Lotus Elan

hopeful of buying Elan +2 but sill damage

PostPost by: Marc13 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 2:20 pm

sill 1.jpg and
sill 1.jpg and
Hi,

I was hoping to get a bit of advise on the following please.

Been to look at a lovely Elan +2 today. Had a long look all over it. It has been extensively refurbished to a very good standard....however the sill is very badly damaged just in front of the rear wheel. I would imagine its either slipped off a jack or been jacked in the wrong place. Please see photos below/attached.

The car company selling the Lotus said they would get it repaired. But I wanted to know if this is a major issue, or just a cosmetic thing that can be easily rectified?

Also there were a couple of small(ish) oil leaks. One coming almost dead centre of the engine area and one from approx in line with where the dashboard is (obviously under the car - not from the dashboard), again right on centre line of the car. The 2nd one looked more like gear box oil (but I am no expert) - could this be gear box, or drive shaft??

I know its an old car and small oil leaks are possibly to be expected? Should I be concerned with these or not? The dealer said he would take a look, with a view to getting corrected.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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PostPost by: TBG » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:32 pm

If the sills are an indication of " extensively refurbished to a very good standard" I would walk away and quite quickly!! :shock: :shock:
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PostPost by: mbell » Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:56 pm

Its fiberglass so repairable but looks like fairly significant damage. As you say probably from bad jacking or falling of a jack, as that one of the area you would lift the car via the body.

It hard to tell from the picture but I don't think its a simple repair, as it goes around the sill and is structure jacking area. Getting it done and solid is probably not hard but getting it done, looking good and nice paint finish is going to be a big job. You also want to check the sill member for damage.

It also doesn't inspire confidence in the seller. You'd hope they would just bite the bullet and fix it ahead of trying to sell the car, if they hoping the buyer won't notice and they can get away with out fixing it, makes you wonder what else there is wrong with the car.

So personally unless there was something very compelling about this car, I'd walk.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: Marc13 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:14 pm

lotus pic 4.jpg and
With the exception of the previously mentioned points - the car genuinely did appear utterly amazing. The list of invoices for new parts and evidence of the rebuild were endless. Almost any part you can think of was replaced.

Now the guy in charge of the dealership selling it, did seem surprised when I showed him the sill. It could have been an act however? But he did seem surprised.

see photos of the car showing overall appearance. It really did look as good in the flesh. No dodgy paint areas, no bend wishbones etc etc. i was expecting to be really underwhelmed, but you could see the attention to detail, not to mention the amount of money (invoices on file) spent on it.........just this sill damage!

So if you looked at the sill in isolation, and I got a specialist to have a look over the car, before making a decision, how much of an issue is it?
Attachments
lotus pic 1.jpg and
lotus pic 2.jpg and
lotus pic 3.jpg and
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PostPost by: EPC 394J » Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:05 pm

Hi Marc

You’ll get a number of different views on this. Of that I have no doubt. I can’t claim to be any expert but here’s my take as an owner, and someone who has had experience of an ‘acclaimed’ restorer of these vehicles.

That fibreglass damage might suggest the sill members themselves are little more than rust coloured dust. (Search the forum for sill members if by any chance you aren’t familiar.) For me, that would reflect on the quality of the ‘restoration’. Either way, that car has been through the hands of someone who has badly ****** it up! I would want to know how/where the damage happened. No trader would have bought it like that! Would you be confident jacking the car after they repaired it? Even if it’s been restored by a ‘specialist, I’d have doubts. It is difficult to determine whether the car is ‘worth’ what you are thinking of paying for it, without knowing the asking price. I rather suspect it has a pretty hefty price tag? The paintwork does indeed look good. Perhaps too good?? I would be very interested to know how recently it was done? Fibreglass resprays are notoriously easy to ‘blow over’ lasting for 6 months or so. But extremely difficult and expensive to do well. The car is badgeless and trimless. The rear bumper is a repro, not original.

I see it has a Big Valve cam cover. If it’s that engine AFAIK it was only original on S130 and S130/5. Whether that used the Dellorto carbs that are on this car, I’m not sure? But someone here will. What model is it claimed to be? If you post the reg, someone here may be able to help you identify what model it should be?

Originality is also something that would increase the value. Lack of it tends to have the opposite effect. For example, my car’s an ‘S’ and my dash is different in some respects.

Non of this necessarily means it’s a ‘bad’ car. But.....

If it were me, I think I’d be tempted to ask if any long term Lotus owner, and member of the forum lives nearby to take a closer look at the vehicle? Few of us are experts, but there are things that we quickly get to know about these old cars.

Best of luck.
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

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PostPost by: Harvey » Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:21 am

I too would be suspect of a sill with that much damage and would want to have the car taken to a reputable body shop familiar with glassfibre repair to assess the cost to repair it and then deduct cost of repair from the asking price. I also note that the car has a silver roof common to Plus 2S 130 cars. If it is a Plus 2 of this vintage it should have an articulated map light positioned below the glove box which this car does not. Perhaps another indication that all is not consistent with the shiny respray and nice interior and engine compartment.

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PostPost by: gus » Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:18 am

Car dealers are famous for shiny on top presentations that are not so nice when you get into them

This is not technically the sill but the floor, and it can happen, but I would want to see more pics of the underside to give an opinion on whether this is a high standard
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PostPost by: Marc13 » Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:31 am

Thanks for all the comments and advice.
I too noticed about the lack of badges.
The registration nr is OAJ 919 M and on the advert it conveniently does not actually say what model it actually is...just an Elan +2 Big Valve.

There was nothing solid behind the area of damage on the sill. I put my fingers through and couldn't feel anything there at all. Not knowing too much about this area in detail, I thought that perhaps the metal structural sill ended at the jacking point? But if its supposed to continue beyond the jacking point to the end of the fibreglass sill, there was no evidence of it.....concerning?

Repaint was done in 2018. One very small crack in the paint on the bonnet. Everywhere else was as good as the photos show. No ponding that you can get on fibreglass, where the paint reacts with whatever was there before.

I think I'm opting out of this purchase??!??. The car is it at The Car Specialists in Sheffield centre, if anyone ones to take a look at it.

On the plus side, it drove very nicely, was more comfortable and a better ride than I thought i would get.

The underside looked good, nice straight wishbones etc etc.
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PostPost by: checkrail » Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:47 am

Checking MOT history it had an advisory 'offside rear suspension arm damaged but not seriously weakened'.
How come the dealer was surprised about the damage when that's on the MOT.

John
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:15 am

If it is a Plus 2 of this vintage it should have an articulated map light positioned below the glove box which this car does not.
1970 +2S moels also had the Map Light.
I would say with the big hole in the Sill the Sill Members will be shot because water can get inside and stay wet.
If the dealer can't be bothered to fix the Sill then it wouldn't say much for the Front Turrets on the Chassis :shock: :shock:
Alan
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PostPost by: alanr » Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:41 am

Just seen the dealer asking price for this car..£29,980!! :shock:
I would be cautious at half that price!

Alan
Last edited by alanr on Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: EPC 394J » Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:42 am

Morning Marc

I have to confess, I had found the car dealer last night, with the car on sale.

In my experience hardly any Plus 2s reach that asking price. The only ones I’ve seen exceed it generally belonged to famous racing drivers/world champions. As you say, they do drive great! :D

It’s not really possible to say much about the vehicle purely from the photos. If you are thinking of it from the POV of ‘investment’ you would be better buying a slightly scruffier (mostly original!) 2 seat Elan at a similar price point. Particularly if you’re reasonably handy with spanner’s, and with these cars you absolutely have to be! I can pretty much guarantee that vehicle will lose up to a third of it’s price the moment it is driven off the forecourt. It’s also blindingly obvious whoever wrote the ad has absolutely no clue what they are selling!

But as I said. None of this necessarily mean it’s a ‘bad’ car.

If you want to really put this out of your mind, here’s what I think I might do.

There’s a ‘closing plate’ in the wheel arch. This allows free access to the sill members. (Search the forum) I would ask the dealer to remove that rear wheel, (Should be interesting jacking it!!!) and the closing plate. That will allow you to view the sill member. Or what’s left of it. Whilst it’s fair to say everything’s repairable, that will give you an indication of both what’s under the pretty skin, and who you are dealing with.

Oh, and get the details/photo from the VIN plate. (Which isn’t really a vin plate, but that’s a different conversation!)

Good luck.
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

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PostPost by: alan.barker » Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:52 am

To be honest i would just walk away and not bother.
If you're ok to spend £30,000 on a +2 have a look at what Paul Matty has to offer.
Alan
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PostPost by: Marc13 » Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:35 am

Thanks again.

I am assuming that Paul Matty is a reputable/reknowned dealer then?

UK Sports Cars in Canterbury have a lot for sale - a ybody know if these are a trustworthy/decent outfit?
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PostPost by: EPC 394J » Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:42 am

Once again, you will get differing opinions here, but Paul Matty is an expert in these cars.

He’s been trading in classic Lotus for at least 40 years. You pay a bit of a premium, but he does have a good reputation to preserve. I had dealings with him 35 years ago, and more recently too.

UK Sportscars do appear on this forum from time to time. Maybe do a forum search.

Plus 2s are really great, underrated cars. They appear significantly undervalued (cheap!) in comparison with their smaller 2 seat sibling. (Which is often described as the most sublime sports car ever built!) Yet mechanically they are virtually identical, just fractionally bigger. My personal view is that they are prettier too! :roll: :D

You’re on the right lines! :D Just look at, and drive a few before you buy. There’s a wealth of info to be discovered just by doing that. This forum is absolutely comprehensive too!
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

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