Lotus Elan

About to buy car but advice needed please!

PostPost by: Ashley68 » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:40 pm

Hi all, I'm just about to buy (well I hope I am pending advice) a S4 FHC. It's a Peter Day restoration with next to no miles since, about 600 I think.
I have no previous experience with these cars but I hear they can be expensive at times if things like water pumps go or if bodywork cracking needs to be repaired. How likely is it to be that I get one big bill after another with it? Buying is one thing, bit I'm not sure I want to take on something which turns out to be a burden.

I know it's impossible to predict this kind of thing, but a middle of the road opinion is what I'm after. I've looked at buying guides and I'm happy with those, but what's long term ownership likely to bring me I wonder??

Thanks to those who may find some time to answer!

Regards.
Last edited by Ashley68 on Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPost by: gherlt » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:53 pm

>but what's long term ownership likely to bring me I wonder??

an unknown appreciation of this car's dinamics.
There is nothing like it. I would prefer a DHC, but then it depends on your usage.
1964 S1 (engine ready, awainting body paint)
1967 S3 DHC (now adjusted by Brian Buckland, totally calm idle)
1969 S4 FHC (final interior stuff)
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PostPost by: gherlt » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:57 pm

Your car should be OK if its properly restored, but then also:
- when has restoration been done ? 600 miles, when ?
- where and how has the car been stored
- what has been done to the car during storage ? (oil change, hidraulics ?)

And what will be the costs ?
What are you able to do yourself ?
Any experience with classics ? What kind of ?
What do you want to do with your car ?

Answer those question to detail the starting point ...
1964 S1 (engine ready, awainting body paint)
1967 S3 DHC (now adjusted by Brian Buckland, totally calm idle)
1969 S4 FHC (final interior stuff)
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PostPost by: Ashley68 » Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:08 pm

gherlt wrote:Your car should be OK if its properly restored, but then also:
- when has restoration been done ? 600 miles, when ?
- where and how has the car been stored
- what has been done to the car during storage ? (oil change, hidraulics ?)

And what will be the costs ?
What are you able to do yourself ?
Any experience with classics ? What kind of ?
What do you want to do with your car ?

Answer those question to detail the starting point ...


Not sure when it was done, but it was certainly very much less than 10 years ago. Option 1 have just resprayed at a cost of ?6k due to micro blistering. Apparenlty it was stored in garage, the environment in that garage is unknown. I also don't know servicing whilst stored, bit it's a good question for the dealer (Paul Matty btw).

I have worked on a 30 year old MGB as far as mechanicals go, I don't have facilities for engine out or gearbox off kind of work, but for suspension, brakes, routine servicing and basic electrics I'm ok.

As for use it's going to do no more than 3k a year in dry weather only.
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PostPost by: Jas » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:14 am

Hi Ashley.

Welcome.

I have heard that Peter Day restorations are some of the best and Poul Matty is also very honest and fair, so I don't think that you need to worry.

I think that the bad reputation that you sometimes hear about Elans are from a time when they were neglected more than they were cherished.
So just drive and service the car regularly.

Enjoy.
Jannik
1969 S4-SE DHC
Eat one live toad the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:44 am

Jas wrote:I have heard that Peter Day restorations are some of the best and Poul Matty is also very honest and fair, so I don't think that you need to worry.


Couldn't agree more. Peter Day restorations command value in themselves, I gather he's not doing anymore :(
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PostPost by: martinbrowning » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:05 am

Hi Ashley,

I agree; Paul matty has an excellent reputation and stands by his work/cars. In fact I have purchased both a fully restored Sprint and a Europa Special from him, unseen, in recent times. I have been more than delighted. Option One by the way are an excellent company. I am one of many forum members who have had work done by them.
Yes, water pumps can be a problem but only if not correctly set up and tensioned. Matty's will have set it correctly. Other than that, regular servicing and oil changes at least every 5-6K will keep the car in top form.
So, buy it and drive it - there is nothing else like it!
Finally, there are many very learned and experienced members here who will always offer friendly advice/help.

Good luck

Martin B
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
72 Europa Special, 72 Sprint, 72 Plus 2
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PostPost by: Leo Leentvaar » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:24 am

Welcome Ashley,

I see you are close to owning a lovely car and welcome to these forums.
In my own opinion you are doing the right thing, buying the best car money can buy and at a specialist that has quite a good reputation.
Do realise though that most of the Elans by now have had a "restoration" of some sorts in their lives.If all the right things have been done to the car and it has been done by a specialsit that also had a good reputation for top class work, that's another benefit. Where any classic suffers, is lack of use.
In the end, these cars need to be enjoyed while driving and not withering away like wall flowers.
When I pruchased my car a couple of years ago, the people of this forum have been very helpful and there is a lot of knowlegde accumulated here.

Furthermore, it's hard top predict what bills would come over time, however if you properly maintain your car and service it, it should not cost you more than the average company hack. The benefit would be that the Elan retains it's value the company hack does not.

good luck and I am sure you will be enjoying owning one of the best driver?s cars ever built!!
1971 Sprint DHC
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:12 pm

Dear Ashley,

Please forgive my poor manners, welcome to the forum :)

Cheerio,

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PostPost by: Ashley68 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:13 pm

Thanks to all for the warm welcome and feedback. Looking forward to next weekend as I'll get my test drive! I expect
to become a regular here!
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PostPost by: reb53 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:41 am

Welcome Ashley,

By chance came across your car today, (red?), whilst leafing through a mag ( C & SC), as I stopped for an afternoon cuppa.

Decent price but looks like a decent car from someone who from all accounts looks after his customers.
At around 3K miles a year I would think you're in for a long, pretty much trouble free, period of the best motoring you've ever had.
Bear in mind that in the bad old days, before this forum and all the information contained therein, us old buggers still kept our cars going, usually on the smell of an oily rag as well.

Now days it's easy, ( ish...).
Assuming it drives ok, and it seems unlikely that it won't, BUY IT. You'll never regret it.
And if you think the test drive is amazing.....wait until you learn to drive it and find out what it'll really do!
Welcome aboard,

Cheers
Ralph.
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PostPost by: Ashley68 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:06 pm

reb53 wrote:Welcome Ashley,

By chance came across your car today, (red?), whilst leafing through a mag ( C & SC), as I stopped for an afternoon cuppa.

Decent price but looks like a decent car from someone who from all accounts looks after his customers.
At around 3K miles a year I would think you're in for a long, pretty much trouble free, period of the best motoring you've ever had.
Bear in mind that in the bad old days, before this forum and all the information contained therein, us old buggers still kept our cars going, usually on the smell of an oily rag as well.

Now days it's easy, ( ish...).
Assuming it drives ok, and it seems unlikely that it won't, BUY IT. You'll never regret it.
And if you think the test drive is amazing.....wait until you learn to drive it and find out what it'll really do!
Welcome aboard,

Cheers
Ralph.


It is red, which edition of the magazine was that in? I take it you found it in the classifieds?
I've got to say I can't wait to get the test drive done and arrange delivery. It's been too long getting this far!

I'm coming from a VX220 so it'll be an interesting transition. From comments here and all that I've read these cars reward good drivers but don't flatter bad ones. Finesse seems to be the byword regarding these cars.

I've noted the general preference for Weber or Dellorto carbs but also read some positive things about Stromberg cars and the fact they can suit road only cars in standard tune. Have to make my own mind up on that I guess.

Thanks for the welcome. Friendly place this!
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PostPost by: reb53 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:11 am

Hi again,

Paul Matty's ad in the December issue of Classic and Sportscar.
The magazine is now back at the library but I recall a couple of other Elans being advertised.
One was a DHC but seeing you're in the UK probably not a lot of use....... :)

The usual comparison that is made is with the MX5. I've only driven a couple of MX5s, one standard, and one with various mods, and found no similarities with an Elan. The MX5 seemed like pretty much every other small, competent, Japanese car. All controls light, well balanced, and easy to use. Not the slightly raw sense of involvement you get in an Elan which will let you know if you don't drive it with, as they say in horsey circles, a loose rein.
Trying to muscle/man handle it along will reward you with a erratic, "darty", ride as it tries to figure out what you want.

I suspect your first impression on getting in, and shutting the door, will be one of flimsiness.
There's a reason for that. It is.
Millions weren't spent making a bulletproof interior. There were other priorities as you will find out.
And don't forget, it is a 50 year old design so you can cut it a bit of slack !
Have fun,

Cheers
Ralph.
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PostPost by: jimj » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:18 am

Yes, Ralph is right, don`t have your expectations raised too high by the natural enthusiasm of enthusiasts or you`ll be disappointed. I love our Elan but I have a number of close friends with classic cars who love their completely different cars.
Firstly you need to REALLY want a classic car, then really value the specific qualities of an Elan. It may just not be your cup of tea....but I hope it is.
Jim
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PostPost by: Etienne 7 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:42 am

Hello,

The car is defined as sold on Paul Matty's website. Ashley, are you the lucky owner?

Regards,

Etienne
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