Lotus Elan

4 Speed or 5??

PostPost by: meglin » Tue Jul 05, 2005 2:35 pm

I am looking at a buying a 1973 130/5 that currently has a 4 speed in it. I have the option to get the 5 speed reinstalled. I would prefer to use the 5 speed but I don't know if the shift quality will bother me.

Can any 5 speed owners offer an opinion?


Posts: 2
Joined: 14 Sep 2003

PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:28 pm

I converted mine last year for two reasons
1) rush hour traffic climbing a long hill near here-i was continually slipping the clutch and knew it wasn't doing it any good
2) travelling down to Italy was hectic in fourth gear and I didn't like prolonged use of "high revs".

The conversion helped in both these cases,the change (after a little fettling) was as good as a ford(except for reverse).
This has deteriorated recently and is now a pig to get into first and second( i'll have a look at this this winter)
So,if you have these problems-Go for it,if you don't then stick with the four speeder,

User avatar
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
Posts: 5707
Joined: 21 Sep 2003
Location: Manchester

PostPost by: Dave_Newcastle » Tue Jul 05, 2005 6:24 pm


As a driver of a four speed, I agree with advise from John. Stick with the four speed at first (but get hold of and keep the five speed box) and do not go to effort/cost of change until you are forced to consider the issue. I travel long distance to Le Mans each year (1500 mile return trip and the car sits nicely at 4000 to 4500 revs with a lovely smooth ride - not tiresome at all. I have heard people talk of changing from 4 to 5 speed to cure percieved problems in ride/noise quality which I felt with their cars was more down to vibrations on drivetrain/wheels than the engine speed. Having said that I have never driven in a five speed. Whilst driving around in lotus circles in 4 gears you may well get the chance to try a five speed car and then you will be able to better placed to make your own choice.
Second Gear
Second Gear
Posts: 102
Joined: 12 Sep 2003
Location: Northumberland

PostPost by: sk178ta » Tue Jul 05, 2005 7:36 pm

I`ve done about 2,500 miles since changing to a 5 speed in my S3 Elan in April, 1500 in a week in Scandinavia. I`m still not sure. The extra gear is well worth having but the change is not so good, a bit rubbery. I`ve kept the 4 speed and may change back. Conversely I`ve driven a 130S/5 with a lovely change. Having done it I`ll probably stick with the 5 speed but if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn`t.
Second Gear
Second Gear
Posts: 132
Joined: 08 May 2004

PostPost by: mac5777 » Tue Jul 05, 2005 10:09 pm

I, also was looking for a 5 speed to ease that urge to grab one more gear. And I did not fine one in the US. What I'm doing is, keeping the 155/80/13 tires for height and replacing the Ring and pinion gear with a new 3.55:1 and changing the donuts to a new CV system. The CVs will not make any difference but maybe in the feel. I'll post the results.
elan S3 coupe
User avatar
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
Posts: 576
Joined: 05 Jul 2004
Location: Northern California

PostPost by: tscollins » Wed Jul 06, 2005 7:33 pm

I recently purchased a '69 S4 DHC with a Lotus 5-speed installed. I have not driven a 4-speed, so I can't tell you which gearbox shifts better. I can tell you that the 5-speed gives the car incredible flexibility. I live in CA and must use the freeways to get to the twisty bits of mountain roads where the top two gears are irrelevant anyway. But coming home from the West Coast Lotus Meet at Lake Tahoe on the freeway was not the drudgery I had feared. The speedo indicated 120 Km/h at a lazy 3000 rpm. It felt like a Grand Touring car! After ripping around the Tahoe basin for 4 days, this was icing on the cake - the best of both worlds. Too bad I had to go back to work on Monday.

Posts: 7
Joined: 27 Aug 2004

Total Online:

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests