S2 Elan, was PSA

Mike Arman Armanmik at earthlink.net
Sun Sep 27 13:22:32 PDT 2009

> I still have a hankering for an S2 Elan.  Never drove one of those either. 

Had one of these . . .

"Quality Control" - utterly alien concept. "Reliability", yeah, you can rely on it to break ALL THE 
TIME, in strange and unusual ways.

"Fun Factor" - most fun I've ever had in a car, got in more trouble with that one car (when it ran, 
which wasn't often) than in everything else combined, before or since.

Bought brand new in Miami, importer went out of business, "fire sale" of assets, paid $2,500 for 
sticker price of $5,300.

"Lotus Factory Rep" lived in Coconut Grove, above a garage, the few times I met him, he had a beer 
in one hand and a blonde in the other. Standard business attire was a pair of whitey-tighteys, never 
saw him wear anything else. Somewhat distracted, to say the least.

Things that broke - radiator was too small, fan blades hit radiator, electric radiator fan turned 
backwards (had to be re-wired to suck instead of blow) headlights retracted at night when you gunned 
the engine, window winders made team doorhandle's efforts look as reliable as  gravity, car went 
down the road more or less in formation, all kinds of stuff falling off at unexpected times, the 
usual Lucas electrical problems (rain in Jacksonville today, car won't start in Miami, only 450 
miles), overheating if driven under 50 mph, clutch either on or off (binary), rubber biscuits in 
half shafts stored energy and then rebounded, smooth starts definitely needed some practice, lower 
fascia filled up with water during rain (car running or not), air horns mounted there, didn't honk, 
just gargled, top leaked, that's OK, so did the floor, most knobs fell off the dash with every bump, 
and these are only the things I remember after 30 years . . . there was MUCH more.

I also remember SERIOUSLY out-dragging a big Ford sedan with a 427 in it - he couldn't believe how 
fast I blew him off, at the next stoplight, he asked "What IS that thing?" - and so did a Miami 
Beach policeman who watched the whole thing. Told me to pull into that condo parking lot, I did, he 
couldn't find me (car was hidden - unintentionally - really - between two luxobarges), he ran into 
me a week later and asked me where I had gone, and I told him I waited for him for 20 minutes . . .

And I also remember watching some old F***er park by ear within 30 minutes of the time I got the car 
- left a big ding on the front bumper - I had to be restrained from leaving a bigger ding in his 
thick head . . . and driving from the south end of Miami Beach to Key West in three hours flat just 
to see if I could do it, took five hours to come back (observing speed limit signs), usual procedure 
on interstate exit ramps was to multiply the "safe speed" by three and have at it - Banzai - no 
problems except pucker factor from passenger.

Car was a "bitza", made of bits of this, bits of that, tail lights were Series 3 XKE, reversed top 
to bottom, right to left, engine was Ford Cortina block, Lotus head - had THREE cams, DOHC and the 
original one still in the block to drive the distributor and oil pump.

Great fun - I wish I still had it and I am glad I don't . . . this kind of car will kill you, but 
you'll go with a smile.

Best Regards,

Mike Arman
(much tamer these days)

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