Lotus Elan

Opinions of EBay 1971 Plus-2 ?

PostPost by: JonB » Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:50 am

No, Baloo - I have owned a Plus 2 S130/5 for about a year and a half, although I've had several classic cars in my time. Any owner who maintains his (or her) own car could've written that list. Some of it is based on my own experience, plus knowledge garnered from the forum. It won't take you long to attain the knowledge you need to restore the car.

My main advice is to make the car safe if you are doing a rolling restoration.

For my part, I bought the car and drove it home 100 miles. I could feel the wobbly steering, loose bearings and other problems and I think I was lucky to make the journey in one piece. Also fortunately, I found no problems I didn't expect apart from the rear passenger side wheel bearings which needed replacing along with the drive shaft.

As to buying this one, go in with open eyes. You already expect a restoration. I think it is worth what is being asked.
Late 1972 Elan Plus 2S 130/5 - UK - Unit 50/1115L
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PostPost by: baloo » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:00 pm

tedtaylor wrote:you place a bid to buy/win, not to have 1st crack or right of 1st refusal. This is not a game. Shame on you if you renege on following through with the purchase. It's folks like that who ruin this original and worthy internet venue for buying. Do you homework 1st before toying with sellers out there who pay $$$ for every listing, successful or not.

Now getting off my soapbox, $12K for this Plus2 is a steal. I have one in similar condition currently for sale I won't let go that cheap.


Ted,
Thanks for the input.
Yes, you are correct in regards to EBay -- it has opened up THE WORLD to people looking for items that could never be found in their hometown. Fantastic goldmine of opportunity.

Not to make this into a topic of debate... but being a very frequent user of EBay and the like, I can't help but bring up the obvious counterpoint based on experience -- and that is eventually running into the seller who intentionally manipulates his ads and only provides selective pictures (e.g., a corner shot of a front seat, blurring or overlooking a rip in the fabric on the entry panel of the seat; or a shot of the dash that is positioned to minimize the extent of the cracking of the top surface of the dash, etc.).
Doing one's homework is never possible if one does not know what questions to ask, because one cannot possibly think of all the myriad questions when inspecting a car long-distance. I think I stated before that I have bought a dozen cars on the internet, and half of them were disappointments due to blatant misrepresentations (or rather selective avoidance of specific issues that would have stopped a sale -- AND POSSIBLY WERE THE REASON THE SELLER CHOSE THE INTERNET AS THE MEDIUM FOR SELLING THE CAR).
Really, can't blame the buyer for not seeing the problems; in some cases, cannot blame the seller for not predicting the questions a buyer may have.
Quandary.
But, that's life, and that is human behavior.

In my neck of the woods, finding a +2 is very rare. I have been looking for one for several years, and this one seemed well-priced as long as it can make the drive of several hundred miles home. I'm having a British car mechanic up by the seller to check it out and possibly do whatever short-term work necessary to make the car driveable.

Thanks.
Last edited by baloo on Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: baloo » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:06 pm

I'll have to say this... in contrast to many other car forums, where the type of polish and tire treatment are the main concerns of owners, this forum has some great expertise readily available. Such enthusiasm and willingness to share knowledge is something pretty rare, even in the scientific community (and embarrassingly so)..
Looking forward to learning more about these cars, which captivated my interest from the 1960s..
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:50 pm

baloo wrote:
STU,
Great info.
If I am understanding correctly, this sounds like the replacement is a common occurrence?
Have never run into something like this, where a frame is commonly replaced.
When I searched this forum, I saw a comment about water getting into the tops of struts (?? might have misread this) and thus causing the need to replace the chassis?? Something seemed very wrong with this -- or with my understanding of what was being explained.
Any idea what I was reading (or thought I read)?


Frame replacement is very common on all Lotus of this vintage. A common joke is there are two types of Elan, those with a new frame and those that need one.

They are actually called a subframe rather than a chassis, and are very light when removed and stripped (under 100 lb IIRC). The original was not galvanized. Lotus supplied replacements were galvanized, but some complaints of frame distortion from the galvanizing process. The corrosion of the front towers like you describe is very common; bonus is the Spyder frame is different and better on this item. They essentially provide the pickup points for the suspension, as the previous Type 14 Elite model had issues with attaching everything directly to the fibreglass monocoque.

The Plus 2 uniquely has two non galvanized rails inside the rocker tunnel, held in place by the row of screws along the bottom rocker lip. These act as the seat belt mounts and provide a hole at each corner for the stock jack that Jon described. Normal practice is to replace the Plus 2 rails when doing the frame, but as you don’t know your car’s history this should be checked. Many owners here have reported their cars having only rust residue left in the rocker tunnel. Replacement rails are available from Spyder and other suppliers, and it is a doable shade tree mechanic job to replace them without removing the body. Note (in addition to Jon’s suggested screwdriver check) the inspection panels can be removed easily when the brakes are being checked out, so this is not a big deal and they may be already replaced.

When I bought my Plus 2 I drove it across the country after first sorting the items you have in mind (brakes, starting and running, charging, etc.). When I got home it turned out my side rails had been done but the frame was original; you never know with an old car I guess.

I would be OK with driving the car home prior to rocker rail replacement. Lift the car similar to the way they did for the selling pictures; really would recommend larger plywood pads to prevent cracking the floor. It is hard to describe, but obvious when you see the car, that the stock jacking points need an inserted pin and pads to prevent cracking the bottom of the rocker area. The concern is a British car specialist not directly familiar with the Plus 2 will use this jacking point without knowing if the side rails are intact.

As the frame replacement is already done on this one, there is no need to lift the body to do a full restoration; huge bonus. A Spyder frame is pretty expensive to have shipped to NA. Lifting the body is not trivial, and can easily lead to the stalled project syndrome you describe, It requires a Hell of a lot of garage space for the separate frame and body. It is great if you are just shipping the body away for paint though. I remember well when I had my car totally disassembled with components all over the country, and I was worried about not getting it back together.

To add to Jon’s excellent analysis,...

I would look carefully at your headliner to see if it can be cleaned up. I have actually had good success with flat white vinyl rattle can paint from the auto store. Reason I mention is the front and rear glass has to be removed to replace the headliner. Pre-sewn replacements are available from the UK if it is torn, but I would be thinking of replacement only if I was removing the glass to do a full job on the paint.

As Jon mentioned, the boxes on the left of the engine bay are non-stock; not sure what they are. Normally there would be two brake boosters located there. It is normal practice to replace or modify the master cylinder diameter to maintain brake response. Just highlighting so you aren’t chasing rabbits to get the brakes functioning to drive the car home.

There is a dimensional drawing on the forum that will help with replacement trunk floor boards. They are just made out of thin plywood and some stiffening battens. I made mine a bit different than stock to accommodate a NA sized battery. Not a big deal.

Having trouble seeing if the stock radio is removed along with the antenna? Be aware the Plus 2 will not accept a typical modern Single DIN head unit as there is insufficient depth to the heater box. There are work arounds available, including going with a modern shallow profile unit (without a CD chassis but iPod compatible) or, of course, sourcing a period radio. Again, not a big deal, just a heads up.

One thing you will want to get right away is the Plus 2 Workshop Manual (WSM) and Parts Manual. These are generally available for purchase online. To explore the car a bit, you can use the online version of the Parts Book located at RD Enterprises http://www.rdent.com. Just click on the Plus 2 parts manual link upper left. Ray is a terrific parts supplier located in PA, very familiar with these cars, etc.

The two other NA parts suppliers we commonly use are Dave Bean http://davebean.com/ and JAE http://www.jaeparts.com/ in Cali. It is well worth ordering the Dave Bean Catalog in hard copy and setting up an account as the catalog has tons of information on these cars. Both of these suppliers are also great.

Glad you are finding the forum pleasant and helpful. It is an invaluable resource, and allowed me to get my Plus 2 successfully restored with limited previous experience. Granted I had specialists do a lot of the work, but was able to take care of most of the disassembly and assembly myself. There are a lot of quirks to the Lotus, so for sure ask or research the archives.

Cheers!

Stu
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:35 pm

baloo wrote:
tedtaylor wrote:you place a bid to buy/win, not to have 1st crack or right of 1st refusal. This is not a game. Shame on you if you renege on following through with the purchase. It's folks like that who ruin this original and worthy internet venue for buying. Do you homework 1st before toying with sellers out there who pay $$$ for every listing, successful or not.

Now getting off my soapbox, $12K for this Plus2 is a steal. I have one in similar condition currently for sale I won't let go that cheap.


Ted,
Thanks for the input.
Yes, you are correct in regards to EBay -- it has opened up THE WORLD to people looking for items that could never be found in their hometown. Fantastic goldmine of opportunity.

Not to make this into a topic of debate... but being a very frequent user of EBay and the like, I can't help but bring up the obvious counterpoint based on experience -- and that is eventually running into the seller who intentionally manipulates his ads and only provides selective pictures (e.g., a corner shot of a front seat, blurring or overlooking a rip in the fabric on the entry panel of the seat; or a shot of the dash that is positioned to minimize the extent of the cracking of the top surface of the dash, etc.).
Doing one's homework is never possible if one does not know what questions to ask, because one cannot possibly think of all the myriad questions when inspecting a car long-distance. I think I stated before that I have bought a dozen cars on the internet, and half of them were disappointments due to blatant misrepresentations (or rather selective avoidance of specific issues that would have stopped a sale -- AND POSSIBLY WERE THE REASON THE SELLER CHOSE THE INTERNET AS THE MEDIUM FOR SELLING THE CAR).
Really, can't blame the buyer for not seeing the problems; in some cases, cannot blame the seller for not predicting the questions a buyer may have.
Quandary.
But, that's life, and that is human behavior.

In my neck of the woods, finding a +2 is very rare. I have been looking for one for several years, and this one seemed well-priced as long as it can make the drive of several hundred miles home. I'm having a British car mechanic up by the seller to check it out and possibly do whatever short-term work necessary to make the car driveable.

Thanks.



counter-counter point....
a potential bidder should arrange a PPI (Private Party Inspection) prior to bidding for everyone's security and satisfaction. The whole point of an auction is competitive bidding and the buyer must follow through with the purchase. Bidder should ask detailed questions and expect the worst, then be pleasantly happy. If you go into a sight unseen auction and expect the best, you're destined for disappointment. You also get what you pay for, thus if the bidders compete for market value based upon perceived condition, it will be just that....what others have determined to be fair. The only exception to not following through would be outright fraud and that you can pursue with the protection policies of Ebay and PayPal. I think this is all moot since even everyone here agrees you underpaid for this nice Plus 2. You won't be disappointed.
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PostPost by: baloo » Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:11 am

stugilmour wrote:Frame replacement is very common on all Lotus of this vintage. A common joke is there are two types of Elan, those with a new frame and those that need one.
.....
When I bought my Plus 2 I drove it across the country after first sorting the items you have in mind (brakes, starting and running, charging, etc.). When I got home it turned out my side rails had been done but the frame was original; you never know with an old car I guess.

I would be OK with driving the car home prior to rocker rail replacement.
... The concern is a British car specialist not directly familiar with the Plus 2 will use this jacking point without knowing if the side rails are intact.

As the frame replacement is already done on this one, there is no need to lift the body to do a full restoration; huge bonus.
I would look carefully at your headliner to see if it can be cleaned up. I have actually had good success with flat white vinyl rattle can paint from the auto store.
....
As Jon mentioned, the boxes on the left of the engine bay are non-stock; not sure what they are. Normally there would be two brake boosters located there. It is normal practice to replace or modify the master cylinder diameter to maintain brake response. Just highlighting so you aren’t chasing rabbits to get the brakes functioning to drive the car home.

There is a dimensional drawing on the forum that will help with replacement trunk floor boards. They are just made out of thin plywood and some stiffening battens...

...Be aware the Plus 2 will not accept a typical modern Single DIN head unit as there is insufficient depth to the heater box. There are work arounds available, including going with a modern shallow profile unit (without a CD chassis but iPod compatible) ...

One thing you will want to get right away is the Plus 2 Workshop Manual (WSM) and Parts Manual. ...
To explore the car a bit, you can use the online version of the Parts Book located at RD Enterprises http://www.rdent.com. ....

The two other NA parts suppliers we commonly use are Dave Bean http://davebean.com/ and JAE http://www.jaeparts.com/ in Cali. It is well worth ordering the Dave Bean Catalog in hard copy and setting up an account as the catalog has tons of information on these cars. Both of these suppliers are also great.

Cheers!

Stu


Stu,
You have outdone yourself -- but I suspect this is the norm for you.
...and all this from a couple dozen pix!
I have copied all this down and will make it into a checklist. (I keep very good daily notes on everything I do to my projects.)
Will get the WSM and Bean Catalog and RD's parts catalog.

Thank you very much. Great advice for the naive, like myself.
I will endeavor to follow your example and provide similar details on cars I know on their forums.
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PostPost by: mbell » Thu Jul 04, 2019 1:16 am

I used 1/4" plywood with a few extra strips stapled on. I just used cardboard to figure it the size/shape.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: Chrispy » Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:39 am

Looks like a good buy for the price.

You're a lot braver than me wanting to drive it home 6hrs! No way would I even consider that. Put it on a truck or a trailer.
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:52 pm

Thanks for the kind comments.

A lot of us on the Forum just love these cars so much it is great to see another one being brought back to life.

By way of background, it was not that long ago the Plus 2 was often being broken for Elan parts or to build up a Lotus Cortina clone. Your car is way too complete an example to suffer that indignity!

This thread has tons of great information regarding the trunk floor boards for when you get there.

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=29156

Another quick note as you get up to speed on the forum. You can search the photo gallery by slowly typing in text and allowing the pictures to filter. Have to let the search happen for each typed letter, but it works. Really handy sometimes if you are looking for a quick reference picture on a particular topic. You can then easily go to the thread with the pictures with the topic link. Try it out by setting the number of pictures to 800 per page, slowly typing in t-r-u-n-k, and voila every trunk picture known to man! How cool is that! :D Boot pictures requires a new search though! :D

Anyway, all the best as this is going to be a great project and a fine vintage ride when set to rights, no matter what level of restoration you take it to.

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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:22 pm

My Dear Mr Baloo,

Please do not allow the cynicism of Mr Chrispy to dampen your desire to drive the Plus 2 home. It makes perfect sense to bond with your new acquisition and he is too risk averse by a factor of 3. I say a factor of 3 because I drove my Plus 2 home to Colorado from upstate New York...a distance of some 1,800 miles. Oh the other hand I may embrace too much risk as I found out. It is documented here: http://www.lotuselan.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=36595

In all seriousness, if you have the time almost any situation can be handled with a cell phone and a credit card and you will make a memory and find out all about your car. Good Luck and safe travels!
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PostPost by: baloo » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:04 am

Ross Robbins wrote:My Dear Mr Baloo,

Please do not allow the cynicism of Mr Chrispy to dampen your desire to drive the Plus 2 home. It makes perfect sense to bond with your new acquisition and he is too risk averse by a factor of 3. I say a factor of 3 because I drove my Plus 2 home to Colorado from upstate New York...a distance of some 1,800 miles. Oh the other hand I may embrace too much risk as I found out. It is documented here: http://www.lotuselan.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=36595

In all seriousness, if you have the time almost any situation can be handled with a cell phone and a credit card and you will make a memory and find out all about your car. Good Luck and safe travels!


Ross,
Hah!!
Great story!!! ...and very familiar.
I especially liked your initial comments: "...What could possibly go wrong?" and "...Well as it turns out, several things. Some were disclosed by the seller, some not..."

Yah, I have driven several cars home from long-distance purchase, including one from Miami to VA, and one from Canada across the border to VA -- but never 1800 miles! Always suspenseful.
Come to think of it, ANY journey in any of my "classic" cars is accompanied with great trepidation (and a bag full of tools).

Getting kinda old and losing some mental, as well as physical skills, so your story may be a reality check for me. May opt to have transported

Thanks.
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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:24 pm

STU,
Great info.
If I am understanding correctly, this sounds like the replacement is a common occurrence?
Have never run into something like this, where a frame is commonly replaced.
When I searched this forum, I saw a comment about water getting into the tops of struts (?? might have misread this) and thus causing the need to replace the chassis?? Something seemed very wrong with this -- or with my understanding of what was being explained.
Any idea what I was reading (or thought I read)?


The chassis on the original cars followed Chapman's mantra of "simplify, and add lightness". It was made of light-gauge stamped steel and did not take well to salted roads common in the U.S. in winter. Galvanized replacements added some life, but Spyder made a business of selling their alternative along with other useful mods and stepping stones to mods like modern Zetec power.

Elans and Europas would need to be maintained in pristine condition to have an original chassis after 50 years. My Europa has the original because it lived in California for most of its life and there isn't a lot of snow there.
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PostPost by: joe7 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:44 pm

Back on eBay at $14,950.
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:18 pm

That’s not looking good then, what’s the story Baloo?

The cupboard is bear - sorry!
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:08 pm

joe7 wrote:Back on eBay at $14,950.


Noticed that...what's the story here?
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