Lotus Elan

Elan S4 Se Conversion

PostPost by: Azureblue » Fri Apr 08, 2005 3:25 pm

Can anyone tell me what's involved in converting an S4 coupe to drop head? The one I am rebuilding has a very poor roof, needs the roof lining replaced and most others things and it seems like a good idea to cut the roof off now. Will this increase its resale value? Does anyone have any pictures of where I need to cut and how much bodywork to remove and also a list of parts required.

Thanks

Ian K
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Fri Apr 08, 2005 6:53 pm

Ian,

I am in the process of doing just that although my car is a Type 45 that someone had put a roof on!!

Before you think about cutting the roof you need to obtain the top part of the windscreen frame from one of the usual sources. Then decide where to cut and join, the choice being largely up to you. I chose roughly midway up the screen pillars to enable me to clamp the stumps of the original pillars to the new top part. This was to ensure that the rake of the screen frame would be correct. It is obviously essential to get the screen aperture the right size and the old rule of measuring twice and cutting once is a good one :)

I added steel rod into the lower corners of the screen frame to add strength.

The rear edge of the roof at the bottom of the rear screen aperture (IE where the hood will attach) will need to be built up. You can buy this section and laminate it in. I chose to build mine up around a former but either method works.

You will need

Screen frame top section (as above)
Rear edge section (as above)
Hood Frame (Susan Miller has them)
Hood Stowage tray
Edge trim for Stowage Tray
Aluminium strip for stowage tray (Along the edge where the hood cover attaches)
Hood Cover
Hood
Tenax Fasteners
Hood grab Rail (goes on top of the screen frame)
Cotton reels for hood frame
Drip rails (on the screen pillars)
Screen tensioner rod and fittings
Sundry screws rivets etc
Probably a new back fibre board?

Hope I haven't forgot too much!

I have seen kits of parts advertised I think at C Neil's but it might be better to shop around and look for quality bits if you have the time.

I have completed my shell and trial fitted the screen and am now at the point of building the car up as time/money permits so my fingers are still crossed :))

Hope this helps

I forgot to mention the two expensive little chrome end finishers which go on the rear edge of the door aperture -- mainly because I cannot bring myself to pay what they cost!
John

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PostPost by: Azureblue » Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:05 pm

Hi John,

Thanks for the reply. Do you have any pictures of the mods you had to make at the lower edge of the rear window and any other area that would help me?

Thanks

Ian K
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Sun Apr 10, 2005 8:12 pm

Hi Ian,

I'm not sure my efforts at photographing what I did would really be of help to you!

As I said above I decided to cut the screen pillars roughly in the middle then I clamped and screwed pieces of angle iron on so that they were held firmly and that the rake angle was correct before I started laminating the join.

I ground the pillars deeply and laminated inside and out to restore the shape and strength.

I got some 6mm bright steel rod and shaped it into the lower corners and probably 3/4 of the way up the pillars on the inside. You need to make sure it is tightly in the corner before glassing it in so that it doesn't get in the way of anything. At the bottom ends I let curve round the corner and under the scuttle probably 8-9" before matting it in.

The rear edge would probably be easier done by laminating the appropriate section in rather than the method I used which was to laminate the edge onto a former (aluminium strip covered with plastic film) clamped at the correct angle. The lip needs to be roughly doubled in height when the rear screen is out (I guessed the height!!) It would be better to measure a d/h to get the correct dimension :)

Obviously when you cut the rear roof pillars you can leave them a bit tall and trim them later.

I do, as I said above, strongly suggest you get your new top screen frame before you decide where to cut. It is critical to get the screen aperture the right size and symmetrical and I found it quite tricky because the d/h screen frame without all the bits attached (tensioner and gripper rail) is a pretty flimsy thing. You also have to allow for trimming the edges because new mouldings (mine anyway) seem to be supplied untrimmed.

The whole job, including the stage I am at now is much easier if you have a genuine d/h you can have a look at to see how things go together

The parts for the project add up a bit! I was lucky to have kept an original hood frame in my shed for the last 25 or so years :) Susan at Mick Miller Classic Lotus (01728 603307) can supply a good replica frame, in fact she can supply all the parts you will need to do the job usually from stock - she is also very helpful and knows her Elans. I don't know if she can supply the fiberglass mouldings but like me she knows a man who can! ;) My screen frame was made by Boss Motors - not cheap but a good moulding. (01953 887471)

I will attempt to send a couple of my crappy pics. They might help explain the angle iron thing?

Hope this helps
John

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