Lotus Elan

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

PostPost by: JonB » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:54 am

Hi

I would like to find an on-the-road +2 in good condition in the UK, preferably in the South. What sort of things should I look out for? Some stuff I identified so far (other than general condition):-

  • Everything should work properly (electrics, engine, gearbox, heater, etc etc).
  • Unmolested example, properly maintained, no leaks, rattles, etc.
  • 130bhp engine / 5-speed gearbox / original air filter.
  • CV joint conversion (is the doughnut design really that bad?).
  • Budget around £15,000.

As you can see I am looking for something close to original (for insurance purposes) that's had a few non performance upgrades. If it has electronic (points free) ignition that's a bonus as I do not fancy the aggro involved in getting to the distributor cap.

I've looked around and can't see any clear guide to the various versions of the Plus2. There is a general "Elan buyer's guide" in the Wiki with lots of good points but I am not sure a seller is going to have the patience for me to run through all this. Maybe an enthusiast?

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks
JonB
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PostPost by: jimj » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:06 pm

I`m no expert but I wouldn`t worry about doughnuts or not, there`s pros and cons, mostly pros for the CV conversion as you`re not looking for a top end, mint car, but doughnuts are fine. THE most important, as in expensive to rectify, is bodywork. Other issues cost £100s to sort, paintwork £1000s. Rot free chassis is the other big issue.
I reckon that anyone with common sense can easily identify a car that has not been neglected and, more importantly, loved and cherished. Look for that and you won`t go far wrong.
£15k should buy a decent car privately, if you see one, post the details here for others to comment and maybe someone local to it will accompany you on an inspection.
Jim
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:08 pm

Here's one that looks in your ball park http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C926211

Be quick and take a knowledgeable friend, there are very few +2's of any note under £15,000 these days.
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:11 pm

Hi Alan

There's this one https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/122776032706

And this one https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/222685511532 although the paint's a bit tatty.

I do not know any experts, I'm afraid. The car you posted is in Bexleyheath and I have already contacted the owner to ask for more pictures. Good spot, thanks! Anyone nearby?
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PostPost by: martinbrowning » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:59 pm

Hi Jon, For what it's worth , of the three cars highlighted the roman purple one seems to be the "most honest" - even though it has had a replacement Spyder chassis. (Nothing wrong with that of course if you can live with a non standard item).

Thoughts on the other two:
- Red one - why did it take 4 years to register the 1970 car and where has it been? Also heavily tarted up with incorrect dash/interior for a 1970 plus 2S. No mention of the chassis.

- Blue one - Seemingly correct interior but Spyder chassis and, IMHO, horrible wheels.

Just my thoughts....good luck with your search

Martin B
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72 Europa Special, 72 Sprint, 72 Plus 2
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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:13 pm

Yes I agree about the wheels!

Spyder chassis is no big deal to me, I am looking for a driver, not a show car - but as pristine as possible, naturally. I like the look of the red car but have no idea about what parts were fitted to what versions, or how to tell them apart. I couldn't find a good summary of the differences between the variants.

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?
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PostPost by: phunter121 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:15 pm

Another possibility in Bedfordshire
http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C894351
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:17 pm

I saw the blue car (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1971-LOTUS-E ... rmvSB=true) go through Anglia car auctions April classic car sale, along with this one, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1969-LOTUS-E ... SwrddY76Ih, both apparently bought by the same dealer. The blue one went for just under £8k plus premium, about £8.5k total & in my opinion it was about £7k too much. It was one of the worst +2's I've seen for a very long time, you really need to have seen it ! The paint had huge blisters all over & was flaking off in places, the interior was horrible, with the dashboard lacquer all cracked & the drivers seat having completely collapsed just some of it's problems. The engine bay had been sprayed with under body schutz, along with many of the components & it ran terribly, missing & coughing it's way through the auction. It looked a real heap & I couldn't believe it made anywhere near what it did, I genuinely expected about £3-4k max. Couldn't help smiling to myself at the dealers description of 'Shabby Chic'. The red one is a nicer thing altogether, but still a long way from perfect. It could however make a nice car with a few grand & a good bit of time thrown at it. It went for a little over £13k including premium. At the same sale, there was another blue/silver +2 S, again not a very nice car. it looked rough inside & out & wouldn't even start & run, so was pushed through the auction, that went for nearly £9.5k including premium. You really need to go see cars in the flesh to get any idea what they are really like, & be prepared for your time to be wasted with some of them.

Regards, Tim
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:37 pm

One thing you need to bear in mind is to do bodywork usually costs twice what you expect it too.....

CV drive shafts are a must imho not because the rotoflex set up is bad but because you just can't find quality doughnuts anymore. For me the one place i spend quite a lot of time is looking at the chassis front uprights, what happens is the drain holes get blocked and they fill with water corroding the upright from the inside. A tip is to poke a piece of wire etc through the drain hole and see if you get wet or buy a cheap HD Endoscope from ebay for about £10 that hooks upto your phone, then have a good look inside.

I know this probably isn't what your looking for (more of an expensive project car, probably more 10-12k imho) but if i had cash free right now i'd be looking at this http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C668541 and just run it as it is :) but would ultimately need 8-10k spending on it (wants paint etc) but i just love how un-messed with it appears to be :)

BTW, Oil leaks on a Lotus are a good thing..... It was the Lotus anti corrosion set up, cover everything in engine oil and it won't go rusty :P think most Lotus elans leave their mark.
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PostPost by: vincereynard » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:14 pm

Grizzly wrote:I know this probably isn't what your looking for (more of an expensive project car, probably more 10-12k imho) but if i had cash free right now i'd be looking at this http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C668541 and just run it as it is :) but would ultimately need 8-10k spending on it (wants paint etc) but i just love how un-messed with it appears to be :)


It's a very old Ad. I think it was sold before I bought Toad.

JonB - Forget this year. They are nigh on 50 years old and the condition relys largely on what has been done to them in the past couple of decades. I.E. Anything! Learn what you want. Learn what to look for.
Take it as read - restored / rebuilt does not necessarily mean a toot. Good Luck.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:47 pm

vincereynard wrote:
Grizzly wrote:I know this probably isn't what your looking for (more of an expensive project car, probably more 10-12k imho) but if i had cash free right now i'd be looking at this http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C668541 and just run it as it is :) but would ultimately need 8-10k spending on it (wants paint etc) but i just love how un-messed with it appears to be :)


It's a very old Ad. I think it was sold before I bought Toad.

Ahh ok, odd that the add Listing Date is 12-Oct-2017. It's also still live on their web page but that doesn't mean much could just be for website foot traffic.
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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:30 pm

I will probably go look at the purple one.

These cars use the Herald front suspension. That means trunnions that need to be lubricated regularly with EP90, and pattern replacements are really bad. There was a huge thread about it on one of the Triumph forums, which I ploughed through. Something about microscopic cracks in the leading edge of the thread (due to poor machining and / or lower quality steel) and the centre hole being drilled off centre / not stepped. Ugh.

I'm not into that green car, it looks like a heap and is way too much. Rather horrified at these auction stories and I think I will leave that dealer well alone! The blue car may have been a contender but it is obviously a heap too - thanks for the "heads up"! Guess it's a private ad.. but I think it may take a lot of travelling around to find the right car. That is the problem with living here, it's a good spot but the arse end of nowhere as far as buying rare items is concerned.

Hence my question (on another thread) about local owners.. let's hope there is someone out there

:)
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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:00 pm

vincereynard wrote:JonB - Forget this year. They are nigh on 50 years old and the condition relys largely on what has been done to them in the past couple of decades. I.E. Anything! Learn what you want. Learn what to look for.
Take it as read - restored / rebuilt does not necessarily mean a toot. Good Luck.


Meaning by that I won't find anything before Xmas?

I'm going to have to ask a lot of questions before I know what to look for. To be fair, that was my purpose in starting the thread in the first place, although I value all your views on the cars presented thus far.

How about a checklist? Is there one, other than the one I already alluded to?
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:51 pm

As you're asking about what look out for - the chassis needs to be sound or had arecentish replacement but no one has mentioned sill members. Great lumps of steel within the sill to help strengthen the car and to mount seatbelts to. The job of replacing them isn't the end of the world but is a pita.
Steve

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PostPost by: Grizzly » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:01 pm

The Elan and Elan +2 suffer from similar issues so you can use Elan Buyers guides as reference, the only +2 guide that springs to mind is http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Practical-Cla ... SwBLlVcuqY you might want to read chapter 4 of Miles Wilkins How to restore fibreglass bodywork as well.
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