Lotus Elan

How much space is in a +2?

PostPost by: ppnelan » Sun Nov 08, 2009 11:45 am

Elans & +2s have 'cosy' pedal arrangements. If you have big feet, you'd better check whether you can operate only one pedal at a time... :shock:

:arrow: Matthew
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PostPost by: normanjsmith » Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:33 pm

Rich

At 6'4" I found Elan Coupes a little claustrophobic and short of headroom.A mate of mine who was a little taller than me had one and I can remember the Brylcreem stain on his headlining. This led me to buying a '68 Elan +2 because with the seat right back I found the driving position perfect - plenty of head, arm and leg room.
I'm not sure, however, about the S and later models because they seem to have more padding in the seats.

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PostPost by: elansprint » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:34 pm

Rich go & try a +2 i would have to disagree with andy yes the +2 in outright performance terms will not keep up with a modern however the ride quality & handling IMO are up there with the best if like me your main motoring is A & B roads & cornering ability is excellent i still love to drive my sprint despite owning two modern TVR's & the +2 with the wider track is better in some ways than an elan ( Now thats opened a can of worms ). You will be road tax free if pre 73 & cheap insurance.
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PostPost by: rocket » Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:50 pm

Hi im with Ian on this performance thing,i think Andy misses the point.I have only had my plus 2 a couple of years but i love driving it because you can actually push towards its limits.I also own a very quick bike and a fast road car but my plus 2 is always so much fun,i cant imagine parting with it..try one for size then buy one you wont regret it.

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PostPost by: andyelan » Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:18 pm

Hi Everyone

Actualy I havn't missed the point at all. I fully appreciate the reasons for owing classic Lotus cars which is why I had my cars for over 25 years. The point I'm making, and i don't mean to sound patronizing, is that based on the questions +2RC is asking, I'm not sure they're the right cars for him

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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:01 am

Rich,

Perhaps we can solve this modern versus classic thing for you by politely asking your age, your budget and what cars you are used to driving now? The advice for buying any classic has always been buy the best that you can afford, newcomers and novices should leave the unfinished projects and rolling restorations to experienced and frankly hopeless cases like myself.

If your budget is ?5 - ?7.5k I think that you will be really disappointed with the quality of what you can buy. ?10 - ?15k will get you a really fit and presentable +2 that should have been fully restored within the last 5 years. However, remember that these cars were very expensive when new and the maintenance costs were also very high, budget at least ?1000 a year maintenance if you use a specialist, it probably won't be anywhere near as much as this if you do the maintenance yourself or bought the right car, but I have many bills over ?500 for replacement bushes etc, nothing is really cheap for these cars.

None of us are trying to put you off buying a +2 and Andy(Elan) may have a valid argument that you will be happier with a modern sporty car.

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PostPost by: +2RC » Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:39 pm

Alan,

I usually leave the age out since it (usually!) completely clouds peoples opinions of me and what i may be like. I'm 19, and have been driving since 16.

My budget will unfortunately be around the 5-7.5k range, but i'm not the type that only likes to buy and drive a car and throw it into a garage when it breaks - tinkering is what i enjoy (especially wtih twin carbs...) - engine/mechanincal work isn't a problem, and i have people i can turn to if i get stuck on other stuff. I wouldn't be worried about taking on a project.

I'm used to driving a tuned 1.3/1.4/1.6 mk2 VW Golf (incidentally with an old elan's set of dellorto on it) - an aircooled VW camper and a VW Corrado g60... see any pattern...? :lol:

Are no parts on the engine interchangable from more common cars - they are ford engines aren't they? Is there no reproduction supplier of parts without huge prices?
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:08 pm

Hi Rich,

When I was 19 I was dead keen on old Mini's (that was the late 70's), they were cheap, fun and relatively easy to tune enginewise and suspension wise, I basically cut my teeth on them and had a great time although they were all under 20 years old and mostly under 10. There weren't any 35 - 45 year old sports cars to even dream about tinkering with---- if you do the maths 1979 minus 40 = 1939 and the car industry did nothing sporty until a good 10 years after the war ended, so basically nothing really old or interesting ever came up at a good price. Then I got married ..... then I got mid-life crisis ... then I bought an old Lotus, thats what a lot of us have done. An Elan +2 is a rare sight on the roads and it's nice to be different, so perhaps it's a perfect car for a 19 year old, most of the good comments I get at filling stations and thumbs up on the road are from under 25's. I just wish there had been something similar I could have afforded when I was 19.

You will definitely have to search hard for a good +2 at 7.5k, but they are out there. You seem like the type of person who would last the distance and I like your comment about not throwing it into a garage when it breaks.

If you want to keep originality, there's not much you can do about parts interchangeability for the Lotus Twincam engine, so a good motor should be high on your list of priorities when searching for a car, followed by or even equal importance is a rust free and undamaged chassis, then gearbox, diff and other running gear. Bodywork is expensive to fix and paint and the interior is also tough to obtain at good prices, but neither of these 2 items really matters so long as they are complete and useable. I would rather have a slightly rough looking car that I could use properly than a shiny and good looking dog of a car that goes wrong all the time. Seeing as you are into VW's you could maybe introduce the RAT look to the Lotus scene.

Don't let your money burn a hole in your pocket, take time to choose and ask for advice whenever you can, Is Dad around to help out with the search?

Regards
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: JJDraper » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:24 pm

Age is not a barrier to ownership, available time, mechanical sympathy and a deep(ish) pockets are more important things. At any one time, if you have two of these three in abundance you will probably be OK, all three would be even better. Only one of the three is a recipe for disaster.

One important thing to note is that the engine is not a Ford engine, apart from the main block and even that is specially cast, with an 'L' for Lotus on the side. The alloy twin cam head is all Lotus, and is the most expensive mechanical part. Look on Ebay for the price of examples in various conditions. Hackles will be raised at describing it as a Ford unit!

I bought a 'snotter' +2 nine years ago, and have worked through most of the problems myself, using the 2 out of 3 rule above (at various times). With regular use and common sense maintenance the cars can be reliable, but in your price range you will be coming up against problems that have been lurking in the background for years, or even deliberately disguised. I am now at the stage of doing a full resto and this is a sign of how much I like the car, because it is not an economic proposition..

Expert advice on viewing is essential and even then, be prepared for problems ... because it is a Lotus and experts do not know everything. The Classic Car show is coming up this weekend, and I'm sure there will be a few +2s around, either in the car park or even on stands (Spyder, Options, Club Lotus??). Sadly not mine, which is at the trimmer at the moment.

Good luck with your search.

Jeremy

PS have you checked with an insurer?
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PostPost by: +2RC » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:09 pm

Thanks for the comments...

Yeah, i've checked insurance prices. Not too bad, and i havn't tried any specialists yet.

How much do complete engines come up for, or even minus carbs, since i have a set/can get hold of them easily if needs be? Also, how often do they come up?
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:23 pm

Hi Rich,

The Carbs are the least of your worries and probably the cheapest and easiest to obtain part of an LTC set up. Engines come up on Ebay once in a while, most need a rebuild, there have been a few that have been re-built supposedley by a knowledgable specialist.

Non re-built ?1000, re-built ?3000. Can't remember seeing one go for less in recent years. I have seen re-built Weber Twincam heads alone go for over ?1000. There's no bargain basement short cuts that I know of with the engines.

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PostPost by: davidj » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:47 pm

Hi,

I can confirm that these are not very cheep cars to run, so if you don't have very deep pockets but still want an old motor, I would suggest a MG B or similar. The other point which no one has mentioned is that they are also rather fragile compared with "normal" cars of the period. Not a problem if well looked after, but they deteriorate fast if being run as a banger.

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PostPost by: +2RC » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:19 pm

I'll keep an eye out then, i probably won't be buying until early next year (either elise or elan)

Didn't realise they started at ?1000, but it hasn't put me off yet.
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PostPost by: sparkey » Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:10 pm

Hi +2RC,

I've got an Elan +2 and an S1 Elise. They are very different cars although both very much Lotuses and your choice would depend on what you want them for.

If you want an everyday car then I'd say neither would be much good. The +2 will require too much time and money spent on maintenance for everyday use to keep it reliable unless you're doing low mileages. It is however a very practical car with reasonable luggage capacity and plenty of room for tall people to drive. The Elise will be more reliable, but has minimal luggage space and is a pain to get in and out of with the roof on if you're tall, however you shouldn't have a problem with space once you're in.

If you want a fun weekend car they will both be great. The Elise is quicker (but not massively quicker than a modified +2) and handles better, but aguably the +2 handling is more entertaining on the road. If you like pose value the +2 gets much more attention and admiration anywhere, probably because of the rarity and because most people don't know what it is (and of course because it's a very beautiful car!)

If you want to do trackdays the +2 is capable, but the bills to keep it doing it can become serious due to the cost of parts for the twincam, which is the main reason I bought an Elise. The Elise is the perfect trackday car in my opinion because it's so easy to drive fast and is comfortable to drive to and from circuits a long way from home. I can also do a full trackday on a single tank of petrol in the Elise with minimal tyre and brake wear, whereas the Elan takes about 3 tankfulls!

Try both.

S..
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PostPost by: peterako » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:49 am

sparkey wrote:Hi +2RC,

If you want an everyday car then I'd say neither would be much good. The +2 will require too much time and money spent on maintenance for everyday use to keep it reliable unless you're doing low mileages. It is however a very practical car with reasonable luggage capacity and plenty of room for tall people to drive.


Agree 100% with sparkey's post....except the above :)

I have my +2 as a daily driver, my 'only' car.

Yes, it does need additional maintenance (check/change oil/grease etc. more often than a modern car) but not a huge amount.

I find, the more I use it the more reliable it becomes.

Having said all that, I do less than 10,000 miles a year in it (usually 7 to 9 thousand).

Regarding space.

Front has loads of space in terms of leg room.

Though I am not particularly tall (6'1") I tend to drive all cars with the seat fully back (long legs?).

The +2 is one of the few that I don't have to put the seat fully back (more because of clutch action than anything else) and it's supremely comfiortable.

The front passenger leg room is magnificent!

Headroom fine too. Better than most modern saloons. (Though, again to deviate, I tilt my seat back a lot).

A word of warning for those with big feet (10 or 11 up....) pedal spacing is tight.

REAR room.....well....small kids only for long runs. (Or circus acts and masochists??).

You will get a small adult in, with short front occupants :)

Overall, the suspension set up is very comfortable. Softer and more compliant than a modern sports car or sporty saloon, but handles just as well (In my opinion).

Here's a (stolen from where I cannot remember....possibly here?) pic of a 6'11" man in the back of a +2 :D
Three-into-will-go.jpg and


In terms of performance.

Straight line my S130 ...about the same as a Range Rover HSE (Sport model with massive engne and loads of horses).

Twisty road (real driving)......almost peerless :)

Best of luck with your choice!!

Peter
I is an Inginear....please excuse my speeling!
'73 +2S 130/5
Opel Zafira, Some bicycles, Wife, Kids, Cats, Dogs....chickens....cluck cluck...goldfish...ducks flew away!
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