Lotus Elan

White Plus 2

PostPost by: JohnP » Wed Feb 17, 2016 4:01 pm

Time to introduce myself and describe how I came to be here (in cyberspace)!

As a kid in the seventies I was an obsessive car nut. Talked my Dad into dragging off Kart racing on Sundays (useless- we had no money, mechanical understanding and I had little talent). I persuaded my parents that I should have a car engine to take apart and put back together again, so my mum, who at that time was P.A. to Air-Vice Marshall Don Bennet of Fairthorpe fame asked around for some advice and instead of an engine we ended up with a Fairthorpe Electron Minor in the garden. I could drive it somewhat illegally up and down the local lane but it was probably less risky than driving the kart up same! My mum arranged access to the now fairly dormant Fairthorpe factory and I was able to learn the intricacies of how a 1950 British kit car worked. A huge mentor was also a friend of my sister, the late Jon Gardiner of Crosthwaite and Gardiner, who I remember showing my around their works littered with priceless old racers.

I went to college and the Fairthorpe was sold on and was last seen on a you-tube video hillcimbing in Japan.
My motor changed to another design icon ? a Citroen 2CV, huge fun and the only car that you can drive legally FLAT OUT in central London.

I then went through various junk heaps before saving enough money for a pre-ligation Westfield Seven, which I commuted about 80 miles a day in all weathers. Great car and certainly toughened me up.

Finally, Lotus launched the Elise! About 6 months into production I took my new wife down to Bell and Colville for a secretly booked test drive. It was so much more civilised than the Westfield that she was immediately talked into it (it was also a lovely warm spring day) and a couple of weeks later we were at another Lotus dealer handing over a deposit cheque to the legendary Guy Munday!

That was 18 years and nearly 200,000 miles ago! The Elise has been a wonderful, hard working daily driver. Last ten years kept outside and whilst it has required routine maintenance and a couple of new head gaskets, I wouldn?t be without it. No track days but I have driven it as fast as it will go all the time. It has been looked after continuously by Max and time at Lakeside Engineering in Addlestone.

We had a little girl a few years back, and of course we had to get an old chugger to drag prams and baby stuff around, but I was still thinking that we needed something for nice family outings when I think Max or Tim, probably jokingly, suggested an old plus 2 might hold its value! So the search began, just about exactly one year ago.

I?ve been to France, Coventry, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Tenterden, Lymington, Guildford, Southampton,. Auctions and private sellers. Seen bad and not so bad?

My ?advisors? (see above) must have inspected at least five candidates, which I thought were worthy of spending money having evaluated by an expert, all to no avail. The worst moment was when one likely seller (I really thought this was to be the one) put his car on the lift, only to discover a cracked chassis. He was distraught and he really didn?t know beforehand. I think they were regretting ever having mentioned the Plus 2 idea.

I was getting nowhere, but one day I saw a ?68 car for sale in Hereford. The owner seemed quite genuine and although it wasn?t exactly what I wanted I dragged there to take a look. The deal was struck a few phone calls and e-mails later with no third party inspection.

I call lakeside to book my Elise in for a service, then said to Max, ?Oh, and would you mind taking a look at another Elan for me, but be gentle this time because I?ve already bought it??. There was a long pause. ?So, John,?. You?re telling me that, after all the research and work we?ve done?? you?ve just gone and bought one? like that??. ?Yes, I?m sure it?s alright?, I winced.

Well, amazingly, it is. A little fettling of the geometry and correction of the diff mounting at Lakeside and I seem to have a lovely car. It was restored by a very thorough amateur as a retirement project and sadly he never really got to enjoy driving it.

Not totally pure. QED engine to 130 specification with Big Valve cam cover. Old Spyder pressed steel subframe which was refettled and re-jigged at Spyder during the restoration. Lovely Cirrus White paint. Transverse exhaust. All the family can get in it. There was a short period when neither the Elise or the family chugger worked and it became our workhorse car.

Very happy to have joined the Elan community and look forward to meeting some people at the meetings. Booked in for Brooklands on May 8th.
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed Feb 17, 2016 5:10 pm

1968?

John :wink:
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PostPost by: JohnP » Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:47 pm

68 according to the archives and the registration document.
Why do you ask?
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:54 pm

Spooky..

Looks just like mine

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PostPost by: The Veg » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:47 am

Welcome from USA!

Fellow new Plus 2 owner here.
1969/70 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
"It just wouldn't be a complete day if I didn't forget something!" -Me
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