Lotus Elan

What To Check ?

PostPost by: Olivier H » Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:57 pm

I am about to buy a +2S 130 (4 speed gearbox, RHD) and I would like to hear any advice about the specific points to check on that car.
Since it is, in France, a relatively rare car (almost unknown), there is no forum or even internet site dedicated to it. So do I have to bother you with such a stupid question.
As this is not the first car I buy, I would just like to know where to look, for example to have an accurate idea about the shape of the chassis, or how it can be determine that the transmision joints are OK. Anyway, every advice is welcome.
Last point, it is advertized at 12 000 euros ( about 8500? ) and is apparently in good shape, performs correctly is relatively well documented and shows less than 60000 miles to the clock. What is, to your knowledge, the price range in UK for such a car ?
Thanks for your replies.
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Mon Feb 07, 2005 3:46 pm

For that price in the U.K I would expect quite a lot,and in tip-top condition

No,on second thought i would not pay that much for a plus2,no matter what the condition,in the U.K.
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PostPost by: richardhallett99 » Mon Feb 07, 2005 5:54 pm

Hello there

I am afraid that I disagree with the above reply. I absolutely WOULD spend that much on a lotus. It would have to be in absolutely tip top - immaculate condition with a service & maintenance history that wouldn't fit in the boot!

However, because the car is even rarer on mainland europe than over here I feel that the seller is probably inflating the price of the car somewhat.

I bought my car - a 71 +2s 130 last October. I paid ?6400 for it from a regular car dealer that took it in part exchange for another car from someone else. He wanted a fast sale to get it off his forecourt and for that I got a very nice example. There were a couple of tiny chips of paint that required touching up and a car that ran really well but was obviously due a service.

I would like to draw your attention to the replies that I received to a question very similar to your own that I asked in October. The replies were very helpful and just about cover what I think you will be after.

Most of the Classic Car mags reckon on roughly ?7500 for mint condition - down to about ?4500 for a tatty but roadworthy (MOTd) model.

I use mine as an every day car. I bought it on an absolute whim and have not regretted it for a minute. They really are fantastic fun and surprisingly practical with a really good spares infrastructure.

As far as the milage goes - that sound very low. Just be sure it has not gone around the clock........ Drive the price down a couple of grand and buy it.

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PostPost by: berni29 » Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:32 pm

Hi There

I am a plus 2 owner, and the guy up the road from me is in the process of buying a 130/5 with a rebuilt engine and galvanised chassis for ?3500. The car is MOT'd but a bit tatty. It will probably scrub up well.

I would think that you could get a very nice car for ?5000 - ?6500.

Keep your eye on ebay (www.ebay.co.uk) to get an idea of prices. Otherwise get the club lotus magazine and ring round. Then with the money you save have a few day trips to England and drive one back.

By the way, if it has its original chassis then it will almost certainly need changing. I bought a 26000 mile plus 2 a couple of years ago and the chassis on that was not rusty as such, but had cracking on the turrets. Visible only after shot blasting!

My only other advice is to buy one with a very good non-accident damaged body with good or very good paintwork. And a good engine. Everything else is doable. And if it is a plus 2s have a look at the windscreen carefully, they are bonded in.

I know because I keep buying plus 2's with poor paintwork.

Good luck

Racing green +2s with green tints. See it at:

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PostPost by: Hamish Coutts » Tue Feb 08, 2005 1:13 pm


Go for the car. You will have great fun.

Mechanical points to check, which can be troublesome and expensive to repair (and can therefore effect the buying price are:
Chassis - Obvious checks are for corosion and accident damage. A Big job to replace and very expensive. Just because a car is low milage doesn't mean that the chassis will be OK. Same goes for outer sills.
Water pump - if fan belt is too tight this can damage the pump bearings (which can make quite a rumbling noise when they are shot). Not dear to do but an engine out job to replace.
Rear struts - alloy bearing housing can be easily damaged. If the back end of the car feels 'loose' could indicate troubles here.
Wheel bearings - front easy to replace, tricky to adjust. Rear a lot more difficult to replace.

If the car has been sitting around for a while there's a good chance that wheel bearings will be near the end of their useful life (and will run soon after you start using the car) due to corosion where the balls come into contact with the outer race.
Same goes for the water pump. Break and clutch seals may also have gone.

Body wise - look out for osmosis. (looks like small blisters) My car has this & I'm told the only cure is to remove all the paint and start again.

If any of these symptoms exist, negotiate on the buying price accordingly!

This may sound pessimistic but none of the problems (maybe except the chassis one) should be allowed to put you off. I am not a trained mechanic (just experienced) and have successfully done all the above repairs (except chassis - my car has a recently fitted Spyder one and the paint job) without too much trouble.

I find doing repairs very theraputic after a hard day at the office being a project manager. I am about to embark on replacing all my suspension and diff bushes, gearbox mounting and a rebuild of the handbrake mechanism. Feels a bit like painting the Forth Rail bridge - it never stops.
"One day I'll finish the restoration - honest, darling, just a few more years....."
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PostPost by: Si_130/5 » Tue Feb 08, 2005 8:59 pm

Bonjour Olivier - Ca va?

I'm 'the guy up the road from Berni29 who's in the process of buying a 130/5 with a rebuilt engine and galvanised chassis for ?3500'. The car is good with new brakes and tyres. It's been painted recently but without the preparation necessary to ensure it lasts. If you don't mind an RHD vehicle then there is little justification in buying a +2 in France where its rarity adds a premium. In spite of what the UK dealers say, private and even late model running cars with replacement chassis and engine work are available in this bracket. Although the market for Plus Twos is quiet, the cars can be profitably broken and sold in pieces below ?3,000 which sets a lower limit for the values.
Certainly check the car has had a replacement chassis (Spyder or galvanised Lotus), new sill members (the originals turn to dust and the seatbelts bolt to these), engine work including water pump, timing chain and tensioner, well the more the merrier. A car which has endured a prolonged period of inactivity may seduce with its originalty and unscathed aspect but it can be ruinous to recommission.
If the car you are looking at is a '71-'72 S130 I would agree a good one can be had in the UK for ?5,700 (a friend of mine got this price for his after months of advertising - it had been completely rebuilt and had appeared on the cover of Lotus News).
I wish you the best of luck and although the 'tramites' for importing a UK car into France are tiresome it will be worthwhile. Feel free to email me a photo of the car.

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PostPost by: Olivier H » Wed Feb 09, 2005 2:28 pm

Many thanks to all for your advices.
I am going to have a second look at the car this week end, and a second thought about buying it !
The seller never talked about having changed the chassis neither the outer sills, so I know what to talk about, and eventualy how to start the negociation.
The engine has been rebuilt and the body has been repainted after an anti osmosis treatment (envoices).
The aspect is globaly OK but the price, from what you say seems rather high, I will print your posts and take them with me.
Do you have any example of a car currently for sale in UK ?
It would help me in my decision wether to buy this one or to cross the Channel, and even in the negociation.
By the way, the "tramites" are not that bad, as long as the car has the same sp?cifications as the cars imported in France during its production time, one condition being that the importer still does exist and provides the period documents. Which is the case for Lotus even if importer changes quite often.
But it is rather time consuming, from that point of view (and many others), France is a very bureaucratic world.
I will tell you a bit more after the WE and will try to take some pictures.
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PostPost by: Olivier H » Fri Feb 11, 2005 1:14 pm

End of the story, for the moment.
I sent 2 days ago a mail to the seller asking him about the points you described (chassis, outer sills, aso).
He just send me back a mail to tell me he finally sold the +2 for 18 000 euros.
It makes something around 12 500 ? !
I hardly believe it but, if it should be real, I thinck I am going to consider buying in UK, and resaling in France, any +2 I could find...
Thanks again for your advices.
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PostPost by: brassrngfm » Sat Feb 26, 2005 9:05 pm

Olivier - If you're the same Olivier who works at Procter and Gamble - give me a call on Monday! I have an Elan S2 and work in Geneve. I built my Elan from scratch - so know them inside and out.
Bonne Journee
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026/4600 :)
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