Lotus Elan

New to Elans but not to Loti...

PostPost by: Hal » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:07 pm

Hi! I'm Hal, based in France.

I'm seriously looking for an Elan +2, which will be my first sortie into the Chapman era Lotus cars.

I've had several Caterhams, including one with a Lotus Twincam engine and bullet Corsair box, but the model I'm most familiar with is the S1 Elise.

I'm probably going to buy a 1969 car, which has Stromberg carbs.

From period revues, it seems the Strombergs, driven sensibly, could return "over 50 mpg"

Can anyone confirm this, as I find it rather incredible, though I recall Imp engined Davrians doing around 50 mpg?

For comparison, a S1 Elise with 120bhp will easily do 50 mpg.

I like the slimline seats on the early +2, when did they change to the more armchair like later version?

Any points I should look out for when I check the car? It's been sitting dry stored for some time, but apparently runs.
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PostPost by: cal44 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:06 pm

Welcome Hal,

I can't answer your question about the Stromberg versions. I put in petrol and drive it, when it needs more I put in more.

What to look for.........that is an open question. My main focus would be frame and suspension rot. Just keep in mind the springs on any car start dying after ten years. So if the spring are original then plan on re-placing them and all suspension rubber.

A big deal with me is the nylon (for lack of a better word) gas line from the tank to the engine bay. I hate em' and need to change mine out to metal.

You are lucky you live close to Lotus Land (U.K) as for parts.

Plus 2's are neat driving cars. Leg room and head room.

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PostPost by: Hal » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:55 pm

Thanks, Mike. I'm undecided whether to buy a project early car which is complete and 'running', as a rolling rebuild if such a thing exists, or to wait and try and find one with either a new galvanised Lotus chassis, or a Spyder chassis.

I think the Zetec engines are a bit risky in France, where everything has to be 'homologated' or as it was when it was first produced, which rules out engine changes,

I do want the Elan to be reasonably fuel efficient though....I have an Elise with over 200 bhp which will give better than 45 mpg, so why shouldn't the Elan?

OK, the Elise is 150kg lighter, and has fuel injection...that'd be one reason! :idea:

I was surprised to read that they could do 50mpg though.
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:46 am

I like the slimline seats on the early +2, when did they change to the more armchair like later version?


Hal,

The larger seats were introduced with the Plus 2 'S' model in March 1969. Unfortunately the introduction of the Stromberg carburettors roughly coincided with the S model, actually slightly before, so you may be limiting your market a bit if you want Strombergs and early seats! No reason why you can't swap the seats of course...

Good luck with the search

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PostPost by: Tonyw » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:05 pm

Hal,

Not sure that 50mpg is ever going to be possible.....if you search through the arcives (top right) you may see people reporting up to 35mpg but for my money if you can afford to buy and run a lotus Elan the cost of petrol is the least of your probems. Get one and enjoy it.

Tonyw
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PostPost by: jono » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:29 pm

An excellent choice of derivative Hal!

...just be a bit careful about calling the lowly +2 and 'Elan' - some folk on here get almost as upset about that as calling its smaller sibling a 'baby' :wink:

50mpg sounds a bit fanciful - the venerable Twinc is an ancient old lump compared to a 'K' running multi valves and EFI and should be accepted for what it is - a period gem.

Zetec conversions are loved by some and, whilst nice in their own right, are too far removed from the original car to appeal to me personally even though I did once consider it.

Jon
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PostPost by: Hal » Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:59 pm

I'll see if I can post the article. It said that the Weber engined +2S was "much less fuel economic than the earlier Stromberg engined car" which is what surprised me, as in my experience Twinks are normally thirsty....but my experience is with Weber and DellOrto engines only.

Hence my surprise! The car I'm (probably) buying is a Stromberg engined +2 with the early slimline 1969 seats, so it's ideal for my taste.

The Elises have very spartan seats and I'm used to them. I have a S1 111S which has slightly more padding than the basic S1, but it's still less than the early +2 I'd say.

Anyway, thanks to this forum I now know exactly what to look for on the chassis, tower ears, base of front towers, cracking round diff brackets and engine mounts on chassis.

I've established a price range for proper professional body jobs including paint of between ?5000 and ?9000, and I can either repair the chassis for 'originality' or upgrade to Lotus zinc, or a Spyder modded chassis allowing the fitment of a modern 5 speed box and or Zetec engine, double wishbone rear end etc......

I love the body shape and practicality of the car, and as I'm used to the 'effortless performance' (read 'manic scrabbling and immense noise and fun') of the 200+ bhp Elise, I could be persuaded to forgo 'originality' and convert to Zetec power, Spyder chassis and proper CV joints on the back.

It MAY just be possible to do this legally in France but this does need further investigation.

My days of changing rubber donuts by the roadside are long gone.....I've done it plenty of times on a Davrian..

The handy thing is, I'm a GRP repair specialist and can do very good paintwork, so that's a fair bit off the final total, and makes buying a restorable car well worthwhile.

Here's one I painted recently. The interior is far better than on an original Elise, we reupholstered using top quality
hide.

Image

Image

Image

This 1998 car had been fantastically poorly 'repaired' when I bought it. It took a lot of re-laminating and re-shaping of the surface specially the front right corner.....
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PostPost by: RichC » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:22 pm

nice job Hal.
great to hear you've played with Davrians .. earlier imp based one or later ?
I went up to mid wales (Lampeter was it? )as a teenager in late 70's to suss them out. Eventually I opted for a clan crusader to drop my road race 998 into .. just couldn't find the right davrian for the (student) money .
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PostPost by: Hal » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:44 pm

Hi Rich, I had the same experience, then bought a ratty Mk 4 in January 1980 and have since rebuilt it several times. Most recent was in 2001 for the 2002 Maxi Mille series in France.

It performed brilliantly until oil mist from the tired front crank scroll found its way onto the left rear tyre, after which it developed a habit of spinning on right handers. As I was usually near the front, this meant most of the pack being obliged to take evasive action, and I retired the car from the series.

Since 2002 it's done very little, and I may well sell it now. I also have a nice and very lightweight road registered Mk 7 with full RAC passport, which won a Scottish Sprint/hillclimb series. It needs full rebuild, but as it's over 100kg lighter than the 600 kg (wet) Mk 4, is my favourite 'keeper'.

The engine is a full race 1040 Imp on twin 40s, with Jack Knight straight dogbox with LSD. I have a couple of other race engines in various states of completion, and a 5 speed JK box....just sold another JK 4 speeder.

1970 Davrian Mk 4

Image

Image

1975 Davrian Mk 7

Image

and as it is now...

Image
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PostPost by: RichC » Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:45 pm

Very nice Hal. Good to see the pics . Brings back memories of engine & transmission changes done in a few hours with little more than a trolley jack and a piece of wood !
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PostPost by: kstrutt11 » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:27 pm

Driven sensibly my 5 speed Plus 2 on delortos can do over 40mpg, so I would imagine 50mpg is just about achievable.
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PostPost by: Hal » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:31 pm

Sadly I had to let the 1969 +2 go, as the vendor had to sell it by end of play Sunday last, and I couldn't be there till the next day.

It's been bought by someone else.

I'll keep an eye out for one, but I'll probably have a 220bhp Caterham SV for sale soon in the UK, so maybe I'll just get a nice runner instead of a restoration project, of which I have several lined up here to finish!
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PostPost by: vernon.taylor » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:19 pm

Salut Hal

Indeed, very nice job on the Elise - where are you in France ?

As a response, rather than answer, to your original question my +2 has Webers and I haven't dared try to calculate what it does to the gallon! I've bought a fancy electronic ignition and a 5-speed 'box in the hope of getting more reasonable consumption - well, it would be a plus.

@+

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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:07 am

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:26 am

Hal,
Welcome. Are you a member of Club Lotus France?
http://www.club-lotus.fr/

Several of them are on this board but I'm not sure if they read the +2 section! They will probably have knowledge of any cars on the market in France.
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