Lotus Elan

Elan S4 / Sprint Big Valve 5 Speed - SOLD

PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:20 pm

A couple of months ago Tim (TRW99) was contacted via his Sprint website by a lady who had inherited an Elan from her father, and wanted to move it on. As I am closer, I went to appraise the car to see what it was, and to value it for her.

The car is a late S4 painted in Sprint colours with a big valve engine and a Lotus 5 speed box, all done about 20 years ago. It is an original convertible, not a decapitated Coupe. It has an early Spyder chassis fitted, which looks in fine fettle. The car was last on the road 2 years ago, but has recently been run up, and everything works. It is not MOT?d or taxed.

The paint is very good with a couple of gel coat cracks, a few chips and a very small scuff at the rear....all of which will touch-in very easily. The wheels and bumpers need painting again just to smarten it all up, preferably in black for the wheels!! I would certainly go through the brakes just to make sure, and the interior has been re-done in brown leather and brown carpets. Original seat covers and carpets are available from Paul Matty, Sue Millar and others for those wanting to return the interior to original specification.

The two smaller instruments are not original, and neither are the choke and heater cables / knobs. The windscreen wiper and windows are slow...probably just poor contacts / earths. I didn't check the rotoflex couplings, but assume that they will need doing. The tyres are XVS but are probably 20 years old, so will need replacing.

The exhaust system is hanging a bit low and need to be re-hung properly. A home made bracket is used at the back, and a small amount of fibreglass damage is evident where the silencer has previously clunked the underbody.

This is a lovely small project for somebody, and it would probably be put on the road after a few days work. With a bit more work on the interior, and a little touching up of the paint, it would be a really smart looking Elan to use and enjoy.

The car is now for sale for ?13k or (very) nearest offer. Given that the bodywork, chassis, engine and gearbox are very good, and the car just needs a little fettling, it represents a great opportunity to get a solid driving car at a sensible price.

Contact the owner, Anne, on 07788 757822 if you?re interested. She?s near Banbury in Oxfordshire. She wants the car to go to an enthusiast, and not somebody who just wants to make a few bob out of the car. I?m tempted myself but have way too many other projects!

Mark

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Last edited by Elanintheforest on Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: 512BB » Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:04 pm

I can report that I went to view this car on Tuesday afternoon with an eye to purchasing. It was very disappointing to note that the head is not a Big Valve head, no N stamping on the boss, which is not covered in oil or anything else, so I did not miss it.

But possibly more important still, the inlet manifold has a crack in it on no. 2 inlet, clearly visible, caused by the carb securing nut at that location being massively overtightened.

I mentioned and showed Anne these points, and she agreed with me, that it would only be fair to add a post to the ad to state these facts. Obviously she has been to tied up to do this as yet, so I have saved her the trouble, and anybody else minded to view the car based on the original ad that states that the car has a Big Valve engine, when it only has half of a Big Valve engine, the bottom half.

If I had known that, I would not have driven 160 miles, round trip, and maybe this post will save someone else a wasted journey, if they expect the car to be fitted with a complete BV engine.

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PostPost by: jono » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:06 am

Minor issues though, at least to my mind, and the car is surely still a very sound buy at that price?

....must resist :mrgreen: !!!
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:31 am

Sorry guys, that was my assumption, and I meant to say that it had a big valve head not engine. The short engine is a Stromberg one, hence one of the forensics that we know it's not an original Sprint (it starts with an 'L'). I had assumed that it was a big valve, and still do, considering all the work that was completed on the car some 20 years ago. I think that if someone is going to go to the trouble of having the 5 speed conversion, the Dellorto carbs and the cam cover, then having the valves done would probably be a no-brainer. But Anne is having a look at the documentation to see if there is anything there to prove the case. Otherwise assume not.

I've had a look at the photos I have, and believe that the mark arrowed is the crack referred to (Anne confirms this). If so, then I really don't think that this is a huge job to sort out, probably with the engine in place (but with the carbs off). I had a similar crack repaired on my Elan a few years ago for 3 hours labour. Jon, you're absolutely right, a very minor issue.

The car is priced as a project. I had a long chat with Paul Matty just before Donnington who says that he hasn't seen a basket case (in bits) genuine convertible Elan for less that ?10k in the past year. I still feel that at ?13k this car represents a great opportunity to get a convertible at the right price that is a simple renovation job rather than something that needs to be taken apart. You may have something to negotiate with now!

Mark
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PostPost by: Peter +2 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:37 pm

Mark,

I too travelled a fair way to look at the Elan and I found your assessment very helpful. May I say a big thank you for the time you took to evaluate the Elan.

Kind regards

Peter
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PostPost by: SprinTango » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:32 pm

512BB's feedback after viewing is useful additional info for any prospective purchaser I think. Looking at the photos, with a 5 speed box, big valve cam cover and dellorto's I assumed the complete engine/gearbox had probably been lifted from a late plus 2 breaker. I now know the engine is an earlier (possibly the original?) one which may or may not have been converted to big valve spec.
I don't think I would be brave enough to let a welder climb in my engine bay to weld the inlet manifold, and I doubt that any good aluminium welder would be happy to work on the head in situ?
I agree though the car is probably still worth somewhere around the asking price, but a word of caution: Last year I spent a similar amount on a sound looking Sprint FHC with long MOT. I intended this to be a running restoration, but after finding a few unexpected/hidden problems the car has been off the road all year for a fairly major rebuild (many ?????'s!). Others may be luckier with their "easy restorations" and" just a few weeks work" but if you want peace of mind my bet is much time and money will be needed with all cars available in this price range.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:35 pm

The car is now sold, and Anne is really pleased with the lovely couple who are going to give her dad's old Elan a new home...much more important than just flogging the car.

Mark
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PostPost by: RedS4 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:01 am

Good to know it's gone to a good home. Now, we need them on the register and on this forum!! :D
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:26 pm

I don't know who bought it Evan, but I guess he or she will already be here as this was the only place the car was advertised.

I also have a sneaking suspicion that this is going to be quite a special car. Anne's dad was a great car enthusiast, with a collection including a 1930 Bentley, an Aston and an E type, amongst others. The Elan was built as his 'ultimate' Elan, hence the older style leather interior, the 5 speed box and , hopefully, the big valve engine. The quality of the restoration workmanship that I could see was excellent, and the paintwork, being over 20 years old, quite exceptional. I don't think that anything was skimped in this restoration, and even though it was done quite a while ago, the car has had little, but frequent, use, and has always been garaged.

It's going to need a good bit of fettling for sure, but I'll bet it's going to be a good 'un!

So to the new owner, do let us all know how you get on with it, eh?

Mark
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PostPost by: bramblelea » Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:49 pm

Very happy with the Yellow Peril after we collected this weekend. Thanks to Anne, her passionate father and the various forum posts which has put a long term objective and 20 year dream now in my garage. Thanks to Mark for helping out with the details and getting it out on forum. I would love to know more of its history but for now its will recieve a good dose of looking at over the winter ready for run outs next year.
Chassis looks good despite its age. Paint is very good and apart from various running gear and brake checks and having to refit the starter motor yesterday my smile just widens each day. Not sure on head off to repair cracked inlet manifold or try in situ just yet but not rushing in.
Was the oatmeal leather ever an option for the S4 or Sprint? Carpets need changing but shame to change the seats despite them not being black. :D
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:01 pm

Hi....I'm sure you will be delighted!

No, oatmeal wasn't an option on the S4, and your seats are leather, where the originals are leathercloth. You could always dye the seats black which would look a lot better! I think that Anne's dad was just so used to his Bentley that the Elan had to have the vintage look!

Failing that, Sue Miller does the correct seat covers, and of course, the carpet sets....not a vast sum either.

Good luck with the refurbishment. I'm just coaxing my S3 Coupe back into life after many years of being ignored at the back of the garage, and she's responding well. Despite the brakes still working, they will be rebuilt, as it's not worth the risk of failure. Probably a good idea for the yellow peril as well....try Classicar Automotive in Cheshire, who really know their way around the hydraulics of an Elan.

Mark
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