Lotus Elan

Looking to buy a +2, what to look for?

PostPost by: Grizzly » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:25 pm

You might want to have a very good look at the front windscreen too, as many will tell you replacing the screen on the bonded type +2 can be a royal pain thanks to the chrome trim.
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PostPost by: draenog » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:42 am

JonB wrote: There is another one nearby (relatively) here: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/292308290827

Not quite the car I was after being a standard +2S, but seems to have had quite a bit of work done and looks quite good. It obviously has an aftermarket gear knob and it looks as if the wooden dash's lacquer is cracked. Quite expensive too! Thoughts?

Looks to have had a nice paint job, though the advert doesn't say who did it (as a recent respray problems may show up later). Plus point is that it has its original engine (matching numbers). It's also supposedly on its original chassis, which I'm not sure is a good point or not (you'd need to examine it very carefully, especially the front turrets).

Apart from the gear knob, the other things I noticed... The cover on the steering wheel is unstitched (it may be a new cover placed over the existing one), the car appears to have a non-standard front spoiler (I've never seen one on a +2 before?), and the area under the sills should be painted black. It also appears to have a wrong world championship badge on the front nearside wing where the ELAN +2 badge should be. The correct 3 year championship badge is missing from the rear nearside wing as is the S badge from the rear offside wing. Finally, the trim is missing from the air intake (the "moustache"). Now taking off my anorak :)

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PostPost by: elan66 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:03 am

Hi Jon
you could happily look at my plus 2,but as it's just going back together again it's probably not much use to you unless you want to see a chassis and suspension bits.
In the great scheme of things i wouldn't be concerned over the insurance issue concerning originality as long as the car is not heavily modded,good cars do come up every now and again but you have to remember they were always rarer than "baby" elans and lots were broken up to rebuild elans and there are still plenty still waiting to be restored.
Plus 2's are more expensive on average than elans to restore so when buying you really need to decide what you are going to use the car for and exactly how fussy you are going to be in regard to paint /interior finish etc.
Main big potential costs chassis/paintwork/engine but a lot of these are also dependant on how hands on you are with a spanner.The other thing i would say is if you want a good plus 2 be prepared to travel,i had a 12 hr round trip to get my project but would have travelled further if i had to.Paul Matty has a couple of plus 2's well within your budget that you could improve at leisure but if you have the funds sitting there the right car will come along if you are patient and are prepared to travel.
As an aside don't discount zetec powered cars though they are generally more than your budget but sometimes they come up close to your budget
good luck feel free to get in touch
Paul
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PostPost by: JonB » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:25 am

Well, I have been looking at some books, which I have ordered:

  • Lotus Elan Restoration Guide - Gordon Lund (the extended, later edition)
  • Owner's Workshop Manual - Brooklands books
  • The Practical Classics back issue linked to previously

I'm also considering the book about the twink by Miles Wilkins (another Brooklands book) but I've had a look on Amazon and it looks like it was written in the '60s. You can tell because of the anachronistic language and writing style. Anyway... I think I can manage an engine strip down and rebuild if necessary. Most of the tools are already in my garage (including engine hoist and stand) and I have some prior experience on Triumph four pot engines.

Hopefully these books are the right choices.

An unrelated question - where are the safe jacking points? I read that the rear suspension arms can be damaged if you try to use a jack on them. I'll need to look under any prospective purchase, somehow.

[Edit: What the heck... I just bought the engine book, too!]
Last edited by JonB on Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: JonB » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:38 am

draenog wrote:

Looks to have had a nice paint job, though the advert doesn't say who did it (as a recent respray problems may show up later). Plus point is that it has its original engine (matching numbers). It's also supposedly on its original chassis, which I'm not sure is a good point or not (you'd need to examine it very carefully, especially the front turrets).

Apart from the gear knob, the other things I noticed... The cover on the steering wheel is unstitched (it may be a new cover placed over the existing one), the car appears to have a non-standard front spoiler (I've never seen one on a +2 before?), and the area under the sills should be painted black. It also appears to have a wrong world championship badge on the front nearside wing where the ELAN +2 badge should be. The correct 3 year championship badge is missing from the rear nearside wing as is the S badge from the rear offside wing. Finally, the trim is missing from the air intake (the "moustache"). Now taking off my anorak :)

Rob.


I can ask about the paint job. I think the car isn't going anywhere soon at that price. The steering wheel cover is a cheap aftermarket job, you can get them from Halfords and other places. Not too concerned, but it is there for a reason - what's it hiding? I'm not too bothered by the spoiler, would be easy to remove. As to the missing black paint sills - do you mean the strip where the sill strengthener plate is bolted on? If so, I can paint that myself as it is not terribly visible and it's easy to do.
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PostPost by: RichC » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:48 am

have a look at this Jon. There may be some sleepers here near you.
http://elanregistry.org/list_cars.php
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PostPost by: JonB » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:21 am

RichC wrote:have a look at this Jon. There may be some sleepers here near you.
http://elanregistry.org/list_cars.php


Is it considered good etiquette to contact the owners out of the blue?
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:31 am

Lotus, The Elite, Elan & Europa by Chris Harvey ( ISBN 0 902280 85 6) is another good reference & info book, it deals with buying, restoring & running the cars + competition & mods etc, a worthwhile addition to your Lotus library.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lotus-The-El ... 0005.m1851
Ideally you want to go see as many cars as you can, even ones more or less ruled out, it's just as important to see what bad cars are like to help you know when you've found a good one. If it's privately advertised & distance is the only thing putting you off potentially looking at a particular car, ask the vendor if they could meet you half way. This will also give you an idea of the vendors confidence in their car, if they are happy to do a 200 mile round trip to show you the car, a) they are serious about wanting to move the car on so possibly a deal to be done, & b) it shows they are confident about the mechanical abilities of the car. That said, I would always aim to conclude any deal at the vendors home address for obvious security reasons. You don't want to be buying a £15-£20k car from 'some bloke' in a pub car park :lol:
The steering wheel glove on the yellow car may just be to add a bit of thickness to the rim, they are quite skinny as std & some, me included, prefer the look & feel of a more meaty wheel. One of the reasons not too many cars still have their original steering wheels.

Regards, Tim
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PostPost by: Rich135 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:37 pm

Jon,

You are welcome to come and see mine in Guildford, Surrey. I looked at quite a few before I found it, and I realised you just can't tell much from photos. They all look great in the pics, but when you arrive you will very quickly find either a heap, or a good example. Obviously you still then need to check engine, chassis etc.

I knew as soon as I saw mine that it was the one, as the condition of the bodywork (the expensive bit to put right) was spot on, everything worked, including all of the lights (puddle lights, engine bay, boot etc) and it had a good owner that really cared for it.

Price wise, £15k should get you a reasonable car, but I found I had to spend more then that to get one I was happy with. The market might have softened a little since I bought mine 18 months ago, but I would still be looking at a budgeted nearer £20k to get the right car. Ultimately it depends how fussy you are - I am very fussy :-)

Cheers

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PostPost by: JonB » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:48 pm

Hi Rich

Would love to see it and will PM you later. Hmm, maybe I should go see the yellow car in Fareham.

Cheers
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PostPost by: Rich135 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:19 pm

JonB wrote:Hi Rich

Would love to see it and will PM you later. Hmm, maybe I should go see the yellow car in Fareham.

Cheers
JonB

No problem Jon. Definitely worth looking at the yellow one, it looks nice and sounds like an interesting car.

I work at home on Friday's so am always around, but otherwise we can meet up at a weekend.

Cheers

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PostPost by: Grizzly » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:40 pm

JonB wrote:An unrelated question - where are the safe jacking points? I read that the rear suspension arms can be damaged if you try to use a jack on them. I'll need to look under any prospective purchase, somehow.
]

elanfrontrearhub.jpg and
I'd recommend you don't jack the rear up as per the picture!! it's a daft idea because the rear arms are tube and a miss placed jack will bend them screwing up the Geo or damage the brake disk which is also very close...... The picture for the front under the anti roll bar/strut is fine though....

Personally i either use drive up ramps or a good 18" of 2x4 across the big grp box section under the sill just in front of the rear wheel (not the lip the inner sill is bolted to) and be careful it doesn't slip!! don't trust the handbrake use chocks.
(this is a picture from Google so i hope the owner doesn't mind me using it)
20060625-3.jpg and


I'd recommend NOT!! using the original jacking tubes with the original jack even if the sill's have been replaced and never jack it up on the front or back!! (In-front of the front wheels or behind the rear wheels as those area's are very weak especially on a +2) Ideally you want to jack it up on the chassis but thats not always possible, but if you go under for any reason make sure there is a stand under some thing metal.

The best way of jacking the rear is with a block as per Jason1 's picture 5 posts down lotus-gearbox-f37/newbe-needs-change-rotoflex-t25396.html but you need a low profile jack as well.

BTW, your correct the rear wishbones are some thing you need to check, they need to be straight with no bow because if some one has bent them in the past it screws up the geo of that back wheel and it's fairly common.
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PostPost by: JonB » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:56 pm

Interesting.

How did an Elan Plus 2 driver swap the spare wheel out after a puncture, back in the day?

I mean, it must have a scissor jack and other tools, right? Are there specific points for placing the scissor jack in an emergency?

Cheers
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:56 pm

The +2 has steel sill rail inserts with jacking points built in, the ones Chris refers to in his quote
"I'd recommend NOT!! using the original jacking tubes with the original jack even if the sill's have been replaced"
I would tend to agree if the sill rails haven't been replaced, or you are unsure of their condition, but if they are sound, in my opinion they are perfectly satisfactory to use in an emergency, maybe even better than trying to locate a safe jacking point with the car sitting as low as it will with a puncture. I'm sure that's how many rear wishbones get bent, it's about the only metal component you can get near with a jack, & with a flat rear tyre, it's difficult to see what you're doing. You still need a suitable jack with a locating 'peg' though. In the 'workshop', you're better off going with the advise in Chris's previous post.

Regards, Tim
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PostPost by: JonB » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:50 pm

Flipping heck, this is like dropping down a rabbit hole!

I suppose once I actually see one in the flesh it will become much clearer. Will I be able to determine the condition of the rails? I think not, judging by the many pictures I have seen! In order to change a wheel by the roadside I would need a mallet too, so than I can loosen the "knock on" spinner thingie. I have a rubber mallet, that should suffice.

Now to viewing, as I said I think I will look at the purple one on Saturday (note to self: Arrange it!) and I will take a torch and small screwdriver for poking at any rusty bits I see (to check for perforation). I did order a borehole camera (kind of miniature camera on a flexible cable that connects to a phone) although I doubt it'll get here by Saturday. I was thinking I could use it to look at those hard to reach places (like the suspension turrets and underside as it's got 6" clearance).

I'm beginning to think that if this car is any good I will take it despite being the first one I am viewing as I do not really think it is going to depreciate. I can always sell it on if it turns out to be too much work (or not buy at all - a heap is obvious to see even for a Plus 2 newbie like me).

I have already ordered an Oxford 1:42 model of it - in yellow.... just for fun.. :wink:
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