Lotus Elan

Buying plus 2 advice

PostPost by: Ginettaman » Sun Nov 05, 2023 9:55 am

Hello everyone Im new to the forum. Over the years I've had and restored lots of plastic cars and I've always wanted a plus 2. I've researched them but never found much about originality evidence. Eg does the vin number give essential details like colour engine type gearbox etc. for example what would be on vin plate for a 73 car which is blue with a big valve and 5 speed box? Does it make a big difference in prices if these main items are not correct. Eg a red car that was blue? I don't want to buy a car which could have all the wrong parts to original really. How can I identify a big valve twink? How can I ID a Lotus replacement galvanized chassis? Does anyone else produce them other than Spyder? Should a 73 have Weber or dellorto carbs? Thanks in advance.
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PostPost by: cliveyboy » Mon Nov 06, 2023 8:28 am

Ginettaman
It really depends on what your budget is and if you particularly need a period correct car.
Most Elans/Plus 2 have some modifications and most will have had a replacement chassis by now.
My Elan has Lotus galvanised replacement chassis and has a serial number LR****
Spyder chassis are quite different and fairly obvious to spot.
Big Valve engines. Most cars will have had a rebuild by now and lots of owners take opportunity to make it a Big Valve spec.
Plus 2 are much cheaper than Elans and you can get a lot of car for reasonable money. There appear to be some on the market at moment starting at £18K. I have not seen them up close but one or two I would be tempted to go look at.
If you want the period correct, previous restoration/excellent condition then the budget goes £30K+
From memory this year the Plus 2s that caught my eye were in the £20-26K mark.
If I was buying a Plus 2 to drive and enjoy (Not a period correct show car) I would not be worried about non original colour or chassis mods. Spyder do great chassis, I personally like the Lotus one but would not rule out a Spyder if the rest of the car was what I liked.
There are plenty of Plus 2 and they are not rare, so modifications do not destroy their value unlike some high end show winning exotica. ( Zetec conversions are a different matter and I am still not sure what a second hand Zetec would retail for as they are a lot less to judge for average market values)
My advice is always buy the car YOU want (not what you think others want you to have). As long as you pay a sensible price for it the value will always be there.
Every owner I have talked to and advised always starts off thinking the best car would be a period correct one. They are correct from the point of view that they will always be the most sort after and easiest to sell. But also most expensive and you have to live with the issues that can be engineered out with some subtle mods.
Go look at as many as you can. You are already doing it the right way by seeking as much knowledge as possible from owners. Ask us lots of questions and we look forward to hearing about the car when you get one.
Clive
1972 Elan Sprint FHC
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PostPost by: JonB » Mon Nov 06, 2023 10:27 am

Hi Ginnettaman

I went through exactly the same question a few years back: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=40681

In those days I used to write often on the forum.. not so much now, though.

Good luck in your search.

Cheers
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PostPost by: alanr » Mon Nov 06, 2023 11:27 am

Hi and welcome Ginettaman,
With a name like Ginettaman surely you should be looking for something like a G21?...lol!

Seriously though. You need to spend a few hours with a large pot of coffee and a packet of biscuits reading all the thoughts and issues surrounding +2 and Elan replacement chassis that have been discussed endlessly in the past on this forum.The issues of a fitted replacement chassis are not straightforward!
Some would say the word 'chassis' is taboo because of potential DVLA issues and is now supposed to be referred to as a 'Subframe'.
However...Just a few quick thoughts..
Re:- Galvanised Lotus chassis. I think you will be hard pressed to find a +2 fitted with one because replacement Lotus chassis have not been galvanised for some years now due to it was found that the galvanising heating process warped the lightweight chassis quite badly. Replacement original style chassis though ungalvanised are freely available which would then obviously have been painted.
Then there is the replacement Spyder chassis which some say has the potential to cause issues with DVLA and could leave you with an undesirable Q registration plate.
So with the above issues in mind there is a thought process and strong argument that says that a refurbed original chassis is the way to go to forgo these potential issues with DVLA and what it says on the identification underbonnet plate.
My own car still has it's perfectly good and sound heavily waxoiled original chassis however if I do get issues with it in the future I think a repair and refurb would be my choice and that way it would retain it's original identity and numbers.

Good luck!

Alan
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PostPost by: berni29 » Mon Nov 06, 2023 12:53 pm

Hi There

Great that you are considering a +2

Along with the rest of the market the value of +2's has come down quite a bit recently. In my experience if you buy privately you can get a near perfect car that has been nut and bolt restore for approx £20k. This one linked below went for 10.5k at the weekend, and seemed quite nice.

https://angliacarauctions.co.uk/classic ... --2s 

RE original chassis VS replaced in my experience (and I have had at least 8 of these cars, with 3 at the moment), an original chassis will be end of life. They do not just rust, but they crack also. There may well be unicorn cars out there where this is not true of course. I personally have never had a problem with Spyder chassis cars and personally value those chassis above the standard ones. Especially the later versions. Two of my current crop have spyder chassis, and one an original style (though modified to take a Zetec engine). The correct term for them is subframes these days.

I would buy a car based on it's overall condition, and your priorities. If you are great at prepping/spraying GRP cars already then head for one with poor paint but otherwise mechanically excellent. If you never want to touch a piece of sandpaper again but love the spanners, then a freshly painted car may be an option if it is well done. You will need a bit of patience. I would avoid cars that are crash repaired and have had new sections, especially the nose. I have has a couple of nose jobs before and they never seem to be quite right. Having said that the original undamaged bodyshells can be less than perfect.

Lotus News has some cars that require assembly that seem fairly priced, but I have not seen them. Ebay can also be good.

Try not to buy sight unseen unless it's a no brainer. These also happen sometimes. There have been a couple like that recently around the 10-12k mark that I would have had myself if I had been faster.

All the best and looking forwards to seeing pictures of your future purchase.

Berni
Zetec+ 2 under const, also 130S. And another 130S for complete restoration. Previously Racing green +2s with green tints. Yellow +2 and a couple of others, all missed. Great to be back 04/11/2021 although its all starting to get a bit out of control.
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PostPost by: Donels » Mon Nov 06, 2023 2:21 pm

I would suggest you ignore the following piece of advice:-

“Re:- Galvanised Lotus chassis. I think you will be hard pressed to find a +2 fitted with one because replacement Lotus chassis have not been galvanised for some years now due to it was found that the galvanising heating process warped the lightweight chassis quite badly“

I have a galvanised chassis. It’s not distorted or misaligned but more importantly it’s not corroded despite being 35 years old.
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PostPost by: alanr » Mon Nov 06, 2023 3:59 pm

None of the usual suppliers currently recommend Galvanising a Lotus chassis due to the potential for distortion which has happened in the past!

Alan.
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PostPost by: miked » Mon Nov 06, 2023 4:45 pm

I have said this many times. If you start with a badly made chassis from a poor jig then you end up with an out of shape result before it goes to be galvanised. Some of the chassis's produced around 20 years ago were out of shape from the jig. I rejected two before having to go for a Spyder one. Stood on top you could see the rear cross member not at 90 degrees to the centre piece. Net result was a bigger gap beteen the lleft side turrets.
Mike

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PostPost by: Ginettaman » Mon Nov 06, 2023 5:40 pm

Thanks for the replies and yes I have restored a Ginetta G21s plus 5 other G cars so fancied a loads of trouble!. Take the point on galvanized or not but I do want a clean chassis not one where I'll want to remove the body to paint. Biggest issue is getting good information from the sellers before travelling huge distances to view. Some have no clue what they have ? The main worry is buying something stolen or with incorrect ID then finding out after! There are a few fake Ginetta around Copies etc.
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Mon Nov 06, 2023 6:08 pm

Hi,
I am reading this topic with interest.
It seems that you are capable of restoring a car properly but you have not told us whether you want a project or a good finished car which is ready for use.
If the latter, then there is a very nice Plus 2 for sale by a friend. It is red with a silver roof, long time ownership and in very nice condition. The owner has three Lotus cars and knows what he is doing. I would recommend this one if you are interested. If so then I will put you in contact with him. He does not use this forum.
Eric in Burnley
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Tue Nov 07, 2023 7:32 am

Red +2 with silver roof for sale on this site.
Very nice with new galvanised Chassis.
Alan
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PostPost by: Ginettaman » Tue Nov 07, 2023 10:12 am

Want a finished car really but don't mind of jobs. So if any members are selling I can certainly have a look.
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PostPost by: Ginettaman » Tue Nov 07, 2023 10:21 am

Red one looks great but prefer a 5 speed for longer runs to Silverstone I do. Wiring looks original with relays under the bonnet? Is that correct? I would think many will have been rewired by now however. May look at one this weekend.
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Tue Nov 07, 2023 2:52 pm

Hi,
The car I am suggesting is in Blackpool. I will send you a Private Message with the phone number.
I think you can receive PM`s but may not yet be allowed to send them. Let me know if you do or don`t get it.
Cheers
Eric
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PostPost by: Ginettaman » Tue Nov 07, 2023 8:24 pm

By chance I now have 2 to view in Blackpool so going Sunday. It’s about 3 hours drive each way so I must be mad. One looks better with new paint and interior but the other probably goes better by the sound of it! Both appear expensive but will see.
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