Lotus Elan

New Guy Advice

PostPost by: Nick Daffern » Sun May 06, 2012 6:34 pm

Hi All,
I've never owned an Elan but have always admired them. Never having even sat in one I wonder if I'll fit...I'm 6'3" with 13EE feet. Back in high school I used to dream about getting a Europa until I tried to wedge myself into one.
Any words of wisdom on how to go about finding a nice car, preferably something up here in Washington or Oregon? Are there any Lotus clubs in the Seattle area? Most of my experience is with BMW's and Porsches: I owned a '74 Alpina E9 for 30 years and sold it in 2004 to make room for a '58 Speedster.

Thanks
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Mon May 07, 2012 7:46 am

Hi and welcome

Lots of the tall guys have a +2. You may have to change the steering wheel to a smaller one and wear slim shoes?
Being 5 foot 8 I have no problem. Getting out is getting harder with age. :cry:

The best thing to do is go along to a lotus show and most people will let you have a sit inside.

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PostPost by: RedS4 » Tue May 08, 2012 3:24 am

Hi Nick
I am 122kg :oops: and fit into my S4 Fixed Head quite well. There is a fair amount of travel left in the seat runners. The previous owner was thinner but was 6' 3' and had no trouble...
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PostPost by: Steve G » Tue May 08, 2012 9:59 am

Hi Nick, Welcome to the forum. This is an area where I feel I can offer useful advice! I'm 6' 7" (2.01m), have a 38" inside leg and size 13 feet. I drive a 1970 S4. When I first bought the car, it had a Spyder rollover bar installed, with the side impact and footwell bars. This meant the seat had to be in the forward position. I just about managed to drive it home but it wasn't nice. After removing the rollover bar, I set the seats in the rear position and had enough room. It's worth mentioning that I have a TTR 26R steering wheel which is a bit smaller than the standard signature wheel. The main issue for me is legroom, particularly around the knees and there is no way I could drive the car with the standard size steering wheel. Headroom is fine, even with the roof up, my head doesn't touch the vinyl. I can't comment on the FHC (fixed head coupe) as I've never sat in one.

So in summary, at 6'3", you will have plenty of head and legroom in an Elan, and as the Plus Two has more room, those too.
You may find you will need to buy some very slim driving shoes, the Elan has very small pedals that are as close together as I've ever seen in a road car. I have large but relatively slim feet and can easily press all three pedals with one foot! The accelerator in particular is very narrow (less than an inch wide) so with 13EE feet you may find it's impossible to press the accelerator without touching the brake pedal. Works great for heel and toeing, not so great for emergency braking. This, I think, will be your only concern, you may require a modification to the pedal spacing which wouldn't be too hard as the brake and clutch pedals 'swap over' to the fluid cylinders behind the pedal box, so you could alter the lateral length of the pedal arms I imagine.

E9 eh? Where I just got my Elan rolling roaded, they have three E9 CSL race cars, beautiful things. That straight six with throttle bodies is one of the best sounds that exist.

http://www.cckhistoric.com/project/bmw-3-0-csl/
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PostPost by: Nick Daffern » Tue May 08, 2012 5:54 pm

Steve G: Wow, that's quite a story! Thanks for the info. I bought a BMW/Alpina CS new in '74 and never thought I'd sell it, ever. But, after 30 years I sold it to a nice guy who did a complete restoration on it and I got a Speedster. I still miss the Coupe, I just didn't have the garage space to keep it and the Speedster. Regarding the Elan, it seems like a '60's version of the "50's Speedster...simple, no frills, an elemental sports car. That appeals to me.

Thanks again.
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PostPost by: Nick Daffern » Tue May 08, 2012 6:00 pm

By the way, I apologize for double posting this topic both here and on the general Elan page. Sorry for the confusion.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Tue May 08, 2012 7:37 pm

Nick,
The pictures of the Alpina made it worth reading through 2 threads in different groups :wink:
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: Steve G » Wed May 09, 2012 10:10 am

Nick Daffern wrote:Steve G: Wow, that's quite a story! Thanks for the info. I bought a BMW/Alpina CS new in '74 and never thought I'd sell it, ever. But, after 30 years I sold it to a nice guy who did a complete restoration on it and I got a Speedster. I still miss the Coupe, I just didn't have the garage space to keep it and the Speedster. Regarding the Elan, it seems like a '60's version of the "50's Speedster...simple, no frills, an elemental sports car. That appeals to me.

Thanks again.


The E9 CS/CSL is a beautiful car, I seriously looked into buying a BMW 3.0 CS a few years ago, my friend had a 1968 2002 at the time (you can see it behind the Elan in my avatar) and I saw the advert for the CS whilst browsing classic BMWs. Knowing nothing about the cars I nearly bought one on looks alone. That must have pained you to sell it, but I'm sure seeing the Speedster in your garage more than eased the pain!

I really hope you decide to get an Elan, they're just so much fun to drive, when everything is working, on the right road and when the sun is shining, you almost forget you're even in a car, you're just travelling down the road in an extension of yourself, bit hard to describe really, I think the Japanese call it Jinba ittai, meaning person and horse as one body, which funnily enough Mazda used for the Elan S5 (MX-5). Find an owner in your neck of the woods and take one for a test drive. I think you'll know whether you're going to own one in the first 100 yards (as long as there's a corner or two in there!).
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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Wed May 09, 2012 4:27 pm

Hi Nick,

I also own an e9, although it is a 2800cs, which I dearly love, but driving is a much different experience to an Elan. If I were going to drive 1,200 miles to Chicago on a mix of Interstate and blue highways (Motorways and A roads for you Brits) I would pick the keys to the cs without a moments hesitation, especially if it were for a long stay and Ann and her "necessities" were to be packed.

But if I were to go driving in the mountains near my home for 250 miles to Grand Junction CO on blue highways I would take the Elan and restrict Ann to what would fit. There has never been a car in my ownership experience which includes Austin Healey Sprite and 3000, BMW 2002, 2800cs, M6 and 540i Touring, Corvair Fitch Sprint, Lotus Elite Climax, Esprit, Eleven, Plus 2, Europa, and Seven (with the possible exception of the Seven on really twisty roads) that is as fine a partner for Road Dancing as the Elan. As Steve G wrote, you will just KNOW you are in something completely different within 100 yards although the conviction may not appear until you have put on 100 miles. Then when you get out of the car still relaxed and comfortable despite the high average speed you maintained, and the grin on your face won't diminish for an hour...then you will know.

As the drug dealer says, "Just try a bit..." :D
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PostPost by: Nick Daffern » Thu May 10, 2012 8:02 am

Steve G: Back in the day, the Coupe was a nice blend of Mercedes luxury and Porsche sportiness. It really was a Grand Tourer in the truest sense. With the Alpina set up it was even sportier. One year a friend of mine chased me up the very twisty back road to Laguna Seca in his Pantera and said all he ever saw of me was an occasional puff of my exhaust . Of course, he ate my lunch when we got to the straights. And yes, it did pain me when I sold it. The Speedster is such a simple, almost crude car. It's great fun to drive so long as you respect its limitations. Heck, the suspension design goes back to the '30's. I surmise the Elan has less quirky handling, and is probably quicker and easier to drive fast. But to me they're both variations on the same theme.

Ross Robbins: Congrats on your 2800CS, I know what you mean, E9's are great for going on a nice long tour, but they're pretty darned fun in the canyons too! However, one of the reasons I sold mine was because my 928 seemed like (setting aside the looks) it fit the same "GT" bill, only with better performance. Sorry, I don't mean to talk about other cars on an Elan board. One of these days I hope to understand the feeling you tried to describe in your post. Everyone I've talked to usually waxes poetic about the handling and feel of the Elan. Just like any old car, though, the trick is to find the right one, and one that's been well sorted. Maybe I'll be as lucky as you.

Cheers.
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