Lotus Elan

Another hello from Essex

PostPost by: Porker » Wed Dec 24, 2014 10:25 am

Hi all

Like the last poster, I'm also based in Essex, but over near Great Dunmow. I'm also in a bit of a dilemma.

I'd like to buy a "hobby" car that is good to drive on the open road and reasonably capable of doing some distances (i.e. getting to the next bit of decent road) and am wondering whether an Elan would do the job.

I am fairly capable with the spanners, so the maintenance aspects of the car don't worry me at all but I am a bit more lost when it comes to values. However, I would far rather start with an excellent car than one I need to start work on immediately. I've been that route before and don't really have the time to indulge at the moment.

I *think* my preference is for a FHC (2 seater rather than a Plus 2) but other than that I'm fairly open. I am happy to buy privately and in fact normally prefer that option rather than going via a dealer. There's no particular rush to buy a car so I can wait for the right one to come along.

So, pricing - what should I be expecting to pay for an excellent but not concours car (an S4 or S4 SE, for example)? Are prices trending up or fairly level at the moment?

In addition, is there anyone local who'd be open to letting me have a look over a similar car to see where the potential trouble spots are and to get a feel as to whether they're really for me? I'm sure I'll be getting along to some of the local meets but if they're in the evening it's a bit dark at the moment for looking at cars.

Other inputs welcome.

P.
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PostPost by: Porker » Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:25 am

Thanks for the friendly welcome chaps.
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PostPost by: jimj » Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:48 am

Well hello, wuff wuff, I`ll be your friend. But, aside from just getting back from the pub, hic, your post has just materiallated hence the lack of response. Welcome. The big question is; what`s your budget? as Elan values are all over the place dependent on condition.
Your friendly mate,
Jim
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:01 am

Looks like your first post went missing for a while...don't be disgruntled,we're a friendly lot here ( usually ) but as I'm upT' north I won't be of much help for you..

John :wink:
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PostPost by: trw99 » Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:11 am

Porker, I'm in your neck of the woods. Welcome and as others indicate, your post appears to have got subsumed somewhere between Christmas and now.

Have a butchers at my web site (as below). Drop me a PM or email via the links here and I'll be what help I can.

Tim
Last edited by trw99 on Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:17 am

Welcome fella.

I am in Colchester so not far and you have a few other guys in Chelmsford on here.

Best to decide how much of a project you want and then set a budget. You will get more for your money if you buy a +2. +2 prices are still on the rise but you should expect to spend between ?10k to ?20k for a usable car and around ?8k for a project.

Ebay is a good place to start and the Club Lotus mag also has adverts but you will need to join to get the mag.

This one is ?25k which is obviously over priced as its been for sale for ever.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1973-Lotus-El ... 48688a4d19


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Some more here but its slim pickings at the moment: http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/classic_ ... 9&S=Search
50/0951 1968 Wedgewood blue +2, 1990 Mini Cooper RSP
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:29 am

A belated welcome and Happy New Year to you, your post got lost in the Christmas rush, doubtful that many were looking on Christmas Eve and by the time we all got over Christmas dinner, Boxing Day and visiting all the relatives and other duties your message was most likely removed from the New Posts section so wasn't widely viewed. Your reply bumped the topic back into New Posts, so here we all are giving you a proper welcome and hopefully friendly advice.

Good useable 2 seater FHC cars in presentable condition are ?20,000 + the lower 20,s privately and mid to high from dealers. S4's are priced slightly lower than Sprints, early S3,s are rarer and priced higher. Don't expect any bargains, you will get what you pay for. All the early cars S1 & S2 were roadsters and are highly sought after mostly for historic racing.

Paintwork is frighteningly expensive as are engine rebuilds.

If you have less than 20k to invest, you will need access to a fully equipped garage and need to live on a good bus route :lol:
Kindest regards

Alan Thomas
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:05 am

http://www.classiccars.co.uk/lotus/elan/advert/2383

Looks ok for ?12k. In Leyton so not too far away.

Paul Matty usually has a few to look at. There are a few S4 on there so that will give you an idea of price.

http://www.paulmattysportscars.co.uk/Showroom.aspx
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PostPost by: Elanconvert » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:06 am

hello porker
I certainly missed your original post.........the guys on here are friendly, knowledgeable and helpful....for example see this thread which led to me buying a great S4 from a forum member.....as you will note, I started looking for a proect, and ended up with an excellent running car!

introducations-f46/new-member-wants-dhc-project-t29141.html

good luck with the search!

:D fred :D
'Never give up!....unless it's hopeless.....'

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PostPost by: trw99 » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:46 am

[quote="Jason1"]
This one is ?25k which is obviously over priced as its been for sale for ever.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1973-Lotus-El ... 48688a4d19

I'd be wary about cars from this dealer, following on from an experience of a friend of mine regarding an Elan they were selling.

Tim
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PostPost by: Porker » Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:16 am

Thanks for all the replies. I will read them and respond this evening.

regards
Last edited by Porker on Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Porker » Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:51 pm

Thanks again for all the replies.

Tim - what a great website you have put together there - very informative, not least the article that talked to the Sprint having a 25% power increase over the S4, This would argue that the S4 has about 100BHP net, versus 126 or so of the Sprint. I know they are quoted as 115BHP but the article says that they were being a bit liberal in their figures, as was often the case in the sixties.

Is the difference in performance between the two particularly marked in real terms?

I will try to get over to Matty's at some point in the next few weeks to give myself some kind of starting point for price v quality.

However it is fair to say that I am more in "research" mode at the moment, not least since I'd like to extend the garage before getting another car, so there is absolutely no rush about the process.

My experience of buying hobby cars seems to be that it's better to understand what you're getting into before jumping in, and this time spent in understanding the variants, pros and cons and so on is rarely wasted.

All the best.
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PostPost by: Porker » Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:42 pm

Bounce!

Does anyone have a view on the question above please? That is, do S4s suffer a significant performance deficit over the Sprints?
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:54 pm

As a Sprint owner I find the performance perfectly good for everyday motoring - keeps up with modern traffic no problem. Elans are quite low-geared so at 70 the engine is running at a fussy RPM level. Unless you get a five speed +2, or a zetec conversion.

Other things to bear in mind are:

1) most big valve engines are not being thrashed to an inch of their lives if still in original condition, so performance differentials are lower.
2) a lot of S4s have had their engine converted to big valve spec as part of engine work, in the last 40 years.

Hope this helps
Richard
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:58 pm

Mine certainly doesn't :lol: I have 185 bhp and 160lb torque, but that's unfair as my S4 is a bespoke built special.

The main difference between the S4 and Sprint is the head and carburettors. Most S4's had Stromberg carburettors and a specific head to suit that application, the power output was supposed to be approximately 118bhp. The sprint ( in the UK) had Weber or Dellorto side draught carburettors and a factory enhanced cylinder head with larger valves along with racier cam shafts supposedly producing 128bhp, so therefore approximately 10% extra power over the S4.

This is for cars as they came from the factory, in reality an awful lot of cars have been developed to produce the same power output as a factory built Elan Sprint. I would go so far to say that it's easy to extract 140bhp from a Lotus Twincam given a bit of component swapping and a little bit of machining.

As for a performance deficit to answer the original question, in terms of power and straight line acceleration and speed, yes. In all other terms the cars are pretty much exactly the same.

All Elan's are gorgeous, I rate my Elan +2 as a far more complete car than any 2 seater Elan, but the 2 seater cars have an incredible charm as well as tremendous driver involvement, don't be seduced by period 1970s road tests of the Elan Sprint, most S3 or S4 cars available now will give the same performance in real terms, or can be made to do so with very little investment.
Kindest regards

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