Lotus Elan

How do you tell a Sprint is a Sprint and not an S4(SE)?

PostPost by: Leo Leentvaar » Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:38 pm

Thanks Tony :lol: :lol:
You sure did put the record straight on performance.
I hope you did catch my drift as an S4 SE posing as a Sprint may have been a bargaining chip with the seller. I've looked at the listings in C&SC (sadly they stopped doing that a while ago) and there was a 500 quid (that's almost a thousand bucks) premium on the Sprint versions.
I would have been quite content having an S4 SE :P
Thing is I bought the car as advertised, so I am "stuck" with the axle ratio's.
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:08 pm

Leo

Someone already mentioned checking the donuts after you own/drive it for a bit. They will need to be changed at some point so start looking for a 3.54 out of the Escort RS2000 of 70's and you will be ready to swap it. With any luck you may already have a 3.55, who knows until you get it.

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:40 pm

Perhaps, Tony, it's the purity of the S1 that most appeals? :roll:
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:12 pm

The helmet and flag/rooky stick holder on the left side of the front bumper/fender are just beautiful. Its missing the large duck bill spoiler on the back of the boot lid though.

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:52 am

Bonnet hinges? :shock:
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:58 am

Sorry not to have posted recently, I spent the weekend yacht racing, another passion of mine!

Greg Z - No link to the web site yet as it is not set up. I'll let the list know when I have worked out how to get a web site off the ground! As far as the factory confirming your car as a Sprint, I am sure Mike Pomfret got it right. I have not yet got a definitive date when the Sprint became available in North America, but I believe it to be between September - November 1971. Does any one know this one?

Ralph - Do not take the registration document as being proof with regard to your car being a Sprint. If your car is one of the few S4s converted to Sprint spec by the factory, then you should still be able to get that verified by Lotus.

Nigel - I was told the only records at the factory that could verify numbers made were destroyed in a flood there in the late 1970s. I had not heard of works orders 0172 - 0501 missing. However, the types those numbers can apply to are only the E and G types ie. UK spec FHC and DHC respectively, as you point out. Though the works orders may be missing, the factory might have other (VIN?) records - I shall ask them. With regard to colour for your car, that is your call. My view is that it is historically interesting to know what the original colour of the car was but when you own the car, you can do what you want to it! Additionally, the Rindt/Sprint photo must have been taken in July or August, since Rindt died at Monza on 5 Sep 70. The Big Valve was not a secret at that time, as it was not conceived until October by Chapman and Rudd.

Mark - Interesting about the factory flares with Revolutions. I understand that, like Rolls Royce, Lotus would supply a car specified to customer requirements, provided thay were prepared to pay! Having said that, I know of no other special order Sprints.

Pete - Thanks very much for your cars information, appreciate it.

Gary - The changes Lotus made to the S4 to develop it into the Sprint are a matter of record and freely available to anyone wanting to upgrade any Elan. Mark's posting states the case well about S4 dealer/factory upgrades.

Tony - The Elan Sprint was as separate a legitimate version as the S1, S2, S3 and S4 versions. Lotus were quite clear about this, stopping production of the S4 to only make the Sprint, getting the press to road test the Sprint version and publishing adverts and brochures.

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PostPost by: pereirac » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:29 pm

Did S1s really have wheel arches like the one in the photo, or is that part of the 'purity'... :-)

Carl
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PostPost by: tonycharente » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:32 pm

trw99 wrote:Tony - The Elan Sprint was as separate a legitimate version as the S1, S2, S3 and S4 versions. Lotus were quite clear about this, stopping production of the S4 to only make the Sprint, getting the press to road test the Sprint version and publishing adverts and brochures.
Tim


Tim,
I am not, of course, saying that the Sprint wasn't a separate a legitimate version of the Elan, but it was no means as separate as the differences between, say an S2, an S3 and an S4. It was only a minor upgrade of the S4 with a distinctive paint job and was often called the S4 Sprint. The fact that Lotus made a song and dance of it proves nothing as this was only in the best marketing tradition of launching special models to boost sales - Mr Arnold at his best!

It is precisely because it is so very close to the S4 that it is easy for S4 owners to pass off an S4SE as an S4 Sprint, and as the Sprint is definitely worth more in the market it is, of course, important that anyone paying a premium for a Sprint should make sure it is the genuine article.

The only point I was trying to make (whilst pulling your leg at the same time) is that in the real world the only thing that made the heavier Sprint accelerate any better was the fitting of a lower rear axle ratio. Manufacturers often do this - indeed Lotus did it again with the Elise also - the earliest (purest) Elise is the lightest and is higher geared than its fat descendants with air-con and cup-holders. Now guess which model of Elise I have....

:lol:
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:41 pm

I guess that'll be the one with no roof and a bottle opener on the dash! :)
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PostPost by: tonycharente » Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:20 pm

Tim,
Yes, that's the one! It also has the light alloy brake disks that don't work when wet! It's heart stopping when you first discover this.
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:18 pm

Tony,

I dare say I haven't seen every published road test for the Elan, but the fastest one I saw was a '67 FHC on 155-13, 3.55 diff, and no ignition cutout. The magazine complained about not getting more than 7000 (on a 6000 RPM power peak!) which was good for just shy of 130MPH.

Certainly, a S4SE big valve with special order 165-13 tires, 3.55 and no ignition cutout would be good for over 130MPH.

The best I saw on my Stromberg S4 with 165-13 and 3.55 was just under 7000 right after its 36,000 mile tuneup.

It would be interesting to see valid road tests of Elans that got over 130MPH.

David
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PostPost by: tonycharente » Mon Mar 26, 2007 8:47 pm

David,
I don't think there will have been any road tests of a standard factory car reaching a full 130 mph since, as reflected in your message, the limiting factor was the revs and the overall gearing, and the standard cars only ever had 155 X 13 tyres, the SE's mostly with 3.55 axles and the Sprints mostly with 3.77. I don't recall seeing a road test of a Sprint with a 3.55 axle (precisely because, according to my theory, it would not then have had such good acceleration!!!).

No doubt the best standard factory car would have been one of the 5-Speed Sprints, since it would have had the best of both worlds in terms of both acceleration gearing and top speed gearing, but I cannot recall ever seeing a road test of a 5-Speed Sprint. I would have thought that such a car could well have reached a full 130 mph - so does anyone have a copy of a road test of a 5-Speed Sprint?

Tony
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:39 pm

Tony,

A road tested 5-speed Sprint would have been interesting.

With 155-13 3.77 and 6500, the .8 5th gear gives 140+ MPH. It would have taken a really sharp Sprint to pull that!

With 3.9 that still gives 137. A 4.11 gives right at 130.

I have heard of stories of +2s pulling over 130 MPH. Wonder if it is true, or a speedometer reading?

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PostPost by: robcall » Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:16 pm

trw99 wrote:
Though the works orders may be missing, the factory might have other (VIN?) records - I shall ask them.

Tim


I'd appreciate that Tim-especially since I've lucked out twice now!
Do let me know if you come up with anything

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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:04 pm

I am not aware of a road test of a Sprint/5 - to give it the correct nomenclature.

The exact number of Sprint/5s that left the factory is a poser. There are apparently no records regarding the number made by the factory. These were only cursorily kept and in the late 70?s destroyed during the flood at the factory. In his book, John Bolster says Lotus fitted 5 speed boxes to the "last five or six Elans".

Mick Miller always claimed that only three were ever made by Lotus at the factory and that his was the first produced by them. It is of course also known that several Sprints had the five speed gearbox fitted after delivery, either by the factory or by a dealer, over several years after production ceased. A technical service bulletin, issued in May 1974, details the procedure for replacing the Sprint gearbox with a five speed unit.

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