Lotus Elan

Intro (first post) + Spyder advice

PostPost by: breezer » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:55 pm

Hi there, I'm Ollie and am interested in Elan ownership. I currently have a BMW Z3M Coupe, which I adore. However, I'm looking to either supplement it, or replace it, with a modernised Elan. Neither is a daily driver.

I was thinking of building one using the Stage 1,2 and 3 Spyder kit: http://www.spydercars.co.uk/pg2_zetec_price_list.htm

Do you know roughly how much, on top of this £13k, I would need to budget to put together a whole car? I imagine the shell would be v. expensive, but other than that I'm a bit in the dark! I would do all the work except paintwork.

I appreciate that this is the lazy way of getting a classic car, but I want it to be a 'modern classic', which is why I'm posting in this particular sub-forum - you guys don't seem like you'd mind that idea! If I were a bit more imaginative, I'd look at bigvalvehead's idea of the S2000 engine, but alas I'm not - 170bhp should be enough to start with. How similar (in terms of size) is the Focus RS engine to the Zetec one quoted by Spyder? I'd like to leave the Spyder chassis as unmolested as possible.

My uncle has an old yellow S4 that's in bits (has been for nearly 20 years) that he would sell me for £3-4k. It's a galvanised chassis, and he's just (this year) rebuilt the engine himself (he used to run a race team, so knows his stuff) - how much do you think I could get back if I sold these parts, and just kept the bodyshell? I imagine the fixings would also be expensive.

This has all come out of nowhere, caused by my just having driven an Elan+2 with a Ford engine that belongs to the Classic Car Club in London (I hate the looks of the +2, but love the feel). I'm smitten!

Thanks guys, and hopefully I'll become a productive forum member!
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:56 pm

Ollie,

Welcome to LotusElan.net (just edited my post to add this...where are my manners?)

I advise you to very very quickly get over to your Uncle's place and give him £4K before he changes his mind. If the engine is a good runner you will get all that £4K back and more by selling all the parts you don't need for your modifications, basket case S4's change hands for 7k + :!:

Allow approximately £5k - £6k for a really good paint job, this is really best left to the experts. I use SMS, because that's who Spyder go to, others on this forum have had fantastic results from Option 1.

Allow another £1500 for the interior and just general brightwork (surprisingly expensive all those little bits).

If you can genuinely build it all yourself and can source parts at the right price I don't think you need to add anything else costwise. You might want to consider just spending another £4500 + VAT and get Spyder to build it for you, that's all they charge providing you source most of the parts from them.

Regards
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: blackandgold » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:48 pm

The +2 looks grows on you with time with certain angles looking fantastic and surely compared to a BMW Z3M coupe is the better looker

But beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say
Mark

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PostPost by: Steve G » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:10 pm

Hi Ollie

Welcome to the forum.

Just to echo what Spyder fan has said, you really need to get over to your uncle's house today with an envelope stuffed with 50's. You could get nearly that purchase price for the freshly rebuilt twinc. If its also got a galvanised chassis then why replace the chassis and engine? You could rebuild it as it is for a much lower budget and keep the Z3 M Coupe (great car by the way) for trackdays. Then you would have a totally original Elan with Lotus chassis and engine, that is the car that received all the accolades after all, despite any reliability issues.

I must say, as much as I think an S2000 engine in an Elan would be acceptable, a FRS lump would be a tad inappropriate, I can't imagine it handling 235+bhp with turbocharged torque to match very well. I think it would be a case of the engine overwhelming the chassis, the Elan is about light weight and delicate, fluid handling, not 300bhp/tonne and trying to hold it in a straight line when the turbo spools up, as much as that might be fun in its own way. 170bhp will be more than enough to start with. 126bhp in the Elan with twin 40s puts more of a grin on my face than 300 has in the past. That's one of the draws for me, you can have more fun at much more sociable speeds.

Anyway, I'm rambling, good luck with your purchase and build project, you've made the most important decision already.

Regards

Steve
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PostPost by: jono » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:22 pm

You hate the looks of a Plus 2 but love the Z3 :shock:
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PostPost by: breezer » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:07 pm

Thanks for all the replies guys, and the warm welcome (even though my aesthetic tastes are apparently not in line with most of you! :wink:)

Galvanised chassis is good, but I really want the lighter, stiffer Spyder chassis, and more power than the twincam. The Spyder chassis is already made for the Zetec engine, so would require minimal tinkering. I'm happy to get lots of bits secondhand, but it's important to me that it drives like a new car, so suspension, chassis and engine all have to be new really. I think I could reduce the cost by using the Spyder page as a 'shopping list' and buying a large proportion of it on Ebay/from a scrappie.

Has anyone else built one from scratch before? I think the only disadvantage would be lack of heritage and lack of a dated license plate.

I think you're probably right that 170bhp is enough; I want it to be fun and feel like new, but not necessarily be 'the fastest car ever'. The more I read, the more I think silly speeds are not a great idea in this car.

I've had a private discussion with Spyder Fan about the Duratec conversion he's pioneering with Spyder, and so one option I have is to wait until that becomes a bit more mainstream. That would certainly take a lot more money though, which isn't an option this year.

I am also grateful for the advice, but can't rip my uncle off so I've shown him this thread. Blood runs thicker than money!

I'll keep you updated as and when I start, and no doubt pester for more advice and help. :lol:
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:23 am

Ollie,
The registration number stays with the vehicle, you simply have to change the engine number and engine capacity on the V5, you will keep the Historic Vehicle road tax exempt status as well. If the car is not currently registered or known to the DVLA it's a straightforward process to resurrect it. Make sure that you get an invoice for the engine with the engine number and it's capacity as the DVLA will ask for some sort of proof.

There are a number of people who are either building or have built a Spyder zetec who regularly visit these forums, Mark B and Stugilmour who have contributed to my S4 Duratec project thread are both in the process.

As for performance, 170BHP in a car that weighs less than 750kg all up is more than enough for road use, expect 0-60mph in around 5 seconds, that's properly quick and will beat your Z3M from the lights no problem (the Elan will be quicker from 0-30mph and won't smoke it's tyres).

Heritage is what you want to make of it, these are proper classic cars but there's plenty of them and they can always be converted back to original, the Spyder conversion is not a one way street. Read my post here regarding why I chose a +2 zetec http://www.lotuselan.net/forums/free-parking-f19/misconceptions-zetec-and-other-engine-modded-cars-t22988.html Planning one of these cars tends to attract biased, unfounded and unwanted advice. If you get negative advice, ask if they have either owned or at least driven a converted car, if not just ignore them and go with your own feelings.
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: Mark B » Wed Jul 06, 2011 5:49 pm

Hello Ollie and welcome to the forum,

Like you I wanted a classic that was useable, still had character but was comparable performance wise with many modern sportscars without the nagging doubts regarding reliability, so I started to build a zetec elan. I picked up the chassis & parts last may from spyder and started building, although I have slowed down a bit over the past couple of months as I bought an S2 elise for summer & can't resist fiddling!

I'm currently about half way through building an S4 elan with 170hp zetec, the full spyder conversion with sierra diff, 5 speed box, all adjustable suspension, big brakes, full safety system with harnesses, modern electrics etc etc.

The car I had was a basket case with many parts missing, the full rolling chassis, the bodyshell, interior and most other parts are all new so it's just like building a kit car really.

I'd say go for it but if you want some serious advice about building it yourself, costs and pitfalls by all means get in touch with me and we can have a chat.

Cheers,
Mark.
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