Lotus Elan

Advice and opinions needed please..

PostPost by: ElanDave99 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:29 pm

Hi everyone, I have just introduced myself in the appropriate forum area, I am a Lotus enthusiast of approx 20 years and have recently become interested in purchasing an Elan. I know very little about them currently, having had 4 Elise S1's over the last 20 years - but I’ve always hankered after an Elan.

A particular car advertised in the classifieds has caught my eye, and before I enquire about it I thought I’d seek some advice and guidance, as well as opinions, on this forum as it seems to be THE place for all things Elan. Someone on here may have owned the car, or know of it, so that would be a great place to start.

Here is the car in question:

https://www.uksportscars.com/view/lotus ... el-arches/

So a few things spring to mind - it's clearly an S3 with a 26R body, and of course bumpers, is this something that would affect the value of the car compared to other S3's with the standard body? The advert states it has an 'excellent Lotus chassis' - so the key thing there is to find out whether it’s a Lotus replacement chassis, and if so, is it galvanised, or the original chassis, which could be an issue of course, or so I’ve read.

Other things I’ve thought of to ask would be the number of owners, what kind of restoration it has had (is there a record of it) and when, who did it, how much originality is there (engine, interior etc), what suspension is it running, was Lotus yellow the original colour, etc. It looks like Kelsport have done quite a bit of work on it about 5 years ago (£7k of mechanical restoration). Also who did the paint, and when, and so on. If I can get a full list of work carried out in recent years then that would be a help of course.

I see the chassis plate isn’t the original one, is that an issue in terms of value? I’m surprised the original wasn’t transplanted onto the new body.

Any help would be very much appreciated, I’m a total beginner when it comes to Elans, this one looks very nice at a fairly competitive price, but I’m very aware that much homework is needed....

Thanks in advance
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PostPost by: 2tmike » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:04 am

Hi Dave, I'm sure the experts here will give detailed opinions on the car and I wouldn't claim to be one....
A couple of questions I would ask though are who did the paintwork (and when) and is it a DHC from the factory (not a converted FHC) . The paint issue is really important as that is the biggest single cost in restoring an elan and if it was a recent £1000 'blow over' it could well be hiding something - although it does look like it it could have been painted either off the chassis or with the engine out .( For the pureists there should be black in places under the bonnet that are body colour). If it was done a few years ago then that also would give a little reassurance that blisters or cracks aren't about to appear. If they've spent, say £5-8k plus with a reputable paint shop then its got a good chance of being OK.
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PostPost by: Verve » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:17 am

Hi Dave ,

Welcome to the World of Elans !

I remember this car being for sale at Kelsport 2-3 years ago ... it had just had all the suspension work done ... which I was told was uprated ( more track orientated ) , so won`t drive like a standard Elan ... but looked very smart .

It`s obviously a hybrid ... a mix of S3 & S4 with 26R style wings ... & I can`t remember if the ID is actually a type 36 ( Fixed Head ) ... please check ( don`t qoute me ; ) ... which might explain why it`s hung around for so long !

Having said that , at £29,950 for a non-original play thing ( particularly if you want to go on track ) , it doesn`t seem bad value to me ... but obviously you need to know how good it drives etc etc etc ., ...

Good Luck !

Paul .
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:20 am

Dave, welcome.

It would be helpful if you were to describe what you wish to use your Elan for? Concours, tinkering, restoration, just driving, track days? Your purpose will have implications as to the type of Elan you buy.

Also, as a heads up, you may wish to do a search on UK Sportscars on this forum.

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PostPost by: Bombay Racing Green » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:23 am

Hi Dave,

Good luck with your search. It certainly has a good looking paint job. I think the S3 body with 26R features looks nice. It has an S4 dashboard. Have you tried Paul Matty’s? He seems to have quite a few in stock at the moment.

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:30 am

It looks gorgeous at first sight, but I would be very wary of it.

The most important thing to establish is about the chassis plate. What is the chassis number? Some Elans have been built up using the ID of a Plus 2 or even a Europa, and in years to come I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the DVLA taking a dim view of that!

The shell is probably a S3, or could be a S4 shell. It has the flared arches that look like 26R arches, but they could have been put on if the shell was an S4 (squared arches) and the registration number and / or ID of an S3.

The reason I'm mentioning an S4 is that the car has an S4 dash and door handles. Some very late S3s had that, and known as the 'Super-Safety' (SS) Elans, but an 'E' registered car is way too early for that.

It also has a late Sprint steering wheel and an S4 cam cover, and whilst those things are pretty irrelevant, it all points to a car made up from bits of other cars.

If you still like it, do check out that chassis plate / V5C very carefully before spending any money! If it's a wrong-'un, the car is worth very little.

Last edited by Elanintheforest on Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: S3FHC » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:29 am

Hello Dave,

I would look for a car with an original specification, or at least a car which can easily be reversed to standard.
However, we all have differing tastes!

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PostPost by: Craven » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:37 am

May be optical illusion but the chassis plate looks completely wrong for a ‘ E ‘ reg pre Aug 67 S3 car.
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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:13 am

To add to the comments above, it definitely seems a 'bitsa'.

The carpet behind the seats seems to have the characteristic cut outs for a cage - so perhaps the car was used on the track prior to being returned to road duties.

I looks a very pretty car, and for the right price could be a lot of fun. If you are more of a purist, or are planning to sell eventually rather than just keep as a plaything, then its mongrel parentage could be more of an issue.
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PostPost by: ElanDave99 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:17 am

Thanks for all the replies so far - really appreciate the advice and especially the quick responses. I’ve asked the guy at UK Sports Cars lots of questions but on the face of it, it does look like it’s a car built up from parts from others perhaps, certainly some S4 parts as a minimum, which will probably rule it out for me.

I suspect an original matching numbers car with full provenance and restoration will be significantly more expensive to buy, but will appreciate more in the long run..
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:23 am

Couple of things look odd to me. The seats near the top look slightly misshapen or like a new set of covers haven’t been fitted too well. Is that an Elan Sprint steering wheel, it ‘looks’ a little large though hard to tell it might be from a Plus 2?? No skids on bonnet sliders, no under bonnet foam front or back, door window frames are S4 aren’t they? I’m sure there’s plenty more.

Suffice to say I don’t think this will be a car that would be near the top of the market and it’s not priced at that end. I’d have thought it might be a £22.5k car but it’s all a matter of opinion.

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PostPost by: Sploder90 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:40 am

Mine is a '68 S3 DHC type 45 and on an F plate.
There appear to be a few bits on mine that don't match the yellow one and I believe they are likely to be S4 parts.

The dash board in an S4, the dash top pad also looks like a 4 with The 2 separate vents, interior mirror? Door cards / handles.
Mine has a Tudor washer bottle not the bag..

Good it as an alternator conversion, the regulator box has been removed so presume it has been rewired as well?

It certainly looks The part and a lot will depend on what you want from it.

If it is sufficiently genuine then The price does not look too bad but check what it is thoroughly before commuting to it or haggle using The info you now have..
Agree with other comments that several +2 have given their identities over the years.

The MOT and tax history show significant gaps :?: Last tax expired in March 2010..
But it does seem to have been yellow for a while

The rear lamps are S3 :D

Reasonable numbers seem to keep coming up on eBay and occasionally on here or via the ads in the club lotus mag. I have seen a few I would take a punt on if only I had more space..

Hope you find what you are looking for Dave.
Mine makes me smile every time I go in the garage even though it is in pieces currently
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PostPost by: ElanDave99 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:31 pm

Thanks again for all the replies. Sounds like it’s a bitsa car, and not for me.

I’ve just read some comments about UKSC too - needless to say I haven’t had a reply yet from them - sounds like one to avoid. Shame really as it looks the part with the 26R arches and the paint looks very good (albeit pictures of paint can hide everything!)

I reckon depending on its identity, it’s a £25k car at best.

I’m really grateful for all the careful guidance - what a great forum :D
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PostPost by: Elan Peter » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:50 pm

Hi Dave, I have a very nice Elan s3 which is currently for sale with Paul Matty. It is £25 000 and looks very nice.
I am not sure if that would be of any interest.
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PostPost by: Sploder90 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:57 pm

Was in PM's last week for some bits and they have quite a collection at the moment.
Elanpeter, is yours the white DHC?
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