S2 changes- are they any improvement?

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S2 changes- are they any improvement?

Postby Pompeydave » Fri 22.05.2020, 19:35

Hi all, my first post in 7 years! It's taken a long time but I'm getting closer to being able to buy another Elan after a gap of around 20 years. Looking at the S2 differences has got me thinking- apart from the admittedly nicer S2 wheels and steering wheel, are any other changes an actual improvement on the S1 items?

Are there any suspension, steering and gear change differences between the S1 and S2, and if so are they improvements or just differently sourced parts due to running out of S1 items? Any opinions please?
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Re: S2 changes- are they any improvement?

Postby MPx » Fri 22.05.2020, 21:56

Those of us with an S2 will probably say they are better - and I was convinced enough to search one out when I bought 17 years ago - but IMO there's actually more in favour of the S1 - and its all about condition at this stage rather than the minor differences between models. There's a few neat minor improvements on the S2 (like a slightly different shaped door trim so that rainwater doesn't run into the car from the bottom of the door, a nicer handbrake arrangement, nicer wheels, some additional rustproofing, etc). But the truth is that the S1 benefits hugely from no emissions nonsense - no exhaust cats - so has an extra 10BHP as standard and is much easier to get through an MOT if you start to make any performance upgrades. Both need a brake upgrade as the first improvement - and they all leak unless Jamie has been at them. Suspension, steering and gear change are largely the same but the S2 gear change cables are more robust items than the S1's. There's a popular short shift kit available that works on both models. In the main they seem very similar in my experience....
Mike - MPx
95 M100 Elan S2 (423)
86 Turbo Esprit
but no longer Carlton no 808 nor Sunbeam S1 :(
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Re: S2 changes- are they any improvement?

Postby Rambo » Sat 23.05.2020, 07:44

Good synopsis Mike
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Re: S2 changes- are they any improvement?

Postby Simon_P » Sat 23.05.2020, 14:08

The SE has softer ride and seats - which may or may not be your preference. Likewise the steering gearing.

I prefer having an O2 sensor (closed loop - standard on S2) and dread adjusting the CO pot (standard on an SE) engines with closed loop tend to be a lot cleaner on the inside. I find that the cats make the engine noise quieter / less harsh.

The S2 has galvanized rear wishbones to combat the rusty wishbone issues of the SE these are quite expensive to replace. The tubular zinc plated rear toplink was also introduced as a running change on the S2, some early S2s have the SE U channel which rusts like crazy also.

The S2 had an 8 year anti corrosion warranty so every 2 years they were inspected and doused in black gunk (dinitrol) so tend to be less rusty.

The S2 has a +ve post in the engine bay which is quite handy.

The S2 has a revised hood and seals which fit better and leak slightly less.

The Nardi steering wheel was an S2 option.

Overall the S2 is a slightly better car, Lotus having had the time and opportunity to improve their earlier work and correct some shortcomings that 4 years of customer testing highlighted.
That said I find the SE has a slight edge when pushing along on a windy road.
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Re: S2 changes- are they any improvement?

Postby Pompeydave » Sat 23.05.2020, 17:30

Thanks for the replies, it seems the jury is out with some preferring the earlier cars, some preferring the later S2's. Plenty for me to ponder.
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