Lotus Elan

S4 SE DHC Ebay (UK)

PostPost by: 111Robin » Wed Feb 17, 2021 4:28 pm

Anyone have thoughts on this ?
Door fit looks poor for one thing.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lotus-Elan-S ... 0903.m5276
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Wed Feb 17, 2021 6:19 pm

some parts are obviously repros (steering wheel, washer bag, gearbox lever knob, side flashers...) but the door fit could actually be original ;)
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Wed Feb 17, 2021 6:48 pm

If we are pointing out bits, nothing major:

1. Poor boot lid fit. Wrong weatherstrip?
2. Non-original rear view mirror.
3. Non-original dual gauge for this model.
4. Bonnet cable in engine bay, odd non-original fitting.
5. Has had a removable under-sump cross piece fitted. Not a bad thing.

Agree that poor door fit probably original.
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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:25 pm

1owner69Elan wrote:If we are pointing out bits, nothing major:

1. Poor boot lid fit. Wrong weatherstrip?
2. Non-original rear view mirror.
3. Non-original dual gauge for this model.
4. Bonnet cable in engine bay, odd non-original fitting.
5. Has had a removable under-sump cross piece fitted. Not a bad thing.

Agree that poor door fit probably original.


6. Frame isn't original Lotus, but the Spyder 'stressed skin' equivalent.
7. Wires removed from radiator otter switch and taped to airbox trunking.
8. 'New exhaust' isn't (or at least the downpipes and Y piece aren't.
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PostPost by: 111Robin » Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:36 pm

Good to see the original door fit was a bit ropey. Old mini restorers go to great lengths to achieve a perfect door fit that was never present from the factory.
Is it definitely a Spyder chassis ?, I did ask the seller but he wasn't able to confirm (he's selling it on consignment, not the owner). I'm only enquiring as this is relatively local to me. Seller wasn't able to confirm details of the engine rebuild, he's quoting information from a previous auction sale. I'm sure it's genuine but would be nice to see an invoice for the work.
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PostPost by: ncm » Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:58 pm

"Is it definitely a Spyder chassis ?,"
The big giveaway is the round tube front crossmember and the horseshoe shaped towing eye.
s-l1600 (1)_LI.jpg and
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PostPost by: 111Robin » Wed Feb 17, 2021 10:04 pm

Thanks, good spot, I have a lot to learn. Does having a stressed skin Spyder chassis usually affect the value?. Technically it may be an improvement but isn't to original spec', so presumably might reduce the value, not that it matters much with an online auction. I'm by no means a rivet counter but originality is something I would prefer.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:55 am

Fitting a Spyder chassis vs a Lotus chassis really is a matter of personal preference.

The two Elan Gurus of the past 40 years have opposing views. Miles Wilkins would only fit an original Lotus chassis (he did supply them as well!), and Brian Buckland would only fit a Spyder spaceframe chassis! Remember that Lotus never made their own chassis, but sub-contracted the work to a third party (currently made by Gartrac).

However, Spyder make two versions of their chassis for standard Elan suspension and engine (they do others for Sierra suspension and Zetec engines). Their two versions are the spaceframe chassis (with the tubular front section), and they do a folded sheet metal or 'stressed skin' version as well. When fitted that looks identical to the original Lotus folded metal chassis, except the earlier ones had the round section front member, where the later ones have the square section front member.

There are enough folks who want an Elan that I wouldn’t think that values of a car are impacted by having one or the other. Like Miles and Brian, some would only buy one, and others would only buy the other when it comes to stressed skin (original spec) vs spaceframe. However, there are so few differences between the original Lotus Chassis and the Spyder stressed skin chassis that I'm pretty sure most folks wouldn't notice and very few would walk away because it wasn't an 'original' Lotus (Gartrac) chassis.

Regarding this yellow Elan, it does look like an interesting and honest car. For me, the yellow colour is one of the most attractive for the Elan, and a very safe colour to have on such a small car.

As pointed out, the door fit looks to be totally original, with identical ‘sticking-out’ bottom rear to my S4.

As it was re-sprayed in 2011, any faults in the bodywork preparation would now be showing up. Check for any sinking in the paint, cracks opening up and the dreaded micro-blisters.

The bolt-on non-original bits are really irrelevant and can simply be replaced with original specification bits. The steering wheel looks to be an early Moto-lita, which is quite desirable and much nicer to use that the standard wheel.

One other modification the car has is the Weber head. As a 1970 car, it would almost certainly have had Strombergs originally. For me, and many others, the weber head is a very desirable mod to a Stromberg car. Today, that modification would cost £3000 plus, and does increase the value of the car.

If I was looking for an Elan I would certainly go and have a look at this one. Check out all the invoices as well, and see if there are any photos of the car before / during the restoration work. I doubt very much that it would be priced close to the current bidding of £20k though. I would imagine it will sell for something around £30k to £35k, although times are a bit strange, and the car is located a fair distance from most buyers.

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PostPost by: 111Robin » Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:41 am

Thanks for the explanation Mark, very helpful.
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