Lotus Elan

Lightly burnt toast.

PostPost by: kerryblu » Sun May 16, 2010 9:08 pm

Hi all,

Been looking at the +2 on ebay, the one with the light engine bay fire. I know I said I wasn't looking for one of these BUT it is a DHC.
So the ? is , would it be possible for a novice to do the GPR work myself,and what books are there to help.

Ger, thanks. :?
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PostPost by: wojeepster » Mon May 17, 2010 5:29 am

miles wilkins has a book on fiberglass restoration, long out of print. I found my copy on amazon.co.uk (they wanted over $100 for it in the states) It doesn't take much fire to ruin a fiberglass car.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Mon May 17, 2010 9:57 am

GRP work is pretty straighforward, and with a few bits of practice, and the Miles Wilkins book, you should be able to get good results.

I'd think pretty hard before buying this car though. Firstly, you'd need to inspect it very closely to determine what damage has been done. It's easy to melt a small part of the head / inlet manifold area with a carb fire, and the chassis may well have been subjected to a lot of heat and be distorted. The master cylinders and servo look to be scrap, and if any heat went behind the bulkhead, the instruments / switches could be damaged. The wiring loom and brake pipes will need to be replaced, and things like the handbrake mechanism / cable may also need replacing, along with fuel lines, airbox, carburettors etc. etc. It's hard to tell to what extent the shell has been damaged by the fire, but in the worst case, you could require a half front for the shell, and then you'll need a fair bit of experience to sort that out.

It also looks like this had a cheapo paint job when it was converted, as you can see red paint on the damaged wing...and maybe yellow in the engine bay, although that could be primer. So really, the whole car would need to be painted to get it right.

The car will probably also be recorded as being an insurance write-off, which doesn't make it very appealing if and when you come to sell. Finally, the Plus 2 was never made as a convertible, but quite a few were converted in the 80s and 90s.

I think that you would be better off with another tired but complete Plus 2 if you want a restoration....one that hasn't been mucked about with or caught fire!

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PostPost by: ardee_selby » Mon May 17, 2010 10:36 am


Yes, take head of Mark's advice.

With Miles Wilkins book I have managed to do reasonable impact/gel-coat repairs, but fire damage is something else, having had a trial run on a bonnet many moons ago.

Miles Wilkins book refers to fire damage: "Fire damaged resin goes dark yellow-orange"
and "there is no alternative than to replace with sections" and "strength of any undetected fire damaged laminate would be almost non-existant"

The bulkhead appears to have turned to such a colour. Pedal box mounting!!!

I note that it has a "BDA airbox" (which was discussed in a recent thread). I wonder if that had a bearing on the fire? I've got one fitted at the moment but a pukka airbox will be going back on, that's for sure!

Cheers - Richard
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PostPost by: ardee_selby » Mon May 17, 2010 10:39 am

Sorry, meant to say take "heed", not head! :oops:

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PostPost by: LotusElan+217 » Mon May 17, 2010 10:50 am

Echo all the comments above, beware.

I emailed the seller when it was first placed on Ebay a couple of months ago, turns out it is a Cat C write-off which will require a VIC check once you re-register it, will always display on the V5 and will consequently once it is fully restored/repaired will only be worth up to 70% of the value of a comparable non-recorded car.

I notice that although he mentions it was subject to an insurance claim he doesn't state that it was a Cat C which is sure to put most people off, perhaps a slight bit of intentional misrepresentation going on there.

Car fires are nasty things, personally I would never touch one with a bargepole, I have seen a health and safety video of what can happen if certain melted plastics get on your skin, no less than an amputation can save you, absolutely horrific.

Not suggesting that there are any hazardous plastics left on this vehicle but it is better to be safe than sorry.

I would be interested at the right price for the parts alone, I wouldn't save a DHC Elan +2, an abomination in my eyes, if I want a DHC I would buy an Elan, the fact that I have had four +2's suggest that I like the lines of the coupe and am not fussed about having grit in my hair and flies in my teeth.

It is worth quite a bit in parts, however as mentioned if the head has been damaged by the heat it might not be repairable and that is a large chunk of the car's value.
Founding member of the society to eradicate the belief that a +2 is not an Elan by those who really ought to know better :)
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