Lotus Elan

Cars for sale at Spyder

PostPost by: EPC 394J » Tue Feb 20, 2024 9:20 am

So I absolutely understand everyone has different tastes, and that’s absolutely fine. But here’s my question:

These Plus 2 Zetecs, have a modern space frame chassis (which I’ve just discovered here ‘apparently’ give a totally different ride experience? Do they still have a different ride height too giving a very different stance?) Plus 2 Zetecs have a totally different ‘modern’ engine, with throttle bodies. They have a more modern gearbox that apparently requires further development to recreate the enjoyable feel of the original car. They have more modern transmission. Different steering. They have a more modern leather interior. The handbrake is mounted on the transmission tunnel! :roll:

(To be honest with you, being a total coward, I’m not sure I’d want to be driving a car with a 210bhp engine in a vehicle with the crashworthiness of an egg shell! But that’s just me. :lol: )

So the question is, what connects this car to any Lotus? Only the resprayed fibreglass body shell I presume? Unless they too are remanufactured?

Which does make me wonder, how they’re entitled to bear age ‘appropriate’ registrations when really they are no more than ‘bitsa’ kit cars?

To be fair, there are some fabulous kit cars out there if that’s your thing.
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

Plus 2S

BLL 315H in white.
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PostPost by: HCA » Tue Feb 20, 2024 9:58 am

Here we go!

I wondered how long it would be for the Cromwellian brigade to pile in!
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Tue Feb 20, 2024 10:21 am

I thought it was quiet :lol:
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PostPost by: SimonH » Tue Feb 20, 2024 1:40 pm

EPC 394J wrote:(To be honest with you, being a total coward, I’m not sure I’d want to be driving a car with a 210bhp engine in a vehicle with the crashworthiness of an egg shell! But that’s just me. :lol: )


Tbh it’s not the 210hp engine that will cause you a problem in a plus 2, it’s the numptys in the 2.5 tonne plus suvs that populate the roads that will end you. I take it you never drive your totally original car anywhere near such behemoths? Lol

Anyway I’m not getting drawn into the mods/not mods thing as mine (when I finally finish it) will have mods and thats everyone’s personal choice
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PostPost by: berni29 » Tue Feb 20, 2024 6:15 pm

Hi

The standard 2L Zetec is about 130bhp. So not crazily dissimilar to a decent twincam. Also if you open one up it is very similar to the Twincam. Belt driven cams but apart from that and the extra valves they could be 1st cousins or even brothers. The interior of a Zetec can be absolutely standard. Personally I will not drive or be driven in a car without head restraints, but you can get seats from the likes of BB which closely mimic the original (+2) seats, and yes with head restraints. The Zetecs have provision for the handbrake to be tunnel mounted abut it does not have to be so using some ingenuity. You can also run a Zetec car with standard suspension components if you so wish. Indeed you can use a modified standard chassis, one of which I have, originally done by someone on here.

As for wheels you can run 175/70/14's and have exactly the same rolling diameter as the 165/13/82's. You can also get the offsets and ride heights to match what passes as standard if you so wish (which I personally do).

Some people enjoy the originality thing and will only want every detail to be correct. Others enjoy the cars as objects of art and hardly ever drive them. Others just love the shape and concept and want the best execution of it, whatever that means to them.

Its horses for courses.

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Berni
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Wed Feb 21, 2024 8:25 am

and some people like to replace Dynamos with alternators and fit electronic ignition and halogen headlights and cartridge water pumps and CV joints rather than donuts and more modern dampers and even, heaven forbid, electric headlamp motors etc. etc.
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PostPost by: HCA » Wed Feb 21, 2024 4:48 pm

SimonH wrote:
EPC 394J wrote:
Tbh it’s not the 210hp engine that will cause you a problem in a plus 2, it’s the numptys in the 2.5 tonne plus suvs that populate the roads that will end you.


You actually make a very good point and one that some modern thinking insurers are taking on board.

When the car is secial to the owner, regardless of bhp, most if not all will think thrice before unleashing any horses, or putting the car into a tricky situation, so yes, it is the other road users to worry about. I know this is true in my Evora, whereas my daily Golf R, I am a bit more sprited and in my little 23 yr old workhorse Skoda pick up, I do admit to being 'cavalier'.... :D
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Thu Feb 22, 2024 7:09 pm

A brief review follows of driving Sean Reeves +2 Spyder Zetec. Unfortunately I didn't get to drive the Early +2 as it wasn't quite ready for the road needing a rear brake disc changing., but I will report on my inspection of it as well as the yellow/orange +2 later on tomorrow

First impressions
Approaching the car in the workshop I was immediately struck by the fact that Sean had listened to me and got the polishing cloth out. The subtle shade of light blue metallic was gleaming beneath the harsh but moody fluorescent lights. A quick inspection of the interior revealed pristine black leather MX5 seats, quality carpeting and all other interior fittings such as head lining, door cards and dashboard in tip top condition. The bodywork overall is a credit to Spyder's paint shop who have carried out some remedial work in the last couple of years and also to SMS Spalding who originally painted the car in 2010. The overall appearance is very pleasing, there is a total lack of the normal disappointments often apparent in these cars such as micro blistering, stress cracks or overly rippled panels. All of the shut lines are consistent and the bonnet and boot lid fit perfectly.

sean moody under the lights.jpg and





Having a proper look

After obtaining Sean's permission I then proceeded to get a bit close and personal, trying my hardest to spot flaws and features that would detract as well as seeking out subtle alterations or additions to the standard specification of the car.
Starting with the bodywork, I discovered evidence of a stress crack on the nose cone above the nearside headlamp opening where the bobbins locate for the pop up headlamps, this had been repaired before paint, but the area has sunk a little and you can see the flaw, but it's certainly not something that your eye would be drawn to. The rest of the bodywork was almost perfect and there were two items present that have become a Spyder trademark, the first being the deletion of the screws on the sill bottoms and the second being a re working of the scuttle at the ends of the windscreen so that it's no longer a moisture trap. The door mirrors are Tex items as are the wipers and washer jets, all in fine order.
Sean Sill.jpg and

sean scuttle.jpg and




Opening the boot using the remote handle in the drivers door shut revealed a neat and tidy, but non standard configuration. The Lotus supplied boot boards are deleted to be replaced with a carpeted 3/4 width platform that covers a space saver spare wheel and tool kit, leaving a handy storage well to the RH side, the heavy duty battery is located to the front of this well and is equipped with an isolator switch and plug in point for a battery conditioner/charger. The boot area is fully carpeted and gives plenty of space for luggage or golf clubs or dare I say it, the weekly shop.
Upon opening the bonnet I was disappointed to see that Sean's valeting hadn't extended to this area, but it was obvious that everything was in good order. It really only needed a wipe down with a damp micro fibre cloth so that it matched the rest of the car. The mechanical parts genuinely look as though they should be there, everything is arranged neatly in a way that is pleasing to the eye. I noted that the Zetec exhaust manifold fitted was based upon the design pioneered by John Pelly and that the pop up headlamps were operated by the MX5/Miata electric motor system designed by myself.

Going for a drive

To start the car you have the choice of either switching on the ignition and pushing the dashboard mounted start button, or simply turning the key in the ignition. Not being used to the start button I automatically just turned the key. The Zetec quite sluggishly came into life (they always seem a bit lazy on startup) and settled into a smooth idle, 1st gear was selected, the clutch let out and we very smoothly took off down the road. I was immediately aware of the redesigned gear linkage system that reduces throw and gives a proper H gate as well as the slightly increased urge from the 210 BHP engine vs 180 BHP that I'm used to. The gear change is definitely on a par with the rifle bolt smoothness that we all love about the original Lotus 4 speed, no balkiness and no hunting for the right ratio, it's an upgrade that I have ordered for both my cars, absolutely superb.
Once I had got over the shock of a Zetec car with a nice gearbox I started to take in the driving position which due to the MX5 seats places you lower in the car than the standard +2, it's approximately 3 inches, I certainly had more headroom than usual and the seats give good support and side bolstering as well as a useable headrest. Unlike some high back seats I have seen fitted to other +2's these seats are really compact and don't get in the way of rear vision when you want to reverse as well as reclining or tipping forward easily when needed. The dashboard and instruments are the familiar items found in all +2's with a few tweaks in that Sean has deleted the rocker switches in favour of chrome toggle switches and there are some extra buttons for heated seats and that start button mentioned previously.
sean dashboard.jpg and


The suspension is stiffer than I'm used to, Sean has uprated 140lb springs whereas I have recently fitted Nitron Spax coilovers with standard 100lb springs, it's not harsh but it is noticeable that this isn't a relaxing GT more of a fast road car. The exhaust drones at low revs and the overall noise inside the cabin is a good few decibels louder than my own car, I think that Sean may benefit from my recent upgraded centre silencer and repacked back box!
The steering is positive and pleasantly light at all but parking speeds, the response from the uprated Zetec coupled with that lovely gearbox is intoxicating (did I mention I liked the gearbox?). We are travelling from Spyder's workshop at the edge of the village of Whittlesey to try and find some faster roads that are not flooded, my normal Fenland route is impassable today, but we eventually find a couple of miles of dual carriageway that forms a link between a new housing estate and the road into Peterborough. Thankfully it's clear of any traffic for almost a mile ahead, so I very carefully pressed the throttle into the Axminster being mindful of the wet road conditions, second gear took us past 60mph and 7000rpm, the shift light reminding me to change up to third which was despatched very quickly followed by 4th which felt like I could lose my license very quickly at which point I felt the need to back off and slow down to get rid of that silly childish grin on my face. I didn't need to use the brakes hard at any point but they filled me with confidence when needed. So, having had a bit of fun I returned they way we had come via a roundabout, this time just taking the car steadily up to 70mph and selecting 5th to see how the car cruised. I noted the higher noise level compared to my car, I had already mentioned the suspension being stiffer, but I was pleased with the way the car tracked, it felt solid & planted, similar to the way my S4 drives, in fact the performance overall was similar to my S4 which although it only has 180 bhp is considerably lighter than the +2.


Conclusion

The asking price is £44,995, that's a lot of money for a +2, but it's certainly not a lot of money for a +2 Zetec. For Spyder to build a car to this specification would now cost an eye watering £65,000 and that doesn't include the original +2 that you would need to supply, of course you could buy a reasonable +2 for around £20,000 and get back around £10,000 by selling the parts you will no longer require, so that equals £75,000 ...gulp, you could almost buy an Emira for that. But at this £44,995 price level you expect a car that wants for nothing, a car that you could just jump in and drive to Spain confident that it would get you there without missing a beat and the good news is that this car would do it admirably.

Modifying a classic Lotus to this level is not for everyone and I do understand why some people disapprove, but I'm sure that most Lotus enthusiasts would find at least something to like about this car.


Notes: I didn't get good photos of the engine due to it being a bit grubby, here is a picture of a typical Spyder Zetec engine bay from my own +2 as well as the rear boot arrangement on my Elan Duratec that has the well and platform.
Typical Spyder +2 zetec engine bay.jpg and

Typical Spyder boot arrangement.jpg and
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PostPost by: gav » Fri Feb 23, 2024 3:40 pm

Alan

Where is the fuel tank in your Duratec Elan?

Thanks
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Feb 23, 2024 3:50 pm

I have updated the review above with a few pictures so that it makes more sense when reading. Also just to explain that the weather conditions on Wednesday were appalling and that my normal twisty Fenland road route was unavailable due to flooding. So, although I would have liked to have thrown the car into a few corners to check the handling it really wasn't possible on the roads that were available being mostly residential 30mph or 40mph local trunk roads with atrocious potholes and huge McCains lorries bearing down on us until we found the dual carriageway link.

I mentioned that I was very impressed with the revised MT75 gear linkage. These are in the process of being produced and I'm first in the queue followed by Colin (Spyzee).

I did take a short video for which I can forward the link to those genuinely interested. The choreography and commentary is atrocious, but for those of you that know the MT75 and it's standard linkage you will get the idea and see the huge improvement. Just send me a PM if you want the video.

No firm costs for this, but Sean said it would be expensive :lol: The old linkage was around £350, so expect this one to be around £500. Ben the workshop main mechanic can swap out the linkage in around 2 hours, the current workshop rate is £64 per hour + VAT
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Feb 23, 2024 3:53 pm

gav wrote:Alan

Where is the fuel tank in your Duratec Elan?

Thanks
Gavin


Hi Gavin,
It's between the rear turrets the same as a +2. Some Federal or maybe they were Canadian Elans had this arrangement possibly to comply with safety regulations.

Kermit fuel tank.jpg and
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PostPost by: gav » Fri Feb 23, 2024 4:50 pm

Thanks Alan - and ignore some of my points on my PM - your update has answered them.

What capacity is your tank? - I ask because I was thinking about going down the same route to allow me to dispense with the swirl pot and lifter pump that I am currently running.

Thanks again
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Feb 23, 2024 5:28 pm

last time I filled from nearly empty it was 36 litres, so at least 40 brim full.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Fri Feb 23, 2024 6:17 pm

It was a number of mostly Series 4 Federal Elans destined for Canada that had fuel tanks relocated between the turrets.

I am not sure, but it could possibly have been for one or two specific Canadian states that required this, rather than the entire country. Perhaps one of our Canadian listers knows?

Additionally, I am not sure for how long this went on, not very long, I don't believe. I have not yet seen a Sprint equipped with the tank in that location.

I have attached a photo of the tank as supplied by Lotus. In fact, I now wonder if the tanks may have been repositioned by the importer, rather than at the factory.

Tim
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PostPost by: gav » Fri Feb 23, 2024 6:41 pm

As it happens I bought an ally tank from Spyder that they designed to sit between the turrets and ended up putting it on a shelf.
I have now brought it down and am considering using it….
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