Lotus Elan

USA Plus 2

PostPost by: pandroid1 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:05 pm

Hi
I'm new to the forums. Have been looking around for a Plus 2 for a while to replace my Triumph GT6 but have been put off by the RHD problem - (expat living in Europe) - I know a lot of people say it doesn't matter, but after 6 years where I drove around in my RHD Citroen after moving and having to edge my wife/kids out into the oncoming traffic to see whether it was safe to overtake, I'd prefer a LHD. Now I've finally spotted one recently that's a USA import, registered in 1971, but was wondering whether the Plus 2 suffered the same problems with loss of power due to emission controls that many other USA cars (and British imports) did at that time. Can't seem to find any details anywhere.
Hope someone can shed some light on the problem.
Cheers
Nick
Current Classics: '67Citroen DS 21 Pallas; '69 Triumph GT6 Mk II
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:51 pm

Hello and welcome Nick,
I'd have to say yes and no in answer to your question! Yes the Elan engine suffered some loss of power, but not much. Not nearly as much as a lot of British sports cars. (think MGB). I've driven a few +2 models and maybe a dozen Elans in my life and some were very "poppy" with lots of power, others, like my little S1 with Webers, not so much. I think the main factor is the state of tune, meaning compression, carb condition, and cam/valve adjustment. My '69 Plus 2 with two Strombergs runs very well, I would call it powerful. On a 1 to 100 scale, I'd give it around an 85. It's stock and has no appreciable difference to a decent running Weber when it comes to winding it out and throwing it around corners.
It's not really a "problem" and I'd just go for it and buy the +2 if you like it's performance.

Have fun, Eric
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PostPost by: cal44 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:07 pm

Nick,

Doesn't it all depend on what the rules are in country you are in as to smog? If there are no smog laws for old cars then have at it. See if it is peppy enough for you. Wasn't the only smog junk the cross over pipes and crappy timing on Federal cars?

Mike
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:33 pm

Hi Mike,
You're right, it depends on where you are as to what "smog" laws apply, especially on old cars.
The crossovers, timing and Strombergs are what helped Lotus achieve the emissions standards here in the USA, it began with the 1968 model year. A few years later a cleaner reading was needed when it came to measuring "smog" at the tailpipe. I'm sure some of the guys on here can explain what they were measuring.
I remember the carbs changing and the belt driven "smog" pumps being a part of the British car scene here in the US. Of course, our twin cam Lotus engine, being of far superior performance, never needed a smog pump because they luckily never tested used engines. (smoke? what smoke?)
Eric
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:24 am

Mike, was maybe the evaporative loss fuel system part of the NA smog rules? Nick, I just posted a quick description of this system on the thread below. You should be able to tell if the car you are looking at has this feature by looking in the boot for a large cylindrical tank attached to the back of the fuel tank. Not sure that it caused any loss of power, but some added complication if you have to have it in your country still?

Nick, the cross pipes across the top of the engine, some details of the Stromberg's internally (sorry not sure on this, one of the other guys will know), and the rather odd vacuum retard distributor that came on the Federal cars are commonly stripped off over here by now; hopefully not a concern for you in your country. If there was any real performance loss in the Federal design I think you can get it back easily enough if your government will allow tuning with replacement parts. Is the car you are considering located in the same country you are living in and roadworthy / licensed now?

Welcome to the forum and hope it works for you. They are great little cars.
Stu
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PostPost by: cal44 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:02 pm

Stu,
You are right. The black canister in the trunk above the gas tank, thanks.

Mike
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PostPost by: bengalcharlie » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:37 pm

hi

as already posted it is easy to convert a fedreral stromberg to euro specs and that is what I did many years ago. took off all the emission stuff off the carbs, kept the distributor housing but changed the inside to match the euro specs as specified in miles wilkins book and replaced the cast iron exhaust to a tubular set up. I can not think of any other items that would enhance the performance without spending lots of money. I am very happy with the performance although I think it is pretty standard. I have a friend nearby with a weber carb car and performance wise both cars are very similar as we compared the two together.
niceties to have are: nippon starter motor, small nippon alternator, kill switch to name a few.
I also converted the car from LHD to RHD and that is straightforward. new wooden dash, change the steering colum bracket for a RHD and RHD steering rack. I also spread out the pedals by combining the pedals of a LHD and a RHD pedal box if I recall correctly and that means that I can drive the car with any type of shoe.
Good luck with finding a plus two, a car I still love to bits and it is the last car I would ever sell. not the easiest car to get in and out of but once you are in I can drive it for hours and hours and still feel fresh when getting out ( I have the early type seats and find these fantastic, very comfortable and they look the best in my opinion)
The plus two is still very inexpensive to buy so unless you want a restauration project buy the best you can because restauring cost much more but might be more satisfying ( depends on you own ideas) so good luck

Robin
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:01 am

Hi Nick, are you still with us?
Eric
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PostPost by: pandroid1 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:55 am

Hi guys
Thanks very much for the in depth replies :D
Sound like the USA spec engine wouldn't be a problem.

All I have to worry about now is all the other quirks that I understand are involved in owning a Lotus :lol:


I'll provide an update when I've seen the car. Hopefully it'll be reasonably OK.

Nick
Current Classics: '67Citroen DS 21 Pallas; '69 Triumph GT6 Mk II
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PostPost by: pandroid1 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:18 pm

After getting a bit more info from the seller, it turns out that the car was restored (chassis, clutch, suspension, non-webasto sunroof) in the beginning of the 90s when it was imported from the USA but not driven after this, due to registration taxes being too high - then stored in a dry heated garage. From what I've read here and elsewhere on the net, this is the kind of car you should walk away from, even though it looks good in the pictures, especially as the guy wants approx ?11,000 for it. Lack of use affects most classics in a negative way, and as I understand it Lotus are particularly sensitive. Or am I being too cautious?

Nick
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PostPost by: bengalcharlie » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:52 pm

hi Nick

cars that have not been used for a long period of time generally suffer brake problems ( sticky or leaky brake pistons due to corrosion unless you use DOT5 brake fluid which is silicone fluid) and increase the changes of having engine/cooling problems. Having said that it is difficult to guide you without having seen/driven this particular car but considering the relatively high asking price and the increased risk you take by buying a car that sat for ages I would be looking elsewhere.
cheers
robin
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PostPost by: cal44 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:03 pm

Nick,

pictures............where are the pictures?

Mike
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PostPost by: pandroid1 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:18 pm

Here you go Mike - :)

Pictures are over 18 months old - maybe a bad sign


Nick
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PostPost by: collins_dan » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:48 pm

I think you are maybe being overly cautious. The big expenses on these cars are the paint work and replacing the chassis, both of which have been done. The brakes are easy. The engine is easy enough to check with compression and leak down test. If you don't want to travel to check out the car, maybe it is close enough for someone on the forum or through a regional lotus club to check for you. Someone did that for me here in the US. The pictures look like it has been well restored. Good Luck. Dan
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