Lotus Elan

In a quandry - please help...

PostPost by: Robbie693 » Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:06 am

Been to see a prospective purchase recently and, on checking the car over, I found a few things I could do with some advise on…

Firstly the oil pressure, it was constantly around the 38 – 40 psi mark which is good, but never went below that even on idle. I remember my last car used to drop down to around 10-15 when hot and assumed this was normal – why would this one stay high?

Secondly, there were various places on the body that had aluminium plates attached – underneath the pedal box was a 12” square plate and where the steering column is bolted inside the car was a ¼” thick plate that the bolts went through. Why would anyone do this?

They owner told me he gets an up and down wobble from the steering wheel at around 70mph, what could cause this?


Now the big question… Should I buy it?

Chassis changed in 1999, looks in very clean condition. Can’t find any receipts for an engine rebuild but mileage reads 60,000 and could be genuine as the oldest MOT with the car dates from 1986 when the mileage was 35k. Engine sounds good (although it was warm when I arrived), bit of a leak around the front timing cover.

Suspension looks good, clean, bushes ok but have a bit of paint on them from respray…..

Which was done last month! I know it’s a big no-no to buy a glassfibre car with a recent respray, especially as it was done by someone I’ve never heard of (and it does worry me a little), but the paint finish is excellent, cost £3800.00 and had 16 coats of primer filler, undercoat, topcoat. I spoke with the bodyshop and they said it was sound before they started just needing the roof stripping down to gel as there was some blistering in the lacquer (it’s a JPS). I enquired about cracks and/or crazing and was told that being fibreglass the bodies tend to move around a little and you get stresses here and there, but nothing major was found and no glassing was done, only a small amount of filler. Am I looking too much on the bad side or should I run away at this point?

I have seen photos of how it was before the respray as it was bought 18 months ago from a well-known dealer in Canterbury and they kindly sent me some pictures from that time. It looked very good then, and the current owner says he only had it resprayed because he didn’t like the gold roof and wanted a few scratches fixed, to which the spray guy said “you may as well have the whole car done”. The bill was a bit of a shock apparently

Interior has been re-trimmed in leather, although not quite in the original style on the door cards. It looks immaculate although not really to my taste so I would probably change it all back to original vinyl.

The only things I can find that need immediate attention are the rear wishbones need replacing as someone has jacked under them and they are now slightly bent. Needs a couple of doughnuts, fuel gauge never reads above ½ full and someone has carpeted over the heater outlets because the underdash trims are missing (the ignition switch and trip reset are exposed and the map light is missing). It also needs a horn, as it doesn’t have one at all.

Price a very firm £8000.00.

If you are still reading this, thanks, sorry it’s so long and could you please offer your opinions
:D
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PostPost by: M100 » Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:45 am

That oil pressure is too high at idle. Suspect the gauge or someone has needlessly fitted a high pressure pump, but easily rectified.

I wouldn't worry about the paint, if it's got no gel coat cracks it soon will have ;-) The 16 coats could be, and probably is just talk. Mention of the lack of crack rectification is a bit of a faux-pas that could make the respray absolutely worthless in a very short time.

"well-known dealer in Canterbury"

Errm, would that be the one who is "Club Lotus Approved" appears regularly on the back of the Club Lotus mag and causes some Esprit owners to spit blood and fire over the quality of their work?

The bent wishbones and overspray to be honest sound more like this is a bodged up wreck

"Price a very firm £8000.00"

You could get a genuine used honest Sprint or a sorted S4 for around that!

+2's end up being broken for parts for a good reason!

I'd walk away, but then I don't want a +2 :-)
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:02 am

Tend to agree with the a last post at at the risk of upsetting the +2 owners it sounds a pit over priced for the description, I'm also not in the market for a +2 but I've seen a few advertized lately that "on paper" sounded like better deals.......ofcourse seeing the car makes a difference.
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:22 am

I'd walk away, but then I don't want a +2


Fair enough, but it has to be a plus 2 for me :D

I've seen a lot of cars and most fail to live up to the owners descriptions - there is still a lot of rubbish out there...

I thought the same about the oil pressure reading, I don't think it's a high pressure pump though as I'd expect a higher reading than 40psi (?)

Any Plus2 lovers care to chip in? :D
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:32 am

Re the oil gauge, I have a high pressure pump on my Seven (T.C.) and it goes to 6bar cold and 4bar hot, if the +2 you are looking at has an electric gauge I would suspect a faulty gauge/sender or stabilizer.
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PostPost by: simon.mitchell » Fri Oct 28, 2005 12:39 pm

If you're in the market for an £8k plus 2 I would expect you to be able to get an excellent condition car from a reputable dealer, which would buy you some peace of mind if things go wrong.

The price seems a bit over the top for a private sale, particularly as you have raised doubts over the quality of the re-spray; over spray on the suspension may indicate a lack of care taken with the rest of the preparation, and I'd agree that you should be very suspicious of a car which has been sprayed but has had no crack repairs carried out.

You would also need to carry out significant work on the interior (change back to vinyl) and suspension to be happy with the car, so your £8k is beginning to look more like £8.5-£9k and maybe a lot more if (when?) you then need to sort out the paint.

At that money I'd walk away and find a car that I was completely happy with.
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PostPost by: blueseamonkey » Fri Oct 28, 2005 1:12 pm

This sounds like a +2 that has had several of the usual previous owner bodges and changes. While it may look great, £8k is a lot of money for a car that far from original. If you have that much money to spend, you should be able find a pretty good original example. Or you could buy another similar one much cheaper, probably also with a lot of modifications, but then have several thousand left over to put things right.
My +2 has its fair share of mods, but cost less than half the one you're thinking of buying. It'll probably take me a few years to return most of the car to original (although I think I'll keep the electronic ignition, electric fuel pump etc.)
Overall, buying a car with lots of PO mods is not necessarily a bad thing, but check them carefully, and don't pay that much for it!
Rick

P.S. The +2 is definitely my favourite!
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Fri Oct 28, 2005 1:19 pm

Here's some pics from before it was resrayed:

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Image[/img]
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PostPost by: simon.mitchell » Fri Oct 28, 2005 1:41 pm

Are you sure that you haven't already decided to buy it and are looking for justification??!!
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:29 pm

Well... You may be right

I guess you're all telling me what I already know, it is on the pricey side.

Maybe I am getting desparate; it's been 3 (yes 3!) years since I lost my old one and I'm getting fed up looking at shoddy and/or overpriced cars.

The only great cars seem to be sold through dealers with the obvious price hike. The reason this guy is so adamant he won't budge on price is that he paid £12k for it and wants a bit back, which is fair enough. If I don't buy it he'll probably keep it.

I'm really picky when it comes to what I want (4 speed, late model, original features, specific colours, no sunroof - see what I mean?!) and I am begining to wonder if the car I want doesn't exist!

I suppose all this is to establish if I need to compromise or if I am being star struck by a shiny car :roll:

This is all getting a bit soul searching, sorry!

Anyone know about these re-enforcing plates and steering wobble?
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Oct 28, 2005 3:21 pm

The plates were probably put in due to fear of the pedal box pushing though the fibreglass and you ending up up pushing the bellhousing with your foot...doesn't help to stop the car. It wasn't an uncommon mod to do as the failure can happen, especially if the glass has been soaked with brake fluid for 30 years. And the wheel wobble? Worn suspension / bent wheel / flatted / cheap tyre, all of which is cheap to sort.
Which begs the question...why spend so much getting the car looking pretty when it has front and rear suspension problems, both of which are relitively cheap to sort out? Don't like the sound of that.
The comment of the bodyshop saying that cracks are normal but they didn't use any fibreglass...just filler...is the clincher for me. That guarentees that in a few months, if that, the cracks will re-appear...no two ways about it I'm afraid. And if they don't understand that, then they probably won't understand fibreglass and microblistering either. Which means that they probably rubbed the car down wet and didn't dry it out properly before painting. Even I can get a paint finish to look like a new car (a lot more work with the black finish) but it requires a bit more skill, experience and kit to make it last.
Finally, I have a couple of photos of my black Plus 2 which make it look mint....I bought it a couple of months ago for total restoration, complete with star cracks and microblisters. If I knew how to insert them in this response I would!! Your 'before' photos make the car look superb, but don't be fooled.
Like the guys above, I don't think it smells right....walk away. I'm not biased, with both big and wee Elans...and they are both fantastic cars...worth getting the best you can, or rebuilding one yourself to the standard you want. Buy one with history, and one that has been painted more that 2 years ago or by someone of good (fibreglass) repute! The latter will have cost £5000 - £12,000 by the way.
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PostPost by: chicagojeff » Fri Oct 28, 2005 4:54 pm

like most of the fellows have noted, the red (or maybe just orange) flags are that for a car supposedly this well-maintained, you'd expect no oil pressure issue and no steering/front end concerns, donuts, etc. It's not that those things are SO bad, it's just not consistent with a really well-maintained car. I actually would just tell the seller flat out: I really like this particular +2, but the market isnt supporting that kind of price with a car with some problems, some potential paint issues, and a replacement chassis. Therefore, I will offer you XX right now. (And the seller has to think about realistically that he has too much into the car.)

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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Fri Oct 28, 2005 7:03 pm

I've had dealings with a firm that sells Sportscars in the U.K. and was not a happy bunny.
Go for a serious reduction in the price or stay away.......Or....Best bet....get your backside down to Stoneleigh
John :wink:
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Sat Oct 29, 2005 2:45 am

Another Unbiased S1 and +2 owner here, they are both fantastic cars, the little ones worth twice as much as big ones here in the states. That price for a Pristine +2 sounds almost fair but I'll go with the guys that say beware of this particular car. (I may be wrong) The paint job will stop hiding things within 24 months. (maybe there is nothing to hide) If you've still got the hots for this car, crawl around underneath and find the cracks and repair seams. See if the stories are true. My 69 +2 has four different color coats of paint on it and I swear it's never been wrecked, but the paint looks like crap. See; all aforementioned repaint maladys. pound lightly on the dash while the engine is at idle, if the oil gauge drops, it's the gauge ...and while I'm rambling, (these +2 topics ARE the best) ... I just read here "+2's end up being broken for parts for a good reason!" from the guy I owe the beer to! (Jim Clark times at the 'ring) What do you mean? Have you ever tossed a +2 around? I think the +2 is THE most underpriced semi-exotic limited production actually really fun to drive good looking performance oriented collectible sports car available today. maybe I am biased... on this automobile, can you remove the brake/steering plates and maybe expose cracks?
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sat Oct 29, 2005 6:16 am

Go on then,seeing we are on the Plus 2 forum,they are the dog's bo**ocks,they look twice as good as the baby elans,handle a lot better than the baby elans and cost a damn sight less than the baby elans,what more do you want?
So now i've said it........and if anyone takes offence-I'm sorry(but sometimes the truth is hard to take)
John
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