Lotus Elan

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PostPost by: Andrewph75 » Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:44 pm

Hello everyone,

Thought it was about time registered on the forum - my 80 year old father and I run a Lotus Elan +2 130/5. Owned for about 21 years and been on the road around 16 since restoration. Car is based in North Bucks with my Dad and I'm based SW London. Just back recently from the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed and will be at the Silverstone Classic next month where usually park on the infield with Club Lotus. Also usually try and do a few others runs during the summer such as MAC up to Shelsey Walsh. Hope to take it to Le Mans one day but just travel down in my own car at present, though did see a dark red +2 in pictures travelling down.

Not sure if anyone has seen the Oxford Diecast model but the red version is based on our actual car complete with the number plates - they gave us a few copies as a thank you for taking the measurements etc.

Few more details on the car - it came with a Spyder chassis and Mick Miller refurb engine when purchased (owner down in Kent had a baby which forced sale before resto seem to recall). Car has since had a further Spyder suspension upgrade and recent electric headlight lift conversion which seems to work well. Body was painted by SMS in Spalding about 15 years ago, Porsche Red with a silver top (we didn't go for the silver flake) - not sure what the original colour was unfortunately as had so many coats when stripped down.

Best wishes,

Andy
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:25 pm

Welcome Andy,
Thanks for the description of your car and the mention of the electric headlamp lifters. I designed the prototype system that Spyder use about 4 years ago, it was a dreadful lash up but worked well enough for them to refine the system and make it work smoothly. I plagiarised the idea from others on this excellent forum utilising a single Mazda MX5 motor cobbled to Spyders fail safe balance bar. I now have "the Spyder works" system rather than my lash up, this appeared under my nose cone when my +2 was in for an exhaust manifold upgrade, no charge, or perhaps it was commission as they have sold quite a few kits.

SMS do some really nice work, I have an S4 in Sprint livery that was painted by them 5 years ago and I still can't fault anything to do with the finish.

Darker colours like your Guards Red ( I assume that's your Porsche colour?) really suit the +2, it looks good in the picture. There should be a paint code on your VIN plate under the bonnet that will reveal your original colour if you are interested in that, otherwise Andy Graham at Lotus archives will most likely have the factory details, or perhaps Tim Wilkes TRW99 on these forums.

If you make it to the Brands Hatch Lotus festival this year I will be there with one of my cars.

Regards

Alan
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PostPost by: Andrewph75 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:52 pm

Thanks very much Alan. Interesting to hear your involvement in the light conversion, great work.

Would love to trace the history of the car and see how it left the factory, will dig out the chassis no. Would also like to go to some more Lotus events, we used to be regulars at Donnington for many years but have to say Brands sounds a good show. Also saw the The Lotus Forums had an event at Brooklands so one to go to next time.

Best wishes,

Andy
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PostPost by: Wickey » Wed Jun 29, 2016 6:24 pm

Mmmm......................why sell a +2 because you have had a baby..................I thought it was the fundamental reason Colin C produced the +2 to accomodate them :lol: Still from my current searches for a +2 I have had to listen to lots of reasons why people are selling..............to sum up it because they are just crappy ones. Appears you got a nice one though but spyder stuff is not for me, I want one that albeit 'improved' still retains LOTUS roots deep down. :mrgreen:
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:12 pm

Wickey wrote:Mmmm......................why sell a +2 because you have had a baby..................I thought it was the fundamental reason Colin C produced the +2 to accomodate them :lol: Still from my current searches for a +2 I have had to listen to lots of reasons why people are selling..............to sum up it because they are just crappy ones. Appears you got a nice one though but spyder stuff is not for me, I want one that albeit 'improved' still retains LOTUS roots deep down. :mrgreen:


I've owned my +2 since 2004, its not the sort of car you would be interested in, but I can't think of any circumstances or reason why I would ever want to sell it. Really good cars are getting harder and harder to find and when you do find one the price will make you cough!

I think it's just the chassis that's non original and those headlamp lifters on Andy's car, you shouldn't overlook similar cars if you can find one. The Spyder chassis locates all the Lotus bits in the right places and makes major maintenance a bit easier, use it as a bargaining tool if you can find a gullible seller. Who looks at a chassis unless it's failed an MOT? Keep a car like that long term and you can restore back at your leisure with a smug feeling you bought at the right time.
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PostPost by: mbell » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:16 pm

Wickey wrote:why sell a +2 because you have had a baby


It's probably a fair question, as a +2 owner with what was until recently a Baby (now a portable tantrum machine) I can give you some thoughts.

The +2 does have the rear "seats" but in this day and age babies and younger children are required to be in car seats. These car seat are actually quite large and bulky and certainly do not fit in the +2 rear "seats". Even if they did they might be hard to secure to the car. The long and short of it is the baby/child isn't going to be riding the car the for a number of years, until they are large/old enough to only need a minor booster seat or none at all. So you are not going to be able to use the car for family trips for quite a few years which likely significant impact it's use.

Then there is the question of time, or complete lack of it. If I am luck a get ~2 hours on Saturday and Sunday that I can work on or play with the Lotus. This makes everything very slow going and frustrating as you never make much progress.

Finally Babies and Lotus are quite expensive so it's quite fair for some to see that they will get limited use of the +2 for quite a few years and decided to sell it to re-cap some of the capital and avoid the ongoing costs to ease the finical stress caused by the baby.

Long and short I think the benefit of the doubt has to go to people selling because they had a Baby, perfectly valid reason. Of course doesn't mean their car isn't a "crappy" one.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: Andrewph75 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:18 pm

Well I think the owner had the shock of twins on top of existing children or something like that, the car was in pieces having not been on the road since '89 and needed a lot of work. It took about a further 5 years to finish as needed body section replacing, electrics, paint, trim etc. Only the engine had been refurbished and tThe spider chassis came with the car brand new so not something we could turn down. I used to meet Tony Thompson regularly in a pub near my stepdads and he always said the spyder chassis was good for stiffness, just a little heavier than the original - was good enough for me as he was involved in racing an Elan 26r.

Think the car has been on the road since 2001 if remember correctly, just had a new steering rack so we are beginning the process or replacing parts for the 2nd time!
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PostPost by: Andrewph75 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:26 pm

mbell wrote:
Wickey wrote:why sell a +2 because you have had a baby


I can agree with that as parent of a 3 year old. My sons Recaro seat is like a mini racing car seat and his old rear facing seat meant we often had to put the seat forward on our previous Audi A3 as not enough room in the bank. When I was at Shelsey Walsh last year a couple next to us in the paddock came to chat about our Elan as said they brought their 2 children back from hospital in a +2 back in the 70s, carried in their arms - how times have changed.

And why is +2 crappy, bit harsh as good enough for Chapman to run and Ronnie Peterson??? Would love a Elan Sprint in Ideal world but love driving the +2 and always pleased at the reception it gets - one of the journalists at a pistonheads Sunday service liked it and look at what exotic cars they get to drive.
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PostPost by: Wickey » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:45 pm

Andrewph75 wrote:Well I think the owner had the shock of twins


Aghh ...............will have to accept the excuse then of 'my wife has just had triplets' :mrgreen:

Sorry spyderfan would not even look at a Lotus car with any Spyder parts...........I saw one Lotus +2 ( the famous one with the 'questionable' purple roof and PLUS2 number plate) restored by an experienced motor vehicle engineer, and whilst having so many updates had not really left the Lotus heritage marque at all. Apart from losing the door trim ashtrays and making a better job of the addition of removable headrests everything else done were just slight additions/modifications from the guy's extensive knowledge and experience in the motor trade. It looked Lotus.....it sounded Lotus.....and it drove like a Lotus....he even admitted the odd oil leak :lol: ..........just wish it would have been cheaper.....................but then there is the crap around cheaper I suppose.............but don't misunderstand the fact that I don't think the +2 is crappy just that there are a lot of spyder and crappy ones around for sale
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PostPost by: Andrewph75 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:52 pm

Hopefully seeing a few better Plus 2s these days? When first went to Donnington Club Lotus show back in mid 90s my first reaction was we could easily restore the car to the best one at the show as so many were scruffy but certainly seen a few ads now at places like Paul Matty that show people are willing to restore them to back to best or even better than new could say.

On the other hand I did meet the car journalist John Simister once on a MAC classic run and he had a brilliant Elan, original body and paint but seemed to remember it has nearly 200 bhp as was featured in an Evo group test and unsurprisingly quoted as easily keeping up the moderns.
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PostPost by: Europatc » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:09 am

Welcome Andrew
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:34 am

Welcome Andrew - I'm hoping to be at the Silverstone Classic on the Saturday so may see you there

Regards
Richard
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PostPost by: Andrewph75 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:21 am

richardcox_lotus wrote:Welcome Andrew - I'm hoping to be at the Silverstone Classic on the Saturday so may see you there

Regards
Richard
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Hi Richard,

Hope to see you there then. My dad has a weekend pass each year so will be at all 3 days, I will come down for the Saturday. We normally park on the infield in the Club Lotus area, hopefully same this year as usually a good spot like below.

Best wishes,

Andy
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