Lotus Elan

How comfortable is the Elan +2 ?

PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:42 am

Hello Andy, I think the popularity (also price) of the +2 is growing for several reasons. First, it's an old Lotus that drives great and is fairly dependable. I really can't decide which I enjoy more, my Stromberg +2 or the Weber S1, honestly, they're both a total hoot to fling around. Secondly, people keep making people and as the population/collectable car driver pool expands they still have only X amount of used Elans to choose from..... is it time for a RetroElan from Lotus? Related to this is build numbers, how many MGB's were built? I'll guess ten times as many as both Elan models... Old Elans are "rare" because they weren't mass produced and fiberglass automobiles can perish in a fire. There are, literally, a million Miatas. MGB's are good cars but, for me, it's Elans Forever,
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PostPost by: jimj » Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:56 am

As this thread has moved onto MGB v Elan, I`m prompted to comment. In 1968 I sold my MGTF (for ?360 !!) and bought an MGB. What a disappointing, boring car. Of all the cars I`ve ever owned this was the least sporting sports car. I only kept it a few months and swapped for a rough, tatty `64 Elan. FANTASTIC ! smoother, faster, grippier, and totally involving. Just getting in the car was exciting whereas the B just wasn`t. This was the 1st of 4 consecutive Elans, every one a gem, but then marriage, kids etc............ I bought the 1st of 3 Elises in 1998 but still hankered after an Elan and 5 years and 26000miles ago bought an S3 Elan. I love the Elise but REALLY LOVE the Elan. Despite some hefty bills (mostly from over enthusiasm) it`s still cheap to run, no dearer than an MGB I would guess, and 10 times the car, PLUS, to get back to the thread, very comfortable.
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PostPost by: davidbalkwill » Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:58 pm

Lots of food for thought. Thank you all very much for these well informed comments. You're all pretty convincing, so I have some soul searching to do, and some cash to find. It's too soon, but there's a nice looking green +2 on eBay at the moment...

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PostPost by: LotusNWT » Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:03 am

Hi I have a 1968 plus 2 and took it on a 1500 mile dive this summer. I agree with everyone that the car is very confrotable, except if you are driving in hot weather (I was driving through Alberta Canada in July) and you can get alot of heat off the engine. I would look carfully to find a good one..good luck
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PostPost by: seaandmoor » Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:00 pm

Hi David,
I've had a BGT and quite liked it really. The lift up tailgate is a big plus against the +2 boot which I think is a bit smaller but at least people can't see what's in the +2 boot.
The BGT's opening rear quarter lights were good for letting out the heat aswell and I preferred the leather seats on the BGT in hot weather.

Now let me tell you... if I had gone from a +2 into a BGT I would've gone off on the first bend!
I did want a 'baby' Elan and drove one of those first of all. I was prepared for a bit of a disappointment when I then tried a +2. The +2 just had me hooked though. On standard wheels/tyres it just soaks up the bumps and sticks to the road. And, I'm tall, it has good headroom too!
My seats had seen better days so I had them re-done but to my specification with extra lumbar support - goodbye chiropractor.
The only thing I'd change is to have leather seats rather than the oatmeal pvc which are a bit sticky in hot weather.
If you are serious don't try and buy one on the cheap - it will almost certainly cost you more to put right than if you stumped up for a good one to start with. (in my opinion this applies more to Lotus than most other makes) Oh and if you are doing long trips better a 5 speed but do check the selection of the gears as they can be poor on the original box - I changed mine for a very slick ford 5speed box.
Good luck.
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PostPost by: Roy Gillett » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:35 am

Hi David,

You really are getting some very good advice here (as always in this forum). As a +2 S130 4speed owner let me add my two-penny-worth.

The ventilation is sorted out very well with a Webasto fabric sunroof (a dealer option from new if you are committed to originality). I have one on mine and would not be without it. I have heard that if the exhaust tailpipe is too short, a sunroof can draw in exhaust gases but have no first hand knowledge of this.

As to high-speed cruising, I would not go for a 5 speed as the gearchange is so much poorer than the rifle bolt action of the 4 speed. The thing to try to get is the 3.53 : 1 diff rather than the standard 3.77 This gives you an extra 10 mph at 4000 revs which makes one well worth the search. My car has the 3.77 but my brother has a 3.54 and it is much more relaxed at speed (but a bit slower off the roundabouts).

The seats I find very good but there is a string on this forum about fitting more modern Jaguar XJS seats (only a certain vintage) if you want something with a bit more support.

Having recently co-driven a 'baby' Elan Sprint to Classic Le Mans I would agree how much more relaxed and relaxing the +2 is to drive for long distances. Perhaps it is less 'alive' but at around 70mph it is just so much less effort to drive.

Hope this helps. My advice - buy a +2S quickly while they are still affordable.

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PostPost by: davidbalkwill » Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:24 am

Well, following lots of time with the phisiotherapist, I now have an ultimatum from my wife that is very simple. She's not getting back in the B!

I still have some work to do before I can sell her, (yes I did mean the B!), but I'll start working on the finance, and will look closely at the Plus 2.

Many thanks for all these very helpful comments. Of course you're all highly biased and equipped with Lotus coloured glasses, but I think there is a strong set of reasons behind your enthusiasm, and I'm finding it very difficult not to be 100% sold on the idea.

While we're talking about this, do any of you have anything to add about some of the more recent Lotus cars. The Excell, which must also compare, but probably for less money, or the Esprit, very different beast, but also worth a look at?

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:21 pm

I?m sure that the wedge-Lotii are very capable cars, but the aesthetics don?t do much for me?the design hasn?t aged very well. I absolutely love the early Esprit, and still find that a breathtaking car to look at, but unfortunately I?m too tall to fit.

We are somewhat biased towards our little Elans of course. I?m also into Jags, and have restored an E Type and run an XJR-s 6 litre. If I had to go down to just the one classic though, I would keep the Elan?no question.

The Elan ruined one of my boyhood dreams, the Austin Healey 3000. I yearned for a Healey for years, as they look and sound so gorgeous. I bought a basket case car, spent 5 years restoring it to perfection, and found it absolutely dire to drive. It wallowed around corners, accelerated like a Morris Marina and crashed and banged over bumpy roads.

I took it to a specialist, who pronounced it to be one of the best he?d driven! Unfortunately, I?d had an Elan for 20 years by then, and I?m afraid the Healey just felt like a 1950s truck to drive after the nimble and fast Elan. The poor old Healey was swapped for the E Type, a heavier cruising version of the Elan.

You won?t regret buying one?but buy a good one, or restore one yourself to your standards.

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PostPost by: robcall » Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:44 pm

Well-I quite like the Excel :roll:
A galvanised chassis,decent fibreglass thickness,Toyota mechanicals.
Quiet,comfortable-yes-it was built with Motorways in mind :D
Sounds,goes and handles like a Lotus.
Downside-not as nimble in the twisties due to width and glue/pop rivet body construction.
Ticks all the boxes in your original question-and a bargain to boot!
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