Lotus Elan


PostPost by: clint Elliott » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:38 pm

Hi Guys I?m new to the forum but thought I would ask the question about modifications and at what point it would detract from the value of your car. I have bought a 1968 +2 which has been stood since 1982 so as you can imagine it needs plenty doing but I have a passion for classic motorsport and would like to approach some periods mods and some modern updates like a high torque starter removing the solenoid, are these sort of mods acceptable and still retaining the cars value, Thanks
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:35 pm

There are quite a few mods that make life much easier, the hi torque starter motor is one, decent electronic ignition is another. A few like halogen headlamp bulbs are probably already fitted. Interestingly these are all electrical improvements. You can easily get into suspension mods too.

The big plus is that all of these are easily reversible. However I'm speaking from the dark side, I'm going Zetec.
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PostPost by: prezoom » Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:46 pm

It's your blank canvas, paint as you wish. Most updates can be reversed if you save the old parts. No need to remove the solenoid when installing a high torque starter. Just run a jumper from the ignition start terminal on the starter to the battery terminal on the starter. Replacing the donuts with CV equipped axles is another common update. Changing to a Spyder chassis if the original is a very acceptable change. If your vacuum operated headlight system is junk, converting to electrical operation is fairly simple. Going deeper, the installation of a Zetec or Duratec engine, but retaining carbs, can be much cheaper than doing a complete rebuild of a twin cam, but be sure to keep the twin cam. Changing from the 4-speed to a 5-speed is another reversible mod. All of these mods, and how to do them can be found on this forum with a little digging.
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:58 pm


As the value of our cars increases, originality seems to be more important, but as someone said keep the original parts so they can stay with the car when you sell.

Personally, I am going for original appearance. Lotus wiring was always dodgy, with the earth return system on a fibre glass car not being given sufficient attention. I think a distributor beneath a carburettor is a fire risk too far. I am using an electronic distributorless ignition system (EDIS) not yet purchased. My wiring was in a terrible/dangerouse condition when I bought the car, with wires going nowhere, hanging loose and some of the insulation melted and charred. I have rewired with more fuses hidden beneath the glove box.

Many people fit aftermarket aluminium wheels, personally I prefer the old steel wheels, but have had great difficulty gathering a decent set.

Hope this helps,

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PostPost by: LaikaTheDog » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:19 pm

This is purely a matter of personal choice, however, having both an original and a heavily modified lotus elan, I prefer the genuine, and if I could afford to I would reverse all spyder mods, including the CV joints, chassis, adjustable dampers, "performance" springs etc... they have ruined the car totally. The only mod I would retain is heritage dcoe injection and ecu, starter and smaller battery

I should never have changed the purity of the lotus which is the handling...I am forever fettling to try and make it as good as the original
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:36 pm

Could you think of a less informative title for your next post, please?

If you want anyone to read your question you, as my skule teacher said... must try harder.
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PostPost by: jimj » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:16 am

And, another thing, it does seem to me that a huge proportion of questions raised on Lotuselan.net relate to "improvements" owners have carried out.
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PostPost by: clint Elliott » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:08 am

Many thanks for your comments, I never realised that so many people modified the Elan, I want to keep it as standard as possible however want to use the car, I have had a Mk1 Cortina for many years and done many modifications but don?t really want to go as far with the elan as I have with the cortina! Clint

Pic of the Cortina
e20d650d-c1bc-437a-9bac-ff725f9b429b.png and
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PostPost by: Chrispy » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:31 pm

It's all relative I think. Sensible upgrades like CV's, electronic ignition etc are just practical and to me don't detract from the value.

I see myself in the middle ground of modifications. Very non-original wiring, Air Con, dash will be in a different kind of veneer, little alternator. But I still have a Twincam, original seats, original colour and the like. Everything I have done is completely reversible.

Then you get into Zetec swaps and the like.

Each category has buyers and its hard to put a plus or minus value on the changes. I'd rather see a bitsa Elan be brought back to life with non standard things than just let it rot. But if I had a perfect original car I wouldn't got and stick a Zetec in it and flames down the side.
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:46 pm

clint Elliott wrote:Many thanks for your comments, I never realised that so many people modified the Elan, I want to keep it as standard as possible however want to use the car...

You don't have to change a thing! I've driven my car for fifty years and 230,000 miles without having much trouble with any of the things that most people think it is essential to change. I used to use 6,500 rpm all the time (a +2 S130 too) with the standard ignition and just check the plugs occaisonally and the points infrequently.

But I did fit an electric pump in the boot to cope with alcohol in the petrol, a couple of gauges, an immobiliser and upgraded the horns!

26/4088 1965 S1½ Old and scruffy but in perfect working order; the car too.
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