Lotus Elan


PostPost by: shaun » Wed Feb 21, 2024 6:33 am

After running my small classic restoration business,and finding quality parts a real struggle.As a result of this I’m considering starting a used and refurbished parts business ,supplying quality guaranteed original and remanafactued parts for Lotus elan and plus 2.
I would really appreciate any feedback that would help me determine the requirement of this service
Thanks Shaun
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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Wed Feb 21, 2024 7:54 am


I admire your enthusiasm.

I think a good reliable source of quality parts would be welcomed by all. I am however not sure that the economics would stack up. Serving the Elan market is a pretty small niche, and there are already a number of parts suppliers specialising in this area.

While the quality of some of the remanufactured parts currently available is very questionable, good stuff costs money, and I am not sure how much the market will stand. TTR have staked out the higher ground, and have quality and prices to match. Lower down the chain you are competing with well established specialist suppliers, and for certain Triumph related parts, much larger firms. There is a collection of 'unobtainium' parts (Sparco wing repeaters, door window frames and so on) where there may enough demand and prices to justify small runs of parts, but it is quite a challenge. Before Sue had a run of new steel wheels recently, I did look at having some built myself and selling the surplus. The costs, liability and general hassle put me off.

Good luck with your venture.

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PostPost by: shaun » Wed Feb 21, 2024 9:14 am

Hi Andy
Thanks for the reply, I’m looking to do more secondhand and. Refurbed original parts cheers Shaun
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PostPost by: Frogelan » Wed Feb 21, 2024 9:39 am

Hello Shaun

I'm not a motor trader and have no experience in the area. Andy's comments are good.

As a fellow amateur restorer of a S1.5 basket case for fast road/rallying and possibly racing, here are some ideas in a hare-brained order:

- not many of the retailers have recently built an Elan (!)
- some combinations (Minilites for example) sold are sold by the existing Elan retailers without guidance on offset or unsprung weight.
- many members like to see tested alternative parts on sale without the worry of the part number being wrong. I tend to dip in the parts bins of other cars, in the way that Lotus did in period.
- courier costs need to be appropriate for the item.
- I have no qualms about using LEDs as "Mom trucks" are a safety menace.
- Demographics: the average age of the Forum is increasingly senior.

I hope this helps.

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PostPost by: ericbushby » Wed Feb 21, 2024 9:47 am

Hi Shaun,
The supply of rare parts is always a problem and an extra source from someone who knows the cars well would be welcomed.
I will just point out that Sue Miller already has many unobtainable parts made and sells some used parts as and when they turn up. I even make some for her myself !
If you make a similar product to one already available then the cost of tooling and design is doubled but the demand will only increase a little. If you can choose something unobtainable and recreate that, then it will sell well. You may have the knowledge and skills to do that in which case it may make a useful sideline to your existing work.
Best of luck
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PostPost by: gherlt » Wed Feb 21, 2024 10:11 am

I would agree that a business of "refurbished with warranty" would be interesting as some parts are expensive, and buying second hand or even NOS is somehow unsatisfying as many times the parts are not fit, wrong or not as described. And shipping back - for those oversees like me - is way too expensive and complicated, even if accepted. So buying with confidence with a discount over new items is an advantage.

Except for brakes, servos, instruments and Sue Miller I do not see any seller with professional refurbished items, but I could be wrong. I see the suspension as one option, checked steel wheels (Xray, "roundness"), there are a few parts which could be interesting. E.g. the ventilation grille of S3 (the wide one), I think there are no new ones.
How about a new suggestions thread for asking members which parts they are seeking and are not available ?
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PostPost by: atthelimit » Thu Mar 07, 2024 10:46 pm

Hi all,

It would be very difficult to sell refurbished parts with warranty or guarantee. Liability law for motor components is extremely onerous here in the uk a crippling in places like the states. To obtain liability insurance is possible but extremely expensive, I speak as a retired insurance man. All that said if you do go ahead I wish you well and as I’m currently restoring two elans who knows I could be in need of your services. Good luck!
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PostPost by: Gordon Sauer » Fri Mar 08, 2024 12:37 am

It seems like there are some places that you can get your own parts refurbished and even have a warranty and one such place is white post restorations where I got my +2 servos fixed and then having had the car for almost 40 years I did have to send them back one time for a refurbishment which they did under their warranty. In another case I got together with RD and somebody he knew and put together the pieces and from scratch came up with the entire rear brake assembly for the +2, so it seems like there’s really a lot of availability with digging, Gordon
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PostPost by: Donels » Fri Mar 08, 2024 10:50 am

An interesting idea and I'm sure there is a small business there. Just look at what some people ask for used Elan and +2 bits on eBay.

Interesting comments about 'senior' owners. I think the Elan and +2 are, and will continue to be, cars that just keep on going, finding new younger owners, helped by the thriving parts network and rust proof bodies. In these days of anodyne cars, particularly electric, there appears to be a growing band of people who appreciate them for their driving experience, a bit like Lotus Elise's. I have seen a few road tests recently where the testers were raving about them.

I recently spoke with a friend in the auction business and he tells me that the market is extremely soft for all classic cars and Elans are no exception. The current trend is for fast Fords that people had in their youth or for cars that their dads had and Elans certainly fall into that category. I also have a friend who restores Lotus's as a business and his business is thriving and he has a good backlog. So long may it continue and good luck with your venture.
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