Lotus Elan


PostPost by: HCA » Thu Jan 28, 2021 5:15 am

Is the ‘Vegantune’ Evante an improvement on the Elan? Are they a desirable car?
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PostPost by: billwill » Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:55 pm

HCA wrote:Is the ‘Vegantune’ Evante an improvement on the Elan? Are they a desirable car?

Probably not as valuable as an Elan, though they are much rarer.

I was lucky enough to meet the persons who developed the Evante, in Spalding back in about 1983 (I think).

The body is tougher as it incorporates a lot of carbon fibre instead of glass fibre, I remember George Robinson demonstrating this by standing on a bonnet of a prototype Evante without causing any cracking of other damage. The engine is based on the many years experience that George had of Lotus Twin-Cam engines and so avoids some of the problem areas. It has an external rubber timing belt instead of a chain and the waterpump is mounted externally. It also has more power than a Lotus Twin-Cam.

Alas when Vegantune tried to go into production and created Evante Cars Ltd (?) they partnered with some 'money men' to get the funds. It was a poor time to launch a new sports car and it did not sell well enough and eventually Vegantune of Spalding went bust. The Vegantune name and UK ongoing support for Evantes was bought by a racing sports garage in Finchley London, but the Evante was only a small proportion of their work, Eventually sometime in 2001-2008 they too closed down.

There's a brief Wikipedia article on the Evante.

More information on the engine at:
Bill Williams

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PostPost by: HCA » Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:53 pm

Thanks Bill. It was your first line I am really iterested in! I was though hoping you would have said more valuable though!

I read up on the car, its raison d'etre and was quite taken by it all, especially as there were only 101 made and nine of those with the 1.8 engine when Fleur de Lys had the company.

My questions stems from seeing one for sale in Portugal that looks clean until one opens the bonnet - it does not have a Vegatune (I think it should be the 1.7) VTA engine! The seller is not sure about the engine, he bought it as is with what looks like a 1.6 Sierra engine, but does have a 5 speed box, so I wonder if a PO threw a conrod or similar and being in Portugal, it was just too much to sort it out? No one knows.

Burton power say that they could supply enough new parts to build a 1.7 twin cam even with a Vegantune valve cover, but it will cost. Certainly £15k and budget half again for assembly. I have budgeted a fair amount to rebuid the engine on my +2 and add a 5sp gearbox, but in all honesty, for what I shall use the car for, it runs quite well as it is with no major leaks yet, so I could throw this pot towards the Evante, but either way, it is going to be an expensive car, and having spent way over the top on the +2, wonder if I should finish it off and have one expensive toy instead of two! But I do like the Evante, it looks good..(with the roof down) 8)

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PostPost by: Evante » Thu Jan 28, 2021 5:03 pm


I owned a 1988 Evante 140TC for about 3 years from 2002-2005. I sold it to buy an Elise which I had for about 3 years and I now have had a 1972 Elan Sprint for about three years and have no plans to get rid of it soon.

Let me give you some impressions of the Evante that I don't think you will get from the articles and reviews of the car. First, I like the car a lot when I first bought it but I always had the feeling that it was not an Elan. I succumbed to the grass is always greener elsewhere. Second, the rear suspension on the car is double wishbone and I thought that it handled much better than my Elan. However, I had put upgraded springs and shocks in the car. Third, it had a Ford Sierra 5 speed transmission that was not geared for a car this light. As a result, first gear was too low and second gear was too long so that the car made poor use of the amount of power it had. Thus, the acceleration was uneven and disappointing. But it is was still fun. Fourth, the car had a great sounding engine that worked very well until it blew up. Apparently, a cylinder wall failed. The rebuild cost $10,000 back in 2005. The builder did not have much experience with small block engines and I was not happy with the result as the car would overheat on a regular basis. If you buy it, you will find that you can source many parts because they were borrowed from other cars, much like the Elan but it will always be a challenge because the car is so rare. Having an Elan is much easier because there are many more people who are knowledgeable about it, as on this website.
Fifth, and a word of warning. Check out how the power assist master cylinder is installed in the car. The power unit is in the front of the car with a long tube that points directly at the driver. I would frequently wonder about what it would be like to become impaled by this tube if I got into an accident. Take a look under the hood and see for yourself before you decide to buy. This was one of the reasons I sold the car.

I can say that the car fit the old adage that the best two days that you own a car are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. I did not feel that way with the Elise and I have no plans to sell the Elan, which I enjoy very much.

I hope this helps with your decision making.


Jay S.
1972 Federal Sprint, Colorado Orange/White
2005 Elise, sold
1988 Evante 140TC, sold
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PostPost by: elansprint » Thu Jan 28, 2021 8:11 pm

HCA the later fleur Dr lys cars I think called the mk2 used the 1800 zetec engine instead of the VTA engine altered styling and are cheaper than the original cars which I think look better. I looked at a mk2 close to us but someone paid too much for it with the problems it had
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PostPost by: ncm » Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:19 pm

evante.jpg and
".. what looks like a 1.6 Sierra engine,"
Engine installed is a Ford crossflow (pushrod) unit fitted with the standard downdraft carb . As this was the engine that the VTA was based on it would have bolted straight in when/if the original engine expired.
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PostPost by: S3FHC » Fri Jan 29, 2021 9:16 am

I always admired the Evante but I would not expect an example to be worth as much as an equivalent condition Elan.

I'd consider an Evante as a second car to an Elan but then they're so similar it would be pointless!

The Evante does not have the rich history that the Elan enjoys but it is still a lovely car.

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