion on it, but I have neither the garage space
nor bucks for such an endeavor. Sigh...








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PostPost by: v7slr » Sat Sep 03, 2005 6:28 pm

Jeff, there's a thread on the +2 web forum sparked off by my play with a
Spyder +2 a couple of months back. I loved it and think it is nothing but an
improvement on the original Lotus. All that needs to be said has been said
on that forum but suffice to say there are those that think it's heresy to
turn an original Lotus into anything else, and there's those of us that
think originality is overrated. Let's face it, the twink is an expensive
engine to rebuild and is anything but reliable (in a modern sense). It
doesn't produce enough power so why not go with the Zetec?



Someone on the forum asked whether Chapman would have been happy with
"originality" or would he have modified with modern components. I think I
know the answer to that one.



I've had all I could stomach from the Caterham/Lotus crowd when I owned a
Caterham, to the point where I removed all the Caterham badges from my car
and just modified it to my heart's content. I now need a 4-seater and the +2
is my choice of car but I'll be damned if I want an original when I can have
what is effectively a modern car with old car looks and a VIN plate that
gives me carte blanche come MoT time (emissions are a problem in the UK for
modern cars).



In fact, such is my desire to replicate my Caterham's power with the +2 that
I'm considering an Audi turbo engine and sequential gearbox. 320bhp ought to
motivate it well enough. There's a chap on the web forum who's planning a
Cos turbo conversion to a standard Elan.



Go for it and enjoy the looks on people's faces when you blast past them in
their modern jelly-mould machines. :-)



-----Original Message-----
From: ***@***.***lto:***@***.*** Behalf
Of Jeff Kyle
Sent: 03 September 2005 00:58
To: ***@***.***
Subject: [LotusElan.net] Anyone with Zetec-in-baby-Elan experience?



I'm considering doing a Spyder/Zetec conversion on my S2... and it looks
like most of the talk on the list about Zetec conversions was about a
year ago. Spyder still doesn't list any information about baby Elan
conversions, but supposedly they do them. I'm curious if anyone has done
the swap and what their experiences were.

My situation is that I put a chunk of money into my Elan's Weber head a
couple years ago but it wasn't done right and I'm facing putting another
chunk of money into it. The mechanical bits of the car are mostly good
but it could probably use any number of wear items, a second-gear
synchro, etc. I'm thinking that a Zetec conversion in a Spyder chassis
will effectively make the car mechanically new, give me an excuse to do
the rewiring job I've been putting off, maybe I can finally get the
vacuum headlights working right, and I'll gain a huge amount of power
and improved handling in the process (better mileage, too.) Hopefully
selling the existing mechanical parts of the car will go a ways towards
offsetting the cost.

I've extremely torn between the desire to make it faster and more
reliable, and the desire to keep it more of a "true" Lotus. But then,
the car got flared fenders three decades ago (it comfortably fits
205/60/13 tires) so it will never be original... it's definitely more of
a driver than a show car.







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PostPost by: Jeff Kyle » Sat Sep 03, 2005 9:24 pm

Nigel Marston wrote:
Jeff, there's a thread on the +2 web forum sparked off by my play with a
Spyder +2 a couple of months back. I loved it and think it is nothing but an
improvement on the original Lotus. All that needs to be said has been said
on that forum but suffice to say there are those that think it's heresy to
turn an original Lotus into anything else, and there's those of us that
think originality is overrated. Let's face it, the twink is an expensive
engine to rebuild and is anything but reliable (in a modern sense). It
doesn't produce enough power so why not go with the Zetec?

Yes, I was reading that thread a little bit. Some interesting info but
baby Elan info is as rare as hen's teeth (I guess it makes sense, if
Spyder has only done six of them!) If I do this, it'll be next year at
the very earliest, so perhaps they'll have more info then.

To be fair, my twink has been pretty good, the annoyance now is that due
to seats being pounded deep in the head, the valves cannot be adjusted
right so it ticks like mad when running. This also means that it's
difficult to get the car tuned right. It generally runs OK but certainly
not like it should. I'm figuring I'm looking at at least a couple grand
to get the head right... and I'll still be looking at maybe slightly
over 100hp. My daily driver is a Subaru STi so I'm used to just a wee
bit more acceleration than the poor Elan can do!

Someone on the forum asked whether Chapman would have been happy with
"originality" or would he have modified with modern components. I think I
know the answer to that one.

Well, that's very true, I don't think he's turning over in his grave,
and from what I've heard, Club Lotus completely approves of the Zetec
conversion. On most cars the engine is the heart of the car - as far as
I'm concerned, with a Lotus, the engine is just what makes the wheels go
round, and the suspension and lightweight design is what makes it a
Lotus. As few seem to frown on a Spyder chassis, enhanced suspension, or
CV joints, I'm not sure that it's fair to go after a Zetec conversion,
since the chassis and suspension are really the most Lotus-y parts. If
you want to get real nit-picky - how many are running electronic
ignition, exhaust headers, or a modern Japanese starter? (2 out of three
for me - mine is still positive ground with points, though it used to
have a Piranha ignition system before I owned it.) Yes, a full Zetec
conversion leaves precious little original Lotus mechanical parts, but I
do think that the design is very true to Chapman's intentions.

Like Tony said, the car has a slightly cut-up chassis, flares, big
tires, non-original interior, the dashboard was made from aircraft
plywood by the last owner and has way more gauges than stock (no radio
though, and that's the way I like it!), it has a tiny Racemark steering
wheel, and it's missing a fair amount of small trim pieces. No matter
which way I go with the engine/chassis, I'm definitely going to put in a
Spyder rollbar, so I can have shoulder belts and a little bit of side
protection. The point is that the car will never be mistaken for being
original. If I do the Zetec, the twincam won't be tossed in the trash
but will hopefully go to help keep another Lotus burbling away. (Ditto
all the other pieces.) Also like Tony said, the car is there to be
driven, and I haven't been driving it like I'd like to because I get
frustrated with some of the little problems. After the conversion, I'd
probably be comfortable driving it any distance.

It also can be stated that the bigger tires affect the feel of the car,
too, so mine has already lost the light feel that Chapman originally
had. My friend who I bought this car from recently purchased another S2,
which is basically in completely stick trim and is extremely nice. I got
a chance to drive it and it had a slightly different feel than mine.
Yes, the proper-running twink that it had ran wonderfully and sounded
glorious. I would never consider converting such a nice car. Mine...
well, it's a pretty good candidate, I think. Note that it'll still look
basically stock on the outside - no spoilers, ultra-low-profile tires,
carbon-fiber trim, etc. And it'll still have the original, worn Lotus
badge on the front, not a shiny new one.

Here's a more specific question. Has anyone done of these conversions in
the USA? I'm wondering how difficult it is to get one of the MT75
transmissions, it sounds like they were never put in a car sold on this
side of the pond.
Jeff Kyle
 

PostPost by: elansprint71 » Sat Sep 03, 2005 9:56 pm

Jeff Kyle wrote:

Yes, I was reading that thread a little bit. Some interesting info but
baby Elan info is as rare as hen's teeth.....


Jeff,
I put Spyder chassis into my 72 Sprint a couple of years ago, at the
same time I fitted the Spyder double wishbone rear suspension, Mick
Miller CV drive shafts, +2 front brakes and Minilite wheels with 175x70
tyres. Of course the ride and handling was always extra-ordinary before,
now it is even better, the car is just so much quicker through the turns
and generally nicer to drive.
As for the gearbox you mention, I think that was fitted to the Ford
Sierra in Europe, which, iirc, was sold as the Mercury Merkur (or
something like that) in the US. I'm not totally sure on that, so check
before buying! ;-)
None of the modifications I have done are irreversible (I have all the
original parts except the servo/booster, which was shot anyway). The
only thing I had not figured out properly before I did this conversion
was that with the twin wishbone set-up, the wheel articulates in a more
vertical plane than with the Chapman strut so I had to shave the wheel
arch/fender lip and it took some while to set the ride height to stop
the edge of the wider tyre tread from contacting the inside of the flare
of the S4 wheel arch. With the Chapman set-up the wheel tucks neatly
under the bodywork as the suspension compresses, so you can set a much
lower ride height.

If I had the cash, a 180 bhp 2 litre Zetec would be in there now!

Cheers,
Pete.
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PostPost by: v7slr » Sat Sep 03, 2005 10:14 pm

From: Jeff Kyle

Here's a more specific question. Has anyone done of these conversions in
the USA? I'm wondering how difficult it is to get one of the MT75
transmissions, it sounds like they were never put in a car sold on this
side of the pond.





I've just bought an MT75 to use as a "mule" for determining the dimensions I
need for a sequential box. The MT75 was the only thing I didn't like about
the Spyder. They shorten the remote change so much that the H pattern gets
distorted. For example, 1st is where you'd think it should be but 2nd was
too short a throw. didn't feel like it was "in". Getting 3rd involved
pushing the lever through an arc. 4th was down and to the left, and 5th was
pretty easy to get.



Going back down the box was hard. You have to pull the lever from 5th
without trying to get 4th. Let it fall into 4th and it'll work. Actually
"try" and you'll get 2nd. It's pretty horrible which is why I've spent all
my spare time since then looking for an alternative. Problem is, there are
no alternatives that are short enough. The type-9's and their derivatives
are all too long, so I ended up looking at sequentials. and once I went down
that road I started looking at serious power too. Oh, it's a slippery slope
this modification lark. :-)
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PostPost by: Bill » Sun Sep 04, 2005 1:37 am

Hi all

I would like to add my 5 cents worth here as well. I am in western Canada so dealing with GB vendors is a pain.

I am the original owner of 26/0538 a 1963 Elan 1600 (S1) that I bought new from the factory. It is in original condition and has recently been totallyrestored. It is a constant show winner with all the period accessories including an upgrade to the then stage 2 engine mods (pre Sprint form). I would not touch its originality for naught. (although it does have Pertronics ignition and a Nissan starter to minimize normal problems.)

It is an original drivers delight

I also have a complete '65 S2 (26/4814) roadster to restore.

I would love to upgrade the engine / drive train if practical on this to more modern - if only to keep the Twink engine as a spare for the S1, as wellas to provide more modern drivability of course.

If someone out there has a practical solution, Zetec or whatever, I would appreciate any info. I would prefer to do this on the original chassis (modsOK by me) and not go to a Spyder unit.

Has it been done this way before?

Info anyone??

Keep your stick on the ice.

Bill
----- Original Message -----
From: Jeff Kyle
To: ***@***.***
Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2005 2:24 PM
Subject: Re: [LotusElan.net] Anyone with Zetec-in-baby-Elan experience?


Nigel Marston wrote:
Jeff, there's a thread on the +2 web forum sparked off by my play with a
Spyder +2 a couple of months back. I loved it and think it is nothing but an
improvement on the original Lotus. All that needs to be said has been said
on that forum but suffice to say there are those that think it's heresyto
turn an original Lotus into anything else, and there's those of us that
think originality is overrated. Let's face it, the twink is an expensive
engine to rebuild and is anything but reliable (in a modern sense). It
doesn't produce enough power so why not go with the Zetec?

Yes, I was reading that thread a little bit. Some interesting info but
baby Elan info is as rare as hen's teeth (I guess it makes sense, if
Spyder has only done six of them!) If I do this, it'll be next year at
the very earliest, so perhaps they'll have more info then.

To be fair, my twink has been pretty good, the annoyance now is that due
to seats being pounded deep in the head, the valves cannot be adjusted
right so it ticks like mad when running. This also means that it's
difficult to get the car tuned right. It generally runs OK but certainly
not like it should. I'm figuring I'm looking at at least a couple grand
to get the head right... and I'll still be looking at maybe slightly
over 100hp. My daily driver is a Subaru STi so I'm used to just a wee
bit more acceleration than the poor Elan can do!

Someone on the forum asked whether Chapman would have been happy with
"originality" or would he have modified with modern components. I thinkI
know the answer to that one.

Well, that's very true, I don't think he's turning over in his grave,
and from what I've heard, Club Lotus completely approves of the Zetec
conversion. On most cars the engine is the heart of the car - as far as
I'm concerned, with a Lotus, the engine is just what makes the wheels go
round, and the suspension and lightweight design is what makes it a
Lotus. As few seem to frown on a Spyder chassis, enhanced suspension, or
CV joints, I'm not sure that it's fair to go after a Zetec conversion,
since the chassis and suspension are really the most Lotus-y parts. If
you want to get real nit-picky - how many are running electronic
ignition, exhaust headers, or a modern Japanese starter? (2 out of three
for me - mine is still positive ground with points, though it used to
have a Piranha ignition system before I owned it.) Yes, a full Zetec
conversion leaves precious little original Lotus mechanical parts, but I
do think that the design is very true to Chapman's intentions.

Like Tony said, the car has a slightly cut-up chassis, flares, big
tires, non-original interior, the dashboard was made from aircraft
plywood by the last owner and has way more gauges than stock (no radio
though, and that's the way I like it!), it has a tiny Racemark steering
wheel, and it's missing a fair amount of small trim pieces. No matter
which way I go with the engine/chassis, I'm definitely going to put in a
Spyder rollbar, so I can have shoulder belts and a little bit of side
protection. The point is that the car will never be mistaken for being
original. If I do the Zetec, the twincam won't be tossed in the trash
but will hopefully go to help keep another Lotus burbling away. (Ditto
all the other pieces.) Also like Tony said, the car is there to be
driven, and I haven't been driving it like I'd like to because I get
frustrated with some of the little problems. After the conversion, I'd
probably be comfortable driving it any distance.

It also can be stated that the bigger tires affect the feel of the car,
too, so mine has already lost the light feel that Chapman originally
had. My friend who I bought this car from recently purchased another S2,
which is basically in completely stick trim and is extremely nice. I got
a chance to drive it and it had a slightly different feel than mine.
Yes, the proper-running twink that it had ran wonderfully and sounded
glorious. I would never consider converting such a nice car. Mine...
well, it's a pretty good candidate, I think. Note that it'll still look
basically stock on the outside - no spoilers, ultra-low-profile tires,
carbon-fiber trim, etc. And it'll still have the original, worn Lotus
badge on the front, not a shiny new one.

Here's a more specific question. Has anyone done of these conversions in
the USA? I'm wondering how difficult it is to get one of the MT75
transmissions, it sounds like they were never put in a car sold on this
side of the pond.






To search the mailing list archives:
http://www.escribe.com/automotive/europ ... index.html






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PostPost by: type36lotus » Mon Sep 05, 2005 10:19 pm

I think this says it all "They have done about 60 into the +2, the
reason for the imbalance is that you can buy four knackered +2s for
the cost of one +0."

Desirability = value. Originality = exclusivity. It is much more
costly to keep something original. As I have said it the past, do as
you please it simply makes my nearly original Elan (alt & starter)
that much more rare and therefore more valuable. There many, many
fun to drive cars out there, my WRX comes to mind. Why not simply
buy one with a warranty and all the conveniences of life if that is
what you want? Why would you buy something unique only to make it
common? My WRX is dead reliable and fun. When I want to different
and have fun I take the Elan out.

Ooooh I've probably made ~someone~ unhappy.

Mike Geiger


--- In ***@***.***, Pete Taylor <[email protected]>
wrote:
I spoke to Wiggy at Spyder earlier this year, at that time they
had done

six Zetecs into Elan+0 cars. They have done about 60 into the +2,
the

reason for the imbalance is that you can buy four knackered +2s
for the

cost of one +0. Imho there is no problem with changing the spec of
your

car, it's your property after all. Twin Cams have been fitted to
Elites,

without too much derision from the "keep it original brigade" and
now

Honda engines are being fitted to Elises by some folks.

Cheers,
Pete.
Mike Geiger
66 S3 Coupe', no more :-(
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PostPost by: Jeff Kyle » Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:05 am

Michael Geiger wrote:
I think this says it all "They have done about 60 into the +2, the
reason for the imbalance is that you can buy four knackered +2s for
the cost of one +0."

Desirability = value. Originality = exclusivity. It is much more
costly to keep something original. As I have said it the past, do as
you please it simply makes my nearly original Elan (alt & starter)
that much more rare and therefore more valuable. There many, many
fun to drive cars out there, my WRX comes to mind. Why not simply
buy one with a warranty and all the conveniences of life if that is
what you want? Why would you buy something unique only to make it
common? My WRX is dead reliable and fun. When I want to different
and have fun I take the Elan out.

Ooooh I've probably made ~someone~ unhappy.

First off - I think the reason that you can get +2s for so cheap is that
for most people, they're just not very attractive. It's the same reason
that the Europa, 70s Elite, Eclat, etc, aren't very valuable. If you're
only interested in the value of what's in your garage - well, a Lotus of
any sort is probably not the best choice of cars.

As I said earlier, an '05 STi is my daily driver (traded in an '02 WRX)
so I'm well aware of the charm of the turbo Subaru. (Actually, I seem to
recall that in the US, Lotus considered the STi as a competitor of the
Elise... I guess they often appeal to the same people.)

However - last time I checked, an Elan with a Zetec engine and Spyder
chassis hardly counts as "common"; in fact, technically it's much more
unique than a stock Elan. (Unless you feel that the engine is the only
thing that matters, in which case, you obviously aren't interested in
the Elise, what with all those Celicas running around!) Whether or not
that's desirable is a question that everyone has to answer for themself.
There's certainly not many cars running around that are remotely like a
Zetec Elan, and I don't WANT the conveniences on my Lotus. (I prefer my
S2 Elan to later ones partly due to the lack of electric windows, etc.)

But have to fear, my car is already making yours more valuable by it's
non-originality; in fact I've often said that if circumstances ever
forced me to sell my Elan, I'd make a mold of the flares and then stick
'em on the Elan I'd buy when fortune turned my way again - I like 'em
that much. Original is fine if you're talking a 1960 Chrysler 300F (or
matching-numbers Hemi Road Runner or heck, a Model T) - but this is an
ELAN, a car that basically started life as a kit car and was meant to be
driven, not to be a museum piece. I'd also agree with what Tony said
earlier, there does not seem to be a severe shortage of nice Elans out
there.

Ah well. I'm still at least a year away from actually doing anything,
but I'm used to getting abuse about whether or not my car is "real" - I
used to own a Porsche 914. :)
Jeff Kyle
 
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