Lotus Elan

First Drive - Lakeland Jaunt :D

PostPost by: jono » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:43 pm

Well, I fired up my newly built TC engine last Friday morning for the first time. This is the climax of a 6 year rebuild and the fulfilment of a teen-hood dream when I spotted a white Plus 2 in Buttermere when on my A level Geography trip! I thought 'what a cool car - I must have one someday'....only 35 years later I have 8) :shock:

Readers may recall the disappointment I experienced with my newly built engine last year which was fraught with problems and managed to cover only 80 miles in 'limp' mode before a complete strip down was required. I decided that the only way to be sure is to do it yourself. So I did just that; it must be said with some fantastic diagnostic and practical help from fellow poster Mike Duff and occasional poster, Chris Hunter, who very skilfully shimmed the valves for me and timed in the cams. I will always build my own engines now, as that way you can take the time and know its done right.

The engine has now received:
New cosilbro guides and 4 thou skim (Paul Exon - he knows what he's doing)
Re faced timing case to take out the indent causing water to leak around the pump
Timing case gasket ? thanks Mike D (and Brian Buckland)
New, good quality this time (and correctly fitted), water pump ? thanks again Mike
New main bearings (originals scored by corrosion blooms on the journals due to water in oil)
All new gaskets including Ajusa head gasket (previous gaskets failed twice)
Lots of Graphogen!

The engine started first time and now runs??just perfectly!
I was intending to take it out for a few short miles to shake it down but it ran so well that I?ve put 370 miles on it since Friday and it just gets better with each mile (it?s had a re-bore and new pistons as well). The weather was lovely in this neck of the woods so I took in a drive through the Lakes, which was nice!

This is the first time I have ever really driven a Lotus Elan +2 and I have to say they are absolutely brilliant. In truth the car exceeds all of my expectations. It?s just a lovely place to be, it rides beautifully and is completely confidence inspiring - such a revelation. The engine is full of character, desperate to rev, smooth (could be the full dynamic balance) and really punchy. I fact, it is surprisingly rather fast and would certainly knock spots off my old 1.8 Eunos in both handling and acceleration. This car must have been something of a step change back in the day and is most certainly very much more than the sum of its parts.

Things I have discovered:

- It handles simply brilliantly
- It encourages you to press on (must learn to resist that :lol: )
- The TC engine is a period gem, bags of character and really ?punchy?. Suits the car brilliantly
- The +2 is a genuinely lovely place to be ? it feels like a modern car, but with character
- The ventilation system is excellent (I rebuilt everything)
- It does not like cross winds
- The front wing line makes and excellent road positioning aid ? line it up with the white lines and you are perfect
- You can?t see the rear bumper ? may fit some sort of park assist device?
- It causes lots of attention (a guy in a BMW nearly ran into the back of a car craning his neck to look when I pulled out of a filling station) :shock:
- Motorcycles hold you up on twisty stuff
- It attracts birds (feathered :lol: ) ? two have flown into me in the last 370 miles, and one had a lucky miss, why is that?
- When you let a friend drive it they want one

Even though the car exceeds my expectations as it is I need to set it up properly, to include:
- Front alignment
- Check rear alignment - may make adjustable bones if it's out
- Complete the running in cycle
- Map the ignition system

I think I am going to enjoy my relationship with this car. Here are some photos of my grand day out in the Lakes.

I will add to this as I shake the car down.

Jon
Attachments
1.jpg and
Top of Hartside pass, Lakeland fells in distance
2.jpg and
Hartside down to Penrith - brilliant road
3.jpg and
A rose between two thorns (or class meets bling)
4.jpg and
Top of Kirkstone pass - down to Windermere
5.jpg and
The bit I've just come up
6.jpg and
Top of Kirkstone pass - down to Ullswater
7.jpg and
Windermere lake shore
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PostPost by: pharriso » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:53 pm

Fantastic! enjoy it & complete the engine running in procedure before you really push it.
Phil Harrison
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PostPost by: mbell » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:59 pm

Congrats! Sounds like all your hard work is paying off now, enjoy.

I can't wait to get to drive my +2 for the first time, post like this just inspire me to get on with it.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:40 pm

"Map the ignition system" ?

John :wink:
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PostPost by: jono » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:35 pm

...wasted spark running via a Megajolt, base map installed at present :wink:

Jon
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PostPost by: miked » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:45 pm

Great Stuff Jon. Good outcome. Car looks great.

I took the Plus 2 for a quick spin just to turn the fluid etcs as I had been working on the the S4. I have got to say after buzzing around in the S4 "running in" and getting used to all the TTR bits (all rose jointed and spherical bearing etc) that the Plus 2 was a sheer joy to get back in.

If one car has to go, it will not be the Plus 2. Like you say a joy to sit in and drive. The little Elan is a different animal that has it's grin factor and appeal but the Plus 2 is a great all rounder and tourer. I know my S4 is a bit hard core with the TTR bits and the Roll cage etc but the older I am getting it feels like you put it on rather than get in it. :lol:

I can live with the ride over rough roads (with the set up) but you forget how little they are when you have been using the Plus 2.

Mike :)
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PostPost by: elanman999 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:07 pm

Jon,
It's looking good.
Cheers
John
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:46 pm

jono wrote:...wasted spark running via a Megajolt, base map installed at present :wink:

Jon


Nice,you've got to let me have a copy of your map...

John :wink:
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PostPost by: jono » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:50 pm

Hi John,

The base map or the one when I get it set up on a rolling road?

The base map is ready loaded - not sure how to copy but I'll try.

You are welcome to a copy of the 'proper' map when I've had it set up :wink:

Jon
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:02 am

Something like this...
spark map.JPG and


John :wink:
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PostPost by: theelanman » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:20 am

blimey....that's one big Vauxhall.....
the +2 isn't small but it looks it compared to some of the large 4/5 seater buses on the roads....

your car is looking wonderful tho'........great colour......
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PostPost by: TeeJay » Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:17 pm

Congratulations Jon.
It's great to see you out & about after your recent engine setback.
Also what a choice road, Kirkstone Pass, to see how she goes. :D
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PostPost by: Dave_Newcastle » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:45 pm

Jon

Great pics of a great car.

Blimey it doesn't half look small next to those Range Rovers.

I'm pleased to see that you are starting to get the driving enjoyment that your hard work in rebuilding the car deserves.

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PostPost by: cal44 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:17 pm

Great snaps of the P2 and lovely countryside
Here is my dang!..........moment..........

DANG!
The cyclist powered up that mountain?
Who and how long did it take to build the rock walls along the road...going.....up that mountain?
Why does a P2 look so stinkin' cool..........making all others pale in style.......

Just some random thoughts..................
"Be Polite, Be Professional, But have a plan to kill everyone you meet"
General "Mad Dog" James Mattis United States Marines
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PostPost by: jono » Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:15 am

Cal44,

This is the English Lake District - Beatrix Potter and William Wordworth country. It's covered in dry stone walls - they've been around for hundreds of years to keep the semi feral (hefted) sheep in (sort of!). Hardy folk rebuild and repair them all year round. How do you tell a good dry stone waller? - he only handles a stone once, in other words he know by eye what will fit where :wink:

The Lakes have many brilliant passes such as this which get you over into the next valley - they were built many years ago, principally to get coffins of the dead over to the churches in the next valley (on the back of a pack horse). :shock:

It's lovely but usually very wet - in the next valley is officially the wettest place in England. I was just lucky to catch it on a lovely day :D

Without wishing to appear immodest, one of my other passions is cycling - and I've done that pass before :wink:

Here endeth the history lesson 8)

Jon
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