Lotus Elan

low appetite for plus 2 - or poor appetite for mods ?

PostPost by: h20hamelan » Sun Feb 14, 2021 1:33 am

I have gone back and forth on mine for over 12 years.
While I dont fully like the nose on the +2, nor much of the chrome. Now that I have a elan, I appreciate the +2 elegance more and more (mine is pre-fed).
I have no desire to make the car heavier (metal bumpers? that look like, and are an afterthought) I wish there was a decent perspex headlights, or something incorporated into the body work. I have toyed with BMW 850 style headlights that don't lift as high or TVR Cerbera, Tuscan, or Ferrari 599 or something anything modern projector style, that flows into the strange front pointy wheel arches.
Then comes the big ugly square tail lights. They will be going, along with the heavy bumpers. I will not change it more than it can easily be put back to original, doubt I will change the headlights much. But, I do plan on keeping the car for at least 50 years. And at that point, I wont care.
I have always liked the +2 for what it is, I am looking forward to filling trim/lettering holes and "bumpers". There is a chance I will get busy with some honeycomb and carbon fibre to lighten the pop up headlights if I cant find some other option. At that point I will be incorporating lower profile, projector pop up lights the same dimensions. BTW, anyone know the weight with all fixings lights etc per headlight pod. I bet is >12-15lbs each!
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PostPost by: HCA » Sun Feb 14, 2021 8:18 am

Aha - so there are two of us!

I too like the elegance of the +2, but it becomes lost with the two inboard pop up lights imo. As the only real problem with the one I bought is that someone in the past really botched up the pods (and the bonnet/hood hinges), so I too am looking at alternatives. My favoured option is the Tuscan look. I have couple of 2.5" projectors that will fit nicely where the sidelights are and above. I have a few things to do first so it will be next year at least.
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PostPost by: alanr » Sun Feb 14, 2021 9:48 am

Carry on..Each to his/her own.
The more people change or stray away from originality the more the value of those cars that are left and kept in original state will increase in value!...Its a criminal shame to see but personally I am rubbing my hands in glee as I will watch the prices rise. The fewer proper original cars around the better I say. :D

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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sun Feb 14, 2021 11:03 am

h20hamelan wrote:Do you have any idea how many Mk1 Lotus Cortina's were made?

I am sure not a big fan of Toyota, the Yamaha vacuum forged parts (cylinder heads) are the good toyota stuff.
I have a schwack of honda K for a Elise and Volvo red and white if I ever get time and another Volvo 142. Though as the duratec doesnt fit height in the elan, I suppose I would need to go zetec.


I can assure you that a Duratec does fit in an Elan :D it fits a +2 as well I tried it out when building the Elan,
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Sun Feb 14, 2021 3:19 pm

Thanks Cpt Snyder Fan
Strange thou, I had been so sure the myth of the elusive Duratec Elan was past...
That might be the best news for me since my last son was born 7 years ago.
Ha ha

Cosworth Duratec here I come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, well after I ring out the new fuel injection system, and a few other things. Geez the T5 Trans and a Duratec eh. Heaven!

Edit, not talking about a 3L duratec, I think the 2.5 is too tall still. The height is ~14mm shorter on the 2.0L than the 2.3L - 2.0L R/S = 1.76.
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Sun Feb 14, 2021 5:38 pm

EPC 394J wrote:I don’t disagree with some of that.

But if you put a zetec engine in a car, what is it that makes that car a Lotus Elan. (for example)

If you (or Spydercars) also then put a Space frame chassis in it, what makes it a 1960s car? :roll:

These are kit cars.


I get that narrow definition of 'kit car' though the argument could be made that with all the parts bin swapping and sourcing between major manufacturers AND makes, many cars are kit cars.

That aside many people "upgrade" their brakes, suspension, steering etc, go for different width/profile/diameter of wheels and tires, pop in Corbeaus and the like...overbore/stroke the engine.

The list is almost endless.

Fine. I will no longer refer to what I do with cars as 'modifying' henceforth it will be known as 'improving while retaining the lineage and essence of the car'. :D
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Sun Feb 14, 2021 9:43 pm

Interesting discussion.

Thank you Spyderfan and others for clarifying how this example differs from a Spyder Zetec or a specific model year Plus 2. Still like the car as a starting point though, but I better understand how the price reflects what it is.

My Plus 2 journey started with wanting a car that was evocative of the early seventies, a simpler time when I couldn’t afford a Lotus. After tire kicking a great used LoCort at $2,500, I ended up with $300 Mk 1 MG Midget from the local Lotus dealer. The first year of new driver insurance was $427, a month’s pay!

Today I still dwell on Spridget ads, but recalling the glacial zero to sixty and small interior just doesn’t work for me. The Spridget community seems to accept (or at least fully understand) Bug Eyes with 1275 engines, five speeds, disc brakes, etc. But even extensively modified cars tend to retain the model specific funky details like the dash mounted turn indicator switch, relatively inconvenient Perspex side curtains, the heat control valve under the bonnet, etc.

A Spyder Zetec remains completely evocative to my eye. Key remaining elements include the beautiful burl dash, body style, etc. Interior upgrades for comfort and style and the potentially raised stance are the only issues I see, and there are solutions available for those sorts of details.

But after really driving my Plus 2, I felt I wanted to evolve the car beyond what Lotus could do with limited resources and a changing model mix. I am one of those crazies, much like Ross Robbins for example, that likes/needs/expects a hobby car to be capable of comfortable Continental touring with two people. I am proud of my LOG long distance awards, but certainly don’t expect my Plus 2 to win the LOG Concours. Best I could hope for now is being awarded the “Car I would most want to drive home” by the guest speaker. :D

I see the whole originality vs modification debate as a rainbow. I appreciate the LOG panoramic photo & concours field for embracing all the examples that turn up. That includes everything from a beautifully executed Cortina Estate in LoCort livery (this horror completed by a very well respected Lotus restorer, enthusiast author & forum member), wildly modified track and autocross Elan specials, time capsule Elans and Elites, heck, even a Delorean with a Lotus V8 (now there is a glass half full guy!). Of course that doesn’t include all the younger enthusiasts in the soon to be vintage Elise.

For my Plus 2 restoration I initially tried to limit modifications to the common drivetrain reliability upgrades we all know and love; well remember searching the forum to find them all. :D The most prominent visual difference was limited to shaving the Federal corner reflector warts. Sorry, I can’t count tossing every bullet connector and installing an Nippon Denso alternator; no way that turns my car into a kit. :lol: The 6,000 mile round trip to the Orlando LOG upped my mod ante, adding a Tall Block TC to complement the MT75, although I reverted to full profile tires. Looking forward to the end of travel difficulties to really exercise my much improved ride. Also enjoying having only one “do it all” classic to care for, having ditched a couple of more modern classics.

If I were doing things over again, the Full Monty Spyder Zetec would have huge appeal. Unfortunately my car would have required a different Spyder frame, and getting the rest of the Spyder parts over the pond takes a lot of time and resources. So I opted to add a bit of power to the Twink, and also get a Mazda MX-5 for Track Day fun and drama-free two up touring.

So at the end of the day, owning and caring for a classic is primarily motivated by emotions. OK by me if people feel differently about their own car. But don’t be too surprised if being critical of another enthusiast’s vision gets a bit under the skin. Keep it light and all good.

In that spirit, check out these must-have stickers in case the Plus 2 can’t make it to the Salt Lake LOG40 in September. Maybe I can win some sort of Modified Tribute class :D ....
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A Metropolitan Grey Metallic 2011 MX-5 GT should look great on the lawn! Power hard top roof, air conditioning, cruise control, modern wide rubber, sway bars, Bluetooth fones, the lust goes on....
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:00 pm

Just to add to the debate - so what about that guy who put a fibreglass Ford Escort body on top of a Plus 2 chassis? What are people's thoughts about that??
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:18 am

Why is a modified car done by the manufacturer ( e.g. Golf Mk4 R32 and many other R, M AMG etc spec cars from many manufacturers) worth more than a modification done by an individual ? Just part of the mystery of car values....

In the end cars are worth what people will pay and the value to you of modifying a car is around what you enjoy doing and driving especially if resale is of no interest. Some modifications will make a car more valuable if done right as you will appeal to a different market than the matching numbers crowd.

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PostPost by: EPC 394J » Mon Feb 15, 2021 1:50 am

So I opted to add a bit of power to the Twink, and also get a Mazda MX-5 for Track Day fun and drama-free two up touring.


I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

The Mazda MX5 is a VASTLY superior car to any Lotus Elan. Because it’s more modern. The old stuff is worthless junk.

It really is that simple.

Very many thanks.

(Oh. Except it isn’t!) :roll: :roll:
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

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PostPost by: stugilmour » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:35 am

2cams70 wrote:Just to add to the debate - so what about that guy who put a fibreglass Ford Escort body on top of a Plus 2 chassis? What are people's thoughts about that??


:D :D Kinda sounds like more of a parade float.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Mon Feb 15, 2021 7:30 am

Seeing how this topic is drifting I hope people don’t mind,

Ref the Escort/+2 I was fortunate enough to inspect it at Castle Combe and it was an incredibly accomplished creation. Definitely a contender for “the whole equalling more than the sum of its parts”.

Here’s one you can buy, it’s a stalled project but I think the body is from the same source https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lotus-Elan-p ... SwNhNf6eta
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:10 am

Now that is some great thread drift! Looks marvellous.

EPC 394J wrote:These are cheap cars. Especially so in the US!

Nobody will make any money out of them.

But any custodian sure can strip them of their essence.

For me, it’s akin to removing a Merlin engine from a P51 Mustang or Supermarine Spitfire and replacing it with a jet turbine. Sure it would perform better. But what are you left with??


For Zetec fans it is more like taking out the Merlin and fitting a Griffon. Just saw a documentary saying the Griffon equipped Spitfires could catch the V1’s for the famed wing flip carom shot. Pretty cool. The Zetec is a larger displacement Ford twin cam with similar architecture. Heck, throw in a ‘Lotus’ cam cover and Jenvey Heritage DCOE throttle bodies and the whole lump looks right at home.

Talk of jet turbines seems a bit over the top, but reminded me of the Basler BT-67. Very cool turboprop upgrade of the venerable DC3. Several of them are based locally. My nephew gave me a tour; very impressive. Now that seems more like what Andy and Sean are about with the Spyder Zetec.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basler_BT-67

https://www.baslerturbo.com/
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Mon Feb 15, 2021 4:29 pm

2cams70 wrote:Just to add to the debate - so what about that guy who put a fibreglass Ford Escort body on top of a Plus 2 chassis? What are people's thoughts about that??


Seems the floor is open to debate.
So here goes.
I doubt anyone will be jumping rally (this was the last comment on grp2000 post).
Since no one jumps cars in rallying (outside of sponsored teams in moder junk), the people that will take one of these cars around a corner for fun will have fun doing it. I would bet the composite body of the escort is the same weight of a +2 with all the fixings (lights, doors etc).
Most likely you get the decent handling (higher center of gravity) and more space for luggage or a roll cage. The roll cage space is what would sell me.

Has anyone built new +2 bodies. I recall someone here knows were the molds are. Then, would you go for a +2 body, convertible or not. Or an escort. I would take a +2 convertible and no door window frames thank you.
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:45 pm

My Lotus of the moment is a 1991 M100 - lightly modified of course - when 164 hp isn't enough you simply bung in a new chip and get 200 hp.

If I keep it, I will modify it further because I do not like the side view...it is (visually) too short for me so it needs to be chopped just behind the seats and lengthened somewhere between 18" and 24". I will know how much to add once the chop is done by shunting the front and rear of the car until it "looks" just right.

Once that is decided upon, a bit of welding, some fiberglass work, a lick of paint etc and I will have yet another Plus2...no idea what that will do to the value and I don't care because I don't invest in cars, I drive them (and sometimes modify them :D )

PS, the first one to mutter that the M100 is not a true Lotus because it is FWD etc has my permission to go for a walk down the middle of a busy highway, at night, wearing a blindfold.
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