Lotus Elan

How much space is in a +2?

PostPost by: +2RC » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:26 pm

Good day everyone, i've got a couple of questions about elans for you...

I'm looking to buy a lotus in the next 6 months, i'm either looking at an S1 elise or a +2 elan. One of the problems i'm going to face with both is how much space there is, since i'm 6'6". Am i likely to fit?

How heavy are the +2's, and how quick are they? I like acceleration, top speed doesn't really worry me - how do they respond to engine work, a good head porting etc, exhaust and camshaft changes? Where does the standard engine make power?

Also, a last very long shot. My dad owned an Elan back in the late 70's/early 80's S4 SE i think. All he can remember is the registration and colour - it was white convertible with the plate SMX 550F, in the plymouth/devon area...does anyone know anything about it?

Thanks very much
Rich
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Nov 07, 2009 3:03 pm

Hi Rich,
Welcome to the forum, I think I can partly answer some of your questions, but there are others who are much better qualified on the engine side of things.

Firstly your dads old car SMX550F looks like it may have been exported, I have pasted the enquiry result from the DVLA below, its last recorded colour was blue. There is a surprising amount of room in a +2, you may have to alter the seat brackets to get your full 6'6" in, but I'm 6'1" and I don't have the seat all the way back, depends on whether you have long legs or a long body I suppose, the Elise is pretty good for leg room as well although the cabin feels claustrophobic compared with a +2. Performance wise the standard +2 does 0-60 in about 8.5 ish seconds, this can be improved upon as the Lotus Twin Cam engine is legendary for tuning potential although it can get a bit costly. The Elan +2 weighs about 830 kilos all up which is a good 100 kilos more than the smaller and some would say more nimble Elan which can manage the 0 - 60 dash in around 7 ish seconds in standard form. The performance figures are real world ones, the period adverts and car tests all had 'Special' engines for the tests.
I personally run an Elan +2 that has been converted by Spyder Engineering with 2.0 Ford Zetec engine producing just over 180BHP, it makes a fantastic road car and is a genuine modern Elise alternative with the advantage of a decent boot and light and airy cabin, straight line performance is more than equal to a 111R Elise, handling is about 85 - 90% of an Elise which is to say it's still very good. The only downside is that its questionable that its still an Elan +2 and its therefore not to everyones taste, also its very pricey if the factory do the conversion.

If anyone wants to check the current status of an old car they used to own go to this site (UK only obviously) http://www.taxdisc.direct.gov.uk/EvlPortalApp/index.jsp then click on vehicle enquiry, so long as you know the make and reg number it will give the current details.

The enquiry is complete

[size=85]The vehicle details for SMX 550F are:

Date of Liability 01 10 1982
Date of First Registration 04 09 1967
Year of Manufacture Not Available
Cylinder Capacity (cc) 1558CC
CO2 Emissions Not Available
Fuel Type Petrol
Export Marker Export
Vehicle Status Unlicensed
Vehicle Colour BLUE
Vehicle Type Approval null
The information contained on this page is correct at the time of enquiry.
Vehicle Excise Duty Rate for vehicle
6 Months Rate ?104.50
12 Months Rate ?190.00


Please be aware that if the vehicle has recently been relicensed or a SORN declared, these details may not yet be updated on the vehicle record.

If you think that the details on the vehicle record are incorrect please write to:

VCS
DVLA
Swansea
SA99 1BA

Including the incorrect V5C Registration Certificate for amendment. [/size]
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PostPost by: +2RC » Sat Nov 07, 2009 5:07 pm

A perfect answer! Thanks very much.

It does look like the elan may have gone abroad, shame... hopefully its still going though...

What sort of power can be got from the standard engine, with reasonable mods, rather than a full blown race engine. Are cam, exhuast manifold changes and head work the place to start, and what will the figure usually be around with this work? How does this effect the performance?
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PostPost by: andyelan » Sat Nov 07, 2009 5:35 pm

Hi Rich

I would suggest you go out and try a standard car first before thinking about modifications. I have a feeling you won't like a car which at best is going to be at least 35 years old. Good as they were in their day the Plus 2 is now a very old machine and not a patch on a modern as far as performance, roadholding and usability are concerned. I think you might be better looking at somthing like an Audi TT or, if it's acceleration you want, one of the modern TVRs

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Andy
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PostPost by: +2RC » Sat Nov 07, 2009 5:46 pm

It may have come across wrong,

I'd really just be looking to get the best from the engine, a nicely ported head, or even just casting marks removed isn't going to do any harm! Maybe upto a 'non plus 2' elan acceleration wise.

I'm not into TT's, and TVR insurance wouldn't be possible yet... i really do want a lotus.

I'm into old cars aswell, one of the things against getting an elise is that i can't put my old set of dellorto's on it. A 1996 elise would seem like a brand new car, admittedly the elan would be older than anything i'd had though.
Last edited by +2RC on Sat Nov 07, 2009 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: rocket » Sat Nov 07, 2009 5:51 pm

Hi can i ask Alan if he thinks there maybe something incorrect with his dvla report?


Ian.
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PostPost by: rocket » Sat Nov 07, 2009 5:53 pm

Having just reread it it may be its right but im confused by it..
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:03 pm

rocket wrote:Having just reread it it may be its right but im confused by it..

Hi Rocket? (whats your name?)

Go to the web link for the DVLA I have posted, thats basically all the info they will give out. When I put my own car in there SKK992G it comes up with the correct details and puts not applicable next to the export tag, thats why I think that Rich's dads car has been exported. I basically cut and pasted what came up in the report.

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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:25 pm

+2RC wrote:It may have come across wrong,

I'd really just be looking to get the best from the engine, a nicely ported head, or even just casting marks removed isn't going to do any harm! Maybe upto a 'non plus 2' elan acceleration wise.

I'm not into TT's, and TVR insurance wouldn't be possible yet... i really do want a lotus.

I'm into old cars aswell, one of the things against getting an elise is that i can't put my old set of dellorto's on it. A 1996 elise would seem like a brand new car, admittedly the elan would be older than anything i'd had though.


Rich,
as stated in my earlier reply I'm no expert on the Lotus Twincam engine, but I do know that modifications are expensive. All the available engines are at least 35 years old now with some of them over 45 years, therefore anything out there needs careful checking before modification, these are not mainstream engines anymore therefore parts are sometimes hard to come by and are expensive and the experts who tune and modify them are niche specialists who charge accordingly. It's not unknown for a full rebuild to cost over ?5000, which would admittedly include some nice upgrades but probably not much over 140bhp in the horsepower department. This leads on to other areas that will require modification to handle the extra power if you are to retain reliability, think lots of ???'s and you won't go wrong.

I think that your best bet would be to get a decent test drive in an Elan +2 130s, this has a slightly modified engine as standard (approx 120 -130bhp depending on who you believe), the 4 speed version is noted as the best by enthusiasts and this will accelerate the quickest, maybe 7.5 - 8 seconds although it will feel quicker than this if its well set up. If it doesn't feel quick enough, forget buying a classic Elan unless you have really deep pockets or are like me with more money than sense(according to my wife!)

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PostPost by: rocket » Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:28 pm

Alan what confuses me is the year of regd being 1967 then a date 1982 which makes road tax payable on the car?

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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:33 pm

Ian
Ahh! I see what you mean. 1982 was the last year that the car was licensed for use on UK roads ie: the last year that it had road tax. It was either exported (as I suspect) or scrapped at that point, it could also be lurking in a barn or someones garage just waiting to be ressurected.

Thanks for the name check I haven't used handles since the last time I used a CB radio back in 1983!


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PostPost by: rocket » Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:37 pm

My name is Ian..as typed at the end of all my messages...so Alan is the road tax amounts stated at the bottom of the reports incorrect?

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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:48 pm

Ian,
Sorry, I'm not noted for my observation so please forgive the oversight, but I think that your first message in this thread didn't include your name......

Anyway on to the wonders and in's and outs of the DVLA. Had the car remained taxed year on year it would have attained tax exempt (taxation class as HISTORIC VEHICLE) status on it's V5 when the new tax free status started in the 1990's, as it ceased to exist as far as the DVLA are concerned in 1982 it never achieved this happy state and would therefore be charged road tax at the standard rate for vehicles up to whatever cc band they do for cars that don't have a valid CO2 output. 1982 was before the tax exempt for classics status was started.

If the car turned up and was re- registered it would have a tax exempt status bestowed upon it, after all it was first registered in 1967 therefore it must have been manufactured before 1973 which is still the cut off point for road tax free status.

I'm no expert on the DVLA either, but I think I am correct on the above.

cheers
Last edited by Spyder fan on Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: rocket » Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:54 pm

Thanks for that Alan it sort of makes sense now you have explained,nice of you to take the time i can be fairly dim at times,cheers,

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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:24 am

Back to how much space there is in a +2.. I am around 6' 4" and the driving position is very comfortable for me with the seat back as far as poss. A friend of mine is 6' 9" and says that the passenger seat has more leg room than most cars he has tried (he drives a TVR). I think with some seating mods you could fit in the car, but it would be worth trying the seating position in one. Perhaps try one out at the closest classic Lotus dealer (Mattys?). You may need to fit a smaller steering wheel to make life easier for your knees, as the standard one is pretty big. Again mine is fitted with a smaller wheel and I find it OK, apart from heavy steering at parking speeds.

Performance? Good enough as standard, though you may find it undergeared for long trips. Power, as has been stated is a moveable feast. A rough, useable +2 may be putting out 80-90hp; good nick and standard 100-115hp; 'tweaked' cams, carb jets, ignition, big valves 110 to 130; Master Class tweaking - hot cams, porting, big bore ex manifold and system 130 - 150, but getting very expensive. More power than this requires more revs than the standard 6,500rpm limit, then you get into serious engine building with steel cranks and race valves and springs. The limit of an engine that can still be called a classic twin cam is around 180-220hp (maybe) and this stage of tune is just not suitable for road use. Fuel injection is possible, but expensive. It probably adds around 10hp onto whatever the engine was putting out, but makes the resulting tune smoother and more consistent. The power in a TC is a good blend of torque and revs, with the engine really picking up around 3000-4000rpm. Higher states of tune tend to push that upwards. My preference is mild tweaking with cams and carb set up.

The whole engine deal is a balance on what you enjoy doing, and whether you can live with an engine that feels good and strong or has a manic feel and a sense of impending doom! This is why many choose a modern engine which can put out the big numbers reliably and can make TVR owners very puzzled.

Of course lots of power puts strain further down the transmission, so you have to consider the driveshafts and eliminating the rubber dougnuts or replacing them more frequently. And so it goes..

I would warn you that once the bug bites, it is difficult to stop.

Jeremy
Last edited by JJDraper on Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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