Lotus Elan

Help with purchasing an Elan +2

PostPost by: RoadDad » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:15 pm

Hello all. First post on the forum but I've been lurking around for a while now and need some help.

I am currently beginning the research process for purchasing an Elan +2. I have gone through 67 pages of information in the Plus 2 section here on the forum as well have exhausted my reading abilities at the library and other places online.

There are 2 cars that I am currently aware of for sale here in the US. First is a 1969 red/silver with 67K miles with an unknown maintenance history, unoriginal front seats and wheels and some other cosmetic issues. The second is a 1973 blue which has been "95% restored" by who knows who, with a sunroof of unknown brand and an unknown maintenance history.

I have run across several references to purchasing only a pre-73 car but can not find any reason for not wanting a 1973 model. Why would that be?

I have also been looking desperately for a guide to help with current value/pricing. I have only found Black Book online (sorry I can't post the URL -- forum won't allow it until I've made 3 posts total -- add 3 w's at the front and a com at the back) but can not join as I am not "in the industry."

I am also not adverse to looking outside of the US for a car although obviously it would be easier to purchase from this side of the pond.

If anyone can point me in the correct direction it would be much appreciated.

Cheers,
RoadDad

EDIT: The 1969 does indeed have Lotus wheels. It is the 1973 that has aftermarket wheels. :oops:
Last edited by RoadDad on Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: neilsjuke » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:20 pm

In the UK you would have to pay road fund tax on a 1973 whilst early cars are tax free.
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PostPost by: RoadDad » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:34 pm

Ah, thank you. So nothing inherently wrong with the 1973 models... maybe that's why I couldn't find any reason :oops: .
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PostPost by: andyelan » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:36 pm

Hi RoadDad

Here in the UK per '73 cars are exempt from road tax, thats all. There's nothing at all wrong with them and in many ways a later cars is likly to be the best.

Over here we generally think it's a really good idea to break up perfectly good cars and sell them for spares just because we don't want to pay the ?200 a year tax :x

Regards
Andy (Owner of '74 Plus 2 130S/5)
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:38 pm

Hi

I have never really understood why people that own a Lotus are bothered about ?120 per year road tax:? My car is zero rated but I have never had a year where it has not cost me more than a couple of hundred quid at least. Part of owning a 30+ year old sports car is trawling Ebay every night looking for something to spend my hard earned on, I tell the wife it is like a massive jigsaw puzzle but as soon as you replace the missing part another has rotted away. :D

My advice would be buy the best car you can afford. Most expensive parts are engine, body repairs (gel cracks and paintwork) and rotten chassis.

Jason
50/0951 1968 Wedgewood blue +2, 1990 Mini Cooper RSP
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:48 pm

Sorry do not know where to look in the US, in UK I would recomend

http://www.club-lotus.co.uk/

The quarterly mag has classifieds in the back

or

http://www.paulmattysportscars.co.uk/
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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:04 am

Road Dad,

I have looked at the red/silver one on Fleabay and it looks pretty good. The seats are not original but originals can be found and you might like the Recaro type better. Use it as a bargaining chip. As for the wheels, they are the real Brand Lotus web wheels just not finished as original. Easy to do if you want to.

Can you find anyone in the Reno, Tahoe, Sacramento area that could look at the car for you? I have bought five different cars off of the net but not without someone doing a rudimentary start up and drive around the block.

As for values, I have seen them go for $6,000 to $15,000 depending on condition, more for full restorations and Zetec conversions. My advice; Figure out what you want to spend, offer a bit less and see what happens. Although the Elan +2 is a wonderful car, it has no cachet from collectors so you can be patient and look for the right deal.

If you are near someone on this forum, I'd bet you could get a ride to see what to look for. I will make the offer to anyone near Denver, CO. Good Luck and welcome to the insanity!! :lol:
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PostPost by: RoadDad » Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:47 am

andyelan wrote:Over here we generally think it's a really good idea to break up perfectly good cars and sell them for spares just because we don't want to pay the ?200 a year tax :x

:cry:
Jason1 wrote:Part of owning a 30+ year old sports car is trawling Ebay every night looking for something to spend my hard earned on, I tell the wife it is like a massive jigsaw puzzle but as soon as you replace the missing part another has rotted away. :D

My advice would be buy the best car you can afford. Most expensive parts are engine, body repairs (gel cracks and paintwork) and rotten chassis.

Jason

That's good advice and what I have always tried to do with old cars. My wife is quite tolerant of my addiction to cars, Lotus in particular, and has often said, "It could be worse. You could have loved Ferrari." When it came time to get work on a Seven done (work that I was not comfortable doing myself) she looked at me, then the repair estimate, then me again and just shook her head... "Money pits but they keep you out of trouble" is something I hear quite often. :D

Ross Robbins wrote:Road Dad,

I have looked at the red/silver one on Fleabay and it looks pretty good. The seats are not original but originals can be found and you might like the Recaro type better. Use it as a bargaining chip. As for the wheels, they are the real Brand Lotus web wheels just not finished as original. Easy to do if you want to.

Can you find anyone in the Reno, Tahoe, Sacramento area that could look at the car for you? I have bought five different cars off of the net but not without someone doing a rudimentary start up and drive around the block.

As for values, I have seen them go for $6,000 to $15,000 depending on condition, more for full restorations and Zetec conversions. My advice; Figure out what you want to spend, offer a bit less and see what happens. Although the Elan +2 is a wonderful car, it has no cachet from collectors so you can be patient and look for the right deal.
I've been speaking with one of the salesmen about the red/silver car. You are correct that those are correct Lotus wheels. It is the blue '73 that has incorrect wheels. I will have to correct my first post :oops: . They are asking ~$19,000 for that 1969 car, which I thought was quite high, particularly in light of the sales folks having no idea what has been done to the car. Every question that I ask is met with the answer that one would "want to hear," but follow up questions for more detail can not be answered to my satisfaction. They have no documentation of the car at all -- maintenance, rebuilds, etc. So, as far as I was concerned, no record means never done...
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PostPost by: bengalcharlie » Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:24 am

hi,

Most of your questions have already been answered and I hope it has given you some answers/direction with your decsion to buy a very under rated/under priced sports car. As already been mentioned before the red car currently for sale does look nice but if you or someone you trust can have a look at it you do not have any unpleasend surprises.
The parts situation is very good, both new parts and second hand so do not worry about that ( In the USA). Even the seats you will be able to find if you are patient. Main reason is that there are still criminals in my opnion who break these cars and sell the parts because the sum of parts is greater than the car as a whole.
My own plus two was purchased many years ago as a basket case but I managed to find all the missing parts without too much difficulty.
And the driving is fantastic if you like a car that tells you instanly what is going on at all times. Good luck!
cheers
Robin
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PostPost by: ppnelan » Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:23 pm

In the UK, I had a couple of reasons for buying a pre-'73 car other than the free road tax:
A pre-'73 car assumes 'Historic Vehicle' status on the registration document. If at any time in the future classic cars 'become too un-green', I can imagine anything outside this classification possibly being targetted first... :? Or it could be the other way around... :roll:
Pre-'73 cars are allowed to have the white-on-black registration plates i.e. the neat letters on the front grille arrangement. However, this is not (yet!) strictly enforced... :wink:
Another reason was only having to undergo a 'visible smoke' check for the MoT test, but I think this applies to all pre-August '75 cars so should not be a problem for Elans.

:arrow: Matthew
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PostPost by: PWTrusty » Mon Dec 01, 2008 6:19 pm

I bought my 72 about 2 years ago. It is the forth Lotus to date. Mine was a barn find ( actually a garage) parked for the past 30+ years with 23k miles on it.
Since then I have at least doubled my investment. Things worth checking:
rust in the frame and specifically the front towers
wiring, a amature repair or replacement of the harness is more trouble that the original.
poor grounds can cause many very curious anomolies
research the carbs. I finally had my fill of the ZS and re-engined with a Webber head
ID every owner change/repair, you will learn what the term DPO can mean...
buy as much car as you can afford..let the previous owners pay the markup and taxes on parts and repairs
a friend has 2 now and was very insightful ' there are only good cars that car accepetable now but still will require some work and bad cars cars which take more work and expense than you can predict" ...AND YOU WILL FINALLY HAVE TO GO THROUGH THEM COMPLETELY EVEN IF IT IS PIECE MEAL.
Sold a Europa for this +2 130S... eventually you will find the car a great drive.
looking for a Baby Elan next spring
Phil in Tenn
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PostPost by: RoadDad » Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:30 am

bengalcharlie wrote:hi,

Most of your questions have already been answered and I hope it has given you some answers/direction with your decsion to buy a very under rated/under priced sports car. As already been mentioned before the red car currently for sale does look nice but if you or someone you trust can have a look at it you do not have any unpleasend surprises.
The parts situation is very good, both new parts and second hand so do not worry about that ( In the USA). Even the seats you will be able to find if you are patient. Main reason is that there are still criminals in my opnion who break these cars and sell the parts because the sum of parts is greater than the car as a whole.
My own plus two was purchased many years ago as a basket case but I managed to find all the missing parts without too much difficulty.
And the driving is fantastic if you like a car that tells you instanly what is going on at all times. Good luck!
cheers
Robin

It's good to hear that the parts aren't too terribly hard to locate.

ppnelan wrote:In the UK, I had a couple of reasons for buying a pre-'73 car other than the free road tax:
A pre-'73 car assumes 'Historic Vehicle' status on the registration document. If at any time in the future classic cars 'become too un-green', I can imagine anything outside this classification possibly being targetted first... :? Or it could be the other way around... :roll:
Pre-'73 cars are allowed to have the white-on-black registration plates i.e. the neat letters on the front grille arrangement. However, this is not (yet!) strictly enforced... :wink:
Another reason was only having to undergo a 'visible smoke' check for the MoT test, but I think this applies to all pre-August '75 cars so should not be a problem for Elans.

:arrow: Matthew

Here in the States, well most of them, if a car is 25 years old it is considered an antique and can be registered as such. In my state antique tags mean no safety inspections, no tax, one time registration fee of $50, please use it in parades, same tag for life, etc.

PWTrusty wrote:I bought my 72 about 2 years ago. It is the forth Lotus to date. Mine was a barn find ( actually a garage) parked for the past 30+ years with 23k miles on it.
Since then I have at least doubled my investment. Things worth checking:
rust in the frame and specifically the front towers
wiring, a amature repair or replacement of the harness is more trouble that the original.
poor grounds can cause many very curious anomolies
research the carbs. I finally had my fill of the ZS and re-engined with a Webber head
ID every owner change/repair, you will learn what the term DPO can mean...
buy as much car as you can afford..let the previous owners pay the markup and taxes on parts and repairs
a friend has 2 now and was very insightful ' there are only good cars that car accepetable now but still will require some work and bad cars cars which take more work and expense than you can predict" ...AND YOU WILL FINALLY HAVE TO GO THROUGH THEM COMPLETELY EVEN IF IT IS PIECE MEAL.
Sold a Europa for this +2 130S... eventually you will find the car a great drive.
looking for a Baby Elan next spring
Phil in Tenn


Sounds like you have quite the car there, Phil. Any interest in letting it go? :) Thanks for the tips on what to have checked out. I will hopefully be sending someone reputable (and hopefully who knows about Lotus) prior to purchasing a vehicle.

Thanks all,
RoadDad
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PostPost by: Carlos A » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:48 am

Phil and Jason said it: buy as much car as you can afford; the best one possible. There are great cars out there. $$$$$$!


Remember this one? I think it is still for sale: http://www.lotuselan.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=17029

http://www.lotuselan.net/publish/buyers ... list.shtml

Above all remember: Any money you put in a thorough and professional inspection is the key to save thousands of dollars. I spent more than 18 months looking for my car and had to pay 3 mechanics to check different cars. Two turned to be nightmares waiting for a buyer. I am so glad I did not buy them!

Any "savings" pricewise, that corresponds to mechanical or body problems, will eventually turn into bills for three or four times what you ?saved? ?if you are lucky.


Carlos
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PostPost by: RoadDad » Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:16 pm

Carlos A wrote:Phil said it: buy as much car as you can afford; the best one possible. There are great cars out there. $$$$$$!


Remember this one? I think it is still for sale: http://www.lotuselan.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=17029

http://www.lotuselan.net/publish/buyers ... list.shtml

Above all remember: Any money you put in a thorough and professional inspection is the key to save thousands of dollars. I spent more than 18 months looking for my car and had to pay 3 mechanics to check different cars. Two turned to be nightmares waiting for a buyer. I am so glad I did not buy them!

Any "savings" pricewise, that corresponds to mechanical or body problems, will eventually turn into bills for three or four times what you ?saved? ?if you are lucky.



Carlos

Carlos,

Thank you for the reply. I hadn't seen the "Buyer's Picky Inspection Checklist."

I do remember that +2 that you linked to. I had contacted the seller when he first listed the car for sale here but didn't have much luck getting information about the car.

Maybe I'll try emailing him again :shrug:.

Thanks again.
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PostPost by: Carlos A » Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:57 pm

I forgot to mention the December 1998 issue of Practical Classics magazine, which includes an excellent illustrated buying guide for the Elan +2.

There is one issue for sale at ebay UK (item number 400013511218)

Best,

Carlos
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