Lotus Elan

Build a 'new' Elan?

PostPost by: mmatthej1 » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:44 am

In a whimsical way, I wonder if it would be possible/economic to think of building a 'new' Elan from available components?

Accepting that such a creation would lack best provenanance, use of new chassis, body moulding & running gear seems possible - almost wonder why no-one seems to do this already, in days when many re-creations are out there & available for £......................

(Not sure which engine/gearbox combo would be optimum, given that the 'new' Elan is never going to be viewed as original - Zetec? Should be possible to build in enhancements in various areas, for easier everyday usability)
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PostPost by: Steve G » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:56 am

I think it's because it would cost nearly the same, if not more, than restoring an actual one, by the time you had all the body parts made. Then there are many almost unobtainable items that most restorers look for when viewing sheds, and after all that you have to get it approved and registered, pay car tax on it every year, non classic car insurance and it would be worth a fraction of a fully restored original Elan, which can sell for £45-50K, which is why so many are being so extensively and expensively restored.

I think that's why it doesn't happen, it's theoretically possible but what's the point?
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PostPost by: Sundaydriver » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:14 am

Well I never...

I'm just researching the exact same idea.
To track it only might be cheaper a build ?

New Bodyshell £4k
Chassis £2k
Engine - £4k
Gearbox £?
Diff £?
Prop / driveshafts £?
Brakes £?
Glass

The List goes on...

I think a new build 26R would make
most sense. And I'm not saying that
because I'd want to recoup value.
It's just, why not build the ultimate ?


If you were to register / IVA it , would
it pass I wonder ?
I'm thinking of up to date safety specs etc.
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PostPost by: jono » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:46 am

Evante?
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:03 pm

An interesting question is the reverse question - what cant you easily buy new or make for an Elan

My off the top of my head list of things you cant buy or easily make for an Elan or Plus 2 is:

Head light vacuum pods
Original brake callipers ( but lots of "as new" rebuilds available)
Girling brake booster if you want one)
Original steel wheels ( but lots of new alloy alternatives)
Plus 2 and S3/4 door window frames and lock hardware (S1 /2 available)
Rear screen for a FHC and Plus 2 in glass ( but available in polycarbonate)
Rear boot lock and hinges.
Rear lights metal back plates ( may S4 still can be sourced new? ) and front side lights indicators for a Plus 2
Standard pedal assembly ( bias bar dual brake assembly available new)
interior mirror ( though I am sure you could source something new that is close to original in appearance)
Colin Chapman steering wheel ( though a one off reproduction could not cost much more than the second hand ones go for)
other items ?


Everything else - body, chassis, engine, gearbox, diff, suspension components and much of the trim and electrics you can buy new in original form or in upgraded form visually the same as the original.

cheers
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PostPost by: sprint4dm » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:55 pm

About 8 years ago I sold a mostly complete but in pieces S1 Elan to a very well known Elan race car builder and all they were really interested was the chassis plate a couple of odd bits and pieces I think door hinges and catches they took the engine just to have in stock and left everything else, they manufacture and sell most things for Elans and could easily build one from scratch but they obviously wanted the identity of a real Elan, the new old car is now racing in Germany I believe.

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PostPost by: mmatthej1 » Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:06 pm

Evante - funnily enough, I've just been 'watching' a project-level one sell on E-bay for just under £6k. I was tempted but resisted, tho' I think the buyer may well have got something of a bargain, noting a restored one out there at £16K !

I've never seen an Evante 'in the flesh' - they certainly look essentially Elan-like, though the rear spoiler is a major eye-sore and the front is somehow not as elegant as the Lotus..........

But 'yes' the Evante is relevant to my basic point - a new Elan!

(wonder where the mould for THAT body is these days??)
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PostPost by: mmatthej1 » Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:14 pm

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PostPost by: adigra » Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:26 pm

It's only a question of values. As soon as (if) the values become larger than the cost of the build, people will start building brand new cars using old identities, especially from wrecked cars.

But if we're talking all brand new parts, you must consider that a ground up new Twin Cam costs about £13000 plus VAT. That's brand new head and block, plus everything else from QED. Of course, rebuilding an old engine or using a modern unit will be cheaper, but if we consider building as original but new, than that's the only option currently out there.

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PostPost by: Sundaydriver » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:06 pm

Personally , I'm coming at this from a budget limitation, and phased kind of build,out of necessity , so, add more as and when funds allow ...

If I was to buy , if I could find one,
An S1,S2 Élan it's going to cost me
a minimum of £10k - £15k !!!

So, a fully new parts build, maybe not, but still a NEW car:

If I'm not interested in retaining any
non performance/handling parts as OEM , then I can save money there.
So, interior, dash, seats , dials etc.

What I would want to retain is the DNA of Chapman. I'm sold on
fully original chassis / suspension,
Slightly less so engine/box/diff.
But I'd listen to any arguments to retain OEM , if it adds lightness or
Function.
If no BMC door handle parts then I wouldn't care. ACBC raided parts
bins, so can I with some care of course , when we're just talking cosmetics.

Any thoughts ? This is just me thinking it through as a possible option.
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PostPost by: jimj » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:27 pm

There was a chassis, VIN plate and V5 recently on ebay and it didn`t go for a huge amount, but I can`t remember what. It`s certainly hugely less than the difference in value between a built up bitsa and a restored Elan. To economise on, what you refer to as, cosmetic items and a wrong engine would devastate the value of something which would cost a great deal to do as you envisage. If you add in the almost impossible bits to get the project looks unviable.
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PostPost by: mmatthej1 » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:49 pm

As to 'value', I think that I would go into a build project recognising from outset that residual would have litle to do with 'real' Elan prices but might be based upon build costs + (I think) some premium associated with 'real' Elan-halo effect, so I wouldn't be too resistant to use of & obvious appearance of non-original bits, as long as it was essentially the Chapman concept that resulted.

Use of 'real' Elan carry over identity, from wherever sourced, might inhibit freedom to choose modern components, as one chased originality!

Much as I loved the original twin-cam, back in the day, I'd be willing to accept a modern unit/5-speed gearbox combo, for an easier life for example.............
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PostPost by: Sundaydriver » Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:11 pm

Thanks Jim !

Hadn't thought about buying a VIN,
great tip!

I was extremely impressed with an
S2 belonging to a gent called Dave,
whom I met and had a coffee with
at Castle Combe the other day.
The way he held off the Elise, Europa in his session and all the other competition was amazing.

He tells me it's a well set up car, very much respectful of Chapman,
and I think possibly had work done
By 'Tony Thompson'... I might be wrong there.
The thing leaked like a sieve, what with all the the rain showers, but
that's no matter, it's clearly a well sorted car.
It led my mind away from S4/Sprint
Aspirations to S1/S2 and it's lighter
body.

To put a 26r clone on the road might
cost more than a fully original S3/S4
'in the end', but it would be a project
to love, and cherish maybe, whilst I
scrimped and saved , and spent !!!

I'm not in this to either invest or recoup, just to enjoy the journey
back in time, in an affordable phased
way.
I wouldn't care that the car wasn't 'original', as long I'd respected at least what I regard as the Chapman
Ethos.
He did afterall only build these to
fund Team Lotus, and whilst it had
to follow Lotus traditions, he let Ron
'get on with it' within a philosophy he'd set out, and Ron understood.
I'm looking beyond what Lotus put
together with what funds and parts
bins were available to raid. ( he'd have done it differently given any other set of circumstances, and we'd
still be revering it for its core values), what matters most is getting the handling,grip, and behavioural characteristics replicated
faithfully enough to go and give inexperienced racers in 21st century cars, a bit of a lesson in physics.

Or maybe I'll just stick with the MX5
until I win the lottery !

:-D
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PostPost by: jono » Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:15 pm

Buying an identity and creating a 'new' car is a strict no no I think you will find :shock:

...although it does happen, usually just after someone's pride and joy has been nicked :(

and a note to add is that the bodyshell is the chassis unit on a Elan for the purpose of 'identity' so it would only be legitimate if you purchased a bodyshell along with its V5 then re built the car to original spec.
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PostPost by: adigra » Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:23 pm

jono wrote:Buying an identity and creating a 'new' car is a strict no no I think you will find :shock:

...although it does happen, usually just after someone's pride and joy has been nicked :(

and a note to add is that the bodyshell is the chassis unit on a Elan for the purpose of 'identity' so it would only be legitimate if you purchased a bodyshell along with its V5 then re built the car to original spec.


You should look into the world of AC Cobras, racing Jags and GP Bugattis! So many have been built around nothing more than a logbook. I am not saying it's right, but it has been done since the dawn of the collector car market.

In fact, even on the lower end of the market, so many 60's Minis have been reshelled with new subframes and new engines, they are completely new cars in all but identity.
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