Lotus Elan

Daily Driver?

PostPost by: 86 mike » Sun Aug 07, 2005 6:34 pm

Hello everyone.

I have had the good fortune to find a 1974 JPS Elan +2 with a galvanized chassis in a garage,it has not moved for 15 years and has had the gold paint covered in black paint(the gold paint was to 70s for the owners taste).The car was laid up not as a result of any fault but as the result of the purchase of 205 GTI in 1990 and hasnt moved since.
I know nothing about these cars and am seeking help and information.I enjoy running classic/old cars as daily drivers/track day cars, but i am also aware that not all old cars are capable of this, what i would like to find out is that are these acrs capable of being used everyday, are they reliable and what are the running costs? Also what things should i look out for and how much should i pay for it?
Any help will be greatly appreiciated.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:08 am

Mike

A 74 JPS is potentially a great buy if you like a classic car. However I have never seen a car laid up for 15 years that did not have real problems the owner did not want to deal with.

If a plus 2 is in good condition it is a practical and relatively cheap car to use every day. I did it for many years with my 1973 +2 S130 /5. If its in poor condtion it can be a money pit to fix especialy if you have to pay someone else to do the work. If you have some degree of mechanical competence and can look after a car yourself then Lotus are great, if you need to pay someone to tighten a loose nut then they get very expensive very quickly.

By searching this web site you will see the potential issues you will face with the car. Which of these you will actually face depend on the condition of the individual car you are considering.

Finally buy the car because you love a good looking and superb performing / handling classic not because you want to make money "tarting it up" and reselling it, because you will not in most cases, especially a plus 2 whose resale value is relatively low compared to even its "tart up" restoration cost.

Rohan
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PostPost by: 86 mike » Mon Aug 08, 2005 3:06 pm

The car belongs to my boss who bought it from Paul Matty,used it for a couple of years and parked it in his garage when it became impractical as his wife is sadly disabled. The only fault that it had was a dodgy starter motor conection.
What should i pay for it given that it has been parked for so long?
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PostPost by: Si_130/5 » Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:23 pm

Hi Mike,
I agree with Rohan. I bought my +2S130/5 when it had been off the road for ten years. The interior was like new and the body and brightwork were fantastic but the recommissioning costs for these cars can be high. If you want it to be reliable for daily use and to handle as it should you'll be rebuilding the callipers, changing the rotoflexes, suspension bushes, check the fuel tank, a twin cam which has sat for fifteen years without turning over will at least have u/s valve springs, clean out the carbs and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
As to the value, a cosmetically good JPS on a replacement chassis that's been off the road for fifteen years? ?3,000? you just have to estimate for the remedial work and decide how much you are willing to pay, bearing in mind you almost certainly won't recover it when you come to sell.

Is the paint good? Can you uncover the gold roof and sills using sticky tape?
Have a look at this posting entitled 'Rough Value of my JPS':
http://lotuselan.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1802

Do post some photos if you can.
Best of luck,
Simon
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PostPost by: 86 mike » Mon Aug 08, 2005 8:21 pm

I will try and post some photos for you.About the engine, is it a certainty that the valve springs will be u/s?,As far as i can see the +2 looks like it is a nice car to work on (being used to my Audi Quattro anything looks easy) but is it as easy as it looks?Also how much of a difference to the price does the fact that its had the JPS colours covered make?
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PostPost by: Si_130/5 » Mon Aug 08, 2005 10:46 pm

Hi,
If you were going to sell it on then it's possible the black roof could have a detrimental effect on the price. There were only about 86 true JPS cars and if the paintwork has been altered it might deter anyone intent on having one. But if it's just for you and you're happy what does it matter?
I don't think the JPS designation carries much weight these days (I read it was really a marketing ploy to boost flagging Plus Two sales) it's condition which sets the price.
If the engine has sat in the same position with the same springs compressed for 15 years it is certain those valves won't close properly at high revs.
You're right, it is quite a simple design but it is fragile and there are some access problems. I believe on the 5-speed cars which have a Lotus chassis the engine and gearbox have to come out together. The rotoflexes are a headache and getting the diff out is murder - I've done it.
I'd recommend you resist the urge to get in it as soon as poss and do a thorough recommissioning job - that way you'll obviate infuriating and endless daily failures and reduce duplication of labour.

Regards,
Si
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PostPost by: melvinhecht » Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:29 am

I have a 1971 Plus 2S which is largely redone, and bone stock. It has new Kumho rubber (yuck) and I worry more about the windshield wipers than I do anything else.
It is expensive.
It is great, but a bit stuffy in hot weather.
If you want to make your ride a pleasure, there is nothing better.
Do not try to drive it into hot summer traffic jams. Yes, the fan works. It doesn't overheat, but I do. It's a big greenhouse with a hot exhaust next door.
It always starts.
It is expensive.
It handles like it is on a rail.

Melvin
1971 Plus 2S
VIN 50/0216N


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PostPost by: 86 mike » Tue Aug 09, 2005 8:10 am

A couple more questions,What parts would you recomend that i replace before using the car and when you say expensive what sort of yearly costs are we talking about
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sun Aug 14, 2005 11:04 pm

I have a '68 +2 which is a daily driver (c6-8,000 miles p.a). Yes they are reliable...after you have fixed all the bits that fail, and maintain other bits religiously.....

With regard to the car in question, no-one seems to have asked if the car runs, or has been turned over regularly. Has it? If it runs, then fuel will have been passing through the system, mitigating the worst effects, however...the fuel tank may have collected a some water. replacements are not hard to find - Ebay. If the engine doesn't run, or even turn over....big expense - 2k?. How big depends on your experience/contacts.

If the engine runs, take the cam cover off and check the top end for and signs of rust - if found, bad news (strip & at least clean + new springs), if not, give it an oil & filter change, and run it carefully for a bit, say 500 miles, then change the oil & filter again. I will probably be lynched for this advice but what the hell....One thing I have learnt with Loti is listen to the car carefully - if it sounds OK it generally is OK. Don't take it to pieces to find out why it seems to be so quiet (unless the quiet is due to non-running).

Brakes - Calipers will probably need a full rebuild, along with at least flushing out the Hydraulics. Budget 400GBP, or do it yourself for less. Classicar Brakes is the easy way to a handbrake that works all the time, not just for MOTs.....Servo may need a rebuild - 200GBP.

Electrics - clean all earth points, the rest should be OK (assume new battery).

Diff seals may have hardened - keep an eye out for leaks - Seals cheap, fitting not.

Shocks - may be OK at first, then start leaking - ditto above. New ones not that expensive.

Tyres - probably shot due to hardening of the compound - new ones (best you can afford) around 35-40GBP each. Clean and re-pack wheel bearings - cheap materials, 4-6hours labour.

I'm sure there are other odds and sods that could crop up, but hey..you want something interesting don't you?!

All in all a viable proposition for daily transport, but don't expect it to be so straight away. It has taken me 4 years and around 35,000 miles to find out I had the most shagged out +2 on the market..but it is now a useable proposition, if not the prettiest (all I need is the 5k for the bodywork) and I have had the pleasure of running a car which turns heads (if only to see where that bloody noise is coming from) and gives you pleasure every time you get in and drive it.

The car cost a lot in the first few years, but my modern Vauxhall Omega has cost a lot more in servicing and repairs in the same period.

Jeremy

PS join a Lotus club....any one, or even all of them!
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PostPost by: Hamish Coutts » Mon Aug 15, 2005 4:22 pm

Jeremy,

A very comprehensive post. You obviously have been through this before.

From my experience, the only things I would add to your list are wheel bearings and the dreaded waterpump bearing. None of these like lying around too long.
Last of all the radiator - it may have clogged up.

These components are not expensive to buy, just expensive in terms of time to fix.

Apart from that - all should be OK!!!

Regards,

Hamish.
"One day I'll finish the restoration - honest, darling, just a few more years....."
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PostPost by: 86 mike » Mon Aug 15, 2005 6:39 pm

Thanks for all that guys.Hopefully he will let it go for a reasonable price and i can bring it back to life.
Does anyone on the forum do any hillclimbing or sprinting in the +2?
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PostPost by: steveww » Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:20 pm

Not in a +2 but my S4 Elan has seen its fair share of track days and the odd sprint or two 8)

One of the parts guys at Paul Matty is very successful with his +2 in sprints and hillclimbs.
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Mon Aug 15, 2005 10:09 pm

I don't know about being through it all, Water pump still pumps, wheel bearings? Spyder twin wishbone gubbins...got fed up with replacing bearings. I budget around 1k per annum - if it doesn't need it for running repairs, use it for enhancements. You can always argue with the missus that it adds value, or at least fights depreciation. This year's major expense - diff replacement & new (groovey) disks! The only exception is bodywork cosmetics...As stated previously 5k for a proper job will take some persuasion.

The trick is to always have the spare part ready to fit so the car is not laid up. Currently the clutch thrust bearing is making noises, but advice from specialists is to run it until it fails. Unlikely to cause catestrophic damage when it goes, but be prepared (AA Relay). In the mean time use the car. Parts are cheap, really! Compare the cost of a new Honda VTEC engne with a good Twin cam rebuild - no contest. Get it in perspective and support the supply/service sector for old cars, not just Loti.

PS Shelsley Walsh is the place to be this weekend ....
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PostPost by: bengalcharlie » Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:02 am

Hi all,

In the classic car magazine of july 2004 a story was published about Roy Fellows light weight plus 2.
Roy works at Paul Matty so for those of you in the UK it would be easy to get in contact with Roy.
I have similar plans in the future and not sure yet what kind of engine to use because I do not have a spare twincam
Might go for an alfa engine ( I love alfa's too and I love the sound!!)
coupled to a five speed gearbox.

cheers

Robin
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PostPost by: Hamish Coutts » Tue Aug 16, 2005 8:03 am

Robin,

A Lotus Alfa? Mmmm, that would be interesting.

Hamish
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