Lotus Type 50 - Elan +2
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This could end up as the single largest page on the entire internet!

There are some trouble free Elans, but ...

Lotus always had a reputation for producing fragile cars and despite numerous claims from the factory at the time the +2 was no exception. Of course the oldest +2s are over thirty years old now and many have passed through numerous hands. Some of those owners will have bought a cheap third hand sportscar and bodged and neglected in equal measure. In reality they are pretty reliable, but they do need more looking after, especially as any original components have been on the road a long time. Even the fully restored Elans can let you down, so the rules of Elan ownership are

  • Always carry a large toolkit, a towrope and plenty of spares
  • Never leave home without a mobile phone and without full breakdown cover from one of the motoring organisations.

Before you buy a +2 ask yourself ...

  • Am I fit enough to push this car a reasonable distance?
  • Can I afford the never ending repairs.
  • In his quest for speed, Colin Chapman insisted on lightweight construction, so the +2 is a relatively easy car to push.
  • Obviously you should always consider carrying a passenger to push the car, while you steer, but rest assured if you buy a +2 you will end up pushing it one day.
  • Owning a +2 can become a race to destruction between your back and your wallet!

Here's some things that went wrong on just one car:

  • Exhaust pipe chopped off by plank lying on the motorway.
  • Exhaust pipe ripped off car by bump in road.
  • Oil pumping out of the dipstick hole, caused by blocked engine breather.
  • Refusal to start when hot, mysterious non traceable gremlin.
  • Complete brake failure, leading to impact with metal gatepost, then complete chassis change and rebuild.

And on Elan +2s in general ...

  • Crazing, cracks and star shaped impact marks to the glass fibre bodywork.
  • Rusted chassis.
  • Chassis cracks and deformation, especially if you wallop a kerb.
  • Fire, for so many reasons, including:perished fuel lines
    • electrical faults
    • carburettor fires where the airbox has been removed or fallen off
    • carburettor 'O' rings crack or perish and petrol drips on to the engine or exhaust
    • carburettor float chambers flood and overflow
    • Fuel tank damaged or rusted through. (remember this one if you ever take a drill anywhere near the rear of the car)

For more on the subject of car fires, there's a page of thoughts on what you should do.

  • Spectacular explosion, caused by welding in the area of the vacuum tank that operates the headlamp raising mechanism.
  • Over the years the tank sucks in petrol vapour, just waiting for you to put a welding torch on it.
  • Doughnut failure, which leads to the driveshaft punching its way through the bodywork.
  • Rusted sill members, so no side protection.
  • Doors, a nightmare to get aligned and so quick to droop.
  • Wheel bearing failures.
  • Oil leaks, mainly from the back of the engine at the rocker cover.
  • Usually drips onto hot exhaust, so you leave a smoke screen for mile behind you along the road.
  • Headlamps either stay down on early models or up on late models once the vacuum tank has rusted through.
  • Windscreen trim, once removed a real pain to replace.
  • Unbalanced steel wheels, an absolute pain in a light car and there little chance of getting replacement wheels if you badly damage them.
  • Elongated holes or cracks on alloy wheels.
  • Over time the large breathers to the petrol tank can allow the petrol to degrade to the extent that the car won't start.
  • Another reason for running the car regularly.
  • And finally....the accursed alarm, which produces virtually impossible to diagnose faults....my advice is to remove it!


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