Lotus Elan

Reality check on Elan +2 purchase

PostPost by: Dave W » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:17 pm

About a year ago decided to buy a classic, to take to cAr shows, local car meets etc. Chose a 1988 911 at the time , that had a full body restore, but unfortunately after purchase found it had a couple of broken head studs and therefore anywhere between ?3-8k engine rebuild costs.

Did nothing for 8 months and luckily prices have risen enough they I dint take too much of a hit to move car on, being honest of work needing doing.

Now this should have been enough to put most people off, but I still would like a decent classic for say 2-3k miles a year.

Have always admired the Lotus Elan +2 cars. So looking for some honest advice. In the next month could be looking for next car purchase. I'm after a clean, restored car that will need minimal work for next couple of years.

So question is, how much do I need to spend and am I being realistic in terms of reliability and amount of work needed to keep such a car ? I may be wrong but I'm assuming the last of the range would offer the best option for me ?

Cheers Dave
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:42 pm

Hello,
I think that to meet your requirements of low maintenance efforts and reliability you could not do bettter than check out Paul Matty in Bromsgrove who is in your patch anyway. you may have to wait a while until he has in stock something you like. Certainly it is the place to start looking to see what you can buy for your money.
He seems to have a good reputation and backs up what he says.
Eric in Burnley
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PostPost by: Dave W » Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:02 am

Thanks Eric. Will keep an eye on his stock.
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:25 am

Dave
I admire your choice,there are plenty of options open to you,cars for sale on here,Fleabay,auctions etc. and if you have one in your sights you only have to come back on here for help checking it out...

John :wink:
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PostPost by: Dave W » Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:37 am

Thanks John.

I'm trawling through the great info on this forum and it appears a +2S 130/5 would be a nice car to go for.

Trying to get my head around Spyder upgrades and whether these are desirable and how they effect prices long term. Is originality preferable for future values ?
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:01 am

The 130s/5 has nice comfy seats and the 5 speed gearbox,I consider both these essential if you're going to use it for motorways...as for originality and prices...it's horses for courses...if you want an investment,property is no too bad at the moment,if you buy wisely you shouldn't lose...

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:47 am

I would also recommend Paul Matty if you don't know the Elans too well. You will have to pay around a 10% premium for buying from a dealer, bu Paul stands by his cars, and you get what you pay for.

As you've already noted with prices, most classics have risen in the past couple of years. I believe that now, if you pay less than ?10k for a Plus 2, you may get one with an MOT, but you are likely to spend quite a while getting it right. ?15k should get you a good running car with no major faults, and maybe a few cosmetic issues (but not requiring a re-paint), and ?20k and up will buy you perfection.

There are many forms of Syder conversion, from just having a Spyder chassis, or a Spyder chassis with suspension 'upgrades', to a full Spyder car with Zetec engine.

The last option provides a considerable performance upgrade, and you will have to pay a lot for a 'new' one (?35k plus). But the prices of those seem to drop, and quite considerably when you see the very low mileage that is usually put on them. How prices of those will hold up when they get to 15, 20 and 30 years old is obviously unknown, but I would imagine that an original car will hold up better.

Just having a Spyder chassis is generally seen as a good thing with the Plus 2, and doesn't make any difference to values. If the car is 'upgraded' with Spyder suspension, I don't know what difference that makes.

The 130 5 speed was the ultimate development of the Plus 2, but many (including me) prefer the stripped-back simplicity of the early (pre-1970) cars. Paul Matty's favorite Plus 2 is the 130/4 speed. He believes that the cars aren't suited to the motorway anyway, so why not have the best gearbox in the form of the old 2000E Ford box.

Lots of choices....good hunting.

Mark
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PostPost by: Dave W » Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:52 pm

Thanks for such detailed responses.... Helps greatly :)
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PostPost by: roblotus79 » Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:04 pm

50/2180 1969 Elan Plus 2
1990 Esprit Turbo SE
1986 Carrera 3.2
1982 Turbo Esprit - SOLD
1970 Europa S2 - SOLD
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PostPost by: Dave W » Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:32 am

Looks nice. Just a couple of weeks too soon for me, as need to make space in the garage.

Bookmarked that thread though, so thanks for that :)
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:05 pm

The Spyder converted cars are not everyone's cup of tea due to the non originality factor. Spyder's argument for making the conversion used to be that you could take an unloved car that was unlikely to ever be restored and turn it into a viable daily driver with classic looks and modern underpinnings. Coupled with zero road tax, low insurance 35 - 40 mpg and a big performance increase it sort of used to make sense.

10 - 15 years ago complete Elan +2 donor cars could be picked up for as little as ?2000 and once the non required parts were split from the car and sold off you virtually got the car for free or even made a profit before paying for the conversion.

Fast forward 15 years and there are no such things as unloved Elan +2's, and Mark's price range above is a quite sound deduction of current prices.

I know of three fully Spyder converted Elan +2's that are for sale, prices varying from ?18,500 to ?23,500, generally the specification is high for converted cars with things like heated front screens and Bi xenon headlamps and full leather, the cost difference between the 3 cars is due to paintwork and interiors varying from 7 out of 10 to 9.5 out of 10, the mechanicals will be similar with all cars and generally robust and cheap to maintain.
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: Dave W » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:17 pm

Thanks Alan.

I can see the sense for Spyder cars, but seeing as mine would be a 3rd car , having the occasional Sunday drive and car meet, I personally wouldn't need all the modern bits.

Gut feel is to go original as possible, albeit with a a Spyder chassis if that is sensible.

Dave
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PostPost by: KevJ+2 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:44 pm

Dave, just seen this but seems very VERY low price mmm?
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LOTUS-ELAN-2- ... 1c3e94d7e7
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:22 pm

Welcome Dave.

Price ranges are still somewhat lower in North America, but have gone up in the last two years. The one bit of consistent advice though; buy the best example you can afford and you will come out ahead. Suggest getting someone familiar with the Plus 2 to look it over with you.

My car is the earlier style that Mark references. I also prefer the simplicity of the earlier interior, but the issue for getting a clean one is the centre console is NLA, textured vinyl difficult to source. The later more plush interior is probably easier to restore to stock appearance. The wiring in the early cars is somewhat simpler; not a big on-going issue for me as I entirely rewired the car during restoration. If I were dealing with a later Plus 2 130/5 I would still completely rationalize the wiring to closer to modern practice anyway.

In terms of reliability, once sorted the Plus 2 can be great. The thing I found was getting my car to fully sorted seemed to take about a year and a half of use after complete restoration. I have since taken several long trips (1,200 to over 5,000 miles round trip) to various car events with no significant issues. Pretty sure even the best examples will require some sorting; lots of help here though.

The Plus 2 makes a terrific 'Two for the Road' long distance vintage touring car with lots of luggage space and interior room. The weak points / improvements I can think of include interior getting a bit hot (I have a NOS sunroof that works great), gets a bit loud (I use ear plugs on occasion), and the chassis can handle more power than stock (said like this is a bad thing, but hence the Zetec :)). Getting a modern radio installed is a bit difficult due to the dash depth, but there are some solutions available. Ground clearance and being lower than other traffic needs a bit of awareness in use, but not a big deal.

I really like my aftermarket five speed; if you are going to have to use the car on significant motorway runs I would recommend getting the Lotus five speed, or at least try one out. With the taller diff and five speed my car loafs along at 3500 rpm at about 80 mph. Mark is correct that the four speed is very nice, but for my use the trade off is well worth it. We didn't really get the five speed model here in any quantity, so the conversion route was the only option.

Routine required maintenance is a bit more expensive than say a Triumph or MG, but nothing too onerous. Thinking here of valve clearance adjustments as an example. Clutch is easiest done by removing engine and transmission. Really the other stuff like brakes, suspension, carbs, ignition, etc. are the same as any British classic, although access can be a challenge. The refreshed body work on my car has held up reasonably well, but understand that some cracking and chipping of the fibreglass with use is part of the drill. My car has Spyder supplied frame and suspension. Very happy with how that all went together, and some repair jobs are a lot easier.

Thinking in terms of your experience with the '80's Porsche vs. the Plus 2. Keep in mind the Plus 2 is truly a product of the Sixties. It is more raw and crude than any '80's sports car, but it is also more visceral and immediate. The design and execution are way simpler, routine needs more frequent. I find the Plus 2 a lovely classic as the basic design is so incredible, and the short comings in sixties quality control can largely be overcome with sorting. My '80's classic is a BMW M6, which is an interesting contrast; twice as good is some ways (power, comfort, dignity) and half the car in others (weight, response, agility). In terms of hassles, objective performance, and long distance comfort the M6 leaves the Plus 2 in the dust. For interesting conversations at every gas stop, small marque car meets (with occasional zipping around a track), and smiles per mile I think the Plus 2 comes out on top.

HTH Really great cars and a ton of fun. Budget some time and resources to get stuff sorted and you will love it.

Stu
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PostPost by: Dave W » Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:48 pm

KevJ+2 wrote:Dave, just seen this but seems very VERY low price mmm?
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LOTUS-ELAN-2- ... 1c3e94d7e7
Kev


Thought it was a scam Ad, but tel number is for a landline. Ad no longer present though.....hmmm :?
Last edited by Dave W on Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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