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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good day fellow lotus members!


I look forward to getting to know everyone on here!

I post in this section because I have a lead on a car that I have known about for many years. It is a white 69 elan plus 2.

The story is that the owner prior to the current, blew the original engine. It then sat in an airplane hangar for years. Included with the car is a big valve engine (rebuilt years ago) that I believe is not original. Currently, the car is in pieces. The original chassis is with the car, trans (i believe to be original) etc, and the chassis was sand blasted by the current owner years ago. It looks PRISTINE. I have seen some of these, and they were never anywhere near this nice.

I am not sure how the lotus community is when it comes to "matching numbers" etc. My question is this though, what direction is the "best?" First off, I know that it would be my car so, whatever I feel is best, but it doesn't have the original motor, so will this make it okay to say, go down a more modern route or does it only ding the car a little to be missing the original engine?

I understand that it would be my car (should I buy it) and that I can do whatever I want to it, but I wouldn't want to do something that would "ruin" the car so to speak. For example, customize it in someway that then made it worthless.
 

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Don't worry about a numbers matching Elan. I’ve owned three Elan’s, they are a fabulous Sports car.......as long as your mechanically inclined or have the ability to pay a shop to maintain it. The twin cam engines aren’t cheap to rebuild and make sure you bring to a shop that knows these engines.

You should really join Lotuselan.net. Very focused group on that site that can provide lots of insights.

Where are you located?
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am in the north east. That is good to know! thank you! I was thinking along the lines of say a zetec conversion, or sticking with the period correct bits. Let's say that the engine doesn't need any gaskets after sitting for years. It would probably be cheaper than a full zetec conversion, but lets say I had to rebuild an engine. What does that cost from a specialist?
 

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Where in NE? I live in Princeton. Rebuilds run the range in cost. The block is cheap to rebuild as long as it doesn’t need major work or you don’t go crazy with custom pistons and rods or a steel crank. It‘s the head that will be expense. (Anywhere from $4K to $20K). If you want to have the highest resale later on keep the twin cam. A Zetec conversion will greatly reduces the price of the car. Although will be less expensive to get on the road. If you are doing your own wrenching, you can go either way.
 

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For used parts you show know of www.taylormadeclassiccars.com

Ted has owned many Lotus Elan’s and usually has a good inventory of hard to find used parts.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay, good to know. The spyder kit without a motor and trans is roughly $11,200.

Thank you for the link! Are you a shop or are you big into DIY as well?

In your opinion; going through this car mechanically; doing most of the work myself; does that number for the zetec parts seem similar to the amount I would spend on non-zetec parts for this vehicle?

For me personally, if I were to stick with the included engine, and it needed a FULL rebuild, I wouldn't go crazy. If I want to go crazy fast in something, then I will hop in a crazy fast car or, I would go for the best bang for the buck possible. I am more interested in enjoying it.
 

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35 years ago, I rebuilt a Lotus TC motor for $600. I don't know where the "ZOMG they are EXPENSIVE" comes from. Bottom end is an English Ford (US Pinto, more or less) motor, top end is just valves, guides, bearing shells.

Matching numbers, well, we're the Lotus community. If it is on the road and running, it's a "Win."
 

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There is no reason to think there is anything wrong with the engine unless it has been stored poorly
I would put the car together and drive it before thinking about engine swaps
REbuilding it is not particularly expensive, and a ton cheaper than an engine conversion

numbers matching is not a huge deal
running and driving is a huge deal

The primary thing that goes wrong with the chassis cannot be seen.

The closing plates at the bottom of the front shock towers rust out and once they are perforated, it is like a cardboard box without a bottom

Where are you located?

I am in Mass and I have owned a plus two for 36 years and have done about everything one can do to it

Pics are helpful to give advice
 

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Okay, good to know. The spyder kit without a motor and trans is roughly $11,200.

Thank you for the link! Are you a shop or are you big into DIY as well?

In your opinion; going through this car mechanically; doing most of the work myself; does that number for the zetec parts seem similar to the amount I would spend on non-zetec parts for this vehicle?

For me personally, if I were to stick with the included engine, and it needed a FULL rebuild, I wouldn't go crazy. If I want to go crazy fast in something, then I will hop in a crazy fast car or, I would go for the best bang for the buck possible. I am more interested in enjoying it.
I’m not a shop, just do frame off Lotus restorations as a hobby.

The comment about rebuilding an engine for $600 is possible but not probable. Sure, rings, bearings and valve guides are fairly cheap.......but you need to have the knowledge to properly replace them and what about all the other wearable parts? Usually a sports car gets parked due to engine or trans problems that an owner can’t afford to fix. And in the case of a Lotus, the car ends up sitting for a long long time. Or someone decided they could do the repair themselves and then realized they couldn’t or lost interest.

Anyway, I’m probably the wrong guy to ask, I only do things one way. The right way and I don’t worry about the cost. My last two Twin Cam rebuilds for 150 HP at the crank were $13K and $18K by a well known machine shop that builds racing engines and knows twin cams. Bullet proof engines that don’t leak oil and are very reliable.

What ever you decide to do, enjoy the process of rebuilding/restoring.
 

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The $600, or closer to $630 as I reflect on it, was in the early 80's. With inflation, that would be somewhere around $2K today. It included: Sleeve the block, balance everything, rebuild rods, new: pistons, bearings (including the jack shaft), valves, valve seats, valve guides, repair the cracks in the head (spark plug to exhaust valve on 2 of them,) a few shims, port and polish to the specs in that book on building TC Lotus motors (forget the exact title, and let the book go with the car years ago,) etc. A very good local (Bryan, TX area) machine shop did the work, with me doing the assembly in my kitchen. You can do that when your a batchelor. I think the Isky Cams, or Isky regrinding my cams, actually, was around $200 at the time and not included in that cost. The only problem I had after that was a water pump. It ran quite strong.
 

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There is but one thing fussy on a twink that requires any specialist involvement.

Valve guides.

Twink valve guides have no seals, and really really want to be finished at the absolute bottom of the tolerance range. Most general automotive machine shops will return them to you in pre worn out condition.

Assembly is straightforward, maybe the waterpump is non obvious.
 
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