Lotus Elan

Plus 2 Project? Do I want to?

PostPost by: rallyman » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:12 pm

Hello all,

I'm very much new here, having just found the site a couple of days ago after stumbling upon a treasure... I think.

I have found a Plus 2 "project" that I believe may be a 1967 or possibly 1968 based upon the cam covers (baring an engine change, etc). - Stupid me, I never thought to look at the body tag!!! - I just realized what it was and went happily from there!!! I figured I'd better find out if I even should think about it prior to bothering the owner much.

I've always liked Lotus cars, having had a thing for Europas when I was 12 or 13...and then watching Emma Peel in her Elan... and although not having been very familiar with a Plus 2 I've always loved the lines and have since become very enamored of them visually after searching this site and the web for further information on the cars.

I haven't had a chance to investigate it too closely, in fact I'm still in the process of contacting the owner to see if he'd be interested in parting with it. The car has been stored outside (yikes!) on a trailer (better I guess) for at least the past 8 years. Luckily I'm in So Calif so that 'should' help a bit as to the weathering, etc. It appears the car has been partly disassembled for paint, or restoration of some type by removing the bumpers, lights, and such. The interior appears to be there, although the dash is removed. At first I thought it would be a nightmare of missing parts, but have since found that the bumpers are in the cockpit and all the exterior trim are in boxes in the trunk (boot). The dash is also in the boot and it appears the instruments, etc are in there also!

The body 'appears' to be solid, or atleast reasonably so, with the only really bad spot appearing on the boot lid. Mechanically the engine bay appears to be all there, with not a lot of damage, just years of storage neglect. Oh, some of the tires are flat, and it appears to have the correct steel wheels with 3 ear knock-ons.

So here's the question, or dilemma as the case may be - and I realize the answers to some of these questions are not set in stone, highly variable, etc, but I'm looking for guidance here.

What is the value of a Plus 2 project like this?

Is this a project a novice can reasonably expect to see through? I do have experience with fiberglass and am mechanically inclined!

Will a resurrection of this old car cost more than it will ever be worth? or will it be 'a wash'?

What kind of things do I need to look for before committing to a purchase - assuming the owner will part with it?

I'm sure there are many other questions I haven't even thought of yet, but please feel free to chime in with anything I should know or consider....

As posts like these are typically useless without pictures, I've attached a couple...

Thanks,

Craig.

Image
Image
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:31 pm

Hi Craig and welcome.

Well from the pics you could be correct around the year of the car. It has twin Webers and the washer bottle looks like an early one.
The 1967 and first part of 1968 had a combined door handle and lock and a handle on the boot.

Early 1968 car http://www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/cla ... arno/82503

1967 car with the wrong wheels http://www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/cla ... arno/66775

Later 1971 car http://www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/cla ... arno/99231

Hope this helps

Jason
50/0951 1968 Wedgewood blue +2, 1990 Mini Cooper RSP
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PostPost by: m750rider » Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:18 am

Craig

Looks like a lot of work. A +2 is generally not worth as much as the Elan convertible, my guess is that to answer your question about will it ever be worth what you put into it? - probably not, but I wouldn't let that stop you. The +2 is not valued as much as the Elan, but I think it's a great looking car.

Cars in the UK are priced crazy - US prices are no where near what they seem to be selling for there. Ignore across the pond sales.

For example, here is a fairly nice, running +2 daily driver that sold for $7000 in CT

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayI ... MEWAX%3AIT

so you be the judge what this one you're looking at is worth.

They are fairly simple cars and a novice with good mechanical skills can handle most anything.

Look at the chassis and make sure it is solid, no rust. Typical problem area is at the front uprights where the upper and lower arms attach. Water sometimes collected there and rusted the frame. Not good as you can imagine as it supports the front suspension. Maybe dry climate southern CA means no issues, but check the frame carefully. Do a complete inventory of the car and find out what is missing. Body parts are probably the most difficult to source.

Mechanical parts are available pretty easily, with some exceptions. Dave Bean Engineering in San Andreas stocks lots of parts and they are extremely helpful. They go out of there way to help you with repairs, solutions, whatever you need. If you are near them, I recommend you stop by first. They are Lotus people and can give you good advice.

I know why you are tempted, a Lotus is one of the most fun cars anywhere to drive. There is nothing like it.

Good luck.

Bob

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PostPost by: theelanman » Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:19 am

Jason1 wrote:1967 car with the wrong wheels http://www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/cla ... arno/66775
Hope this helps

Jason


I know....coz its my car....:)
Ive had about three different style of wheel on it and these are the ones I like the best....:)
I still have the original steel wheels with the chrome built in rim but theyre past their best to say the least and I wouldnt trust them on the car........:(

cheers
G
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PostPost by: rallyman » Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:29 am

Bob, thanks for the insight. I sorta figured the value would not be there, but you never know... I suppose one way to look at it is you're just making payments as you pay out for parts, etc... And thanks for the pointers on the chassis issues... Not sure how long it's been a So Cal car, but hopefully a while... though it is a right hand drive car... something to keep in mind IF the owner is willing to part. From what I can see, it looks like everything is there... maybe some small electrical bits from inside the cockpit, but all the big stuff is there and a BUNCH of little stuff!!!

I guess I have to figure the cost of an engine rebuild, body work/paint, replacement parts, interior work, etc - basically what I 'THINK' the project will cost me - subtract that from a 'typical' sale price on a decent car here in the states, and the balance should be the most I'd want to pay for the project as it sits... Then figure I'll be over budget anyways!!

Again thanks for the tips, and if anyone has anything else I should look out for or take into consideration, let me know please!!

Craig.
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PostPost by: freddy22112211 » Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:25 am

Craig,
I know it doesn't bother some people, but I find that driving a low car with the steering wheel on the wrong side is quite tiring, and subtracts from the fun factor. Unless of course most of your driving is done on roads with little traffic, or you don't overtake very often.
Gordon
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PostPost by: gerrym » Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:59 am

Hi restoring an Elan Plus 2 on the basis on an "economic" project is madness. I.e, you will never recoup the money you put into the project.

On the basis of the economic reasoning you have outlined, the owner would need to give you a large wad of money in oirder to take it off his hands (ie the car is less than worthless).

So why do we do these projects. Pure irrationality. Satisfaction of creating something with some history from a bunch of junk. Plus at the end of the day, fun car to drive.

So on pure economics, better to look around and find a project that has already been restored!

By the way, Graham Lund wrote a book on this and while restoration prices have changed, the basics are still the same.http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lotus-Elan-Rest ... 450&sr=1-3

PS don't fall into the trap of thinkling that if you do all the work yourself that you change beat the economic reality. By the time you factor in all the materials required for prep and restoration, plus upgrading your tools,facilities etc, the restoration will still cost you money.

Regards

Gerry
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PostPost by: freddy22112211 » Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:41 am

Depends how long you keep it. I sold mine for 7.5 times new price.
Gordon
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:57 am

I know....coz its my car....


Nice car G, it is a shame a nice early +2 it only valued at this price :(

I was looking for an E-type for a friend last week and the cheapest I could find on Classiccarsforsale was ?23k? I prefer the early +2 over the Jag and the price difference is crazy. Good luck with the sale.

Jason
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:41 am

Craig
Do have a look at the chassis number as it could be a very early car. The reason I say that is the cam cover. If that's original to the car, there were only a couple of Plus 2s fitted with that early cover. Basically, production of the car started in August 1967, and the 'Mk 2' engine was introduced from (about) July 1967. The Mk 2 engine had the later cam cover with 'lotus' on the front of the cover rather that on both sides. I have chassis # 24, which was the 9th car built on 1st Sep '67, and mine has an early version of the Mk 2 cover.

The big tell-tale that it's an early car is the little quarter lights in the doors. The first few cars had plexiglass quarterlights, as production hadn't been completed for the glass items. I can see that it has the metal front screen surround, which puts it into the first 150 cars or so, and it should have the Alfa tail lights, rather than the normal Plus 2 ones.

The chassis number will look like 50/ 0002 (if it's the second car built!).

The reason I'm going on about this is obviously if it is a very early car, then it has a lot more significance and would be very worthwhile restoring. The guys are right though, it will cost you more to do than it'll be worth, but it will be great fun and enjoyable doing it. And you may just have a very interesting piece of Lotus history!

Mark
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PostPost by: rallyman » Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:07 pm

Elanintheforest wrote:Craig
Do have a look at the chassis number as it could be a very early car.


Mark - this is the body tag where the chassis number would be, correct? I'll check next time I get by to see the car. I am a bit confused as you say your car is chassis #24 but it is the 9th car built? How does that happen? IF you had 50/0002 that would be chassis #2, correct? How do you figure out which number built that would be? Or am I missing something here??
Image

Also, the quarter lights, if I remember my terms correctly would be the wing windows in the door, right? I'll check those next time also. Here's another pic from the rear. I'll have to check for sure on the tail lamps. It does also have the key latch setup in the boot lid. Also in this pic you can just make out the worst of the body damage on top of the boot lid - it shows up as a crack, but looks like bodyfiller lifting off the panel. Additionally there are small holes drilled on the rear quarter panels (wings) that look like some kind of trim piece was fitted there. Ideas?
Image

Thanks much for the continuing information...
Gordon, luckily I live where there's not a lot of traffic, but I do live in So Cal, so there are the freeways... never thought of the RHD issues in a LHD world... thanks for that!!

Gerry - having done Porsche 914s in the past, and trying to do a lot of the work myself, I do understand the (lack of) cost savings via DIY methods... Luckily I have a lot of the tools and facilities needed for something like this, but it still very much helps to have someone knock you in the head to remember that it is never as easy as you'd think, and it always costs MORE than you'd think... by far.

Thanks again all...

Craig.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:53 pm

Hi Craig
Sorry for creating confusion, but we're used to the wierd numbering of Lotus cars on here and forget to explain properly!

My car is chassis number 50/0024, but chronologically, it was the 9th car built. It also, just to add to the confusion, has body number 30!! There is a list of Plus 2 cars made, showing chassis numbers and when each car was completed at the factory. For some reason, it just happened to be the 9th car that was completed. Remember that these cars were all hand made, so it's quite possible that mine happened to be a colour that was required urgently, and got sent to the front of the line ahead of 14 or 15 other cars. But forget the 9th built bit, just look for the 50/0024...which it won't be because mine is!!

The number is on a plate on the left front inner wing....see picture, where it can just bee seen below the top hose. It should have 'LOTUS CHESHUNT' on the top of the plate, and you'll see the 50/xxxx just below that. The plate you're pointing out is one that was fitted to US cars only, and I'm not sure if that has the chassis number on it or not. The paperwork should also show the chassis number.

Believe it or not, the chassis number is also stamped on....the chassis!. Many cars have had their chassis changed over the years, so it's not always there, but being a SoCal car, it could well be. It is on the top chassis rail, again on the left hand side under the hood. Just look down from where my chassis plate is to the chassis, and follow the flange along until you see some numbers...usually right under the servo!
Mark
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:32 pm

Hi A few pics for you.

Very early cars are upto Chassis number 178

External boot lock like yours are up to chassis 928 September 1968

I am happy to be corrected. :lol:

Jason
Attachments
Very early car rear.jpg and
Very early car with Alfa rear lights
Early Car Rear.JPG and
Very nice early car with Jag rear lights
Chassis plate location.JPG and
Where Chassis plate should be
Body number.JPG and
Body number location
50/0951 1968 Wedgewood blue +2, 1990 Mini Cooper RSP
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PostPost by: rallyman » Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:10 pm

Mark and Jason thanks very much for that info! I'll be looking at that when next I check out the car. I 'think', repeat think that the tail lamps are the Alfa units. Again I'll check further. I guess at this point I should begin to pry the owner to see what he will do before I get myself too involved...

Very interesting on the numbering... Mark, is the info available online for the chassis numbers and the build dates? I've looked around, but can't seem to find that. Also, you mention the plate I pointed out was fitted to US cars only. This is a RHD car so would it or could it be a Federal spec car and if not why would it have that plate? Were Federal cars LHD or RHD or either? Boy this is confusing!!! Alas the trials and tribulations of a handbuilt specialty car!!!

Thanks guys!

Craig.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:19 pm

Craig, quite a few RHD Elans have found their way over to the US over the past 40 years. The normal federal Plus 2 was certainly LHD, but again, not wishing to build up too many hopes, this one just could be an interesting car.

I'm sure that one of the guys in the US will chip in with how the chassis / VIN plates normally appear on the federal Plus 2.

The list was available on a US car site, but that has now gone. Quite a few of us downloaded it, and if you PM me your email address I'll send you a copy.

Mark
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