Lotus Elan

Plus 2 ownership

PostPost by: elanski » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:57 pm

Hello +2 owners.

I am at the beginning of my research into buying an Elan +2 but am unsure if it would make a suitable car for me. Basically I can not afford to run 2 cars so want to sell my current hatchback for the Elan. My question to you chaps then is would you consider it practical to run a plus 2 as an everyday car?

Thanks in advance

Glenn
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PostPost by: andyelan » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:02 pm

Glenn

No, not really !!!

Andy
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:30 pm

Yes and no...

Yes - they can be made to be reliable, comfortable and suitable for regular use - BUT it takes time, mechanical sympathy, not a small amount of cash and a willingness to stick with it to make it right. I did 10k miles last year, much of it domestic style mileage.

No - Its not my only car. My wife drives our other car, a nice safe Modern, which I have had to use when there is a 'problem' with the +2. When there is a 'problem', and there will be, the solution will often require some obscure part or service that your local garage will not be able to supply, meaning that it may be off the road for an indeterminate period. When the modern had a 'problem' as they do as well, I used the +2 as the only car for a few days without problems.

It would help to have a decent garage to keep it dry & work on it, but you can manage without if you are ready to accept damp/water getting in..

I don't envy your decision!

Jeremy
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PostPost by: gerrym » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:48 pm

No

(unless you are rich and have an incredibly good workshop and some other way of getting to work, collecting kids etc)

Regards
Gerry
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:51 pm

An Elan +2 is going to be about 40 years old and they were never famous for reliability. Having said that, I used to use my as daily transport, it really depends on how good your car is and how good a mechanic you are.

Remember that service intervals were much shorter in the 1960s and cars were not designed to run for large mileages without overhauls. My Alfa 166 has done 178k miles and is on the original clutch, it managed 100k with only regular servicing. A +2 would have had new water pumps, donuts, wheel bearings, clutches, sills etc etc.

Mike
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:51 pm

duplicate post sorry
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PostPost by: rocket » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:15 pm

Hi Glenn,when you say everyday what do you mean mileage wise? I use mine for travelling to work but only through summer,and works only a couple of mile.I imagine it could be used in winter but i hate seeing it wet and muddy.


Ian.
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PostPost by: elanski » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:35 pm

rocket wrote:Hi Glenn,when you say everyday what do you mean mileage wise? I use mine for travelling to work but only through summer,and works only a couple of mile.I imagine it could be used in winter but i hate seeing it wet and muddy.

Ian.


Thanks for replies so far. Nice to see such a busy forum.

Ian - Work is 5 miles away, in fact I even cycle in sometimes if the mood takes me. Generally I only do 6 to 7000 miles a year which is why I cant really justify having two cars as I'd be doubling up on tax & insurance for both plus I will need to sell my current car anyway to help fund the new one.

More I read hear and in other places the more I am thinking this might be a non starter (bad choice of words?)

Other options are something more modern like the MX5 but I really wanted something a bit different and interesting.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:04 pm

Glenn,
I own a +2 that has been extremely modified with modern engine and running gear, but it's still a 41 year old car and prone to all the quaint problems that come with classic car ownership. I could use my +2 as an every day car, but I choose not to for a variety of reasons not least of which is that it will deteriorate cosmetically quite quickly with everyday use.

You mention you can't afford to tax and insure 2 cars, the good news is that any car produced before 1973 is road tax exempt and that takes into account most Elan +2's. The other bit of good news is that the insurance for a +2 is in the region of ?130 a year if you insure it as a classic and run another modern car (running another car seems to be in the criteria for the underwriters).

If you decide to buy, please take your time choosing a car and absorb as much knowledge and wisdom as you can from the contributors to these forums before parting with your hard earned cash. The purchase price will most likely not be the only wedge of cash you will be parting with if you buy in haste when the suns out :wink:
Kindest regards

Alan Thomas
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PostPost by: alaric » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:03 pm

Hi Glenn. What sort of budget do you have? My view is that you get what you pay for. These cars cycle from being in excellent condition just after a full restoration, to being a handfull before restoration becomes necessary. I'm not sure what the values are now, but reckon if you pay ~?7k you'll get a car that looks good, and should run ok. For about 12k you'll get one with a fresh paint job and rebuilt engine and suspension. With more mods and a fresh resto they can command more money; a T9 gearbox to replace the original, solid driveshafts, hall effect module to replace the points, uprated brakes etc etc. There's a relatively short list of mods that should improve reliability. The suspension and wheel hubs need regular servicing. So I guess the message is, as said already, buy wisely, watch out what you're paying and what you're getting for the money, and ask on here for help before you buy. If you have the money a spider version will give you more performance - 200bhp, a different chassis, brakes, gearbox, fuel injected engine etc etc. But as the other posts said, they need regular attention as they're old.

Regards.

Sean.
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PostPost by: hartley hare » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:30 pm

andyelan wrote:Glenn

No, not really !!!

Andy

great reply andy.. :lol: .

not good for taking stuff to the dump!..

but a lot more fun

go on get one!! you know it makes sense.... :wink:
Last edited by hartley hare on Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:42 pm

Glenn

No


John :wink:

they're more of a hobby or obsession.....but you can get cheap insurance and No road fund licence!...
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PostPost by: LotusNWT » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:07 am

Hi Glen

I have owned my plus 2 for about 4 years now. It is a well maintained low milage car allways garage kept etc...that having been said I do find that to keep it on the road in good condition it does require considerable regular maintainace. I've had slave cylinder issues, blown head gasket, suspension issues (hit a pot hole). I highly recommend the car but I would not want to rely on it as my only daily driver. I'm sure you have heard the old joke, Lotus stands for Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious, there is a bit of truth to it.
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PostPost by: elanski » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:31 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone. Having spent the last couple of days researching I can see I was being a bit niave, boardering on stupid to think a 40 year old car would be useable as an only car. Spyderfan also made a good point about cosmetic wear by running everyday through rain and muck and potholes on the roads. Especially as I'm being drawn towards the oatmeal interior. Wouldn't want to spend every other day cleaning it.

.....now of course, reading all about them has made me want one even more.....

The solution I think will be to still sell my current car to boost my funds and then split the resulting money (hopefully about ?12k) so I have ?10k for the lotus and ?2k to spend on a second hand but realiable modern car to use for chores/bad weather or as a back up.

Two more questions if you dont mind?

Is ?10k a sensible figure to go shopping with? I've seen some cars at classic cars dealers marked up for double this but also some real rubbish for 5 or 6k going on ebay. I'm hoping 10k will get me a reasonable car with scope to improve it as money allows.

What is the general opinion on originality? I like the idea of keeping it as original as possible but I also see the sense in the Spider chasis and more modern engine, gearbox etc. Are the modified cars less likely to maintain their value in the future than the more original ones do you think?
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PostPost by: jono » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:58 pm

Glenn,

I did much soul searching over the question of mods and originality and concluded, having seriously considered Zetec (and almost having done it) that it must have a Lotus TC engine.

A Zetec would be a nice car but it would no longer be a Lotus (all IMHO of course :mrgreen: ). The Lotus TC is the heart, soul and character of the car, for all it's faults. In fact it's the 'faults' that make the car so special in a world of homogenous blandness.

I set upon building a car which looks in period (save, perhaps for the Minilites) but benefits from solid driveshafts, 3D mappable distributorless ignition, height adjustable suspension, poly bushes and a few other sensible (and reversible) mods.

Ultimately you must decide what's right for you but that of course is half the fun.

10k should buy you a very nice Plus 2 by the way.

Now go for it!

Jon
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