Lotus Elan

Good Morning and a plea for advice from a Newbie!

PostPost by: Andiken » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:47 am

Morning all, I'm new on here so just thought I'd post to say Hi.

I'm currently in the process of buying my first classic Lotus, I currently have an Exige RGB. The car I'm looking at is a restoration project - I'm no stranger to these as I have restored and still own an MG Midget, an MGB V8 roadster and have just finished an 8 year restoration of my 1956 MGA 1500. I have also built two 'hot' Mini's for my sons.

I have tracked down a literal 'barn find' Plus 2, currently in storage in a barn on a farm on the Devon/Cornwall border. I've been looking for such a project for about two years now. It's a dry barn and the car's been there for about 15 years. It has a Spyder chassis and two tone bodywork - the current owner can't even remember the colour of it let alone age or specification!

The car is complete, well almost. It has no engine and gearbox. The current owner is on holiday at the moment and will send me pictures and details when he returns next week, in the mean time I've been trying to track down an engine and gearbox without much success.

Does anyone on here have any views as to how much such a project car should cost me? I fully understand that it's a bit of a loaded question as it would depend on condition but a ball park figure would be useful. Also, I'd be interested if anyone could point me towards an engine and gearbox - I don't suppose that this is the sort of thing you'd have lying around as a spare? I'd rather have an engine that is complete but that needs rebuilding - I find engine building very theraputic.

Are there any recommended manuals or books available in paper or PDF format?

I'm off to read some other posts, what I've read so far is very informative.

Regards to all

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:08 pm

Hi Andy
Welcome and good luck with your project

I cant advise about current UK prices for a barn find plus 2 without engine and gearbox but i am sure others can.

Finding an engine and gear box is not hard but it depends on what you really want to do.

One option is a Zetec conversion and there is lots of information on that.

Another is build a new twin cam from scratch as all the components are available new at a price.

Second hand twin cams are always around as complete units that usually need rebuilding or you can track down the needed components such a head and block and crank separately and mix and match with new components to build an engine.

Gear boxes are a similar mix of options from tracking down an original Lotus 4 or 5 speed or adapting a more modern 5 speed box or building a completed new 4 speed 2000E box from new components or a mix of new and second hand components.

Advice on all of these alternatives can be found here from people who have done it.

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PostPost by: wotsisname » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:13 pm

Hi Andy,
Welcome. Engine & gearbox are not so hard to track down (IMHO) & as Rohan said a Zetec conversion is a possible route (and may well cost less). Depending on which model (early +2 or S) some of the trim, interior & exterior + a few other parts can be far harder to find... depends on your view on how original you want the car to look. If the car is complete other than the Engine & Gearbox that could be an excellent find. Prices ?- I'm too out of touch & prices have been rising rapidly.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:02 pm

Hi Andy!

Welcome from a Plus 2 guy in USA!

I can't offer any real advice but I do offer encouragement. Let us know what develops!
1969/70 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
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PostPost by: Andiken » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:19 pm

Hi guys

Wow! What speedy responses, thanks so much. This seems like a really reactive forum, great news for when I get stuck, and I'm sure to!

I do have a Zetec and a type 9 gearbox that my son was going to put in his 100e but he's changed his mind and going with a supercharged sidevalve!

I guess the Zetec is as option but I'd much rather open the bonnet (hood - for our American friends!) and see the right engine in there. But hey, never say never....

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PostPost by: Davidb » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:04 pm

You could always fit the Zetec with one of those valve covers that looks like a BDA! 8)
http://www.burtonpower.com/bda-style-ro ... fz230.html
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:23 pm


Restoring a Lotus can be expensive and frustrating. These cars were hand built, and I suspect a lot of "fiting" had to be done, resulting in lots of minor deviations from design intent. A lot depends how fussy you are. I am appalled by the quality of many spares and services, and have reworked many items and fallen out with machine shops.

I am currently fixing rear brake callipers that have already been overhauled. You can buy a usable second hand car for what I have spent on these callipers (about ?700 and still spending). I bought my S4 Elan for ?600 forty years ago, and started work on it when I retired ten years ago. I have spent about ?30,000 so far. I am fussy, my friends would say obsessive, about doing the best I can. Others would do things differently. I hope, at best, to cover my costs.

There is much rejoicing in my garage when I occasionally buy something that is correct and fits.

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PostPost by: EPC 394J » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:31 pm

Hi Andy

I bought this car 3 years ago for ?3750.
It came with it's original engine and gearbox. Totally original throughout.

I'm presuming an engine and gearbox might cost upwards of ?2500? More before you'd want to put them in your car?

I don't think I'd pay much more than ?1500 for the car you've described? If the owner wants more, then it should maybe go on eBay, where it may well sell for more to be broken up for parts, never to be seen again? But that's the owner's decision.

There are good (cheap!) Pus 2s out there. You may pay more at the outset, but you'd save a packet in the long term!
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

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