Lotus Elan

Tell Me If I Will Regret This...

PostPost by: Matt7c » Sun Aug 01, 2004 10:09 am

Hi there, this is my first post and I'm glad to find this supportive forum. However, I have a question I'd like to put to you. I'm a Land Rover man, so I know a thing or 2 about spanners! But I now have the opportunity to acquire a 1971 ish S4. It is complete in every detail and in very good condition externally. It was restored with a glavanised chassis about 10 years ago and since then it has hardly been on the road. And it definately hasn't moved for about 7 or 8 years and it has been garaged. The seller is a relative and trusted.

What should I expect to have to do to get this baby back on the road? Will everything have seized?

I half want to ignore the opportunity and walk away with my wallet intact. But then I would only spend its contents on Land Rovers. The other half is all torn up at the prospect of this lovely car sitting unused...
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PostPost by: worzel » Sun Aug 01, 2004 10:16 am

How much does he want for it and can I have his number?

John
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PostPost by: Matt7c » Sun Aug 01, 2004 11:15 am

I'll take that as a positive reply. ?3000. No way can you have his number!!
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sun Aug 01, 2004 11:20 am

Matt,
Yes you going to regret spending money on it! everything will have siezed/broken/leaked, the rust worm will have eaten it, you will spend a fortune repairing it and you will have to sell your kids into slavery to keep it on the road, fibreglass is a specialist t job, parts are very very expensive if you can get them and the insurance will bankrupt you, so I will do you a BIG favour, I will buy it to help you out! :)

But seriously it sounds like a good buy and you WILL regret it if you dont buy it, they are not a complicated car but do have their little quirks, even if the engine is siezed its not a big deal. Brakes will want an overhaul and then its just a matter of sorting out as the chassis is good I dont see any major problems.
rgds Brian
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PostPost by: elan_fan » Sun Aug 01, 2004 1:59 pm

I absolutely agree with all the above. The key thing about these cars is their simplicity. They can be a bit fragile but hey most things are compared to a landrover. :P. Buy it or regret it

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Mark
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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Sun Aug 01, 2004 5:25 pm

Matt,

The question is, does your relative trust you? After all, it is you who is stealing his car. The most common concern on an Elan is checking the turrents for rust and that concern has been addressed with the galvanized chassis.

Frank
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PostPost by: cabc26b » Mon Aug 02, 2004 3:18 am

Buy it , you will find it much more enjoyable than any LR ( unless you live where there are no roads)
sorting the car out will allow you to become familar with how the thing works ( and sometimes does not)
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PostPost by: Hamish Coutts » Mon Aug 02, 2004 8:32 am

The Elan sounds good. Also watch out for wheel bearings and the waterpump bearing. The +2 elan I got had been overhauled (including new wheel bearings) and then left ignored and alone in a garage for a couple of years. The bearings 'ran' after only a few weeks running.
A few generous blasts of WD40 down the plug holes left for a couple of days, followed by a few CCs of engine oil got the engine going and it's now done a few thousand miles without trouble. Compression is OK and it doesn't use any oil.

You'll regret it if you do and you'll regret it if you don't so what are you waiting for; go for it - the Elan will keep your LR company.

:rolleyes:
"One day I'll finish the restoration - honest, darling, just a few more years....."
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PostPost by: AndyBott » Mon Aug 02, 2004 12:52 pm

:rolleyes: I bought a similar car, 1973 Sprint DHC, which had an annual run to the MOT station and back to the garage for about 8-years (almost at 31k on clock). Fell in love at first sight and coaxed her home (Kent to Lichfield) incurring the cost of 10-fuses (short circuit on the brake pedal). I have spent the last 4-years generally overhauling everything - at a fairly considerable cost. I have undertaken most things except new unleaded head and with time I agree you can do most things.
My only additional comment is that you should consider the overhaul of the electrics, they won't be too clever having been left (I suggest a full new loom and connectors) and that you do the whole lot in one go. I undertook mine over 3-years, one part each winter, and without fail something would break down on the bit I hadn't done, in the spring.
I can forgive the cost, the time and the occasional breakdown (usually the result of something I hadn't got round to renewing/overhauling) by taking her out for a spin and all is forgiven.
You won't regret it - go for it.
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PostPost by: type36lotus » Mon Aug 02, 2004 4:23 pm

I have to agree with Andy. I acquired my S3 Coupe' when a friend offered it to me for free(disassembled, basket case and in another country). I was somewhat reluctant to take him up as the Elan was simply not a car I had any desire to own whatsoever. It took me 6 years to restore it, doing all but the engine work my self. On my first drive is was smitten. What an absolute blast to drive. Keep in mind I also had a Esprit, which I thought was sooo much fun. The Elan beats it hands down on fun value. The Esprit wins on exoticness and coolness.
Mike Geiger
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PostPost by: Matt7c » Mon Aug 02, 2004 6:18 pm

Well thanks for all the top tips guys. I'm glad that you all agree that this is a reasonable prospect. I well understand that its a bitter-sweet pill to swallow, and anticipate that there will be many a long night spent overhauling something or other. However, I kind of enjoy all that stuff, so I'm looking forward to it. And, I made a mistake by getting a Series 2 Discovery recently. Darn thing works all the time...getting out of practice with the spanners! I'm sure an old Lotus will either cure me of my desire to fettle with cars, or draw me in yet further. Thanks again, and I'm sure to bother you for more information once I get started.
Matt :)
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PostPost by: steveww » Tue Aug 03, 2004 8:16 am

One more tip: Get a copy of the workshop manual and parts book ASAP you're going to need them ;)
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