Lotus Elan

BRM elans

PostPost by: Pastapesto » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:13 am

As we are having this great discussion going on about 26Rs, it occured to me that I know next to nothing about the BRM Elans apart from the normal stuff about them being created by Mike Spence.

Therefore....(and I'm not trying to create any more heated discussions) has anybody got any more information about these such as .. how many made? what was the normal spec? how much were they compared to the current Elan model?, were they all one series?, were they always dark green with red bumpers? etc.

I searched on the web & pretty much found zilch....

As I say I'm not that interested in whether anybody thinks theirs is or isn't one, it is just that I would like to know more.

Many years ago (20 or so) I went to see Miles Wilkins at Fibreglass Services and whilst chatting asked him why that Elan in the corner had funny "Dayglow" red bumpers. He told me a little about it being a BRM car but I never really paid much attention as I was more into +2s at the time.
Now it's the other way round and I really would like to know more.
I think I have only ever seen 1 or 2 in the flesh so was wondering how rare they were.

Regards

Adam
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:45 am

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PostPost by: Pastapesto » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:40 pm

Thanks for that Gary.

Did not actually start out as a BRM Elan though even though it is now a thing of beauty. Pretty engine pics on that site.

Does anyone know how many were supposed to have been built or anything else about them?

regards

Adam
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:52 am

I would love to know more as well, Adam, but really, there isn't much to know!

The only modifications were, I believe, the engine was set up to 130 bhp, optional 140bhp, the BRM cam cover added, and of course the paintwork. My understanding is that the engine work was limited to carb, cam and exhaust modifications, but I'm sure some porting / blueprinting was done at the same time. Only S3s were offered for a few months in 1967, and the BRM was available in DHC or FHC. As for numbers, I've heard from various knowledgeables something between 5 and 25 were made...i.e., very few!

I would guess that many other options were available to tailor your new BRM to your specification, but it seems that the standard BRM was pretty standard. I saw one in the 80s with Revolution wheels and big arches that the owner thought came with the car from new.

Here's the original advert for them, and some pictures of one I took at Castle Coombe a couple of years ago. The car was restored to perfection, and apparently the owner has a matching fhc as well. Next time I see it, I'll grille the owner for historical information!

Mark
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zbrmElan 67 5.jpg and
z260507 059a.jpg and
z260507 060a.jpg and
z260507 062.jpg and
z260507 064.jpg and
z260507 067.jpg and
z260507 065.jpg and
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PostPost by: iancockshull » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:09 am

Like Adam, I am also intrigued to know the number of BRM Elan?s that were sold to the general public as road cars and I would like to thank Mark for attaching the image of the Mike Spence advertisement, I had not seen that before. The BRM badge on my car is unlike the one shown in the ad, it is the same as the one on the dark green car with orange bumpers in the photograph, although that one looks slightly gold in colour and mine is chrome. I posted a description of my car recently in topic 17713 which summarises a lot of what I know about it, the car also has the optional oil cooler but it is permanently connected without a thermostat.
I am looking forward to the better weather and completion of my re-commissioning work to get the car back on the road.

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PostPost by: Pastapesto » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:29 am

Mark

You are as ever, a mine of information. Thanks for the pics.

That is a very very nice car & from the photos, you just cannot fault it.
Fancy having 2 of them - ! Do we know who he was?

I also did not realise that they were that scarce.

Since I last posted, I found a little bit more about the spec of the cars.
If you have the paperback edition of Miles Wilkins "Twin Cam" book, there are some spec sheets & also a road test. I had a feeling that they were only S3s but was not sure. By the looks of it there were 2 or 3 specifications of engine tune but the two road versions were 130 or 140bhp depending on which one you wanted (same price I think).

The mods on the engine were from memory: Skimming a little off the head & block, BRM steel crank, BRM pistons, different cams, re-jetted carbs, flowing the head, changing the valves for larger BRM ones, balancing rods, crank & flywheel, double dowelling flywheel, stronger spring in oil press relief valve, better exhaust, rocker cover with "BRM" on top painted "Blaze Orange" & rest of engine in the "Polychromatic Green". On the 130/140bhp road versions, they retained the standard "C" type rods with the option of BRM ones for a little more money. I think that there were 150/180bhp dry sumped racing versions with 45 dcoe webers or even fuel injection available but not sure if or how many they made. (anyone?)

I think as you say Mark, that apart from the paintwork, they started out as standard cars with standard chassis. (Please correct me if I am wrong)
I think that they put in harder pads with a servo too but were otherwise standard running gear. There were also a few extra options available such as oil cooler, diff & gearbox ratios and an additional ammeter etc.

I have probably missed out an awful lot of info or got it wrong but if anybody wants to fill in the many gaps, please feel free.

They were a truly pretty car & the more I look into them the more I want one. (yes I know, & everyone else too!)

Thanks for the replies

Adam
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:41 am

Adam, it what this forum is all about, and seeing Ian?s response it looks like there?s more to the BRM story that just the green S3 cars. Ian?apologies, I didn?t see your response in early Jan as my PC was playing up for a while.

So, apart from the Polychromatic Green / Orange Blaze S3 cars, Mike Spence carried on modifying S4s to the same BRM specification, but not necessarily with the same colour scheme. What an interesting car you have! Do you have any photos you could post up?

I?ve copied your response into this topic so that anybody looking for ?BRM? in the future will find it in one place?.

?My car has an interesting history and I have only recently established some of the missing information when I wrote to the Lotus factory and received an informative reply. My car is 45/8779 and it left the factory in February 1969 and was delivered direct to Mike Spence Ltd with two separate invoices, one for the engine L18172B and another for the rest of the car.

It was registered for the road a few weeks later with engine number 3020 E 6015 which had been substantially modified to BRM specification. It has a fully gas flowed big valve head, Cosworth CPL2 cams, enlarged chokes to 34mm in the 40DCOE31 Webers, 4-2-1 fabricated exhaust and fully polished and balanced crank, pistons and conrods etc. It carries the BRM plaque on the front of the camcover and a discrete BRM logo on the nose of the car.

In all other respects I think the car is substantially S4 SE specification with the 3.55 diff etc. so no garish dayglow orange paintwork on it as per some of the other BRM modified cars of the era. I guess the original owner wanted a wolf in sheeps clothing, although a bright yellow car with silver grey trim is hardly inconspicuous.

I bought the car in 1973 with about 25000 miles on it and I used it for a few years as my daily driver. In 1976 I took it off the road at 73700 miles to rebuild the gearbox as it had begun to mis-behave, it was an easy fix as it just needed new bearings. At the same time I stripped the engine and honed the bores, added new rings and valve guides, new bearing shells, timing chain etc. to reduce the oil consumption as it was beginning to affect the spark plug selection, I had to run Champion N9Y in it to avoid plug fouling.

Other events in my life then conspired to prevent me ever getting it back on the road and the car has been in warm dry storage ever since, with intermittent work being done on it over the years as time and bursts of energy have dictated. My interests wandered towards old motorcycles which I still have a passion for and I have restored some over the years. So, I have owned the car now for some 35 years and I recently decided that for its 40th birthday year it really ought to be put back on the road and used again. I commenced by stripping down the rear suspension and diff etc. right back to the chassis which is where my recent discussions on the forum have started. I remember replacing the original rear shock absorbers in 1975 after one of them lost performance, the bad shock turned a sweet handling car into a tail swapping monster but the replacement Armstrongs totally transformed the handling back to how it should be, they still seem to be in good condition with strong damping when operated by hand. I vaguely remember now that back in 1975 that there was a "rubber thing" on the top of the rear suspension damper rods, but they are not there now, so I assume that as a spotty youth I had decided that they were not needed, or perhaps too damaged to be re-used, so were discarded. Now I have got the bit between my teeth I want to maintain the momentum and see the job through, the car has a certain patina now as it matures so I am not planning on changing that too much as I prefer originality where possible.?


Mark
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PostPost by: Pastapesto » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:44 am

Ian

Thanks for the reply.

I think you have the correct badge on your car, the one on the brochure looks to me like an early publicity mock-up job.

Where are you in East Sussex? I'm in East sussex too & would love to see your car. PM me if you like.

I'm near Crowborough/Tunbridge Wells if thats any help.

Regards

Adam
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PostPost by: iancockshull » Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:40 pm

Hi Adam

I have posted you a PM with invite to visit

Best regards
Ian
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PostPost by: Old English White » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:33 pm

More picts of ORX 744F :
Image
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Christian.
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PostPost by: elj221c » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:20 pm

I have a one page article from Car magazine from March '69. According to this the engines were usually put together at Bourne but some tuning work was also done at Maidenhead. Engine cost is quoted at ?260 (!) for 130 or 140 bhp. CPL2 or L1 cams respectively. I wonder why they used Cosworth cams instead of their own?
Apparently David Porter and Peter Davies ran the Spence garage business which was started around 1966 and were agents for Lotus, Jaguar, Morgan and Rover. It seems they had a reputation for metalflake paint application. There was an Elan in the workshop at the time of the writers visit in silver metalflake.
Unfortunately, the pictures on the page are rather poor quality monochrome. The main picture is of a DHC, asumed the car under test, and a shot of the engine bay with a stanard cam cover with a label on the chain hump like the one in Christians photo.
I wonder what the origin of the BRM covers was? Did BRM only supply those on engines with their own cams in?

Roy
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PostPost by: elj221c » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:23 pm

I have a one page article from Car magazine from March '69. According to this the engines were usually put together at Bourne but some tuning work was also done at Maidenhead. Engine cost is quoted at ?260 (!) for 130 or 140 bhp. CPL2 or L1 cams respectively. I wonder why they used Cosworth cams instead of their own?
Apparently David Porter and Peter Davies ran the Spence garage business which was started around 1966 and were agents for Lotus, Jaguar, Morgan and Rover. It seems they had a reputation for metalflake paint application. There was an Elan in the workshop at the time of the writers visit in silver metalflake.
Unfortunately, the pictures on the page are rather poor quality monochrome. The main picture is of a DHC, asumed the car under test, and a shot of the engine bay with a stanard cam cover with a label on the chain hump like the one in Christians photo.
I wonder what the origin of the BRM covers was? Did BRM only supply those on engines with their own cams in?

Roy
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PostPost by: mac5777 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:15 pm

Hi guys, this is the West Coast Lotus Meet in Canyonville, Oregon Oct. 2-5 of 2008 (GGLC) Two newly restored Elans, Carl's yellow and Peter's BRG with the orange bumpers. I don't recall their details on the engines but High performance. Very impressive! Did not know the full meaning of the orange pumpers until this thread. Maybe if Carl and Peter are watching, they can fill us in.
Enjoy, Sarto

http://www.gglotus.org/ggpast/2008wclm/photos5.htm
lotus elan 1966 S3 FHC
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:45 pm

Thanks Sarto. You prompted me to have a look through my old pics, and I found these:

A picture that a chum sent me a couple of years ago of a BRM at a Lotus meet at Mt Fuji raceway in Japan. He also sent me some pics of 26r and Shapecraft cars in Japan, but I hesitate to put those up!!

Four pictures of a BRM with Minnisota plates which I must have taken from the web somewhere...anybody know this car, or is it Peter's car with different wheels / mirrors??

They get around, eh?

Mark
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z fuji BRM Elan.JPG and
z255006832_7d24be1a9b_bnew.jpg and
z255006834_4cd9be945b_bnew.jpg and
z255006835_2e116bf413_bnew.jpg and
z255314889_efd2469076_bnew.jpg and
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:19 pm

As I said on the 26R thread there was a post on The Nostalgia Forum a couple of weeks ago from a chap who had a top job at Mike Spence when they made the "BRM" Elans, he said they made "certainly less than ten". Strangely no amount of searching has turned up the post, I can't think why it would be deleted, maybe the search facility is just poor?

Edit: or maybe it's just me. :roll:
Last edited by elansprint71 on Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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