Lotus Elan

Possible new owner - could do with some help please!

PostPost by: danbuoy1 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:26 am

Thanks Alan and Jim, it gives me a better idea, not looking to make money out of it but to pay fair price so not to feel hard done - I can DIY which is free, the body sounds expensive tho - is it because fibreglass more difficult?

It would be for the fun of it and seeing it on the road again, hobbies inevitably cost, its the space that's daunting (2 Triumphs), and TBH the mess under the bonnet and potential of seized/corroded engine etc. Also factoring in chassis + sills.....

Cheers - I'll let you know how I get on

Paul
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PostPost by: alanr » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:52 am

Re-Bodywork
Yes because it is fibreglass.
You can no doubt get a quick repsray/blowover for £3-£4k but the secret and longevity of the job is how the stress cracks and crazing are dealt with.
This company are considered to be one of the best in the business. Have a read of their procedure which will give you an idea why it is expensive dealing with fibreglass bodywork and a totally different ball game to metal bodied cars.
https://www.option1sportscars.co.uk/restoration/

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PostPost by: pptom » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:25 pm

The sills are bolt in, they will be corroded, but in reality it's a couple of hundred quid and a few hours of your time. Not a hugely technical job, so don't worry about that.
I restored my +2 from a similar condition last year. I did everything myself with the exception of front seat upholstery. I certainly didn't get anywhere near the costs mentioned in this thread. Bodywork isn't expensive, resin and mat are only a few pounds, the cost is in the labour. I easily had 100 hours in my body, probably more like 200.
Brought myself a decent spray gun, upgraded my compressor and painted it myself.
This was the reason I got the car, I wanted a project and to learn new skills
The paint job isn't concourse, but I'm certainly not embarrassed and 18 months on still looks as good.
I think my car would sell for a little more than its cost, but it has been a marathon. Took me a year of pretty much every evening and weekend. At 80k miles every single part was worn out, but I have a well sorted car front to back, have enjoyed most of it and have learnt many new skills, but gone a bit more bald.
If you want a project then go for it
If you just want to drive one with the odd but of tinkering then I'd get one already on the road.
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PostPost by: danbuoy1 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:01 pm

Hi Alan, thanks for info - their site and work does look good, quite informative. I've (limited) experience on GRP boats, but the finish doesn't get the scrutiny of enthusiasts.

TBH the bodywork is giving me second thoughts, sounds like you replace rust and mig with drying cabinets and experience, I like to DIY myself inc bodywork but sounds like its more of a specialist job and expensive from the outset, let alone the refurb on chassis and engine.

As a guide I saw one go on ebay last week, pictures looked ok, some interior refurb needed but for £11.6k looked reasonable. £10k on body alone doesn't leave much change.....

I'll mull it over.....

Cheers

Paul
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PostPost by: danbuoy1 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:11 pm

pptom wrote:The sills are bolt in, they will be corroded, but in reality it's a couple of hundred quid and a few hours of your time. Not a hugely technical job, so don't worry about that.
I restored my +2 from a similar condition last year. I did everything myself with the exception of front seat upholstery. I certainly didn't get anywhere near the costs mentioned in this thread. Bodywork isn't expensive, resin and mat are only a few pounds, the cost is in the labour. I easily had 100 hours in my body, probably more like 200.
Brought myself a decent spray gun, upgraded my compressor and painted it myself.
This was the reason I got the car, I wanted a project and to learn new skills
The paint job isn't concourse, but I'm certainly not embarrassed and 18 months on still looks as good.
I think my car would sell for a little more than its cost, but it has been a marathon. Took me a year of pretty much every evening and weekend. At 80k miles every single part was worn out, but I have a well sorted car front to back, have enjoyed most of it and have learnt many new skills, but gone a bit more bald.
If you want a project then go for it
If you just want to drive one with the odd but of tinkering then I'd get one already on the road.


Thanks for info pptom, interesting to hear DIY views, its mostly because I've old (Triumph) and would be nice to have something different as well, I like a challenge and this fits it, but wary of just having a lot of junk when stripped down. Family grown up so would suit me well.

I think I'll see if engine turns and if so go for it - will let you all know!

Many thanks for all the help, its certainly given me a better picture and idea of what to do.

Cheers

Paul
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PostPost by: alanr » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:38 pm

Re:- Bodywork... Someone said to me that the difference between metal classic cars and fibreglass classic cars is that you 'Swap Rust for Dust' and I think this sums it beautifully.

Do you go for it or not is the question i suppose that is going through your mind right now?
I think your are right to be cautious but it really depends on what you are looking for and your personal circumstances doesn't it.
Are you looking for a Hobby or Investment?... Or both? In my view looking for both and achieving both is very difficult and in the short term maybe this is not the car to do this with if looking for the latter. It is so easy to let the head rule the heart in buying cars and projects as I know to my own cost on a couple of past occasions!

I will watch with interest to see if you go for it...Good Luck :D

Alan.
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PostPost by: pptom » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:25 pm

Fortunately mine had a replacement chassis in 1994 and didn't go on the road since. With yours I would say it would need to be very cheap if the chassis was shot, although found a running gear restoration without the body on would be easier.
As for bodywork, i'm not convinced that fibreglassing is such a black art as it's made out to be, yes, if you had a potential £40k car then you'd almost be obliged to pay a lot of money for repairs, but if you want to rescue something it's not necessary, you don't after all need paint to be roadworthy.
My body and paint probably owes me £600, obviously I'm not including my time. If it bubbles or crazes in several years time I'll not be too disappointed, it could do that if I paid a bodyshop. I did it in the summer of 2018 which was very hot and dry, so good painting conditions.
I'm not saying it's wrong to spend so much on paint, but not everyone is as affluent as that and every car saved from the scrap yard is a bonus
Try and get someone from the forum to go and have a look with you for another point of view.
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PostPost by: JonB » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:18 pm

pptom wrote:you don't after all need paint to be roadworthy


Wiser words were seldom spoken!

To add to that: You can revisit the paintwork any time.
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PostPost by: danbuoy1 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:32 pm

Thanks for all advise chaps, not looking as investment - my cars are for fun, but would be gutted to spend £20k to see better model sold for £10k! Finish is always down to money....

I'll let you know how it goes.

Cheers

Paul
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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:12 pm

jimj wrote:Even if it was free, the cost of getting it up to any sort of acceptable, useable, state would cost more than its, then, value. Only buy it if you want the (expensive) fun of doing it.
Jim


Agree. As noted, the cosmetics (particularly paint) run very high. Of course, you don't have to spend that money -- my Europa has been in my possession for quite some time needing new paint and hasn't gotten it yet. The reason is that a pro job plus what I have in the car hasn't been returned by S2 selling prices. But that may change.

The engine itself, if redeemable (most are, and this has likely been sitting long enough that it is not high mileage to begin with), is 6-7k by itself because it's a Weber head. Unlike your Triumphs, you are best leaving head work to professionals, otherwise the car (like all period Loti) is readily DIY, with important bits available. Certain cosmetic bits test this, but they're important only for the concours set.

Many of the wear parts (uprights, calipers, discs, rod-ends) are Triumph, so the good suppliers you're familiar with will be an asset for inexpensive replacements.

As longtime member (and I miss his posts!) Gary Anderson illustrated, (see archives for Sow's Ear), you don't have to have a fortune to restore these while still avoiding being a DPO. You just have to be resourceful.

If your wallet permits, you will save money by buying a good runner over a project like this. Although they have been popping, Plus 2's (and Europas) do not enjoy the current market values of the original Elan. Which is why they are frequently poached for engines and an opportunity to start with a mostly complete project like this is getting rarer.

If you have the time, this will be a rewarding endeavor. As noted already, there is no Triumph that compares. This is coming from someone whose first car was a '69 Spitfire on which I had thorough experience and which I loved dearly. The similarities end at the shared bits; Chapman was a genius and any of the period cars outshine the higher-volume competition.

FYI the only bonded-chassis production Lotus was the S1 Europa. And its chassis is replaceable, it's just a whole lot more work.
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PostPost by: David1953 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:38 pm

Re opening the doors.
I know nothing about +2. But with the same problem on my S3 I took out the rear screen and the inside drivers door handle worked. For the passenger door I had to undo the hinges, from the inside and then the door came free from the front.
Good luck.
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PostPost by: danbuoy1 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:03 am

Thanks for all the info, +2 runner prices seem to vary wildly, not looking to make money on it would be a hobby but same time would be silly to buy something that instantly was a loss (bit like my share dealings!). I'll probably make an offer on the basis if its a pile of bits at least it won't be too much of a loss. Would just be fun to do something different although space is a problem.....thanks for advice on door access, the front screen is showing delamination so maybe better to go through that one in case it breaks.

I'll let you know how I get on!

Cheers

Paul
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:18 pm

Personally I'm not one to give a toss about what the paint work or interior looks like so long everything is sound and the chassis is not seriously rusted or bent from a severe accident. It's a Lotus. What's most important is how it DRIVES!! Besides the "Rat Rod" look like a ripped pair of jeans is even considered quite fashionable in some circles!
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PostPost by: danbuoy1 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:31 pm

Unfortunately engine seized (pistons I guess) and all efforts of getting into interior failed - rear window out was suggested? But took a punt, made an accepted offer so ... what have I let myself into!

Many thanks for all comments, they all helped give me ideas on whats possible and costs, not looking to make on it but if it turns out bad, reckon I'll get it back, would just be nice to see it back on the road.

Are there any recommended books on this restoration? I'm ok DIY but know how easy to make innocent mistakes!

Cheers

Paul
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PostPost by: alanr » Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:32 pm

So do I read that correctly that your offer has been accepted?
If so very well done...Without knowing what you paid I suspect from the wording of your message it sounds like you stole it!

Re: Books...You can spend a lot of money on them but for starters I would suggest you get a genuine Lotus Workshop Manual appropriate for your car year as a minimum. Some on ebay are scruffy but it doesn't matter as long as all the pages are there.
Miles Wilkins.'Lotus Twin-Cam' engine is a very useful book for your engine rebuild.
I have just managed to obtain a Parts manual for mine, very useful, after looking for one for quite a while appropriate for the year of my car but there are not many around.


Looks like the fun begins... :D

Alan.
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