Lotus Elan

Elan Spyder Advice

PostPost by: leedsj » Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:13 pm

Hi all - not posted here before, but I've been fond of the +2s ever since I drove a friend's 10 yrs ago. Not knowing that much mechanically, I like the idea of the Spyder zetec conversion (a completed one, obviously!) as this seems like easier ownership. Does anyone have any experience of the zetecs, what to look out for in a bodged conversion etc.? and also - where to look for one?

many thanks,
james
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PostPost by: tower of strength » Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:19 pm

welcome to the forum!! You'll find plenty of "for and against" arguement in the archives, just search Zetec, i wont add my tuppence at this stage!!! :wink:

regards

Mark
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PostPost by: leedsj » Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:21 pm

Hmm... I fear I may have strayed into a land far too technical for my engineering knowledge! I've had a search and really i'd just like to know whether the whole spyder / zetec thing is as magical as it's made out. What are the downsides... that kind of thing. The technicalities are a bit over my head :(
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PostPost by: tower of strength » Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:46 pm

just an opinion, its mine, not the accepted wisdom!!

The whole point of our cars is : the legendary ride quality, the legendary roadholding/handling balance and the legendary Lotus Twin Cam engine,
add to this a light stylish grp body and you have our cars, ie superlative classics fom the 60's

change the suspension geometry and layout, change the grip levels and the handling balance, raise the ride hight and fit low profile tyres, then take away the power unit and add a modern one? its no longer the real deal is it?

Its a bit like saying an MR2 with a body kit is a ferrari, again my opinion!!

Another way of looking at it is that these very capable cars (the spyder zetec) are going to enable more of us to keep our cars going with mechanical parts and as our cars are becoming thinner on the ground, eventually values will rise due to the reduced availability of original cars!!

I considered the spyder route for my car, till the above was pointed out to me.
also there is the cost implications with the full Spyder conversion, it aint cheap!

regards

Mark
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PostPost by: ianf » Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:37 pm

Tower,

..not forgetting that the cars in their original format keep alive and promote the vision and sheer bloody talent of the proprieter, designers, engineers and everyone involved in a facinating company which turned propriety components into world beating sportscars.

That said as an everyday car a Spyder Elan would be a welcome replacement for my current company wheels!

Ian
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PostPost by: tower of strength » Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:48 pm

ianf wrote:Tower,

..not forgetting that the cars in their original format keep alive and promote the vision and sheer bloody talent of the proprieter, designers, engineers and everyone involved in a facinating company which turned propriety components into world beating sportscars.

That said as an everyday car a Spyder Elan would be a welcome replacement for my current company wheels!

Ian


agreed!! however I feel the Spyder is in essence a kit car using an old shell.

As for doing 50000 miles a year in a plus 2? what with the noise, leaks, iffy wipers, poor heater /demist performance and sitting so low I'd rather stick with the modern for the daily grind!! Now a ten to twenty mile comute would be a different kettle of fish and my old 130/5 did the honours for that!!
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PostPost by: wilsongt » Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:52 am

What a great post. In just a couple of paragraphs you manage to dismiss the Spyder product as an ill-handling,unbalanced, rip-off bodykitted kit car.

For this new person you somehow managed to omit mentioning that the Spyder components used eg backbone chassis, front and rear suspension, driveshafts etc are direct replacements for Lotus equivalents - after all that's how Spyder came into the business in the 1st place. Who kept Elans, both baby and +2, on the road with their replacement chassis in the late 70's/early to mid 80's? It certainly wasn't Lotus.

Taking your comparison of an MR2 Ferrari bodykit to a Spyder Zetec to its intended conclusion this would mean Toyota supplying parts to Ferrari. When of course we all know it is FIAT who does...Toyota being better known for stealing Ferrari intellectual property...

From the inside, an MR2 with a bodykit looks, feels and sounds like an MR2. A Spyder Zetec looks and sounds like a +2. As for feel, it looks like you have made your mind up.

Speaking of balance, how does the handling balance change? Isn't the weight distribution similar? Ditto suspension geometry until the extremities of its travel (the limitations of a rear strut). And are you suggesting the ride is harder?

I'll give you ride height - it looks ugly. On the other hand, raise you - sleeping policemen, gravel roads, grassy field car parks

I find it absolutely hilarious that your use the term kit car perjoratively, considering who invented the concept (presumably with Fred Bushell's advice)

Regards
Glenn
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PostPost by: RichardS » Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:24 am

I write in Syders defence as well!

Back in 1984 my Sprint was only 11 years old yet the front chassis turrets had rotted so I did not have much faith in fitting another Lotus chassis and fitted a Spyder spaceframe chassis. After 20 years + the Spyder chassis is still immaculate!

I am in the process of refurbishing my Elan after a long spell off the road and after a lot of deliberation took delivery of the Spyder RSC conversion, tubular wishbones etc yesterday which I am very excited about fitting! As Andy from Spyder said when I was chatting about my plans - they would not still be here after 30 years if their products did not do the business.

At the end of the day if its your car you can do what you want [having said that I will keep all the original bits in the attic!!]

Richard
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PostPost by: fitzy1 » Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:31 am

I've built one and I use it as my regular daily driver and love it !!
Granted it's a bit noisy compared to modern boxes but it sounds great and it's reliable.Frankly I believe if Chapman was still around he would have done exactly the same. The performance of the zetec is better as is the roadholding as are the brakes ...etc etc as for ride height mine rides at the same height as the original it replaced.

There're all great cars

fitzy
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PostPost by: zeteclotus » Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:01 am

I would say the most annoying part of any of the sixties elans is the exhaust speed bump ground clearance. keeping the ride height low on the zetec with its larger exhaust diameter makes this even more annoying.

I thought about fitting a rectangular flat exhaust section,

Given the choice of original over zetec I would choose original with 5 speed. if you want a modern reliable lotus get a modern reliable lotus ?

The Zetec is a nice car but not for me (thats after building one and driving it for a 6 months)

obviously just my opinion
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PostPost by: handi_andi » Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:25 am

As you can see there is no simple answer to the question and one that always brings on enlivened and quite frankly passionate debate with everyone having their own personal opinion and I am no exception.

Personally, I like the mid-way house that I have and the philosophy I am following. My elan plus 2 S130 is running on a spyder chassis with CV joint conversion done on the rear-end, stainless steel exhaust, halogen headlights, fog lights and driving lights and will shortly also have electronic ignition. The idea being to keep as many original features as possible and the original looks but discretely replace those components that can give serious trouble and replace them discretely with modern alternatives. Hence I don't have to worry about roto-flex couplings letting go and I can see the road at night etc. By doing this, making sure all repairs are done to the highest possible standard, regularly servicing her with good quality components, and making sure everything is well earthed, I am aiming to make and keep her reliabile such that I can easily driver her the 130miles to and from work without having to worry and yet to the normal eye nigh on original.

Any well restored twincam lotus elan should be capable of this regardless of whether it is on a new lotus style chassis or a spyder one. The majority of lotus parts are also easily to get hold of and alot of bargains can be had shopping around and by using ebay.

Have to admit though I do have a soft spot for the roar of the twincam, ok my first journey was 18hours long so it got engrained in me, but also do like the security of a new chassis under me and CVs at the rear end.

As the old saying goes, you pay your money and you make your choice...
Live life to the fullest - that's why I own a Lotus
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PostPost by: tower of strength » Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:53 pm

Gentle men please, read the first line of my post!!!!


MY OPINION

thats all it is


:lol:

Mark
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PostPost by: Midlife » Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:32 pm

Spyder chassis is supberb, and far better than the lotus one... (sorry purists). 8)
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PostPost by: rdssdi » Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:37 pm

My 1969 Elan +2 has been restored using a new spyder chassis, alloy wheels and suspension arms. I retained the original drivetrain with the exception of the Spyder CV/rotoflex driveshafts.

I also upgraded the new wiring loom with 10 fuses, 4 additional relays and I added an electric antenna. I have installed a custom alloy radiator and a custom alloy fuel tank using mocal breather vents.

Lotus restorations routinely involve upgrades. I am conflicted as to whether or not a "proper" restoration should include many upgrades. I now beleive if I am to restore another Lous, or other car, I would maintain the originality as much as possible. Originality is getting scarcer as many cars are updated or made into high performance clones or hot rods.

I now see a major part of the collector car enjoyment is to drive a car that reproduces the period driving experience.
Just my opinion.
Bob
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PostPost by: Matt » Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:53 pm

Spyder chassis is supberb, and far better than the lotus one... (sorry purists).


Well i'm with you all the way !

I have spyder chassis, spyder wishbones, spyder drivshafts and none original electronic ignition and electric headlamp lift

My car drives like a dream.

Spyder has helped give us elan owners the option to make our cars BETTER.
I would never change the lovely Lotus twin cam. That to me would be changing the heart and soul of the car. What a beautiful engine.

Just another opinion


Matt
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1970 Elan S4 Sprint
1972 Europa TC
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1978 Esprit S1
1981 Esprit S2.2
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