Lotus Elan

Newbie trying to save an Elan+2

PostPost by: andredp » Sat Jul 10, 2021 6:18 am

Hi Everyone

Andre' here from South-Africa. I have longed to own a real Lotus for some years as a weekend drive, but in SA they are rather expensive for keeping just as a weekend car, and as such I have been looking for a project car.I was specifically looking for an Elan Coupe.

A "90% complete" recently came up for sale, rather far from me, but after lots of pics and encouragement from some members of our local Lotus club (https://www.lotusregister.co.za/) I bought her with some reservations.

She is a 1974 Elan +2S/130/5. I was looking for a type 36, but after not being able to find one and this one coming up for sale, I have kind of fallen in love with the type 50 shape also.

Unfortunately with getting detail on the car while negotiating a price, I soon realised that most of the car is actually missing. The body and chassis is there and on wheels, diff is there, and she has been converted to use CV joints, the Lotus 5 speed box is there, but the Twin cam engine was stripped, and most of the smaller interior and exterior parts are missing. Engine wise I was told that some valves is missing, and with the car obviously having been used for a spares donor to fix another car, I foolishly assumed the rest of the engine is good, albeit stripped. Unfortunately when I received her, I found she had dropped a valve at some point, hurt the head and one piston now has an inspection hole in the top.

But anyway, if I didn't buy her, she would most probably have been sold off as parts, but I am determined to save her. I am not sure yet whether I will try and get her back to as close top original as I can, or whether I'll do a restomod type restore.

About me, during the day I am in the IT world, and at night and on most weekends busy working on a number of Lotus 7 replicas (Locosts) we race in the local Lotus race series. I own a number of them which we rent out for racing, and in which I have also actively raced for a number of years. I have build a number of them from scratch, and as such I have some experience in building cars. I also have a fairly decent background in electronics and have done some engineering work, so I feel confident I can make this happen.

Picture as advertised attached.

I have been reading this forum for some time now getting to know the finer details of these car, and I'd upfront like to thank everyone, it has been massively informative and helpful so far. I'll be here for a fair while :D
74 Elan 01.jpg and
Elan +2 130s/5 - 73121831L before she was stripped of most of her smaller bits
A number of Lotus 7 clones used for racing
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:11 pm

Nice project, good luck with it.
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PostPost by: Lotusian » Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:17 pm

Back to original spec please - if you go down the restomod route, it won’t be the “real Lotus” that you say you’ve been longing for.

Lots of UK parts suppliers plus eBay of course, so you can get pretty much whatever you need (subject to shipping costs). Can’t imagine there’s much parts availability in South Africa though?

Good luck and let us know about your progress.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sat Jul 10, 2021 5:14 pm

Welcome! Good luck with the restoration.
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PostPost by: Billmack » Sat Jul 10, 2021 5:39 pm

Parts for that engine should not be too hard to find. The little odds and ends for the interior may be a stinker but I suspect a lot of it was used from other cars. If the engine is a sticking point maybe a regular pushrod cortina would suffice until you save up for the pricey rebuild on the twincam.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Tue Jul 13, 2021 2:52 pm

Welcome Andre!
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Jul 22, 2021 3:10 pm

Welcome aboard Andre. Interesting decision regarding a restomod vs original. What drivetrains have you used in your LoCost cars? I personally use a modified Lotus TC head on a tall block and an MT75 five speed in a Spyder frame. Note bonnet clearance is very tight in the Plus 2, which may influence your drivetrain selection.

My (rather obvious perhaps) suggestion would be to make your drivetrain selections first. If you require a new frame Spydercars has experience with frames for various engine and transmission combinations.

All the best with the project.

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