Lotus Elan

Hello

PostPost by: JDL » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:26 pm

I've just joined the forum after "lurking" for a few years. I've retired and just relocated to a small island in northwestern Washington state, in the US. About a year ago I finished building a replica of CSX2431, the 289 USRRC Cobra that Ken Miles drove to win the SCCA's USRRC Championship in 1964 (Shelby American's first major championship.) Long ago I drove an Esprit s.1 for a few years and that was one of my favorite cars ever, so I've decided its time to look seriously into purchasing another Lotus. perhaps and Elan, Elite, Elise or another Esprit. My leading interest is the Elan for various reasons, hence my decision to join the group.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:39 am

Welcome to the group

I have an Elan, Plus 2 and S1 Esprit and have driven and discussed in detail quite a few friends Europas over the years so if you're looking to get back into the Lotus world with any of these models I happy to help with inputs on their merits and issues for your planned use :D happy to discuss

cheers
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PostPost by: JDL » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:56 am

Thanks Rohan! I've followed a number of your comments and you're expertise is indeed impressively deep and your comments exceptionally cogent so I'd indeed appreciate your perspectives. I've not driven an Elan or an Elite. My experience with an s.1 Esprit was a long while back (when they were new) but it was pretty extensive--about two years worth. I've driven a Elise a bit, enough to have a feel for the car's handling and performance, but not the "living with one" experiences, as I did with the Esprit.

I suppose I'm most interested in understanding your thoughts about the various versions of an Elan (I'd want an open LHD car versus a coupe). Ultimately my interest would be in a very nice driver. Two paths...I could either achieve that end by purchasing an "all fixed up" car or embark on the full restoration myself. I'm open to either route.
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PostPost by: JDL » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:03 am

By way of expanding a bit on my driving habits, in addition to the replica of CSX 2431, I have a Morgan Roadster, a 1960 Alfa Giulietta Spyder Velocé, an Aston Martin DB-9 Volanté, and a Mercedes 560SEL and CL63 as "daily's." I have loads of experience with 2002tii's and E30 M3s, though none are in the stable at the moment. I had a 997 GT3 that was really great fun all-round; and I had a '66 Corvette 427 years ago that had a dandy accelerator pedal, but was disappointing (to me) in most other respects. And I've had an assortment of other odds and ends cars that I'm sure I'm forgetting. Hope this provides some context.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:31 am

Welcome to the forum!
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PostPost by: Bombay Racing Green » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:28 am

Welcome to the forum! I know it’s not the DHC you’re after but have you seen this one recently? viewtopic.php?f=2&t=46451
It looks like a great project had it has a nice history. No connection. It’s also not too far from you.
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:12 am

Can I suggest you try to find a car to drive and see if you like it. After those luxury performance cars you might find the Elan a little basic and dare I say it - slow. It has many other attributes that maybe make up for that but it’d be a shame if you actually hated it.
Steve

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PostPost by: m750rider » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:21 am

Hey JDL,

Welcome to the club.

I can't speak to the different versions of the Elan as I've only had one, a 1969 S4 SE that I've owned since 1973, so others will have to add their own comments. Mine has Strombergs, not Webers, and I have no issues at all with that setup. It doesn't look as cool as a Weber head but it drives fine.

The Elan is such a fun car. I've driven the early Esprit and I like the Elan much better. Of course I pretty much keep it with the top down all the time as that's how it's most enjoyable - spring or fall day when it's not too hot. There is nothing better. At less than 1600 lbs. it is amazingly agile and fun to toss around.

It's pretty simple, which in my mind is a big part of the appeal. Not as fast or as exotic as some of your other cars but will always put a smile on your face. Until you're caught in heavy rainstorm.

Bob
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:56 am

Reminds me, returning home from having my carbs tuned with roof down. The skies had been threatening a downpour (this is Wales after all). Got to an off ramp and the rain started. Managed to stop short maybe by 15 metres of some traffic lights right under the bridge with the motorway passing overhead. Could not have timed it better until some berk came up behind me and started blowing his horn trying to get me to move up to the line. I shouted back at him over the exhaust noise ‘It’s raining for goodness sake’. Lights changed, left him for dust and if you keep it over about 30mph you don’t get wet until you stop again.
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PostPost by: JDL » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:28 pm

Bombay Racing Green wrote:Welcome to the forum! I know it’s not the DHC you’re after but have you seen this one recently? viewtopic.php?f=2&t=46451
It looks like a great project had it has a nice history. No connection. It’s also not too far from you.


Yes, thank you for the suggestion. I believe I've looked up that car. Perhaps I'm misreading the registry (https://www.elanregistry.org/app/car_de ... car_id=134) but it looks like a yellow DHC. In any case. I don't think that, as a new member, I'm permitted to PM the seller yet, so I'm unable to learn more about the offering. It looks like it might be a good project, though.
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PostPost by: JDL » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:38 pm

elanfan1 wrote:Can I suggest you try to find a car to drive and see if you like it. After those luxury performance cars you might find the Elan a little basic and dare I say it - slow. It has many other attributes that maybe make up for that but it’d be a shame if you actually hated it.


Thank you! Yes, indeed! If the opportunity to drive (or even ride in) an Elan presents itself, I will most certainly avail myself! Ha ha!! While I'd certainly agree the Aston, and perhaps even the GT3, fits the "luxury performance car" description, I'll need to remind myself that a racing 289 Cobra is a luxury car next time I'm out and about with it! :D Even the Morgan seems a bit rudimentary for "luxury performance car" status, but perhaps the Elan is yet more elemental than I'd anticipated. In any case, I've had some ownership experience with several pretty simple cars (starting with an MG TD in my youth) so I'm not really expecting an Elan to cosset me. If I was looking for comfort, I have (as you've noted) several entirely satisfactory alternatives.
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PostPost by: JDL » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:45 pm

m750rider wrote:Hey JDL,

Welcome to the club.

I can't speak to the different versions of the Elan as I've only had one, a 1969 S4 SE that I've owned since 1973, so others will have to add their own comments. Mine has Strombergs, not Webers, and I have no issues at all with that setup. It doesn't look as cool as a Weber head but it drives fine.

The Elan is such a fun car. I've driven the early Esprit and I like the Elan much better. Of course I pretty much keep it with the top down all the time as that's how it's most enjoyable - spring or fall day when it's not too hot. There is nothing better. At less than 1600 lbs. it is amazingly agile and fun to toss around.

It's pretty simple, which in my mind is a big part of the appeal. Not as fast or as exotic as some of your other cars but will always put a smile on your face. Until you're caught in heavy rainstorm.

Bob



Thanks for your note, Bob. Yes, I really do find the handling characteristics of the two Lotus' I've driven to be extraordinarily fun, and I do have a strong bias towards open cars. Favorites are always hard to pick among great cars, but the agility of my Alfa Spyder puts a smile on my face every time I drive it, and it's not (I'm sure) in the same league as an Elan with respect to nimble handling prowess.
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PostPost by: JDL » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:49 pm

elanfan1 wrote:Reminds me, returning home from having my carbs tuned with roof down. The skies had been threatening a downpour (this is Wales after all). Got to an off ramp and the rain started. Managed to stop short maybe by 15 metres of some traffic lights right under the bridge with the motorway passing overhead. Could not have timed it better until some berk came up behind me and started blowing his horn trying to get me to move up to the line. I shouted back at him over the exhaust noise ‘It’s raining for goodness sake’. Lights changed, left him for dust and if you keep it over about 30mph you don’t get wet until you stop again.


Yes, I had the same experience (including the rain, the berk, the bridge, the light and the "over 30" rain protection) in a Miata almost 30 years ago. Probably the two berks were related. 8)
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PostPost by: JDL » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:53 pm

Mazzini wrote:Welcome to the forum!


Thank you sir! Most everyone here seems to be both gracious and knowledgeable, so I look forward to learning more about these remarkable cars and their families.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:48 pm

Welcome JDL!

This is definitely one of the very best online communities around. I'm extremely grateful for all the shared knowledge and support I've found here.
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