by Kevin Whittle
2020 review by Peter McFadyen
In his series of books on individual models, knowledgeable Lotus writer, restorer and racer Kevin Whittle has this time turned his attention to what is clearly his own favourite among the marque’s road cars, the often underrated Plus 2 version of the Elan. In his introduction he reveals that having owned four examples he considers it to be more elegant than the earlier Elite, quieter and more powerful and, with more internal room and boot space and the ready availability of spares, a very practical car even for everyday use. Only the name, he believes, has held it back and had it been called the Excel or Esprit it might have shone rather than being overshadowed by the Elan. Throughout the book he argues his case well and, after reading it, it is hard not see his point.
Wisely, the book follows the successful format of the others in the series which dealt with the Lotus 19 sports racer, Type 35 single seaters, Type 46 (Europa) and the Formula Fords beginning with a review of Lotus road cars and the twin-cam engine leading to the conception of the Plus 2. The prototype car, dubbed the Metier II or M20, is described by its current owner Malcolm Ricketts who also contributes the book’s foreword and the various aspects of the Plus 2, including the 5-speed gearbox, are then considered in detail.
Among the series’ great strengths are Whittle’s own accounts of rebuilding an example of the model in question and, as well as being interesting to read, anyone facing a similar task will find a wealth of practical information and advice illustrated with copious photographs. This time, as well as his own account, he has enlisted the aid of two other owners who recount their own experiences rebuilding a JPS Special Plus 2 and the ubiquitous Lotus Twin Cam engine.
Throughout the book there are reproductions of period Lotus advertising as well as contemporary road tests and other articles from a variety of sources, all rounding out an interesting and enjoyable read for anyone interested in Lotus but particularly for those with a taste for the Plus 2 and who are fortunate enough to have acquired one before their prices start to climb – as they may well do following publication of this book.
Publisher: Whittle Books, 5 Gwelfryn, Llanymynech, Powys, SY22 6LJ. firstname.lastname@example.org www.whittlebooks.com
Price: £50 plus postage – £5 UK, £12.50 EU, £19 North America.
Description: Hardback (11.8 by 8.27 in), 200 pages, hundreds of colour and B/W photos and period illustrations