Lotus Elan

Far away Plus 2

PostPost by: peter locke » Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:21 am

I have had a 1973 Lotus Elan +2S 130/5 in my possession in Zimbabwe for about 20 years but, regrettably, it has not been road legal during this period although was drivable until a couple of years ago. The vehicle belonged to a friend who hit a cow one night (which did not do either the car or the cow much good?..). In fact the damage done was not too serious being confined to the driver?s side but destroying or damaging the front wing, roof, windscreen and window on the driver?s side. The bodywork was repaired but the car then sat out in the elements for many years without the windscreen ? during which time it was also vandalized and had various items stolen off it - before it came into my possession. I was eventually able to source some of the damaged and stolen items ? windscreen and door glass, carbs, relays, etc, which enabled the car to be driven around the back roads ? but it was never road legal and the restoration was never completed. It has since stood again (this time under cover!) for a few years and requires re-commissioning again.

The car was imported into Rhodesia in 1974 with 4 000 miles on the clock. (It has now done 36 000 miles.) It is a 1973 car from the chassis number although it is described in its registration documents as a 1974 model. It is an unusual colour being ?Magenta? which I erroneously believed was ?Roman Purple? Lotus code L21, with oatmeal interior.

The vehicle VIN numbers are as follows:-
Chassis No 73081626L
Engine No P/30790

Obtaining Lotus spares in this part of the world is impossible ? unless they are from a common car ?parts bin? ? and this has been one of the main reasons the restoration was never completed.

Andy Graham at Lotus cars kindly advised me that the car was manufactured for the UK market in 1973, being all purple - but is confused as to the specific shade of purple which appears not to be a Lotus colour. However this Plus 2 was a Lotus company car for Ray Prowse (designation unknown) so perhaps the colour was to special order.

I will attempt to upload some photos and would be interested to know if any Forum members can add to the story.
Attachments
2015-12-27-11.50.30.jpg and
Bonnet colour after T Cut
2015-12-27-12.00.37.jpg and
Boot inside and exposed exterior colout
2015-12-27-11.47.45.jpg and
VIN plate
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:50 pm

Hi Peter and welcome.
What a fascinating story, and it is very interesting to hear of your Plus 2 tucked away in Africa. I have no doubt it was Magenta from the factory, especially if it was a company car and the new owner wanted something a little different. Triumph did a few cars in Magenta in the same period, and I guess it's the same colour.

More pics of the car please!

Mark
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z-dolly.jpg and
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:10 pm

Welcome aboard Peter. What a unique colour and story!

Are you planning to commission the car again? If so, you have landed on the right Interweb spot.

Stu
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PostPost by: peter locke » Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:13 am

Very many thanks to you both for the replies and for, at long last, confirming the correct identification of the colour of the car. It is certainly my intention to repaint it the original colour. I am sure this Forum will be of great assistance. In fact it already has from my searches on past topics.

I did not post photos of the whole car because it is a bit of a wreck but will add a couple.........

I still do not have all the parts stolen off the car, in particular four of the dash switches, but have learnt that these are available from R Dent. The other major issue is the servo - which has failed. When I had the car up and running, I ran it without the servo but the brakes felt very unsafe. I have read about using Greenstuff pads and no servo, but there seem to be conflicting views on their effectiveness. Refurbishing the servo here is not an option. Purchasing spares via eBay, etc, is also basically impossible from Zimbabwe.

More recently I acquired a Lotus Eclat 523 which, although an 'unloved' model, is a car which i enjoy in looks and performance - but it certainly lacks the nimbleness of the Elan. This car is on the road.

As far as I know there is only one other Lotus in the country - an Esprit Turbo SE - in the capital, Harare.
Attachments
2015-12-27-11.56.52.jpg and
Signatures by Warnes, Page and Watson,
2015-12-27-11.48.45.jpg and
Engine with replacement carbs (ex-Alfa) but less stolen airbox
elan-20001.jpg and
Down and out Plus 2
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:58 pm

Pretty awesome, Peter. Best of luck. Great project.

Regarding the brakes . . . the idea here is that if you run without the vacuum boost, you have to increase your hydraulic leverage by downsizing the bore of the brake master cylinder. Probably a 0.7" bore will be sufficient. Mine is out and I could measure, but not home right now. Google search this topic on elan.net and you'll find threads discussing this.

This change makes the brakes work, though the pedal pressure required without a vacuum boost will always be higher than with a booster. Some prefer the feel without, and the brakes are definitely more progressive and easier to modulate. Just not light, as we would experience in current production cars which almost universally have vacuum boost (except things like McLarens :wink: )

Regards,

Randy
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PostPost by: mbell » Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:03 pm

The standard brake master is 0.7" with the booster. When running with out the assist people normally move to softer pads (e.g. Green stuff), some people move to smaller master (5/8") some people don't. The smaller master will give a softer pedal with more travel.

When sorting my car I found it had a 0.875" (sticking) master and no booster. I moved to a 5/8" Master and green stuff pads. Only ~20 miles on the car since getting back on the road but seems to have good feel and brakes aren't particularly hard.

Good luck with the car.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:30 pm

And thanks for that update on brake masters and pedal feel. Sounds right.

I will be looking for a reduced-bore master, as my pedal was too heavy for my tastes.
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PostPost by: peter locke » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:20 am

Many thanks Randy and 'mbell'. I think that this would be the sensible option for me - a 5/8" master cylinder and Greenstuff pads. Not sure where I will source the master cylinder in particular but have not researched as yet. One concern I have is that my mechanic, who races (mainly Minis), reckons that in his experience Greenstuff pads are "rubbish"..........

Although my car looks in poor shape, fortunately most of the interior was removed before the car was abandoned in the open, so is in pretty good condition. The dash is a bit water damaged but salvageable. In any case I don't have any other option.

Meanwhile the Eclat let me down on the weekend and my wife had to tow me home much to her and my displeasure....... :x
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:09 am

Thank you Peter for posting about your car. Although of academic interest to you, it would have originally had Dellorto carbs, not the Webers you have now. Most of the Plus 2s built at the same time as yours were the JPS variety, listed as black in the sales books. It was also at around this time that a number of the rarer paint finishes were used on Plus 2s.

If there is any way in which any of us on here can be helpful in obtaining and sending parts to you, do please shout. I understand that the postal service in Zim is sporadic and unreliable, but don't know if the international courier services work better.

Tim
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:15 am

You're in good hands here, Peter. :mrgreen:

Regarding the smaller bore brake master, I believe Rohan has sourced one from Nissan. Google search the forum for these discussions. And then check out any local suppliers for suitable candidate master cylinders.

Neat to hear about the other cars (and colours) built at the time your car was!

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PostPost by: peter locke » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:28 am

Hi Tim,

Thank you for your response. Yes I am aware that the car should have Dellortos and, in fact, have sourced a pair - also ex-Alfa 1750/2000. But for the time being the Webers do the job and have been tuned with the correct jets and emulsion tubes to suit the car. My (older) generation racing acquaintances are more familiar with Webers than Dellortos and parts are more easily (but that's relative!) available here.

I have since looked at a 5/8" master cylinder and Greenstuff pads on eBay. Neither is cheap! If I can make a plan perhaps I could enlist the assistance of yourself or others in the UK. I have had better success in having parts sent to neighbouring Botswana where things seem to work better and their customs are not so avaricious..... The parts then have to come to Zimb, er, 'under cover of darkness'......

Peter
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PostPost by: mbell » Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:25 am

Girling masters, especially with large reservoir, aren't cheap. But there are a lot of other masters available with same fitment arrangement. I fitted a wilwood ($50) one but there are a lot available and even ones from the main manufacturers.

Yours probably went missing as it was a bolt in for another. You might be able to find one that will work at local parts or scrap yard if you have such a thing.

If you order one make sure to get a short as possible push rod, as the standard one is shorter than the ones supplied with most masters. Which can cause the brakes not to release if not exchanged.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: peter locke » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:50 pm

My car has the original large bore brake master cylinder which is why the brakes felt so dodgy without the servo/booster. I see the Wilwood master cylinders can substitute for the Girling original in 5/8" bore but they seem to have a small fluid reservoir which would be fine for a clutch but less ideal for the brakes. I will research further including looking at m/cyls for other applications, like Nissan.

Thanks for the tip on the push rod.

Peter
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PostPost by: mbell » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:29 pm

Wilwood have a version with no reservoir and a large plastic reservoir can be purchased to mount directly to the master. This was how my car was setup when I bought it, so i just bought a new master and moved the reservoir over.

Ideally I'd have a large reservoir girling on it but the current setup works ok and doesn't look too bad.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:39 am

Peter . . . I hope you don't mind . . .

I'm going to start a new thread on the 5/8" tandem brake master cylinder question; hopefully that will clear your thread of some "rabbit chasing" on this topic. :mrgreen:

Regards,

Randy
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