Page 1 of 2

Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:37 pm
by RogerFrench
Last Friday I went to look at an Elan, having been contacted by its owner who doesn't quite know what to do with it.
It's a 1967 S3 SE DHC, Right-hand-drive, which hasn't been used for 8 years or more. He's moving to a smaller home and won't have room for it, and asked for my advice. I don't know what to tell him, but thought I'd ask the collective wisdom here for opinions, and maybe some idea of its value.
It has a Spyder frame,which seems to be in very good shape. I could see that it need new trackrod ends, as well as front and rear dampers (shock-absorbers). The rear in particular carried on bouncing well after my vigorous depression. There are also signs of perishing rubber bushes etc.
In pretty good shape generally, apart from the bonnet (hood)which has a very non-standard bulge and several cracks. There are one or two other stress cracks that need attention, but I think it could be cleaned up and presentable, though not concours, without a full respray. I'm told that the hood (top) is in good shape, though I did not see it. It has a tonneau cover. As I said above, it is Right-hand drive.
Non-standard, but nicely finished. The dashboard is to the owner's design, non-standard and with extra instruments (gauges), the switches are the later rocker type and wrong for the car, but it's all nicely done.
Engine / transmission:
Here's where it gets difficult. While the gearbox and final drive are standard Ford / Elan components, the car lost its Twin-cam engine in England many years ago, before the current owner bought the car. Like me he's a Brit and brought it to Texas when he moved here some 15 to 20 years ago. It has a 1600 Crossflow Ford engine, possibly with special camshaft and pistons, maybe head work too. It has been equipped with twin 40 DCOEs and a tubular exhaust manifold, but I don't know about its internals. It wasn't possible to start it, nor would I want to without further examination and preparation after a long period of idleness. It does however turn over with the car in gear and pushed.

So what to do? I reckon, optimistically, that it will need 2000 - 2,500 USD in parts (shocks, tyres, battery, brake kits, suspension bushes, rotoflexes and other perishables) to get it back on the road, plus labour of course. Which raises another question - who to do it for him? He'd like an enthusiast to do it part-time to keep costs down. Difficult! Anybody care to estimate how long it would take, or what it would cost? He has no interest in doing it himself and I don't want to either; I'm trying to cut back on that kind of thing as I get older!

What's it worth as it sits, what it might be worth in running order? I don't think a full restoration is on the cards, the acquisition or build cost of a Twink rules that out. In any case, as a driver, a well-sorted Crossflow wouldn't lose much, if anything, in performance terms to a standard Twink.
Any and all ideas or suggestions are welcome.

Sorry the photos aren't great, I only had my phone and the lighting wasn't too friendly.

Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:01 pm
by JonB
Errm... $20k?

Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:21 pm
by mbell
hmmm this is a tricky one.

With top of the head type numbers I'd estimate a good running Elan is 30-40k$, RHD and lack of TC engine will have big impact on price. If running and generally sorted I'd estimate 25k$. As is I'd think more like 10k to 15K$.

In Texas your probably looking for a Race Shop or High end exotics type place to work on it. So probably ~$100/hr. So I don't think it much sense to sorted it out at a shop. Personally I'd get it running and moving under it's own steam and look to sell it as a project.

My first port of call would be for getting best $. The key to that site is to have an engaged seller (or representative) who can answer questions and provide background information.

You can see previous Lotus Elan listing at:

Which might help you assess what price you think it is worth.

Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:30 am
by Davidb
I think mbell is being a bit optimistic-sorry! From following BaT over the last few years and Lotus Elans in particular I would say $25K was it for a good Elan with $35K for something special. And this causes me great disappointment...
I would say this car would not reach $10K--$8K would be about it I believe.

Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:16 am
by alan.barker
For me it's standard bulge on bonnet for Strombergs.

Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:46 am
by StressCraxx
I think at best it's worth $7-9K. I'd love to have it, but I have no space either. Running with a twincam its worth $17K per Hagerty.

I do have about 70% of the bits to build a complete twincam. I was hoarding the bits to finish a Formula B Brabham BT21, but the owner keeps balking about selling it, soo.... I'm waiting to see if he will eventually let it go.


Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:22 am
by gino1
The bulge is very very similar to the one on a lotus seven S3 before routing the front to create an inlet to the carb..

Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:57 am
by vincereynard
Perhaps review the cost of shipping it "home". It would be easier to sell in the UK.

If I had the space!!

If it has a Xflow wouldn't that be a good basis for building a "big" twink. New head + burton water pump etc.
How much else would you need?

Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:37 pm
by Davidb
I didn't address the issue of right hand drive but Americans do place a considerable penalty on rhd cars. I ended up sending my rhd car (not an Elan) back to the UK to sell.

Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:11 pm
by RogerFrench
alan.barker wrote:For me it's standard bulge on bonnet for Strombergs.

The standard Stromberg bulge has a straight-ish leading edge, this one is rounded. In any case it's wrong for an S3.

Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:17 pm
by RogerFrench
Davidb wrote:I didn't address the issue of right hand drive but Americans do place a considerable penalty on rhd cars. I ended up sending my rhd car (not an Elan) back to the UK to sell.

We have a RHD S3 too, by coincidence. Top down, the Elan is so narrow that driving it isn't really an issue, and having driven many RHD cars I don't find the gearchange a problem either. Maybe we'll find out when we come to sell It!

Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:29 pm
by Davidb
Hi Roger, as an ex-Englishman I don't have a problem either but Americans apparently do! It has a major effect on resale in the USA.

Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:40 pm
by elanner
I don't think it's a problem in the normal sense of the word. Mastering a gear change with the other hand is trivial and overtaking isn't particularly common over here.

But when I was buying my Elan I decided that if I were to purchase a RHD car I would subsequently always regret not waiting a little longer for a LHD to come on the market. There are enough around that it's not necessarily a long wait (not that I knew that at the time).

So, as previously mentioned, I'm sure that being RHD does indeed ding the value. And possibly badly enough that it's worth shipping the car to the UK and selling it there.

The lack of a Twin Cam is interesting. When I first arrived in the US, back in the 80s, I went to a British car show in Vermont at which there were two Elans, the first I'd ever seen over here. Both of them were fitted with crossflow engines. I was amazed and assumed that it was common/standard practice over here to dump the Twin Cam if it became necessary. Clearly that was not case because I've never seen it since. For a Lotus purist the lack of a twink is clearly a deal breaker, but for somebody looking for a wonderful Summer weekend toy, perhaps not so much. There are plenty of other common engine swaps, good and bad.

It'll be interesting to hear what this fetches.


Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:22 pm
by mbell
If it was up at ~8k$ I am not sure if relived or frustrated that I don't have the time, space or spousal blessing to be buying something like this.

I do agree that is probably about what the market will give for the car as it is. If some time and effort was spent to get it out of the garage , running and moving I think it would likely more than repay the cost and push it into the teens.

The only way to find what it is really worth is too offer it on the market thou.

Re: Elan Quandary

PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:12 am
by JLFonseca
If I may veer a bit off topic for a moment..... the crossflow in the elan has me intrigued. How does this work out? I have both a LoCort and an Elan...both projects, but I only have one TC between the two. I was thinking about putting the TC in the LoCort, as it's closer to being road ready, and wondering about a crossflow in the elan. Easy to do?... easy to switch back and forth?. wondering.