Lotus Elan

Plus 2 driving experience

PostPost by: 2tmike » Wed Nov 09, 2022 12:36 pm

Could anyone share their experience of driving a plus 2 compared to the 2 seater ? I run an S4 dhc which I love to bits but with the best will in the world its not the most relaxing drives for a passenger on journeys of 2-3 hours. The areas of concern are noise (ok, I love it but....), water leaks in the rain and security when I leave it parked up. The S4 is a keeper but I want to add another classic sports that is a little more passenger friendly for longer runs and winter use. I was going the e type fhc route but prices are getting out of reach so maybe a plus 2 would fit the bill? Can anyone comment on the Plus 2 vs S4 dhc ?
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PostPost by: mwhitaker » Wed Nov 09, 2022 2:26 pm

Hi- I can offer my relatively limited experience with the Plus 2 vs. S4 DHC and surely more experienced/nuanced views will follow. I had an early 67 Plus 2 for 2 yrs about 30 yrs ago having grown up with an S4 FHC and currently have a 69 S4DHC. The Plus 2 is a lovely car with great handling, more comfortable ride and is quieter for sure with its fixed roof, something I also found with FHC vs. DHC S4. I found it not as quick given extra weight but more stable/less nervous feeling than the baby Elan. Also extra room for luggage and nice visibility to boot. I think you will find it suitable for more extended journeys. The S130 with the 5 spd box is probably the most desirable version but any well sorted one should fit the bill. Good luck with your decision/search and yes ,the S4 is a definite keeper!

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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Wed Nov 09, 2022 3:48 pm

I’m sure the list could go on. But seeing as how I have a early +2 and a early S4 drophead.
I like the +2 for touring, the major point for the +2 is the front quarter windows deflect the wind so when the windows are open the cabin is still very quiet. I believe all of the aero Collin and Lotus put into the design probably makes it a top choice.
Though I think the 907 engine in the Excel etc. would be less Buzzy more quiet, less pleasing to look at & probably sit in and drive too.
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PostPost by: prezoom » Wed Nov 09, 2022 3:54 pm

Both Lotus, but quite different in nature. When it comes to canyon carving, my S2 is my first choice. Long distance travel over a series of days with the top down can be a bit tiring, but for a Tuesday morning romp through the mountains east of me, the instant response makes the S2 a hands down winner.

For pure comfort, having the solid top and roll up windows, makes the Plus2 the pick of the litter. I have to admit in the performance field, the Zetec power in the Plus2, makes the standard S2 engined car seem a bit weak. The 3.5 diff in the Plus2 vs 3.9 in the S2 also makes for a more relaxed ride when putting down the miles. I feel far less beat up in the Plus2.

I feel very fortunate to have both, and to be able to make a choice dependent on my chosen destination.
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Wed Nov 09, 2022 6:05 pm

Had both and if I ever buy another of that era it would be a Plus 2, obviously (to me at least) two very(ish) different cars, same mother different fathers... :D the Plus 2 always seems a little more mature, stable and grown up but still able to misbehave as needed.

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PostPost by: stuart » Wed Nov 09, 2022 6:27 pm

Get a late 130/5 . Very comfortable on long journey
Not a lot of noise on motorways, unless you have a sun roof that tends to drum at speed .
I have 2 +2s 130/5. Brilliant cars !! Totally underrated .
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PostPost by: mbell » Wed Nov 09, 2022 7:43 pm

Just back from a 450mile in 24 hours trip, me in +2S130/5 (3.55 diff) and friend in a S3 DHC. I've only briefly driven the S3, so not going to get into that much but is inline with other comments here. What I can say is I spent the trip with both down windows listening to music on my phone speaker which I could hear up to about 60mph. Certain I would have been able to listen with windows up at high speeds. I was easily able to cruise at approaching 80mph a bit over 3K rpm.

My friend wore ear plugs and hat for the entire trip. No doubt he had a little more fun in the twistiest bits but for the rest of the time he will have been a lot less comfortable and happy than me.

IMO the +2 is a great sports car and an outstanding GT car. The elan is a outstanding sports car.
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Wed Nov 09, 2022 7:47 pm

Been a long while since I have actually had personal exposure to an Elan, but lots of extended touring in my ‘69 Plus 2.

Pretty much agree with what everyone else has said.

Truth be known, with the stock Federal Strombergs and four speed I didn’t really like the Plus 2 for extended touring, although I drove the car that way half way across Canada. The car in modern conditions was underpowered for the weight, and with the 3.78 final drive revved too high at highway speed to be ideal.

An MT-75 with overdrive fifth helped with the revs, but then wasn’t sufficiently powerful in fifth to accelerate. Made even worse with a change to 3.55 final drive. Still, I drove the car in this configuration from Alberta to Florida without any major issues.

After the Florida trip I took a detour to Esprit V8 ownership, which certainly answered any concerns with power. :D

My Plus 2 with more power is perfect now. The engine is a tall block TC, which turns out to be a pretty expensive way to get the 170 HP the car deserves.

Long story short, given you are in the UK and what you are after, I would definitely check out a Spyder Zetec. Those cars are great tourers. I would add in a period correct sunroof, but that’s just me. As mentioned the cabin noise level is not that much louder with the windows or sunroof open, although it is not ‘80’s vintage quiet by any means. Definitely try for a five speed model, which are very rare our side of the pond.

If realistic with it’s power limitations the Plus 2 is great. Handling, ride, brakes, luggage space, etc. all great. Comfortable for larger folks, the wider pedal box, leg room and egress the biggest difference to the Elan. When locked the car is very secure; took an auto club guy a long time to get the car open for me last summer. :oops:

I would probably prefer an Alfa GTV if comparing to the commonly available Federal Plus 2 four speed over here. :D Just my thoughts.
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PostPost by: miked » Wed Nov 09, 2022 8:05 pm

Love both. I have run 3 plus 2.
Plus 2 is great tourer to go on holiday in with room and boot space. Handles better fully loaded than light loaded IMO. More tame and civilsed as noted above about having widows open and passing air flow not rushing in. Good sound proofing. Nice handling but not as agile with the wider track. You don't have the same inclination to dart about and be a busy Bee which is a good thing. I had no problem with a 3.77 diff going to France etc from the Northwest of UK. Days out with picnic and deck chairs and a load of Lotus swap parts. I got intoxicated with S4 Zetec power and getting back in my Plus felt a bit big. I sold my last car but know if had I had run it some more would have got back in tune with it. This works both ways. If you run the Plus 2 a lot and drop back into an Elan that th3n feels tiny and noisey with the hood up. You have to acclimatise.
The Plus 2 is every bit a Lotus and very enjoyable to drive. I only drove an E type once and know nothing about them, it felt awful. Perhaps it was a dog. Drive quality was not anything like I expected. Felt rough. Probably a tired dog so may be unfair.
Also look at the price of a decent Plus 2. Lot of car for the money.

Hope this helps. :D

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PostPost by: 2tmike » Thu Nov 10, 2022 8:42 am

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experience of the plus 2, it does seem that one will fit the bill for touring with a bit of fun added !
Now many happy hours to spend trawling adverts ......
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