Lotus Elan

Buying a Plus 2

PostPost by: knatch » Thu May 24, 2018 1:57 pm

Hi,

I’m looking to purchase a Plus 2 for a daily commute c10 miles. (I used to have a MGB but now need 4 seats)
As a newbie to Plus 2s, having limited mechanical skills (!), and being based in Dublin, any purchase will require somewhat of a leap of faith. Doing some on-line research, Paul Matty would appear to have a trustworthy reputation, so an option would be to use him to source a car. Additional cost but hopefully guarantees I don’t get sold a dud...
Thoughts / suggestions welcome
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PostPost by: Foxie » Fri May 25, 2018 12:39 am

I have owned my Plus 2 for 33 year, it gets better with time. Looked after, it is very reliable.

But I think the first thing you have to bear in mind is that any +2 will be at least 43 years old, and could be a possible minefield.

Also it is nowhere as rugged as an MGB, and it would be fragile in a crash.

In my opinion the 2+2 concept was more a marketing strategy than a practicality. There are lots of other +2 options

Paul Matty are a very reliable outfit, and you could do a lot worse than to talk to them, or even arrange a visit.

If you are down South Wexford way, you could give me a call :)
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PostPost by: Bombay Racing Green » Fri May 25, 2018 6:48 am

Hi and welcome,

If you’re on your way down to see Foxie you can stop by my place. I’m in between Wicklow town and Brittas Bay.

I briefly had a running +2 but sold that on to fund the Elan purchase. I now have a shell of a project. You are in luck if you want a +2 as there are a lot more of them in Ireland than Elans. I was told that back in the day the +2 was considered a saloon for insurance purposes thus attracted a lower premium than the Elan/Europa. I certainly know of two around here. One in a field in Ashford and another up in Rathdrum and that’s just in Wicklow.

Just as an aside, I’ve been hankering after an Excel as a commuter car. They get very good reviews and are still reasonably priced. They are also in the 30 year bracket for the NCT exemption. Food for thought.

Regards,
Pete
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1968 +2
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PostPost by: JonB » Fri May 25, 2018 7:48 am

Plus 2s are great cars, but due to their age and relative fragility any car you buy - even a concours example - is going to need to be well looked after. If you are not comfortable doing this work yourself, you will need deep pockets to pay others to do so, and you'll also need to find a competent garage that knows the cars. Not easy.

Have you tried the rear seats out? I agree with Foxie's point that they're not really usable unless you are transporting 5-10 year old children. Get in one and this will become apparent.

On the other hand:

  • They are comfortable, fast and fairly refined.
  • They have a lot of what we might call modern conveniences; electric windows, rear demister, puddle lights, door warning lights (red lights on the doors themselves), fog lights (S models), inertia reel seat belts, etc. We take these features for granted nowadays but 45 years ago they were the height of luxury.
  • Typical problems are well known as are the remedies (like any other classic, I suppose).
  • Zero body rust. (Actually, you swap rust for stress cracks!)
  • Still available relatively cheaply (not from specialists like Matty, though).

As I went through this buying process six months ago, I can offer some other advice.

  • Don't buy the first one you come across. I confess that I did exactly that, although so far I've not regretted it.
  • Get the car on a ramp and look underneath it. If you are not sure what to look for, hire an expert or ask for advice here.
  • Plus 2s tend to have very heavy clutches, or so it's said, and the 5 speed gearbox on the S130/5 doesn't have a great gear change. These reduce the driving pleasure greatly (I have a 130/5 myself, so I know).
  • Be wary of oil leaks from the engine, gearbox or differential. Many engines leak oil and it is a lot of work to put right (seems the most common oil leak is from the front timing chest and to replace the gasket requires cylinder head removal).
  • A car that is regularly used is going to be more reliable than a car that spends all its time in a garage. Check the mileage on the last MOT and compare it with what is shown on the odometer to get an idea of how much use it has had in the last year.
  • Look out for stress cracks in the bodywork, especially around the door handles, A pillars and bonnet. Harmless, but expensive to correct.
  • If the paint is in bad condition, walk away. A proper "back to gel coat" respray will cost you as much as £10k.
  • Do not underestimate the cost of parts for these cars. Especially items that are specific to them, such as nosecone badges or steering wheels. Shockingly expensive, when you find them.

Good luck...!
1973 Elan Plus 2S 130/5 - UK - Chassis 50/1115L
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Fri May 25, 2018 8:32 am

Vince Reynard on here is selling his yellow +130. A long list of problems were documented here but he has fastidiously worked through them and his car is probably one of the best around. You’d do well to contact him for a chat. I have his no if you pm me
Steve

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PostPost by: vincereynard » Fri May 25, 2018 10:27 am

elanfan1 wrote:Vince Reynard on here is selling his yellow +130. A long list of problems were documented here but he has fastidiously worked through them and his car is probably one of the best around. You’d do well to contact him for a chat. I have his no if you pm me


Cheers Steve. Money's in a brown envelope in the usual place. 8)
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PostPost by: davidj » Fri May 25, 2018 11:56 am

Morning,

I did consider a +2 as my daily transport to lug my kids around I when I brought pne, I quickly realised, for all the reasons above, not forgetting the 3000 mile service and oil change, it is not a practical proposition, . Even a good quality one would deteriate very quickly. I would also be concerned about it being nicked, as they do not have any of the modern security features and are now quite desirable. Mine does not even have a steering lock!

Still a great car. Only this morning, someone at work complemented me on it parked in the carpark. However, I would not wish to use it on a cold, snowy, wet day!

Just my thoughts,

David
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PostPost by: JonB » Fri May 25, 2018 2:09 pm

davidj wrote:... I would not wish to use it on a cold, snowy, wet day!


Due to the recent bad weather round these parts, I've been sort of forced to drive mine in the wet and cold. It was fine, despite a small leak in the driver's side door seal. In fact, I had to turn the heating down, surprisingly.

Not sure about driving in the snow, but I suspect it'll handle that too, given the state of the nearly new tyres. I draw the line at ice, but then any car is going to have difficulty with that.
1973 Elan Plus 2S 130/5 - UK - Chassis 50/1115L
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PostPost by: knatch » Fri May 25, 2018 8:22 pm

Dear all

Thank you all for your posts. It’s a great forum and I can feel the passion about the Elan from you all. Which makes me all the more interested in the car !! Much appreciated. Plenty of food for thought.
Foxie/Bombay Racing Green - would love to meet up sometime me time and pick your brains some more

Richard
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