Lotus Elan

Where do I start

PostPost by: Andy241 » Mon May 09, 2011 11:02 pm

Evening all Plus2 enthusiasts out there, where do I start?

I spent all day yesterday digging (yes literally digging) my new project out of the woods, collecting all the bits of engine from the barn floor, and trailering it home. Then very gently getting it off the trailer. Hard when theres no rubber on the wheels and hence only a couple of inches clearance.

This evening I have been looking at the car and the boxes of engine bits and pieces. Clearing the leaves to look inside and checking for living animals. I needed to see if I have enough to make a go of the project. Horay I think its pretty much all there.

The car was apparently running on a standard ford xflow (not lotus) engine 20 years ago. The twinkie was dissembled for a rebuild. It never got any further.

I have unit/chassis number 50/0241, with what I believe to be the original, if somewhat sorry for itself engine L19427. [Having read the site for the last few months I reckon I need to check everything up with the Lotus historian, but I reckon all is in order. [To save me looking up his E Mail anyone want to send me his address?]. I will not strip and sell, this one is going back on the road.

So where do I start. I am going for an 'original' restoration, and all major areas need attention. I am I think competent for most of it, having done a couple of builds of other cars already. But this one (and the wife agrees) needs some outside help to get it right.

The Chassis held out whilst I was dragging it out of the mud, but it looks original, and about to collapse.
Can you still get original parts replacement chassis from Lotus? Or do I remember reading they sold jigs etc on to someone else who is making them now? Old chestnut what is classed as an original chassis?
I dont really like the idea of a Spyder, but see they do 'restored' standard. Would that count as original? Does it really matter?
Havent separated body and chassis yet, so I dont know the true extent of the rot, but does anyone think my 43 year old one could be saved?

The body is solid, with original paint. It has a couple of small repairs (it was in a boat builders wood!)It does however need a professional going over, and new (but original colours) paint job. Who is a good reasonably priced bodyshop here in South East Essex.

I will need rear glass, and rear bumper, but i believe I should be able to find them in due cours. Plus of course the hundreds of other bits and pieces that will keep someone in business.

Who is best for the Engine. Head needs the waterways rebuilding. Looks like they were tracking towards the bores, but havent quite made it . A good ally weld before re machining!. The rest is stock renovation work, although being hopeful that the bores, (which were left open to the atmosphere for many many years)havent pitted to deep to rebore. QED obviously springs to mind but who else here in essex, near chelmsford is up to the job.

Finally Interior. It was open to the elements for probably the last 5 years, so needs total refurb new dash etc etc. Any local takers?

I know it all wont happen at once, and will be bloody expensive. But as I said, where do I start?

Signed

A once sane and wealthy enthusiast
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Mon May 09, 2011 11:19 pm

Okay. You're wealthy. That's good. Means you can surmount all issues by buying parts and paying for labour. At least in the areas you don't want to - or can't - tackle yourself.

If you weren't wealthy, I'd say buy a different car for a better starting point :wink:

Welcome, best of luck, enjoy the forum (it's great support and camaraderie) and most important: post pix!!!!

Randy
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PostPost by: RichC » Tue May 10, 2011 7:47 am

welcome andy,
I hope Bob_Rich catches your post 'cos he's local and has done some research. I don't know where he ended up taking his +2 for bodywork. As you've committed yourself to a big project I guess you'll need to have the patience of a saint . I'm happy to lend a bit o moral support & agree with the sentiment of wanting to keep things original as possible... but there are limits !
I'll pass on giving any advice regarding local professional garage help as I haven't needed any yet, but Susan Miller up near Saxmundham is highly recommended for all your spare parts. She really knows her stuff and is charming courteous and helpful.
Sounds like you have a very early +2 ... +ve earth, dynamo, twin webber head, and if it hasn't been reshelled in the past external bootcatch , no spotlight apertures on front valance , transverse silencer?
pics pics pics!
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue May 10, 2011 9:25 am

Andy, the first thing I?d do is to clean everything up, spray all the metal bits with WD40 and sit back and really appraise what you have.

It sounds like the car has been outside for many years, and the chassis, wishbones and many of the under-bonnet and boot brackets / general metalwork will be shot. The door hinges and mechanisms may also not be the best, and the brake and clutch hydraulics may have taken in water which means they also could be scrap.

The engine, having been stripped and (hopefully) stored inside should be OK, but it?s not the original I?m afraid. 50/0241 originally had engine number LP 10559. Not having matching numbers is not a big deal with Lotus cars though.

An expensive consideration for a plus 2 is all the chromework?the bumpers, front and rear lights, windscreen surround, door frames, roof gutters, filler cap, air-intake chrome etc. I would imagine all that is shot. Same goes for the interior.

You also need to check the shell carefully to check that the fibreglass hasn?t been soaked in water too long?it can go spongy and will need a lot of work if that?s the case.

Before you start on any restoration, I would get someone to have a good look at the car and give you another opinion regarding whether or not it may be worthwhile. Doing a lot of the work yourself, a ?normal? plus 2 restoration with a nice paint job, interior trim and new chassis etc. will get up to ?20,000 and more. A cheque book restoration would be closer to ?50,000. These are real figures !!!

Your car has the potential to need a lot more work and a lot more replacement parts than most plus 2 cars, so you can add a fair bit onto those numbers.

On a more positive note, many Plus 2s have been broken for parts over the past 10 years or so, and parts, even big bits like rolling chassis, complete doors, complete interiors, are fairly easy to get hold of, and pretty cheap.

On a less positive note (for the restoration), you can buy an early Plus 2, up and running and maybe needing some cosmetics, for less than ?10k. ?5k will buy a runner!

It?s a hard one to call without seeing the car, but my gut feeling is to use what?s left of that car to restore another?but get someone close by to check it out. There are a few guys living over your way on here with Plus 2 cars, and I?m sure they?d be very happy to come and have a look.

Mark
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Tue May 10, 2011 12:30 pm

Welcome fellow Essex owner.

Rich and I are not far away or david.g.chapman is around the corner to you if you need a shoulder to cry on. :D

http://www.stockscoachworks.co.uk/lotus.html I hear are good and local if you need bodywork. I have not used them myself and would use http://www.option1sportscars.co.uk/ if money is no object but would expect to pay ?5k to ?6k for a full respray so Stock maybe a cheaper option?

Like Rich says Sue www.mickmillerlotus.com/ is very good or SJ Sportscars www.sjsportscars.co.uk/

QED is the very good for engine or http://www.burtonpower.com/parts-by-fit ... am-8v.html are just up the road in Ilford.


Most parts come up on Ebay if you are not in a rush.
Good Luck

Jason
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PostPost by: kstrutt11 » Tue May 10, 2011 9:50 pm

Andy,

Welcome, I live in chelmsford (Gt Baddow) so if you want to look at anything you are welcome to look at my car (or I could even go to you and give yours the once over). I have also heard good reports on Stock coachworks, but I've always done all my work myself so no first hand experince.

For the engine I have used Thurstons in Ongar who seem very capable, Gosnays are also another option who have a good reputation for older engines.

As to the viability of repair if the engine and body are recoverable, most of the other parts still usable and you are preparred to do much of the work yourself it could be done.

I wouldn't even bother to try to repair the chassis if it is rotten though, start with a new one and even if you cut a few corners on trim or bodywork initially, you will at least have a solid base to build on. If it's been sitting on damp ground you will almost certanly also need new sill members as well, so bear this in mind especially before you try jacking it up.

Kevin
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PostPost by: Andy241 » Tue May 10, 2011 10:31 pm

Thanks everyone.
I will be contacting locals as time permits. Hopefully over the next few months I can get some ideas and see some of your cars to keep my motivation up.
Its good to see some owners really local to South Woodham where the car currently resides.
A little panic seeing Marks observation on the engine. I actually gave the block number. The head number is actually LP10558 so give or take 1 is the original. First of many panics over.
All the other observations are totally pertinent. Lots of work, lots of parts, and lots of money. But hopefully lots of satisfaction getting it back to former glory.
When I get a few hours I will try and get some pics up. No front spotlight appatures, yes transverse silencer etc etc, still checking and documenting rest of the build features.
Sounds like Sue may be the person to talk to to kick off the chassis hunt.
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Wed May 11, 2011 6:05 am

Eamonn Swords t/a Rapier Services is a well known Lotus independant in your part of the world (Great Yealdham) with a specialism in rebuilding twincams.

Never personally needed to use his services but he is one of the few specialists I have personally never heard a complaint about - always been a thorough gentleman/nice guy to me and with many years experience.

Contact him at: [email protected] or 07956 337306

Good Luck - sounds like you have your hands full.

Steve
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Wed May 11, 2011 11:59 am

Hi

A small nugget of history for you; according to the list published by Sports Car World the details of your car (chassis 241) are:

Built = 28 Dec 1967
Engine number = LP10559LBA
Gearbox = 4 Speed

This may be a cheaper option to jump start your project: elan-for-sale-f2/lotus-elan-project-t22668.html


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PostPost by: desprit dan » Wed May 11, 2011 5:30 pm

I would recommend Smiths Engines in Burnt Mills, I have used them for over 30 years, (since I left their employ) they lean towards specialist head repairs (nowdays) welding, skimming, seats, setting up etc, but still have boring and crank grinding facilities, and will build engines to order they're on 01268 726826
As practical as a fur lined toilet.
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PostPost by: david.g.chapman » Wed May 11, 2011 5:57 pm

Hello Andy!

I live in Writtle, so not that far away, and I have had my +2 for over 10 years now. I can say that it is the best buy I ever made, and have really enjoyed the ownership experience.

In all that time I have done about 40000 miles, and have never really broken down! One time I had fuel starvation in Nevenden, but that does not count, because I had a dirty fuel tank at the time and carried a bycycle pump around with me to clear it :wink:

I have been to the Alps in it and hope to go to the Loire valley next year.

So what I am trying to say is that if you keep on top of servicing and maintenance the car will reward you.

I have used most of the contacts that Jason and others have mentioned above for parts and had my gearbox and diff refurbished by Autogear, based near Hanningfield reservoir. I am not sure if they are still around though. but they did an OK job.

Feel free to PM me if you need any help.

Best of Luck

Dave Chapman.
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PostPost by: RichC » Wed May 11, 2011 8:15 pm

Sounds pretty original to me & possibly not as bad as you feared!
you might like to look at the sill reinforcing members though .. i.e. the bit the seatbelts screw through.
Mine were already done so I can't help you here but there's stuff in the archives
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PostPost by: c42 » Wed May 11, 2011 8:26 pm

If your +2 is anything like mine, the first thing I would do is get the paint layers off and let the shell dry - it is a real pain of a job but gives you penty of time to think about the rest of the restoration!

Good Luck
John
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PostPost by: rdssdi » Wed May 11, 2011 10:24 pm

I did an extensive restoration on a 1969 Elan +2 that was probably better suited for the trash pile. It was my first automobile restoration and I was not to be deterred by costs or time spent. There is something to be said for this type of complete restoration. If done properly you will have a virtually new vehicle albeit with a value multiples less than you "invested". If you want to get a restored Lotus where the expenditure is nearing its market value buy one already restored and let someone else take the loss.

The above notwithstanding, I pursued my total restoration with a characteristically tenacious character.

I learned several things. Initially I chose wet hand sanding to remove the layers of paint. The car had one respray over the original. It was mind numbing and took over 100 hours but yielded great results. My assiduous paint removal process was cut short by heart surgery. As at that time I did not have a heated work shop and winter was closing in I chose to have the remaining paint removed by plastic media blasting. A great albeit late choice. Subsequently I used plastic media blasting to remove the paint on a 1968 TVR Vixen. I would use no other method. Be certain you have qualified references as even though it is plastic it can do damage to the body if done improperly.

I replaced the chassis with a Spyder chassis. Spyder was offering discounts for large orders so I put together a group buy with other Lotus restorers here in the U.S.. On reflection I would have gone with the galvanized Lotus chassis as I am now more interested in originality.


I went so far as to identify the internal switch logic and find a rocker switch manufacturer to supply the then unavailable switchgear. The excess quantity of switches from the minimum order was sold to U.S. Lotus parts sellers. The same switches are now offered by UK parts sellers. I believe your early +2 will use the readily available toggle switches. I used Autosparks for the modified (added fuses and minor changes) wiring harness.

I could go on but as I have already bored most of you I will not.

Bob
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PostPost by: bob_rich » Thu May 12, 2011 5:38 pm

Hi Andy

I see RichC mentioned my name and I am local (ish) at South Woodham Ferrers. Firstly wish you luck and hope u enjoy the rebuild.

Most of the suppliers that come to mind first have been mentioned by other posters. I got my +2 body shell reworked by Mark at Stocks Coachworks having first had it soda blasted to remove the old paint--on balance this may not have been the lowest cost method but Mark did a nice job on it. I made up lifting bars that work on the body jacking point PROVIDED that the sill members are 100% OK. Mark was very co-operative in helping me and allowed me to take over the rolling chassis to his workshop and with a couple of mates we lifted the body on and secured it before getting brought back.

For engine rework it depends what you need doing and what you would like 2 do yourself.
there is a specialist welding outfit who advertise and attend Lotus shows and they are based in Dagenham.

If U R like me U will need a lot of advise and I tended to post question as and when a particular task loomed up on the plan. There are a lot of knowledgeable people on this forum

Have fun!!

No doubt we will hear a bit more from U soon!!

regards and best of luck

Bob
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