Lotus Elan

Elan v MX5

PostPost by: a d price » Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:43 pm

This months dream drives is a lotus Elan in Classic car magazine. The drivers normal car was an old Mazda MX5. I recently took a new MX5 out for a test drive and was amazed how good and similar it was to my Elan. It is a crying shame that whats left of the British Car Industry could not produce a car like this.
My dream drive- new MX5 for the commute and Elan for the weekend
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PostPost by: collins_dan » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:33 pm

We bought a '91 miata with 135K miles for my son for $2500. Put a new top, new wheels and tires (225/45-15), improved brakes, suspension, roll bar and a nice garrett turbo, so the 1.6 engine now produces just north of 250hp. It is a blast to drive, completely bullet-proof and we have maybe $8,000 into it. I think the elan is still more nimble and feels quicker off the line, but the turbo is small enough that it kicks in early and would no doubt leave me in the dust very quickly. While I don't subscribe to the Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious perception for the elan, I will say that the Miata is very solidly built and if you break something, they are easy to work on, used parts are very cheap and there is a great selection of new upgraded parts. I have been impressed, but I am still keeping my S4. Dan
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PostPost by: The Veg » Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:48 pm

I'd love to have an old MX5 to do stuff like that with but the newest generation is the only one in which I can fit with any comfort.
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PostPost by: jono » Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:28 pm

Had a Eunos 1.8S special (1.8, Torsen diff, Bilsteins etc) for several years while I was restoring my Plus 2.

Very reliable but never got on with it at all and could never understand what the fuss was all about - very anodine.

Much prefer the Plus 2 - quicker (yes!), much nicer, more supple, handling and more finesse and feel (in my experience). Must have been such a revelation when it first came out.

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PostPost by: Elanconvert » Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:32 am

an old boy [turned out he was ex-mechanic for a racing team] passing my gate when spotting my s4 said;
'they've never improved on the elan, have they?'..........

:D fred :D
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PostPost by: landry » Sat Sep 03, 2016 1:59 pm

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PostPost by: powellsmail » Sat Sep 03, 2016 2:51 pm

I am privileged to own both an Elan S4 and a new MX5. One for the week end and one for weekly use. They are both as good as people say they are.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sat Sep 03, 2016 3:50 pm

My Missus had a Mk2 MX5 with a BBR Supercharger kit fitted, it was WAY quicker than an Elan Sprint, cruised better on long journeys, Better MPG, reliable and not made out of GRP.

I like 2 seater elans but think they are way overrated, in my opinion +2's drive better than 2 seaters and even though the 2 seater is quickish i can't think of many categories my Sprint beats my wife's old MX5 (Maybe value, the sound of the Weber's and character/history)

Can't really comment on the Mk1 MX5 as the only one i drove was in the mid 90's and my memory isn't that good. Of course being a Lotus Elan Forum the Elan is going to always come off best but in reality if you want a low maintenance 2 seater you don't have to worry about GRP issues an MX5 is a decent car (Just not a classic car) The one thing that makes an Mx5 appealing is how much better it withstands an impact. put it this way i know which i'd rather be in during an Accident.
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PostPost by: UAB807F » Sat Sep 03, 2016 4:16 pm

We had a Mk1 MX5 for 3 years, bought new in '96 and sold in '99. I used it every day and yep, I can see the attraction. Very practical, great with the hood down and they don't leak. So I could drive them back to back and the first thing you noticed was just how Elan-like the gearchange was.

It may be a personal thing but I thought it felt more secure round bends than the Elan S3 but not quite as nippy off the mark. Yes, I know, that's heresy but sometimes you need to say what you feel. The 2 seat Elan is very good and we still have ours whilst the MX5 is long gone, but realistically it's a 1964 design whereas the MX5 came out in the late 80s and has been improving in terms of capability ever since.

My brother-in-law seems to have had every version since ours and although I don't personally like his latest one because it feels bulky, they have all been very competent cars. I'm pretty sure if you put the average driver in a standard Elan for a few miles, then put the same driver in a modern MX5, the '5 would be quicker from A to B. Like most modern cars, they're just easier to drive faster.

I still think our Elan looks better and love driving it with the hood down, but that's because it's a 1960s design, not because it's the best handling thing on the roads. (even the B-i-L thinks the Elan looks better and his daughters both say it's "cooler")
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Sep 03, 2016 4:44 pm

Grizzly wrote:MX5 is a decent car (Just not a classic car)

Is it? The Mk I is now closer in time to the tail-end of the Elan era than it is to today, and it was introduced over 25 years ago. It also turned the world on its ear for a bit and has been loved ever since. I think the early MX5 is entering into classic territory, and might just be one of the last classics before cars all became appliances.

Funny too, a few years ago a friend of mine said that she couldn't understand why anybody would such a 'sissy' little car. I told her that it was the closest thing in the modern era to a Lotus Elan. "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh," she replied, and said that she got it at that point.
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"It just wouldn't be a complete day if I didn't forget something!" -Me
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PostPost by: lotocone » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:27 pm

[quote="Grizzly"... The one thing that makes an Mx5 appealing is how much better it withstands an impact. put it this way i know which i'd rather be in during an Accident.[/quote]

I agree. Living in an area with lots of traffic and plenty of big SUVs and pickup trucks, I get nervous sometimes.
It would be great to be much closer to some quiet country roads. Sunday mornings are the best time for me to drive in my area which is north of Detroit, Michigan.
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PostPost by: M.J.S » Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:10 pm

I have a Neo Green (BRG) 1990 Eunos Roadster 1.6 V-Spec Mark 1, imported into the UK from salt-free Japan in 2001 and consequently rot-free and never welded (the Mark 1's could rust on the rear of the sills and up the rear wheelarches). Being a Japanese V-Spec car it has the limited slip diff, power steering, tan leather upholstery, headrest speakers, Nardi walnut wheel and trim, lightweight alloys, air conditioning and a few other things missing from most UK cars launched at the same time. In three years, other than the hand brake cable sticking occasionaly, it hasn't missed a beat.

Yes, it does feel slow, and has to be revved hard to be at its best, and the brakes are not up to modern standards, and it sure as hell doesn't sound like my +2, but it's a great car in every sense of the word. I have fitted front and rear strut braces and front and rear chassis braces (standard on the later 1.8 cars) otherwise it is standard.

After buying the car as a summer toy, and spending a few quid on a major service, new tyres and hood and a lot of detailing, I was rather horrified to find it stood me over ?4000 (and very good taxed and tested cars could be purchased at the time for about ?1200-1500, rough cars for buttons). I felt rather sick and foolish for going overboard.

The Hagerty valuation tool now gives excellent condition at ?5400 and concours at ?6900. There are specialist dealers importing MK1 Eunos's now and asking a damned sight more than that. They are hardly a rare car, but then most examples are rough, the rust is a killer. It's also ironic that when the Mk1 was launched, the grey import Eunos's were scowled upon by Mazda UK, yet now they are more sought after than any UK car thanks to better specs and usually less rot if they spent their formative lives in Japan. Goodwood Sportscars specializes in MK1's and now actually refuses to deal in UK cars. His prices are often North of ?5k or ?6k and appears to have no problem selling them.

I don't think I'll be selling mine any time soon.

(And still haven't succumbed to fitting my spare pair of 40's) :lol:
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