Lotus Elan

Elan Speedster???

PostPost by: ottocycle » Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:46 pm

Ok guys,
Apologies to the pureists. Here is what I have: A very ratty Elan Series 2 body and chassis, and not much else. There is no engine ,trans or halfshafts. If it were a "normal" car I would junk it. It would cost $50,000.00 to make it into a $20,000.00 car. The thing is an Elan is a terrible thing to waste and I would like some advice on what to do with it. It is an opportunity to learn fiberglass/bodywork skills. I am thinking of doing a Speedster style hot rod with either a 2 liter Alfa engine/trans ('though I think it is too tall), or a modern Duratec or similar engine. She has the smooth Weber hood (without the Stromberg blister) which I would like to keep without cutting and at some point in her life her arches were flared. I live on the US east coast and summers are long enough so that a roof will not be required, think Seven/Elan. I think a minimalist interior with floor drain for bad weather.
Any creative ideas, photos of other efforts etc would be appreciated. A clever use of readily available parts (cheap) to get me to a weekend hooligan toy.
Also if anyone knows of a restorable/driving Elan near Maryland I might be interested.
Thank you.
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PostPost by: Sundaydriver » Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:16 am

Hi ,

Hot rod sounds very scary !

I'm really no expert, just an enthusiast...but here goes;

A lot of basket case Elans are worth
restoring, and folk don't count the cost of the hours put in. It's a labour of love to bring this Classic back to life in a mostly authentic way. Running gear and some kind of engine shouldn't be too difficult to find, if you have patience. It's not
Uncommon not to fit a genuine twincam,
Someone will think it's worth a restoration I'd think, despite the apparent state of it. Might be a pity to take its potential and chop it up?

Have you seen the Jay Leno you tube video of his Elan conversion ?
That's as far as I'd think anyone who 'gets Lotus' would go beyond an authentic restoration.

If you want to make a kit car, or a beach buggy, sell the chassis/shell
and buy a kit ?

What is it that draws you to the Elan,
other than it's in your possession, as
I'm unsure if you know what you have :-)
Cheers, Dave
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PostPost by: jimj » Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:51 am

I agree, someone will pay more than you, or I, might imagine for the opportunity to restore this car. Add this amount to what you would have to spend to make it into a "speedster" and you`d have enough to buy a complete, running Elan. You wouldn`t regret it.
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:05 am

This one:

went for nearly asking price.
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PostPost by: Barty » Thu Nov 13, 2014 6:18 pm


Have been watching this site for a while. I have now joined the forum.

By way of introduction here are before and after photos of my ?lan S2 bought and restored as a teenager and sold 32 plus years ago. I have been wanting another S2 ever since.

Might have to wait for one of my kids to get home to show me how to add photos.....

Meanwhile, I would be very interested in buying your S2 project. If you decide to sell please PM me

photo 2-2.JPG and
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PostPost by: Barty » Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:18 pm

photo 1-2.JPG and

seems I managed to only add the 'after' photo of my S2 ?lan

Here is the before
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PostPost by: mbell » Thu Nov 13, 2014 8:03 pm

It's hard to comment with out a better understanding of exactly how much of a basket case the car is but I am in the restore it as a S2 crowd. I am not necessarily saying restore it fully originally as it came out of the factory but just so it remains obviously a S2 elan.

My reasoning for this is your likely to have to do the same work to restore it as a S2 as you are to a customized car. You'll need to fix and paint the body, do all the suspension, find an engine, sort the running gear etc. But at the end you'll have something that resembles a S2 elan and therefore have a strong market to sell it and get your investment back.

A customized car will have a very limited market and very likely sell for significant less money than something that looks like a S2. Probably because the buyer will want to make it back into a S2. Also its not like an S2 Elan is a such a common sight you need to make it look different to every one else's...

On the engine a Lotus Twin cam is obviously going to be best and help the car value but a duratec or Zetec Ford unit is a going to be more cost effective and easy purchase and has been done many times. It will effect resale price but offers good bang for buck and you shouldn't lose out on it. 5 speed gearbox availability should be decent too. People have also done toyota 4AGE in the past. I would have thought a Alfa twin cam wouldn't be much cheaper than a Lotus twin cam so I don't think I'd go that way.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: tvacc » Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:43 am

My 71 Elan is on the LOONY site. It has a 26r fenders, complete Spyder conversion. I would be interested in taking your S2 in trade for a few thousand towards the Elan.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:23 am

As this has been posted in the "Mods" section I will give my advice for modifying without prejudice :mrgreen:

Budget Elan S2 Hot rod/speedster recipe

1no original chassis/frame
1no original gearbox and complete set of original running gear
1 set 14 inch no more than 5inch width Minilites
1no 2:0 litre Ford Zetec engine
1no Megasquirt or similar homebrew fuel injection system

Strip out everything to reduce weight (save and store stripped parts)
Check chassis/frame repair if you dare or replace with a better one ----see Sows Ear Topic http://www.lotuselan.net/forums/lotus-chassis-f36/sows-ear-chassis-t24752.html
Make good the braking system and all the running gear
Fettle the Zetec engine to fit (it will mate straight to the gearbox)
Leave body as original as possible and paint satin black or something hot roddy
Fit Minilites with 60 profile tyres Yokohama AO48 if your budget can stretch to them


In the UK a 2:0 litre Zetec engine can be picked up at a breakers for as little as ?200 in surprisingly good order, they have the same bolt pattern as a Lotus twincam and will mate straight to the original gearbox. Power output is in the region of 160bhp just by adding a suitable multipoint injection method. The Ford Duratec on the other hand will not bolt to the gearbox and everything is reversed with the exhaust and inlet ports on the opposite side to the Lotus twin cam, not an easy or cheap route to take. The Alfa engine/transmission route is one that has been done on quite a few occasions, but I'm not clear on the power output and wonder if those engines/transmissions are becoming scarce and more costly.

Using a recipe in the spirit of the above will mean that you can have your fun and have the option of selling the car on as a viable restoration project back to original. I have 2no very modified cars myself and they are an absolute hoot to drive, I can't see myself converting them back to original and I'm certainly not selling them on.

I have a hankering for an original car and I will most likely scratch that itch at some point, but I thoroughly recommend the fun of building and driving a modified Elan.
Kindest regards

Alan Thomas
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:32 pm

I have been contemplating building a "speedster" style S2 just recently and if I could find a body and chassis available cheap in Australia I would do the same.

In the production sports car class I compete in an S2 could be built as a very competitive car. Convertibles are allowed to remove the windscreen and side windows which is not allowed on my S4 Fixed head. This with the other item removal that is allowed would enable you get an S2 down to around 600 - 620 kg while my S4 is closer to 700 kg. That 80 plus Kg makes a real big difference. I have all the other bits I need in terms of spare engines, gear box, drivetrain etc so I could build one relatively cheaply if I had an old body and chassis to base it on.

Go for it I say

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PostPost by: stugilmour » Sat Nov 15, 2014 11:51 pm

Sounds like a fun project. There have been a few race cars on Bring a Trailer that might give an impression for the body. I like the minimalist wind screens, although the roll bars look pretty funky. Here are a few links.

http://bringatrailer.com/2007/12/23/cle ... age-racer/

http://bringatrailer.com/2012/08/10/une ... lan-racer/

http://bringatrailer.com/2013/12/05/197 ... age-racer/

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PostPost by: stevebroad » Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:48 pm

Sundaydriver wrote:Have you seen the Jay Leno you tube video of his Elan conversion ?
That's as far as I'd think anyone who 'gets Lotus' would go beyond an authentic restoration.
Cheers, Dave

I hope that I 'get lotus' but I am taking my Elan way past Jay's version. I have had the car for over 40 years so I am not a Lotus newbie :-)
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