Lotus Elan

TTR Suspension.

PostPost by: vincereynard » Fri May 15, 2015 6:20 pm

I am in contact with an owner of a early +2.

He has filled me in with the general details of its history. Much of the recent work has involved
"improving" the suspension with a full on TTR spring / damper setup.

If I do buy an early +2 I want it to drive like an early +2.

My doubt is that the new, and no doubt "uprated", springs / dampers will be stiffer than the original.

The springs are the smaller diameter ones, which also seems a little pointless if originality is an aim.

So, learneds all, are my fears groundless or does the TTR, (assuming road spec), make it ride like an GT6!

At least the owner as resisted the TTR U/J drive shaft option and fitted Spyder half donut ones. .
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Fri May 15, 2015 7:27 pm

Greetings from the west coast of Canada, Vince!

You are facing what is, in my opinion, the central issue of classic car purchase/ownership/maintenance: the stock/original vs modified question.

There is, of course, no one "right" answer, thus the "issue": you get to decide for yourself. (Oh happy day! :? )

Tony Thompson stuff is widely endorsed on this site. However, I have found it very enlightening and useful to read the period magazine tests/reviews of the car (the RM Clarke volume is an awesome resource of reprints). In those reviews you find, for example, that testers uniformly considered the Elan and Plus 2 to be models of suspension, ride compliance, comfort, etc. For me, a guy who wants the genuine experience (but in fully rebuilt, carefully maintained and reliable form), I can't imagine modifying the suspension, at least for a road car. I don't even want to use polyurethane bushings if they reduce even a little the suppleness of the ride, despite their much greater lifespan.

But that's the reward for doing the hard work of restoration yourself: you get to make those choices. And those choices define both the restoration and the restorer's values and goals.

Happy hunting, keep us posted (send pix) . . . best regards,

Last edited by Sea Ranch on Fri May 15, 2015 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: patrics » Fri May 15, 2015 7:59 pm

Just my 5 pence worth but there is no such thing as "original" even though I appreciate that TTR stuff is up rated you can always replace the springs and dampers are adjustable.
Whether it be suspension bushes, brake pads or dampers aftermarket stuff is not the same as OE and in the classic car market so called original will always be poor quality.
Anyway I would rather buy a car with TTR modified parts and then take the time to make it the way you want.
Just my opinion
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Fri May 15, 2015 8:28 pm

you musn?t forget the naughty boy factor, which, in my opinion makes it possible to have a 50 year old car that can pass lots of todays? naughty stuff BUT with much more lovely noise made by british magicians: i reckon a well sourced mazda m5 is better than may a regular street or ORIGINAL elan. greetings from the land of the brave! sandy 36/4982 heavily modified!!! ------------- i have to stay naughty and like bike drivers turning their heads to see what the f.. sounds so terrific and why the f. can he follow me with A CAR??!! the swiss drive some pretty powerful bikes, i?m tellin?ya - greetings from the steep hills and designed curves
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Fri May 15, 2015 9:17 pm

Steve, you may have noticed I coupled the words "original" and "stock" together.

In point of fact, my 45 year old car has a very large number of original parts and, with the exception of tire size and a Weber head in place of the original Stromberg head, is almost entirely "stock", by which I mean parts are either original to the car or in the case of consumable/damaged parts, replaced with stock-configuration parts.

But again, my bottom line is: have it your way. I don't make a judgment on people's choices. I simply wanted to provide Vince with support for his desire to have an experience with a stock car.

And just to really set off the firecracker/meltdown/debate . . . :wink: . . . the questions/threads from prospective purchasers only bring up concerns about "modified" or "improved" cars. You never see someone posting this following question on the Elan forum: "Guys, what do you think: I've found a car that is well maintained and totally stock. Is this a bad idea, or . . . ?" :roll: :wink:

Hey, have a great day, everyone! :mrgreen:

Last edited by Sea Ranch on Sat May 16, 2015 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: elan66 » Fri May 15, 2015 9:43 pm

Hi Vince
i think the same as the other guys,there is no right or wrong only whats right for you.Bear in mind though that if it has rear adj springs they may be a pain to reinstate original rear springs as the new units probably have had the old spring platforms ground off and new spring tubes slid over and welded on.You should be able to put softer springs on though,easy enough.I am having the same dilemma myself
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PostPost by: dunclentdr » Fri May 15, 2015 9:45 pm

Good luck with finding the right car.
Last edited by dunclentdr on Sat May 16, 2015 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Fri May 15, 2015 11:31 pm

When I bought my S1 there were a number of non original parts. And some that needed replacing. Enough that it made me think hard about finding old parts to keep the car original or..........provide enough modern upgrades to enhance it a bit.

I pondered this for many months, read an enormous amount of posts on this site (thanks to all) and made the decision. I'm going for 26R performance in my lovely street car. And I'm using TTR to supply most of the bits that are important to handle the increase of HP and handling. (As well as R.D. Enterprises and Dave Bean).

Ask me in another month if I made the right decision. Meanwhile, TTR packages have been arriving weekly from the UK.

The build starts this weekend and I have an aggressive schedule to complete. The fun begins ;-)
05 Elise - Back where I started
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72 Europa - 74/2358R
69 Elan S4 - 45/7941
64 Elan S1 - 26/0379
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PostPost by: seniorchristo » Sat May 16, 2015 12:05 am

My Elan S3 has 5" Minilites with TTR adjustable rear spring/shock units, TTR adjustable rear suspension and CV joint rear axles. Since I want 150 HP and a suspension to handle it, I am ok with these modifications. I do however remember with fondness the supple ride of my stock S4. Some people can't leave well enough alone (myself included) and I'm ok with that too. :)
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Sat May 16, 2015 9:17 am

the general tenor is 60% nonpurists and 40% purists - the consensus shows: no rights and no wrongs - aren't we a lovely bunch of crazy democrats??! ---------------------- so that's why you'll never see 2 identical ELANS!! sandy from the alps on a dry day!
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PostPost by: billwill » Sat May 16, 2015 10:22 am

You have to remember that back in the days when the Elans were in production, it wasn't a Classic, it was quite simply one of the best, or indeed the very best, sports car being made. There was no incentive to keep it stock and since many were built from the kit by the owner, there was the experience of building a car.

So the incentive at that time was to improve the car to make it even better than the other Elans, in particular to make it drive even better, not to sit on a trailer or be locked away in a garage for 8 months of each year.

Some improvements were silly of course, but the owner loved them. Only nowadays is there an incentive to get back to factory original state, created mostly by 'collectors' who want to lovingly gaze on their prize rather than drive it and who want to see it increase in value simply due to the fact that other people exactly like them lust after the same visual/ownership experience.

To my mind, Elans, even nowadays, are for driving not for cossetting.

:shock: :shock: :twisted:
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PostPost by: vincereynard » Sat May 16, 2015 10:49 am

Thanks for all the replies.

If I have upset anyone, I apologise, it was unintended.

I am not saying that TTR are better or worse. I have no experience to go on. Although I would hope that they gave an improvement or there does not seem much point.

Personally I have not driven anything over 5 years old in 20 years. Or, with the exception of a few tranny vans, RWD. So I will not be in a good position to judge a good +2 from a dog! I do not feel it is fair to simply drive private cars for sale just to gain the experience. However dealer cars are rarely standard. So I have to gather as much info as I can in order to "prejudge" a car to some extent.

So if I knew that aftermarket TTR suspension "had a tendency" to be harder than the standard suspenders, I could take that into account. For instance it seems logical that rotoflex have some damping effect so that non rotoflex might be a little softer at the rear. Or maybe the difference is so slight i would not notice.

Hence also forgetting convertibles. It would be another level of - is it this car or the DHC conversion that makes it feel strange.

Once I have a car and have got it to perform how I expect then there is every possibility I will modify it to my preference.

First I have to find one that can act as a base line.

Out of interest they appear to be getting cheaper if anything. Some nice cars around the 12 - 14 mark.
(Sadly full on Spyder chassis / suspension so not quitye what I want.)
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PostPost by: jimj » Sat May 16, 2015 12:42 pm

Vince, I`m sure you`ve offended no-one, personal choice is just that and, sometimes, I`m irked by people here needing to justify their`s. I just don`t get this "purist" adjective, almost as if it`s an insult.
We`re lucky in having 2 Elans, the well-used S3 having TTR suspension, Miller shafts, Voight 5 speed etc. and I love it. We also have a near mint Sprint which we are keeping to factory spec. and I love it.
Both drive like a proper Elan, not a great difference but, I`d say the S3 is an easier, more relaxing car to drive, but no more fun.
We also have a 111R Elise and I love that too but it`s nowhere near as much fun. You`d have to say it`s a "better" car and I imagine the Spyder conversion with an Elan body but modern, different mechanical bits may be "better" too but, in my view, rather missing the point of classic car ownership.
I thought Sea Ranch`s observation that people question non-originality but not vice versa very astute, but each to their own.
To be objective; the TTR dampers, I`ve found to be too stiff for comfort at their recommended settings and with standard springs, I can tell no difference in handling when set 2 clicks softer. I don`t vary the settings (like most people I bet) and only bought them for their perceived quality. Tyre pressures have far greater effect than any amount of amateur faffing, I`m sure. The Miller drive shafts and stronger diff output shafts were chosen only for longevity, especially as we use the car in light competition. I prefer the rotoflexes and wouldn`t dream of fitting polyurethane bushes or solid rack mounts. The 5 speed box (and 3.5 diff.) were chosen because we do some long, often continental tours.
If pressed, I`d agree with your determination to get the most original car but do ask for other`s experiences here regarding any variations from standard.
Good luck,
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PostPost by: Bud English » Sat May 16, 2015 3:41 pm

The purists really should be pleased that some of us are sullying a good percentage of the stock. The resale value does seem to be the most frequent argument presented as the reason not to modify. As more cars are personalized by their owners, the fewer the original cars there will be and the higher prices they will fetch. I'm pleased to be doing my part. Your welcome, +2 originality fans :!:

To those of you that are without an original car and desperately looking for that untouched beauty, I haven't hindered your quest. Mine wouldn't have been in the mix of cars for sale anyway. :wink:
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"Every Lotus that an owner modifies makes yours worth that much more." - You're welcome!
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PostPost by: gav » Sat May 16, 2015 5:49 pm

For what it's worth ( probably not much) I took the philosophy that it's fine to change aspects of the car so long as the changes are completely reversible without harm to the originality.
I have made a variety of changes over the years but I kept the original components and can switch back if I want to - best of both worlds.
I haven't set out to upset anyone but I have wanted to update a number of aspects to improve either safety or the experience.
Have fun with the deliberations and good luck
One day I'll actually finish - completely - one day....
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