Lotus Elan

Zetec Plus 2

PostPost by: elan_fan » Sun Jul 24, 2005 10:04 am

I have been reading with some interest all the posts about the zetec conversions on Plus 2. Now that a few people seem to have completed them what sort of price excluding the restoration of the lotus parts i.e. respray etc are we looking at? I live in the UK. I have a Plus 2 that I began the resoration of years ago and it seems to have stagnated, I have a fully restored Elan. I was looking to try and get the Plus 2 on the road for next year and am looking at spending about £3000 to get the running gear up to scratch. The thing is if I sold all the lotus stuff I could probably double that figure so is that even close?

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Mark
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PostPost by: v7slr » Sun Jul 24, 2005 8:41 pm

I'm doing a Spyder "potential customer" session at Bruntingthorpe next Sunday, during which I hope to get a reasonably firm idea of what the costs will be. Needless to say I've researched all the options in the mean-time but the comment at the end of David Lilliwhite's last article featured on their web site is the one I'm working towards... fully built FROM £12,500. I'm working on a budget of about £14K, although I'm flexible for another £1K. I *want* this car a lot, and it's important to me to get it right even if it means adding to the price. As my boring Subaru Legacy cost me more than that, I think the Lotus counts as amazing VFM.

My Caterham, by comparison, cost me £29K to BUILD MYSELF and a further £20K on engine upgrades over the past 5 years. I don't really count the money when I have a hobby - it's only for a point of interest for those people looking to buy the Caterham that I put together a spreadsheet of the costs incurred over the years. I never expect to get anything like that amount back.
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PostPost by: niallf » Mon Jul 25, 2005 9:47 pm

I think you're roughly in the right ballpark, v7slr. Andy will give you a detailed, priced quote of all the bits you need, and it is possible to source some stuff yourself. Engine/Gearbox/Diff/Steering Rack/brake disks & calipers are all from donor/other cars.

Time is the unquotable figure. My plan was to complete in a stupidly optimistic 9 months of weekends. 20 months later and I'm still working at it, most of that is restoring an old Plus 2, rather than doing the conversion, though.

You're welcome to snoop at mine if you're ever near Banbury.

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PostPost by: v7slr » Mon Jul 25, 2005 9:54 pm

Thanks Nial. I most certainly will take you up on the offer of a snoop. I have chosen the +2 so I can remain associated with the friends I met through Se7ens ownership and many of them live in or around Banbury.

I went out in the Se7en tonight for the first time in ages. I was showing it to a potential buyer and I was reminded what an animal it is (244bhp) but afterwards I got out with the realisation that I'm more excited about a +2 with 300Kg more and 80bhp less than my Se7en has than I was with the extreme dynamics of the Se7en.

Definitely time for a change. :wink:

Colour schemes are troubling me. I love the new Spyder demonstrator exterior but I think I'd match that cherry colour with a vanilla leather interior (absolutely NOT yellow - think "cornish ice cream"). I'm not after historical accuracy. I want "cute" and "fun" and "fresh".

I'm happy with that choice but I always fancied a car with a stripe front to back, over the top. To match the interior I can't help wondering whether a vanilla stripe would work with the cherry main colour.

I'm not convinced about that. I think perhaps I want a stripe so badly that my sense of taste may have temporarily departed for warmer climes... :roll:
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PostPost by: niallf » Tue Jul 26, 2005 5:29 pm

Email is niallATgreenbanksDOTu-netDOTcom

Drop me a line.

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PostPost by: v7slr » Sun Jul 31, 2005 3:49 pm

Cor... if ever an estimate of pricing was wrong, mine was way off.

Turned up to the Spyder test day on time (1pm) to find their beautiful red demonstrator already circulating the Bruntingthorpe circuit.

I'd taken a piece of paper of all the items and options I wanted to know about including things *I'd* thought about which weren't mentioned on their webby. Things such as:

Air conditioning: I was VERY pleasantly surprised to learn that Spyder already has a plan for an aircon unit. They have a prototype almost completed and are just looking for a suitably small compressor.

Normal sized stereo: Owing to the standard heater, there isn't the depth in the dash for a modern stereo. I had already contemplated whether there might be more space if the standard heater was junked in favour of a combined heater/aircon unit and had planned to talk about this... but apparently they already have plans to ensure their aircon unit leaves enough space for a modern stereo.

Blipper controlled central locking: Spyder has already designed appropriate brackets for fitting these to the car and it comes with a blipper.

Immobiliser (Lucas 5AS): I actually would prefer the central locking controlled by the Lucas 5AS immobiliser unit as fitted standard to the MEMS-equipped Caterhams, because the 5AS interfaces with the Emerald properly. They didn't have "visibility" of this item so I'll look into it myself. Spyder already fits an immobiliser of some sorts, but I'd prefer the Lucas one.


So, that was mostly the positive aspects of the afternoon. There were others, like the quality of the body itself, thanks almost entirely to Lotus's original moulds and fibreglass manufacturing. Apart from admiring other people's in the past, I'd not really had chance to pore over one in so much detail. The paintwork was lovely, thanks to Spyder and the chassis and Zetec installation seemed as though they were standard fare with the car. In other words, it all looks as though it was originally designed this way.

Their web site doesn't do adequate justice to the engine bay or the quality of the trim, fixtures and fittings. The whole car has the look and feel of a mixure of "old", "new" and "kit" but only if you take examples of the very highest quality. Some people will think that "kit" is a bad thing but it most certainly isn't. The kit industry often makes things stronger and lighter than more mainstream manufacturers, and you're more likely to get a decent finish on a suspension component because you'll handle it before it goes on the car. You'll never see a wishbone off a Vauxhall, so who cares what it looks like.

There are a number of engine options, although they hadn't actually tried a 220bhp engine as mentioned in their sales brochure. I'm going to want a more highly tuned one coming as I do from a monster Caterham, however once we got a drive (the wait wasn't long) I was pleasantly surprised at its turn of speed. It wasn't fast like a Se7en, but I felt it could be as fast as some of them with a more highly tuned engine. The one fitted would keep up on straights but wouldn't have the oomph to keep up on tight road where you are constantly pulling out of corners.

The basic car could handle it, and almost screamed for it.

The handling was excellent, if a little soft. Spyder's rep (Andy) said they'd built the car explicitly for road and so it would feel soft on a circuit like Bruntingthorpe. It did, but I think I have a good enough understanding of how it would perform on the road anyway and it's still too soft for me. I do understand why it's soft though, and do "get" what the car is about. I like that and want it for touring, but I just want to firm it up and implement a bit more grunt.

Andy said they prefer customers to accept it this way and they'd change it later if required. For circuit work he would fit triple the spring rates. I think I'd order it with double those I tested and see what sort of compromise that would be. Springs are cheap to change anyway.

The gearbox was a bit hard to get used to. In order to get a short enough gearbox Spyder has to use the MT75 with its remote linkage cut down to the barest minimum. The feel of the box was tight but the positioning of all the gears was odd. It wasn't a straightforward H pattern as you'd expect. It was almost as if someone had taken all the "legs" of the H and angled them or shortened them and tad randomly. It would take a bit of getting used to really... although I'm sure not a tremendous amount.

I loved it so I approached them about ordering and pricing... and this is where it started to go a bit wrong.

Their web site contains very many reports from journos who have proposed target prices for a fully built example at around 12.5K. Taking into account a couple of years that have passed, I'd anticipated spending most of, if not all of the proceeds from the sale of my Caterham (17K) on a +2 with all the options I wanted.

Oddly enough, having worked out the prices of the individual components in their price list (they don't list complete cars) I rather wondered how they would earn any money from building them up themselves so I was only a tad surprised to learn I'd need another 11K on top of the sale price of the Caterrham to buy a pre-built one.

Yes. You read that right. 28K total. :shock:

I could save a bit by part-building one myself, but not a significant amount really and I'd only end up having to trailer assembled items from here (Midlands) to Peterborough as I'd finished them. Or there would be the cost of postage. Didn't really seem to make any sense unless I was going to build it from scratch myself which I'm not going to do. A single garage is too small. I managed to build the Caterham in a single garage and even though the overall length of the +2 is marginally greater, the problem would be in the width.

I'm not sure where the target prices in those articles come from but they bear no relation to real world prices in the slightest. :(

Anyway, I haven't given up. Wifey and I have agreed that a loan to bridge the difference is daft given our current circumstances, and that we don't really need a touring car for at least a year. We wouldn't be touring next year because our son isn't old enough yet. Possibly the year after ('07) which gives us a bit of time to save. wifey manages our finances well and puts a decent whack aside each month. We have loans finishing at the end of the year so overall we ought to be able to afford one in about 18 months or so.

Alternatively I could have one as my everyday car but I'm not keen to do that. Driving it everyday puts too many miles on the "toy" car and takes the "specialness" away when we go touring with our friends.

Anyway, I'm still keen. It's a fabulous car. It really is. 8) [/i]
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PostPost by: niallf » Sun Jul 31, 2005 9:37 pm

I'm not sure where the target prices in those articles come from but they bear no relation to real world prices in the slightest.


Prices quoted by Spyder assume you source some stuff yourself and you have to add VAT. They also assume you'll be building it yourself.

By the time I get to the end of mine, it will have cost the best part of 16K, plus a huge amount of labour.

Don't give up though, they do appear second hand for the sort of money you're talking about.

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PostPost by: v7slr » Sun Jul 31, 2005 9:48 pm

I haven't given up. We've hatched a slightly longer term plan. :wink:
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PostPost by: wilsongt » Tue Aug 02, 2005 8:19 am

Hello Niall,

You were saying they come up fro sale secondhand? Any clues where? I have only heard of one ever offered for re-sale, in early 2004, due apparently to changed personal circumstances rather than by preference

Regards,
Glenn
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PostPost by: v7slr » Tue Aug 02, 2005 2:25 pm

Was that one Steve Brannan's? I got caught out last night. Having found an advert on-line for his lovely blue +2 as featured in one of the articles on the Spyder website, I got all excited, fired off an email to Steve, then noticed the ad was 15 months old. :cry:
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PostPost by: wilsongt » Tue Aug 02, 2005 2:58 pm

Spot on - he apparently had to sell it soon after it was built. Otherwise I'm not aware of any that have been re-sold - would be nice though. I can't justify the fully-built price to my family, and no time to take the DIY approach. Pathetic really...

Regards,
Glenn
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PostPost by: v7slr » Wed Aug 03, 2005 10:17 am

I've no room for the DIY approach either, although I'd love to have a go. I built and re-built (several times) a Caterham and loved it, but that can be done in a single garage at a squeeze. A +2 is an altogether different proposition. What to do with the body while you work on the chassis is the biggest worry... oh, and that I'm rubbish with details. Caterhams are a "spanner" job, as are (largely) engines. The Lotus needs a detailed hand to make it look as good as the Spyder demonstrator I witness over the weekend.

So [sigh] I shall be without a toy car for a couple of years it seems. I shall take solice from the small increases in the bottom line of my bank account until the day comes that I can pop some buisiness Spyder's way.
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PostPost by: niallf » Wed Aug 03, 2005 12:49 pm

The other one I've seen for sale was Mick Stott's. The one that started it all. Also Andy offered me a deal on their original titanium demonstrator before I started building mine. (That, with hindsight, I should have taken him up on !).

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PostPost by: simon.mitchell » Wed Aug 03, 2005 2:23 pm

Mick Stotts car is now stripped out with a rollcage fitted and is being used as a hillclimb car, I believe.

Wasn't the original Spyder demonstrator crashed beyond repair?
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PostPost by: wilsongt » Wed Aug 03, 2005 2:29 pm

Hi there

Do you think it is for sale though?

Regards,
Glenn
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