Lotus Elan

Elan Plus 2 compared to a Triumph GT6?

PostPost by: Glenn M » Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:17 pm

Curios for folks that have owned both cars or familiar with both on how the Elan Plus 2 compares to a well sorted contemporary Triumph GT6?

Driving dynamics, interior comfort, power.
Never driven an Elan and it has been awhile since I have driven a GT6.
I remember it being hot and loud!

I know I will get blasted for this!

Cheers,
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:21 pm

My 2nd car after the Anglia, was a spitfire 4. I sold it quick for a SAAB 99
Suppose it seemed good.
There are probably more parts around for a GT6, and power to weight would be comparable. Until you get to modifying a Lotus Twin Cam, which people seem to claim 150hp without too much. Not sure how far you can get a GT6, I would guess further.
I prefer the tilting front of the GT6
I prefer the handling of the Lotus, though i dont have both to compare.
Hope you find a rust free GT6
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PostPost by: TBG » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:31 pm

I had a Vitesse convertible that had the same engine/chassis/suspension as a GT6 and it was a hoot - but the Elan that followed was in a different league as regards handling and performance. But it had a brilliant hood - one hand and two clips - oh for that in my Elan..................

Start them young.

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PostPost by: Slowtus » Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:41 am

Never owned a GT6 though have driven one. Have owned a few Plus 2s - the handling of the Plus 2 is well known, :D the handling of the GT6 is also well known. :shock:

If you really MUST buy one or the other...don't buy a GT6, regardless of the availability of the various bits.
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:50 am

TBG wrote:
Start them young.

DSC04004.JPG


I like the illegally posted picture of the car seat, glad my youngest is over 45lbs now.
Btw, you can strap the rear strap down to the seat base. The mother has cows in this case, my defence is “its a plastic car, its safer he is ejected in that infant-seat”
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PostPost by: TBG » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:48 am

H20 - grandson is 18 now so has fared pretty well in spite of my driving! He has driven the Elan and loves it. :shock:

Spot the vulture............

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PostPost by: EPA » Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:08 pm

In the 1970’s I had a Spitfire for about 4 years. The handling on these was always compromised by the inverted leaf spring rear suspension that could actually tuck under if you were too enthusiastic. My car had been modified to give additional camber to reduce the tendency to tuck but at the time there were kits produced that completely revised the rear suspension in a bid to resolve the problem.
The really good thing about the Spitfire was the accessibility to the engine and front suspension I remember sitting on the front wheel whilst working on the engine and the gearbox could be removed from inside the car without removing the engine.
My car was also fitted with an Ashley front and hard top conversion and an SAH twin exhaust which combined to make the car look like an E Type jag ( sounds a bit naff now).
I don’t think I have any pictures which is a shame
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PostPost by: dcmarsh » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:16 pm

Spent a bunch of time in my college roommates GT6 when he bought it new. Saw my first +2 in a showroom with him about the same time. We would drive the GT6 back and forth from Iowa to Chicago (about 300 miles ) many times. We would drive out onto dirt roads in Iowa to change the oil or do other work. It was a very fun little car, but it was seeing the magnificent dashboard of the +2 that made me decide that someday, I would own one. The one I have now I bought in 1978. I bought a 75 Elite a couple,e of years later, an M100 Elan as a daily driver in the 1990’s and an Elise now as the reliable one. I sold the M100 but now wish I still had it. But, I always watch the BAT auctions of GT6+

I can see why you would be interested in those 2. It is the same for me. Both are unique, without an obvious clone from another company, imho. Having spent considerable time in and worked on both, my comparisons would be:

- the clamshell hood on the GT6 makes engine work far easier, but, since it’s not a spin on oil filter, changing the oil is a bit more involved and messy. Not difficult tho.
- the GT6 is tidier, I guess I would say. Cars were built more on a factory line and more uniform. You can trust the factory workshop manual to be accurate. Wires and lines are coiled and affixed more neatly.
- The Elan reflects its hand built nature. The engine compartment is messier, things are crammed in where the fit. Wires can just hang out. The colors of the wires may not match the manual for your car, as the manual itself warns. There are more leaks, the bottom is always oily. Bolts and pipe work loose and have coed and tightened
- But, since it is more hand built, it can be worked on with hand tools. There are no welds or pop rivets
- The elan body is glass fiber and can always be made to look wonderful by an owner. Fiberglass repair work can be done by anyone with simple tools. The rust on a GT6 can be terminal. The only real metal on the +2 is the frame, and even that can be replaced with a coup,e of options that are available. I’m looking at doing that to mine and it can actually be done by a home mechanic with some friends to help lift the body. If the GT6 is badly rusted in structural areas, I would consider that beyond what I could do.
- for me, it’s all about the dashboard. That’s what I look at and use and defines my driving experience. They both have wood dashboards, but the +2S has an aircraft array of classic gauges and switches. The only thing close is an E type, which I’ve also listed after. When I bought the +2S in 1978, it was a choice for $2400 between that and a used XKE. I lived in a small apartment in Chicago at the time, and the XKE’s issue was door locks that needed to be repaired, it wouldn’t have lasted on the street for a week so I bought the +2S that didn’t have working brakes and pushed it several miles after midnight along city streets. I still watch XKE’s on BAT and it would have been a better investment for sure. Although Lotus’s are on the rise these days
- as far as driving, the +2S seems more advanced and sophisticated, maybe because it has so many more bells and whites. And gauges and switches. It rides well, But it seems more fragile. I’ve driven it across country once, and used to drive it a coup,e of hundred miles every weekend in the 80’s.
- the GT6 we used to thrash when it was new. Never worried about it dying somewhere. We drove it around even during 20 below zero F in Iowa. The heat wasn’t great, but it is t in the Elan either
- I’m now starting a rebuild/restore on the +2. I have 110 items so far on my spreadsheet, but none of them are terminal. The engine is reliable, similar to the GT6. Haven’t found any parts that are unavailable, although some are likely more expensive than for the GT6
- All in all, I still hope someday to own a GT6. Hard to find one that isn’t terminally rusted as someone else has said. My summary statement would be that the Elan +2S is a bit more of a commitment. It’s a bit more niche. Many people in the US have never heard of them. Most have heard of aTriumph. Lotus enthusiasts I think are a bit more serious. It’s hard to be a casual Lotus owner. Grin

Good luck with your decision. You will enjoy either one, for different reasons.
-
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2005 Elite
1991 M100 (sold, regretfully)
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PostPost by: pharriso » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:46 pm

Had a friend in the UK with a GT6 who moved to a Elan Plus 2 when I lived in the UK, he said the Elan was in a different league to the GT6 handling & performance wise. :D
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PostPost by: vincereynard » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:11 pm

1429 Jan. 11 18.49.jpg and


As someone who has had both I would suggest they are only marginally comparable.

The Elans ride, handling and roadholding is in a different league. Then again that aint saying much! The GT6 is OK on a flat, smooth road (bit like an Escart 1300E I once owner!) as long as you don't push too hard. It is nose heavy and will scrabble into terminal understeer before switching to flick oversteer if you back off. It's pretty rubbish. BUT does that matter these days? It is what it is - you drive it to its limitations or suffer the consequences. It is also pretty cramped it only being a Spitfire on steroids.

However it can be markedly improved, and a TR6 lump + 7 speed transmission can make it quite rapid.

Whether you could accept the bone hard ride is another matter. It will never ride well without a complete redesign of the rear end. (Especially with the daft fat wheels on the mag. car) The front is pretty hard too to support the boat anchor engine lump. I knew a chap who stuck a Dolly Sprint engine / box in a GT6 and that went very well. (150bhp easy + lighter engine box mounted further back)

The Lotus, however, feels distinctly, fragile in comparison. Personally I think the interior is poor for the age and price Chunky was asking (probably twice GT6 money!) The dash especially is a unergonomic mess and it should have had at least column switches by the 70's. And give a bit more room between brake and throttle would be a plus. It could and should have been much better.

The +2 is, potentially, much quieter. The "trumpet" is well named, it makes a noise from everywhere. The suspension, body squeaks, wind noise, mechanics - everything!

So quick but fragile or solid but crude - take your choice.
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:47 pm

the gt6 on BaT looks good
1/2 the price of a +2
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PostPost by: persiflage » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:00 pm

i do not have a +2 but before getting my Sprint I owned a GT6 mk3 overdrive car ... written off by some numpty in a Granada but currently on the road and I'm attempting to contact the owner.

Chalk and cheese and I love both cars.

The beautiful smooth 6 cylinder engine combined with the O/D provided a relaxed cruising car, It always amazed me, given favourable traffic conditions just how many miles could be covered without ever selecting anything lower than third gear. Wonderful access to the engine and a beautiful exhaust note.
Replace the Elan with a GT6? Not a chance, but I would be happy to have one making good use of the space in the garage next to it.
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PostPost by: Glenn M » Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:02 am

I appreciate all of the replies to my question.
This forum is a treasure trove of information!

I was interested in the 67 GT6 on Bring a Trailer (BAT).
I wrote a fairly long reply but my login must have expired and it was lost.

Having never driven any Elan I was interested in a comparison between a Plus 2 and a sorted GT6.
The GT6 is sooo much easier to find here in the states than a Plus 2 is.

On the other hand, the Plus 2 has been in the back of my mind for over 30 years.
Looked at one over 30 years ago but it was in very poor condition then.
My first British car ended up being 71 Triumph Stag purchased over 30 years ago which I still have.
The V8 and back seat was a huge selling feature. Within the year of purchase son one of three was born.
I have done all of the work and upkeep minus the paint.
Have had a Spitfire, TR7, MGC, and now have Porsche 928's, 05 911 C4S (last 996) and 74 Alfa GTV, I need to thin the heard!
I work on all of them, yes some are monkey puzzles'!

I digress, back to the Plus 2.
Both Plus 2's that looked interesting have been off of the road between 20 and 40 years.
I know my way around a car but just don't have the time to devote to a full or partial restoration.
Cost is another issue with a car that has sat for so long, the TS can be a large outlay of cash.
From what I have read it also does not look like a DIY engine for someone new to the mark and engine.

My search will continue for a decent daily driver Plus 2.
I have expanded my search to the UK, I don't mind driving a RHD car.
Have friends here in the states with RHD cars that I have driven and have participate in two 10 Country Runs with the UK Triumph Club. Helps to be left handed!

The Plus 2's with a Spyder chassis and Zetec engine are interesting from a performance and maintenance aspect.
One again, I appreciate all of the wisdom, experience, and advice given!

Cheers,
Glenn
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PostPost by: The Veg » Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:57 pm

I hear you about lost replies. I've learned now that if I've been in the reply-screen for a while to highlight and copy what I've written before clicking submit. It doesn't always get lost -sometimes back-clicking will find it- but cheep insurance.

A few months ago I got to take a short drive in a RHD Plus 2 and found that it was easy to manage in US traffic. The narrowness of the car certainly helps because you can move around in the lane a bit to improve your sight-lines.

I have also driven a Zetec/Spyder/T9-equipped car once back in '19. It was a real blast! Rode passenger in another Plus 2 that had the Zetec and in both cars I was I pressed by how much the engine did NOT make itself obvious- the performance was great without being 'too great' to be believable, and the sound wasn't anachronistic either.
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PostPost by: mbell » Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:13 pm

I have a RHD drive +2 and don't really have many issue in the US with it. You can't ride peoples bumper if you want to over take and need to drop back for visibility, but that gives you a bit of space to accelerate.

I am yet to venture through a drive through in it but that could be tricky if you don't have a passenger. Unless you go through backwards!

P.S. you might want to look at:
viewtopic.php?f=51&t=48408
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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