Lotus Elan

The resurrection of 26/4597, many photos and some text

PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:50 am

I was living near the end of a road by the beach in Scituate in a winter rental in February 1978 and had just returned with some parts after visiting Ed Loveday?s shop called Pitstop in Avon. My Elan had sucked in a trumpet nut a couple days earlier and imbedded in number 4 piston. The head and sump were off and in the ground level garage (white door visible in the photo below halfway down on the far left).
(Before) the photo below shows the beach a few months before the storm known locally as "the blizzard of 78" a 3 day Noreaster that dumped 35 inches of snow with constant winds over 70 mph for 24 hours and gusts just over 100mph
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The house I was in was still standing (east and west walls washed away with my Elan still in there). It is just out of view on the far left, My roommate and I watched the 6 houses directly on the beach get washed away except for the second story of one of them.
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I found this satelite photo on the internet, one of the Blizzard of 1978 sites had it. Its of tuesday February 7th at 4:01 pm, this is more or less the near the end of the storm and you can see the rough formed eye. This is just hard to understand, this is effectively a catagory 1 Huricane in 20 degree fahrenheit air and high 30's water temperature. The storm hung around and dumped snow for 36 hours. One of the reports I have read states the the track headed north and "looped east" before heading north again. Its real hard for storms to backup to the east once the are moving but this one did.
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More photos at these sites.

http://hullnantasket.homestead.com/blizzardpix.html

http://hullnantasket.homestead.com/bliz ... nhull.html


This put an end to my Elan ownership for close to 10 years until I had finished building another home for myself and had the time and money to restart the rebuild of 26/4597. The original body was repaired but accident, fire, and flood damage had taken a heavy toll on the shell and try as I did it was just not going to do the job. I bought a S4 wreck and rebuilt it as a nice cruising Elan.
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It was great driver but it just didn?t have the thrill of the lighter S2 that I remembered. In 1994 I found another S2 that was in pretty good condition with the Cylinder head in the boot. The owner and I couldn?t agree on the price, he wanted $8000 and I want to pay $3000. Three months went by and his price was down to $5000 so I counter offered $4000 and we agreed at $4500 so at lunch time one day at work I drove from Marlboro, Ma. To Watertown and loaded it into the back of my pickup. When I got it home from work I unloaded onto the back porch where it sat for a while until I cleared some space in my shop in Greenbush

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This photo show the Spring of 1969 Massachusetts inspection sticker, with an October 1965 delivery it wasent on the streets of Cambridge long before engine problems layed it up for the next 28 years.
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Looking at the above photo you have to wonder why I would use it for the basis of my dream hot rod Elan. It was just a project that I had been wanting to do for years and the time was right, the bills were paid and I had the time and the space. I had just started working a 4-day week and the person I was sharing the shop with had just moved out so things were coming together fast. I called Spyder and ordered a chassis and had a frind of mine, Kenny Duclos building up a 1700cc tall deck Twin Cam. Kenny told me that he and friend were getting an order together from Tony Thompson and asked if I wanted anything so I said how about alloy bellhousing, gear case, tailshaft and diff nose. I had already ordered the parts for the differential, quaife torsen, new 3.9 ring and pinion, heavy duty CV from Dave Bean, heavy duty axles and hubs from RD Enterprises (more of Tony Thompson?s parts). There wasn't much I didn't replace.

I finally got the body down to my shop where there was plenty of room.

(I found these photos today (7-21-2008) and they show how nice the body was when I bought it.
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Hear are a bunch of photos that I took at the time

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The Elan body flipped over to remove the paint and fiberglass some areas
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The body with the first coat of prime sanded and second coat applied
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The body leaving my shop and ready to go next door for painting
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All the parts setup and ready for the base coat, it takes up a lot of space
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Base coat applied to the body
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The body back in my shop
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With the body done it was time to spend some time in my garage getting the Spyder chassis built up. with most of the sub assemblies pre built it didn't take all that long to get things done.

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The body now sitting on the chassis for the first time,
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In late August of 1997 I finally had the Elan ready for its first drive. With a couple gallons of gas, the first drive was to the landfill in Cohasset Heights where they had a weigh bridge scale and drove onto it. The gentleman in the shack gave me the printout. 1260 pounds with spare and hardtop but the bonnet was left at home, so call it 1280 lbs. I never did add up the bills, but I would guess it was upwards of $25k. All in all it was worth the time of a little over a year and 11 years later it?s still a hoot to drive.

Gary

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Last edited by garyeanderson on Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:25 am, edited 4 times in total.
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:42 am

Gary, the car looks great! Thanks for sharing..

Greg Z
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sat Jul 05, 2008 12:02 pm

Hi Greg

I had a slow day yesterday and thought I would take the time to get the photos put into some sort of story for everyone. At the moment the Alloy case with the 3.90 ring and pinnion which has the quaife torsen is out and its been replaced with an open 3.54 in an iron diff housing. The ultra close box with the alloy gearcase and tailshaft is out also, and currently has an iron case semi-close gearbox and tailshaft. The hardtop and passenger's seat have been removed so I would guess the weight to be nearly the same or possibly a little less. The shop in Greenbush is gone and its been turned into 1000 car parking lot for the re-established comuuter rail since last November, about 300 cars use it daily. I have around 4000 miles on the S2 since I finished it, It doesn't get driven enough but its a keeper. After 11 years the paint needs to be done due to being stored in a 2 car garage with 4 others, a TVR Grantua mk2a, a mk1 Cortina GT, another lotus Elan S2 and the 1960 Lotus Elite.

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Last edited by garyeanderson on Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPost by: elj221c » Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:08 pm

Gary,
Very inspiring!

Roy
'65S2
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:15 pm

Hi Roy

Thanks, all it takes is money, space, and time. I am out of the first two at the moment. The first on the list can make up for the other two but the dollars "go cubic"

Gary
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PostPost by: theelanman » Sat Jul 05, 2008 3:12 pm

very nice...congrats....

just one thing....what the exhaust/tail pipe thing???....

not sure Ive ever seen anything like it before :shock:

top job tho :D :D :D :D :D
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sat Jul 05, 2008 4:14 pm

theelanman wrote:very nice...congrats....

just one thing....what the exhaust/tail pipe thing???....

not sure Ive ever seen anything like it before


Its a modified type of Cherry bomb called a Supertrapp. The end of it has multiple baffles, the more baffles the less back pressure and more noise.

http://www.supertrapp.com/company/history.asp
http://www.supertrapp.com/
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:31 pm

garyeanderson wrote:the photo below shows the beach a few months before the storm known locally as "the blizzard of 78" a 3 day Noreaster that dumped 35 inches of snow with constant winds over 70 mph for 24 hours and gusts just over 100mph


Gary,
I was in Don Tingle's shop one day in late February or early March 1978 when someone called with the news that his Elan had been consumed by the sea in Scituate. It was quite a few years later before I actually met you. At that time I had owned my +2 for six months and had just taken it completely apart (so what else is new). The week after the storm allowed me to get a lot of work done as we were not allowed to drive in eastern Massachusetts until the roads were cleared. I had friends living on Gannett Road in North Sciutate then. They were about a mile from the ocean but at the height of the storm the water was licking at their front door.
Russ Newton
Elan +2S (1971)
Elite S2 (1962)
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Tue Jul 08, 2008 9:07 pm

Hi Russ

The Story starts on the way back from Ed Lovedays shop. As I said, I was getting some parts there to reassemble the engine. On the way north on Rt 24 all of 4 or 5 miles the snow is coming down pretty hard and there are cars spun out in the mediun and one tractor trailor on its side. By the time my father drops me off at the top of the road there is 4 or 5 inches of snow in the hour and a half it took to get home (normally 45 minutes). I walked the down the hill to the house and did some work on the engine gettting ready to reassemble the next day. My roommate and a friend get home with beer and we sat around an the wind is really picking up, probably 50 mph with gusts of 60. It was a new moon tide and it had 12.5 feet peak that day, a normal tide is around 9.5 to 10 feet. Add to that a small surge from the north east wind and I would guess it was around 14 feet that evening. We got a call at about 10 pm that night from my friends sister that she had been evacuated from a beach house south a 1/4 mille and needed a ride home. So... my friend goes to leave to pick her up and were surrounded by 2 feet of water. His car, 69 Chevy Mallibu is up over the flat of the seat cushin. He says get in and start it and well push, well it won't start, seems the wires are a little wet and it will only stay running with the key in start position. I put the car in drive and lurches forward a foot or two and stalls, my roommate and friend are pushing hard. Repeat a dozen or more times and we got it out of the water and head off to pickup his sister about 3 miles away. When we got back the power is out so we get a fire going in the fireplace. The wind is now a steady 60 with higher gusts. No sleep that night as its as loud as a train outside and cold inside even with the fire going real good. Morning comes around and at first light I take a walk down to the beach to have a first hand look at the 6 houses, I was kind of surprised when I look at the east side and half of them are wide open. The 10 to 15 foot waves on top of the surge had opened them right up. Its still blowing 60 or so with the temp in the low 20's so I'd seen enough and went back to put more wood on the fire. About 9:30 my friend come back with more beer and we settle in for the show. The tide never really went back out, it dropped but only to about 2/3's of a normal high tide and the wind is up to near hurricane force by this time. Around 11 am its getting deep outside, not the snow, the ocean. When it got to be about 5 feed deep one of my roommates had seen enough and walked down the steps into the water up to his neck and waded to shore with a change of cloths over his head. Shortly after, the steps washed away. The next thing we hear was a loud low frequency noise, later we figured it was the east cinder block wall getting knocked into the first floor basement. You remember the fire in the fire place right, well the cast iron furness had moved on top of the Elan and the gas pipe had broken. Chineese fire drill time, three of us opened every window in the house in 30 seconds. A couple minutes later there was another Loud noise and I guess that was the west wall falling down. We didn't smell gas so all the windows were shut and the fire rebuilt. Time to setttle down for a bit and watch the waves. As we looked out windows we saw the 6 houses wash into the water and as I looked across the street I see the house with the roof looking like a sine wave as the wave went under it, it was at this point I realized that we were next and it would be soon time to abandon ship. It was only a 2 foot jump from the front door instead of the normal 10 foot drop so we got ready to jump if the house started to setttle. It didn't so I pulled up one of the forced hot air grates and stuck my head down for a look into the basement, I could see the back of the Elan bobbing around, I looked east and there was nothing, ditto when I looked west. We were the three luckiest SoB's in town that day, there were 2 fatalities in town that day, one person died trying to save a 2 year old child and lost his life as well as the baby, a real sad thing. After the tide went out we moved out that day. The show was over and the cost of admission was a little high, I lost the Elan my friend lost his Volkwagen and the Malibu died a couple months later with teminal brake problems. The stats on the storm were peak wind gusts just over 100 and a 6 foot surge on the 12.5 foot new moon tide with waves in the 15 to 20 foot range. The whole coast line looked like a war zone. There wasn't much snow in many locations as the ocean had cleared it way, we were able to get around without to much problem, for the next week we had a check point at evey main intersection that went to the beach. A local cop, a state cop and a member of the national guard. The Police issued passes but you just had to show the pass and you could go anywhere you wanted as the local cops didn't care and the others didn't have a clue on what steets were where. My romemate didn't want the VW bug so I made a deal with a lady to trade the bug for a 65 Cortina Estate (the Cortina was parked in Onset at the end of a dead end street and blocked access to the beach and made it look like someone lived there) and proceded to install the TwinCam and ultra close gearbox. I terrorized the town of Scituate and Cohasset for a couple years, it was a good drinking car while it ran but in the winter of 1980 it let me down too many times and I had to get something that would start when it was zero outside.

Gary

June 17th 2007 - Wood Island Road
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:21 am

Gary,
Great series of photos and thanks for the story.

Cheers,
Pete.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:03 am

Gary,
It's taken me 3 1/2 years to get around to reading through this, I wasn't on these forums until 2 1/2 years ago but that's no excuse for not reading the archives.

That's a very nicely prepared car and I approve wholeheartedly with the way you have made it to suit yourself and not got all S1/S2 correct about it.

To all those considering a rebuild I say "Look and Learn", you may not approve of all of the features; to some of you the Spyder frame/chassis will stick out like a red rag to a bull. Here is a car that get's used and no doubt makes Mr Anderson a little notorious in his locality for being that guy with the tiny British sports car. Restoration is a personal journey, those of us who bite the bullet have the privilege of choice and some of us choose what we want.

regards
Kindest regards

Alan Thomas
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