Lotus Elan

Photos and first impressions of my 'new' Plus 2

PostPost by: Steve S2 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:20 pm

Hi,

You may have seen from other threads that I've been looking for and have bought a Plus 2. I collected it from Paul Matty's on Friday afternoon and am already quite smitten. It's a 1972 Plus 2 S130 with a shade under 41,000 on the clock in quite immaculate condition. It's been homed in Germany for the past 16 years and has done under 1,000 miles since an engine rebuild. I'm reliably informed by those far more knowledgeable than I that all of the external trim is original and that all the interior dials and trim are original too. The original clock and external temperature gauges still work!

The car has been resprayed at some point, prior to the previous owner buying it in 1995. The paint has not cracked anywhere, so the car looks great. The interior is in great shape and the Webasto sunroof works well and doesn't leak.

My previous Lotus was an S2 Elise that I owned from new for 9 years. During the course of its lifetime, I fitted numerous modifications including Nitron suspension and a Honda 2 litre VTEC engine conversion. Sadly it came to an untimely end last year when an idiot in a Range Rover hit me at 50mph whilst I was stationary. That was my Lotus benchmark before the Plus 2.

The Plus 2 feels very different and yet very similar in some ways. The steering is the most obvious difference. It doesn't have quite the tactile feedback or the immediacy of the Elise, but it all sharpens up and becomes laser focussed once you start to push on a bit. It's like the car wants to be driven fast, as it all seems to sharpen up and become wonderfully focussed and fluid. I haven't really pushed the car as I'm effectively having to run in the engine. However, I can just tell that when I get the chance to open the taps it's going got be a delightful thing.

The brakes are very "Lotus" because they're full of feel and beautifully proportionate. They're not horribly over-servoed like so many modern cars so the initial bite isn't all that hard (and all the better for it) but they bite harder in proportion to the the pressure applied to the middle pedal. Wonderful! If only Audi's engineers would take the time to drive a Lotus to understand how much pleasure a well-weighted middle pedal can provide to the driver. I'd take my Elan over a modern A4 on brake feel alone!

The gearchange is brilliant in the Plus 2. Two clicks between gears and the next ratio is selected. Rifle-bolt clich?s abound! It shames the gear selection in my Elise, with either of its Rover and Honda transmissions. The benefit of not having a cable-operated linkage in the Plus 2, I suppose. However, I can see the short gearing becoming tiresome on longer runs. A massive surprise, though, is how incredibly tractable the engine is. I'm staggered that it'll pootle along in 3rd gear quite happily. Is it really only a 1600?!?!

I drove the car home late on Friday night and, joy of joys, the headlights aren't crap! Memories of my Dad's Triumph Stag from the same year were of lots of squinting a near misses in the dark so I was overjoyed to find that the Elan is quite driveable at night. Would Halogen bulbs improve things further?

Extra joy - the boot space is fabulous and the rear space is more than adequate for my ~4 year old daughter. We had a wonderful day out at Shelsley Walsh today, with all of our goodies and a picnic in the boot whilst daughter was quite comfortable in the rear seats. The car is far more practical and useful than I could have hoped.

So, I'm two days in and deeply smitten. Yes, I'm sure the car will try my patience soon enough but I'm so very happy that I've finally scratched a ~20-year old itch and bought a Plus 2. It's a brilliant car and surely far ahead of its time. My father-in-law has an MG from the same era and the Lotus is light years ahead in almost every respect.

Cheers

Steve
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PostPost by: ardee_selby » Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:18 am

Steve,

Really nice example, and good to hear you're so pleased with it. Long may it last.

Interesting reading your comparison of benchmarks.

But choose the right roads and even the gearing won't be an issue :wink:

Cheers - Richard
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:35 am

Congratulations Steve, I saw the car at Paul Matty's a couple of times, It's in lovely condition.

Enjoy it.

Cheers

Robbie
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:29 am

The Elan.Net spies are everywhere! I hope you enjoyed the day out at Shelsley yesterday. Lovely car. I particularly like the chromed steel wheels, with the chrome in really good condition.

A car that will make you feel good every time you drive it.

Jeremy
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PostPost by: peterako » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:38 am

Hi Steve,

I've had my +2 over 6 years and 30,000 (odd) miles.....

And I STILL feel the same way as you descibed in your great first impressions summary!

On:

"Would Halogen bulbs improve things further?"

Yes!

And I'd definitely recommend you put them in with relays to avoid finding out the hard way about the wonderful 'themal circuits' in the Elan's light circuits :)

Happy driving!

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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PostPost by: Steve S2 » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:27 am

JJDraper wrote:The Elan.Net spies are everywhere! I hope you enjoyed the day out at Shelsley yesterday. Lovely car. I particularly like the chromed steel wheels, with the chrome in really good condition.

A car that will make you feel good every time you drive it.

Jeremy


Shelsley was excellent, wasn't it! It's the first time I've been in over 20 years and had a great time.

You're right about driving the Elan. It just makes me smile :)
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:15 pm

Yes, Shelsley was a lovely day out, the sun making a welcome appearance. Lots for Lotus spotters including an immaculate & fast Elite. My +2 (in the background of my pic) had a good day out as well, 80 miles each way. Worth it for the pork scratchings alone....

Pity the poor bloke in the Morgan who went for a detour into the giant ferns and Rhubarb in front of us.

Jeremy
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PostPost by: Didi » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:38 am

It is a beautiful car, Steve.
Congrats!
--------------Greetz, Didier -------------The destination is irrelevant, when the journey is in a Lotus!
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