Lotus Elan

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PostPost by: Lotus49 » Mon Jul 03, 2023 1:33 am

Hello Everyone,

I've been a 5 year Lotus owner, driving an arctic silver Elise. I've loved that car so much that I wanted to pair that with some kind of classic Lotus from the Chapman era. I've searched for the right Europa, Esprit, or Elan for several years.

Today my search finally ended, taking possession of a 1974 Lotus Elan Plus 2. It's in reasonably good shape, very good even, and the right color for me. The one compromise I made to end my search was it's an Elan Plus 2, which means it's a right hand drive car. That is going to take a lot to get used to. That and driving a 49 year old car.

While I love cars, I have almost no skills in fixing cars and always have mechanics take care of my cars. I know a lot of Lotus owners get under the hood, or even the car and get to work, but that's not me unfortunately.

While my Elan Plus 2 is in very good shape, it does need a few items looked at and replaced like tires and most likely the rotoflex couplings. I won't get much mileage behind the wheel until I have those items fixed. Tomorrow I go apply for plates for the car and then I'll maybe drive it around the block a few times to try to calibrate my arm to the gears and my foot to the clutch. By the way, the clutch has a very short feel to it.

I hope my new owner questions are not too boring. I'll search the forums for answers but I do hope to connect to folks here, especially anyone in the metro Detroit area. (I'm in Ann Arbor).

Here's a photo of my new joy:

Image
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Mon Jul 03, 2023 4:00 am

That Plus 2 looks in lovely condition. Congrats and welcome.
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PostPost by: Lotus49 » Mon Jul 03, 2023 9:17 am

elanfan1 wrote:That Plus 2 looks in lovely condition. Congrats and welcome.


Thank you!
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PostPost by: mbell » Mon Jul 03, 2023 1:08 pm

Congrats. I believe that's the 74 +2S130/5 that sold on bat?

You got a pretty good deal on it. It's very original car.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: Lotus49 » Mon Jul 03, 2023 2:52 pm

mbell wrote:Congrats. I believe that's the 74 +2S130/5 that sold on bat?

You got a pretty good deal on it. It's very original car.


Yep. That's the one. It sure is pretty. However, I find my garage has a gasoline smell now with this Lotus stored inside so there is a vapor leak of some kind. Underneath the car is dry.
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Mon Jul 03, 2023 3:02 pm

Nice quiver, likely the best of all time. +2 for touring, 111 for all round ripping.

You might find the roll over fuel tank vents to be your fuel smell. Many good threads on here about this.

Have fun!
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PostPost by: Lotus49 » Mon Jul 03, 2023 3:14 pm

h20hamelan wrote:Nice quiver, likely the best of all time. +2 for touring, 111 for all round ripping.

You might find the roll over fuel tank vents to be your fuel smell. Many good threads on here about this.

Have fun!


Thanks for the pointer. I've done a little reading based on your post and I'm wondering, does my car have to be disassembled to some extent to get to the vents? I saw a few photos where it looked like the rear windshield had to come out. I would hate for that to have to happen but if that fixes the problem, so it goes.

I wish I were a wrencher but I have no abilities in this area so will have to get it into the shop once I have plates for the car.
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PostPost by: mbell » Mon Jul 03, 2023 3:16 pm

Fuel smell after using it is normally the fuel evaporating out of the carbs (hence the much debated long turn over to cold start this car).

Longer term smell will be the tank vent lines as mentioned. There's ways to fix/improve it. Your cars so original might be a shame to go messing with it though. Quick fix is a couple of bungs in the vent pipes and just remove them when driving it filling the car up.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: Lotus49 » Mon Jul 03, 2023 3:51 pm

mbell wrote:Fuel smell after using it is normally the fuel evaporating out of the carbs (hence the much debated long turn over to cold start this car).

Longer term smell will be the tank vent lines as mentioned. There's ways to fix/improve it. Your cars so original might be a shame to go messing with it though. Quick fix is a couple of bungs in the vent pipes and just remove them when driving it filling the car up.


Forgive my noob question but are these pipes easily assessable? The photos I see all have the car partially disassembled. I would love to plug these up right now. The gas smell in my garage is strong enough that I think I need to remove the car and put it on the street.

If I could plug these vents up and eliminate the potential fire hazard, that would be wonderful.

Thank you!
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Mon Jul 03, 2023 4:10 pm

Easy, they vent in front of rear wheels. Some use cork, others rubbers (not prophylactic - thought this may also work :lol: )
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PostPost by: Lotus49 » Mon Jul 03, 2023 4:52 pm

h20hamelan wrote:Easy, they vent in front of rear wheels. Some use cork, others rubbers (not prophylactic - thought this may also work :lol: )


Very interesting. Of course, I go out and look in this area on the car and see nothing obvious that looked like it could fit a stopper of some kind.

Sometimes my lack of mechanical skills astonishes me. Trust me folks, I'm not as dumb as I look. I'm an R&D chemist by trade!
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PostPost by: mbell » Mon Jul 03, 2023 8:08 pm

They come out basically under the rear seat bases, they are hard to see unless your under the car. But put your hands under and feel a few inches under the floor and you find the raising edge of the seat base that they come through.

To mod the tank you just need to remove the rear seats and parcel shelf. It's about four screws, one of those easy to remove but much tricker to refit....
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PostPost by: The Veg » Fri Jul 07, 2023 2:09 am

Welcome '49!

That's a beautiful car! I think you've got the best colour but then I *am* a bit biased! :mrgreen: (note my avatar)

"...it's an Elan Plus 2, which means it's a right hand drive car." Not necessarily. They did sell LHD Plus 2s over here until about '71, shortly before the 5-speed became available. Mine is one of those 'Federal' cars, although it bears British reg-numbers due to the first owner picking it up at the factory then staying in the UK for a while. Interestingly though, a couple of years ago I did drive a yellow RHD Plus 2 around a few blocks of Los Angeles. Not your car though, this one was a bit earlier and less-shiny and I seriously doubt that its owner would ever part with it. I found it easier to drive than I expected it to be. The different motions came much more naturally than I'd anticipated.

BTW I lived in Ann Arbor as a toddler; my family moved south shortly before my 4th birthday. We lived on Church Street near the university.

You should consider CVJs for replacing the Rotoflexes. There are probably even more discussions about that here than about the fuel tank venting. You can get them from pretty much all of The Usual Suspects (the vendors who sell parts for old Lotuses). While purists insist on the Rotos for two-seat Elans, they're really below what the heavier Plus 2 needs.

Best of luck with the car and keep us posted on your adventures with it! This is a great community full of helpful folks and you're in great company here.
1970 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
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PostPost by: Lotus49 » Sun Jul 09, 2023 8:14 pm

The Veg wrote:Welcome '49!

That's a beautiful car! I think you've got the best colour but then I *am* a bit biased! :mrgreen: (note my avatar)

"...it's an Elan Plus 2, which means it's a right hand drive car." Not necessarily. They did sell LHD Plus 2s over here until about '71, shortly before the 5-speed became available. Mine is one of those 'Federal' cars, although it bears British reg-numbers due to the first owner picking it up at the factory then staying in the UK for a while. Interestingly though, a couple of years ago I did drive a yellow RHD Plus 2 around a few blocks of Los Angeles. Not your car though, this one was a bit earlier and less-shiny and I seriously doubt that its owner would ever part with it. I found it easier to drive than I expected it to be. The different motions came much more naturally than I'd anticipated.

BTW I lived in Ann Arbor as a toddler; my family moved south shortly before my 4th birthday. We lived on Church Street near the university.

You should consider CVJs for replacing the Rotoflexes. There are probably even more discussions about that here than about the fuel tank venting. You can get them from pretty much all of The Usual Suspects (the vendors who sell parts for old Lotuses). While purists insist on the Rotos for two-seat Elans, they're really below what the heavier Plus 2 needs.

Best of luck with the car and keep us posted on your adventures with it! This is a great community full of helpful folks and you're in great company here.


Thank you for the warm welcome. I will consider replacing the Rotoflexes with CVJ's. I'm afraid that I have started my first adventure already. Something seems to have broke which will be the subject of my next post.
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