Lotus Elan

The 120 number plate.

PostPost by: Mazzini » Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:45 pm

All is not what it seems...
User avatar
Mazzini
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 2001
Joined: 11 Dec 2010
Location: NE UK

PostPost by: Tony a » Tue Jan 05, 2016 5:47 am

Hi first time on.
just purchased an 1968 elan + 2 reg NAH 120F and the car is an automatic.
I have a book by graham Arnold and in it is my reg NAH120F
And it says in the book.
SOME SPECIAL ELANS
THE PLUS TWO AUTOMATIC. NAH120F was converted to take a borg warner 35 automatic gearbox and 130 bhp hi-torque engine was fitted from expert engineering of ware. This black and silver car was severely vandalised in 1971 and except for a brief reappearance its present location is unkown.
Well i have got it.
can you help me with any more info on the car please
Tony.
Tony a
New-tral
 
Posts: 6
Joined: 05 Jan 2016
Location: Essex

PostPost by: The Veg » Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:17 am

Tony,
When I read your post something seemed very familiar...where had I recently heard about a Borg-Warner-equipped Plus 2???

Then it hit me.

A little over a month ago I purchased a Federal 1970 Plus 2 which is not itself related to the story except that it came with a lot of interesting documentation which included several old magazine-tests of Plus 2s, mostly just ripped from their respective publications, but among them was the complete June 1970 issue of Car, which claims on the cover to be the 'special summer sports car issue,' but really seems to be the special Lotus issue, as most of the articles seem to be Lotus-related. One such article is called Lotus Miscellany, which seems to be a compilation of short pieces by different writers about various flavours of Lotus. One section penned by 'RB' (publisher Roger Barrett perhaps?) is titled AUTOMATIC ELAN +2. It's several long paragraphs in length, and it seems to describe your car, assuming that only one Plus 2 was converted to automatic- but no reg number is given in the article, so I have no idea. I'll copy the text and post it 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
User avatar
The Veg
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1720
Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Location: Atlanta 'burbs (southeast USA)

PostPost by: The Veg » Wed Jan 06, 2016 2:36 am

Here is what's in the article:

AUTOMATIC ELAN +2

In the course of this month's exclusive interview Colin Chapman told us he was all in favour of automatic transmission for private cars, an opinion shared by his marketing director, Graham Arnold. Chapman reveals that Lotus are involved in the development of a five-speed automatic,but in the meantime they have rigged up a standard three-speed Borg-Warner Type 35 unit in an Elan +2 to gain operational experience. The Lotus chiefs realise too that, even if they personally were anti-automatic, it has become an essential ingredient for healthy export returns in the North American market place.

On paper the problem of installing a quart transmission where there was only just space for a pint one looked formidable, but Arnold told his boys to put away their drawings and just get on with the job in the workshop, hacking away at metal and glassfibre until it fitted and then making good the damage. He handed over his personal +2, which had covered a large mileage already and survived one major rebuild following a monumental pile-up, and challenged them to do it for less than the ?500 he was prepared to allocate. In practice it was not too difficult, and there was some change left over. But there is an unavoidable snag that will prevent the Elan being offered with automatic for public consumption- too little ground clearance. We were warned not to drive it along rutted or unmade roads.

Borg-Warner co-operated to the hilt, and even fitted an oil temperature gauge in case it ran hot because of the high revs involved (up to 7000rpm)- which it doesn't. By the time we took the car over it had covered some 17,000 miles with the B-W, and had totalled well over 50,000 since new. Graham also remarked that the engine was unsuitably tuned, with experimental 120bhp cams, and that 115bhp cams and smaller carburettor chokes to fill in the lower end of the torque curve would suit it much better. 'You'll find pickup from low speed very disappointing' he said, 'and it knocks all the rorty-snorty out of the 0-60 performance, but I really enjoy this car both in town and for long trips in the UK.' With appropriately tuned engine he thinks it might benefit from a slightly higher final drive ratio, too.

Cockpit drill: you notice at once that they've given it a wide brake pedal to discourage left foot atrophy, and that the neat central selector lever has positive detents for each position but- thank heavens- no S-bends or press-buttons to make life awkward. One is credited with enough savvy to avoid making wrong moves that might destroy engine and/or transmission, just as with a manual box. Otherwise everything seems to be standard Elan and there is no visual evidence of the artful (or is it artless?) botcher apart from an untoward vertical bulge in the tunnel trim.

Well, yes, it does make a few bones about dragging itself off the mark, and one has to adopt a nonchalant air of not really trying as family saloons stay abreast or even gain a little in the traffic Grand Prix; then there's a healthy nibble around 4000rpm that develops into real bite at 5000, and this continues up to the full throttle change-up setting of six-three, giving about 46 in low and 76 in intermediate. Or, if you're really pressed, the indirects can be held to max revs (7000rpm) by using the selector, bringing the peaks to 51 and 85 mph respectively. So, to use a makeshift Irishism, it's a slow car at low speeds and a quick one at high speeds. The way things are in this particular +2 it's also a jerk-o-matic and if in a pecking mood you can make your passenger's head nod like an old hen's until his or her neck aches. Never mind- it's a one-off and the jerks can be alleviated by a bit of skilfully timed pedalwork.

The brakes are so smooth and progressive that the left foot needs very little practice to work them nicely, and from that viewpoint it is one of the best auto installations we have tried- very different from American juggernauts with so much servo assistance that the left foot becomes a tool for poking heads through screens. Having mastered left-foot braking, one can progress to an equivalent of heel-and-toe when entering roundabouts or sharp bends by using the brake and throttle simultaneously to increase load on on the transmission and so bring about a very quick change when selecting intermediate. Those of you accustomed to handling gas turbine cars would soon get the knack! An irritation present with all B-W rigs (you said something, Mr Bishop?) is the throttle pedal load, always rather heavy and imprecise, and with the load varying according to what the hidden gremlins connected to it are up to.

Last year one of our number accompanied a bearded gent called Jenks back from Italy in this very car, then with normal gearbox, and was reminded of several Elan characteristics. First, after a few door shuttings you discover how not to get your jacket trapped in it! The electric motors for the windows are remarkable for almost silent operation, and the heating and ventilation surprisingly efficient for a car of this type. The ride is very comfortable, the general handling so accurate and tidy that it's a wonder so few other makers have bothered to match it. Finally, Colin, we forgot to ask you when we met at Wymondham (say Windham)why you don't market an Elan +2 with an alternative, larger and lazier engine for the older generation.

RB
1969/70 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
"It just wouldn't be a complete day if I didn't forget something!" -Me
User avatar
The Veg
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1720
Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Location: Atlanta 'burbs (southeast USA)

PostPost by: Mazzini » Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:27 am

Tony a wrote:Hi first time on.
just purchased an 1968 elan + 2 reg NAH 120F and the car is an automatic.
I have a book by graham Arnold and in it is my reg NAH120F
And it says in the book.
SOME SPECIAL ELANS
THE PLUS TWO AUTOMATIC. NAH120F was converted to take a borg warner 35 automatic gearbox and 130 bhp hi-torque engine was fitted from expert engineering of ware. This black and silver car was severely vandalised in 1971 and except for a brief reappearance its present location is unkown.
Well i have got it.
can you help me with any more info on the car please
Tony.


Welcome to the forum! Please post photos!
User avatar
Mazzini
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 2001
Joined: 11 Dec 2010
Location: NE UK

PostPost by: Robbie693 » Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:48 am

Mazzini wrote:
Welcome to the forum! Please post photos!


Seconded!

NAH 120 F was tested in the May 1969 issue of Motorsport in it's pre-auto form. As alluded to in Veg's article it was Graham Arnold's demonstrator and was at the time trialing the GKN alloys and metalflake roof.
User avatar
Robbie693
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1623
Joined: 08 Oct 2003
Location: UK

PostPost by: tcsoar » Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:19 pm

Welcome to the forum Tony.

As others have said, some pictures would be great. You didn't mention its condition, is it running or a restoration project?

Whereabouts in Essex are you, I am just outside Romford, if you were ok with it I would love to have a look if local enough.

Veg, great article you posted and interesting read.

Chris.
User avatar
tcsoar
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 364
Joined: 01 May 2007
Location: UK Essex

PostPost by: Tony a » Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:11 pm

Dear Chris and All,

Firstly, let me just say that I am extremely dyslexic and my partner Julie is typing this for me at the moment. Just thought I would warn you just in case in the future I am left typing a message on my own!!

Chris, I live in a place called West Mersea, just outside of Colchester and I used to live in Romford so you're not that far away.

The car is all complete, but in a rough and semi-dismantled state. I will try and get some pictures of it, and if I can will put them on by the weekend.

I will be at home the weekend if you want to pop over and take a look at it. Not sure what I am going to do with it yet, possibly sell it to someone with better knowledge than me to put it back on the road, as I feel it would be a shame to do anything else with it.

Hope to speak to you soon.

Kind regards.


Tony
Tony a
New-tral
 
Posts: 6
Joined: 05 Jan 2016
Location: Essex

PostPost by: 512BB » Wed Jan 06, 2016 4:07 pm

We are often in W Mersea Tony, visiting the oyster bar. Need them at our age............ :lol:

There seems to be a plethora of Lotus people on Mersea. When we were parked up over on the East, a chap came bounding out of his house to tell us that he worked at Lotus back in the day. Chatted to him for a good half hour about his tales.

Would love to come and have a look when down next, will send you a mail nearer the time.

Leslie
512BB
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 910
Joined: 24 Jan 2008
Location: Cambridgeshire, UK

PostPost by: tcsoar » Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:45 pm

Hi Tony,

Don't think I will be able to get over this weekend. I have sent you a pm.

Chris.
User avatar
tcsoar
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 364
Joined: 01 May 2007
Location: UK Essex

PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:48 am

I thought that the number sounded familiar, and going through some old bits and pieces found the launch brochure for the Plus 2 'S', and your car's younger brother posing and looking very good!


Mark
Attachments
zz-s-launch-1.jpg and
zz-s-launch-2.jpg and
User avatar
Elanintheforest
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 2922
Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Location: Forest Of Dean, Gloucestershire

PostPost by: The Veg » Fri Jan 08, 2016 3:49 pm

I have one of those brochures...can't get over how comical that family looks all smiling in their Plus 2!
:mrgreen:
1969/70 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
"It just wouldn't be a complete day if I didn't forget something!" -Me
User avatar
The Veg
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1720
Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Location: Atlanta 'burbs (southeast USA)

PostPost by: Tony a » Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:42 am

Hope you see some pictures
Tony
Attachments
dscf9940.jpg and
Tony a
New-tral
 
Posts: 6
Joined: 05 Jan 2016
Location: Essex

PostPost by: Tony a » Sun Jan 31, 2016 2:53 pm

Dear Veg,

Thanks very much for sending me a copy of the article you had. Is there any chance you could tell me the name of the magazine and what month and year it was published, just incase I can get a copy somehow.

I have decided to restore this car back to its former glory - not sure if I am crazy!

Any other information on this car would be greatly received.

Over the next few days I am going to try and post some pictures of the condition it is in now and hopefully over the coming months as I start to refurb it.

I am looking for a rear bumper for the car if anyone has one out there?

Thanks very much Veg.

Tony
Tony a
New-tral
 
Posts: 6
Joined: 05 Jan 2016
Location: Essex

PostPost by: The Veg » Sun Jan 31, 2016 11:32 pm

Car, June 1970.
1969/70 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
"It just wouldn't be a complete day if I didn't forget something!" -Me
User avatar
The Veg
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1720
Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Location: Atlanta 'burbs (southeast USA)
PreviousNext

Total Online:

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests