Lotus Elan

S 1-2-3-4 differences?

PostPost by: timax » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:07 pm

I know the info must be here somewhere.
basically i want to know the differences between an S2 S3 and S4
I know the boot lid and window frame differences on the earlier cars and the big valve engine in the Sprint but can't find the other info. Toying with the idea of selling my Clubman and buying the other car i have always wanted. There is a nice 1968 S4 on the market near me but want to make sure this really is the model for me to have before having a closer look.
Just need to be pointed to where to find this info.
Thanks Tim
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:13 pm

This link will give the main differences although nothing is written in stone lol:
http://elanregistry.org/guide.php
Last edited by types26/36 on Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: timax » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:18 pm

Boy that was quick! :wink:
Just what i was looking for . Now just need to find the same for the interiors.
Thanks Tim
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:25 pm

timax wrote:Boy that was quick!


Ah...yes....the forum is like the cars...quick but also gets occasional misfires :roll:
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PostPost by: simonknee » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:35 pm

How much info do you want Tim, you could fill a book with the differences and people have!
I'm not sure I have ever seen a detailed breakdown here.

Is it the look or the performance you are interested in?
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PostPost by: simonknee » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:37 pm

Ah good old Jim, didn't know that was on his site (and he does it in a page of html)!
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PostPost by: ardee_selby » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:58 pm

Once you have pinned down the key differences, there are also the differing opinions to consider, or ignore, as you so wish. For example:

post129203.html

Cheers - Richard
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:31 pm

Hello Tim,

It's a very personal thing. Many prefer the earlier cars for their simplicity and some say a S1 or S2 with the top down is prettier because there are no fixed window frames.

There is little doubt that the Elan improved throughout production and in many ways the Sprint was the best being the end point of the evolution of the car.

There is a very big difference between the original Type 26 (S1-2) and the later Type 36 S3-4-Sprint Fixed head) and the Type 45 (S3-4-Sprint Drophead) The later cars are arguably better built, have less of a kit car feel about them and are very much more refined with much nicer interiors and other refinements such as electric windows.

You are likely to find a S3-4 in the UK easier than the early cars and price wise Sprints and very early cars tend to command higher prices. Generally dropheads tend to make more than the equivalent fixed head.

If you are not familiar with Elans, be careful, it's easy to spend money on a tarted up inferior car. There's plenty of advice on here and if you live close to anyone some first hand advice may be available.

Being a S4 owner, I will of course say it's second best only to a well sorted Sprint. Early Elans don't do it for me, but that's just me of course. :wink:
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PostPost by: simonknee » Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:37 pm

Got me thinking and this is very simple...

A How to Choose your Perfect Elan Checklist.

1. Decide on roof or no roof
2. Decide what shape rear lights you want. Round, oval or square.
3. Decide on what badge you want. no badge, S/E or Sprint.

Job done. Armed with these three answers you can discern between any of the models in Jim's list. (doesn't work so well for the +2 but that's for the luxury market with all it's fancy gauges and gears).

Joking aside you only really need to decide on question 1. (though the correct answer is of course "roof").
You will not be disappointed with an S1, 2, 3 or 4 - your wallet will decide.

The rest of it you'll be sorting out anyway to varying degrees depending on the dpo.
And you can change the "badge" on your next rebuild depending on what you fancy.

Simon
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PostPost by: fatboyoz » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:51 am

Tim,
Perhaps the '68 S4 is the car for you. It is nice, it is for sale and it is near to you.
I also have an '68 S4 DHC. Mine is Standard specification: 105bhp, bolt on wheels, no brake booster, no repeater indicators on front mud guards, no shiny exterior trim (apart from badges), seat material is not basket weave. S/E (Special Equipment) specification: normally has all the things that I have mentioned above, plus different camshafts bump the power up to 118bhp. Can't help with series differences.
Regards,
Colin.


timax wrote:I know the info must be here somewhere.
basically i want to know the differences between an S2 S3 and S4
I know the boot lid and window frame differences on the earlier cars and the big valve engine in the Sprint but can't find the other info. Toying with the idea of selling my Clubman and buying the other car i have always wanted. There is a nice 1968 S4 on the market near me but want to make sure this really is the model for me to have before having a closer look.
Just need to be pointed to where to find this info.
Thanks Tim
'68 S4 DHC
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PostPost by: adigra » Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:10 am

The easiest way to tell an S3 from S4 in the interior is by the dashboard switches. Although, as with everything Lotus, there were crossovers and mixing, the general rule is that S3 use toggle switches while the S4 rocker. The steering wheels are also different, but they also differ between standard and S/E S3 cars, so it muddies the waters, but generally S4 are recognized by the Chapman signed wheels with round holes in the spokes and the thicker boss.

S1 dashboards are the most unique as they are 2/3 width with a separate glovebox (the rest are full width with an integrated glovebox).

There are many other differences, but the dashboards are the most immediate.

In my opinion, S3 cars are the ultimate Elans: an improved, better appointed version of the early cars, but before the legislation and fashion, as well as a lack of parts availability, forced changes into the S4. Some parts for the S4 are much easier to source, so they are the best compromise and easiest to live with.

Aside from the badge and the kudos, Sprint cars don't really add anything to the Elan ownership. Any engine can be made into Sprint spec (or much higher), and the rest of the formula is already there, so if the joy of driving an Elan is the main objective, I'd go for an S4 with Webers and live happily...
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PostPost by: worzel » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:00 am

Hi

Having owned both a S4 and a Sprint (the latter since 1978) I'll add my input and duck! S4- cheaper on petrol, once inside same as a sprint, never really noticed the power difference much. Sprint- drinks fuel in comparison, mechanically harsher, pricier for some reason, drives just the same. So- for me the S4 is more car for the money- but it's only my opinion.

John
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:15 pm

worzel wrote:Hi

Having owned both a S4 and a Sprint (the latter since 1978) I'll add my input and duck! S4- cheaper on petrol, once inside same as a sprint, never really noticed the power difference much. Sprint- drinks fuel in comparison, mechanically harsher, pricier for some reason, drives just the same. So- for me the S4 is more car for the money- but it's only my opinion.

John


Hello John,
I agree,

I assume your S4 is on Strombergs? That would certainly explain the difference in fuel consumption.

I'm not sure why the Sprint would feel significantly harsher. The change in Rotoflex couplings made a very slight difference I suppose?

The performance difference really only manifests itself if you drive around revving the b*llocks off the car all the time. Driven spiritedly all Elans are quick and unless you get the stopwatch out and make a perfect getaway who is honestly going to notice a second or so difference to 60 mph?

My Elan, on Webers seems thirsty, but I think that's more about the UK price of petrol than the car being particularly greedy.
John

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