Lotus Elan

Recommended upgrades when restoring an Elan

PostPost by: FritzPasadena » Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:18 pm

I hear what you're saying about the weather. However, the car never raced with anything other than a plastic aero screen. Secondly, those C-Type Jag and other sports racing car drivers seem to do OK. :D
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:34 pm

Fritz, if this is the Bermuda (or was it Bahamas) racer you're talking about modyfying....DON'T !! What are you going to end up with adding a load of modern 'upgrade' stuff to it? Just another tarted up S2...to be blunt.

It's an important machine, and surely deserves to be carefully renovated back to some point in it's history and kept as a historic road / race car. It's probably unique in the UK, and not exactly common in the US, as so many were lost in the period or carried on their racing work until they were unrecognisable.

I usually make a plea to not convert a standard road car into yet another race clone....but to convert a very rare and real 60s racer into some 60s modern hybid....well, at the very least, you would lose a large potential market if you came to sell it.

But it's your car, and your money. I'm sure it could still be great fun putting it on the road in it's 60s road race condition....maybe not the slicks though!

Mark
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PostPost by: pauljones » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:03 pm

ill start by saying i have a plus 2,now my point is reference the question of cooling.im not an expert by any means,but i drove my elan in all trafic conditions from slow town to fast welsh a roads in the hills.and in all weathers hot or rain.i never had any problems that have been reported by others owners.so i,in my humble opinion would say a standard system in good condition should be fine.i will add though that i am considering swaping the radiator for an aly part,this is only to take advantage off modern tech to increase reliability,not because ive had problems.but at around ?350 plus more for the cooling fan ect,its your choice.

good luck.paul
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PostPost by: frearther » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:22 pm

AFAIK, the Gustafson (and similar pre-engaged) starters don't care what your polarity is. In fact, my original Lucas starter would run in the proper direction on the bench with polarity either way.
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PostPost by: FritzPasadena » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:57 pm

Thanks again for the insight.

Mark. Yes the car is the one you mentioned. It was restored (body off) in 1996/97 and prepared for North American historic racing at which point several modifications were made. These included a modern US-style fuel cell. I did stress I want the car to be cosmetically as per 1966 with a few additional upgrades focused primarily on reliability. Therefore, a new original-spec fuel tank and lines were always on the cards. The wiring is a mess and in my mind has to be renewed for safety as much as reliabilty. The exhaust system too is a modern historic racing set up that doesn't look 'right' and will therefore be changed for something more appropriate.

I am not an Elan expert but I do understand and respect where you are coming from with regard to originality and authenticity. The car has its original engine, chassis and body so, combined with the racing history, means it's too important to be risked going historic racing (lucky for me as I'm no Ayrton Senna :) ). However, it's not a barn find that's appeared on the scene for the first time since 1966 in a completely untouched and preserved state. I can go back to completely original or I can make some upgrades that will give me some peace of mind when enjoying the car a long way from home. The car needs to start reliably, run cool and be able to cover trips to Le Mans, Monaco or Modena.

I understand both the calls for upgrades and for originality but considered the items on the aforementioned list to be comparatively minor in the overall scheme of things. Maybe I was wrong but you have to remember as stated earlier, I know little about mechanics compared to the majority of posters here. I guess you can't be an expert on everything in life!

Perhaps what would be best is if I wheel the car out, get a set of detailed photographs and you guys can point out what's period correct, what's not and so on. That way we can make an informed judgement on what should be replaced, reverted to riginal and upgraded. Hopefully the weather will be fine tomorrow and I can get snapping!
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PostPost by: PeeVee » Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:39 pm

If I had an S2 I'd like to try and retain the original style wheels. With the hub caps I think it gives the car a nice period look. But I understand they have their weaknesses and there are no similar replacements available? Mick Miller Lotus has sold out of these.
I guess the only option would be to scrounge around for originals?

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:53 pm

It would certainly be very challenging getting the car back to how it looked and the mechanical spec of when it was raced in '65 / 66, but that would be a great challenge, be hugely rewarding and result in something quite unique with a cast iron provenance. If you have photos of it racing in period (I seem to remember there were quite a few) then I'm sure quite a few folks in the US would be able to identify the probable specification. Gary Anderson and his chums come to mind as guys who would recognise the class and spec that the car ran in, and what may have been done to the car in the period. I get the impression it started life as a fairly standard car, in 'road' specification, with a hot motor, wide wheels and the perspex windscreen instead of the standard frame and glass...and maybe that's all.

There are guys also on this forum who have rallied an S3 Elan throughout Asia on some very tough stages, and they use Rotoflex couplings, a Dynamo, a mechanical petrol pump and a Lucas starter motor. As a couple of comments have been made above, you don't NEED any modifications at all, and especially not modern out-of character ones.

Certainly something to think about. It may be worth getting in touch with Tim Mees, who runs the Type 26 register, and having a natter with him. In the Type 26 group are a gang of very knowledgeable guys, who know S1 and S2 Elans inside out. A couple of them are restoring 26R cars as well, and they are interested in originality, and I'm sure would be interested in your car and be able to offer some further information.

Do put some photos up though...We'd all be very interested and could certainly identify standard S2 stuff.....no matter which camp we come from!

Mark
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PostPost by: twincamman » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:34 pm

1964 S1 wrote:Hope this isn't a can of worms for you and your listing Fritz but I've never had an electric fuel pump on any Elan I've owned and they've all started everytime I wanted to go somewhere. I bought by first Elan in 1972 and have owned seven over the years. I consider electric fuel pumps a fire hazard in an old Elan. I guess if they're installed properly I'm overeacting.
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ok---add a remote fire bottle with a remote release and 3 nozzles --one at the fuel pump --one at the carbs and one at the drivers gonads ---as I have done --ed
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PostPost by: Galwaylotus » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:27 am

twincamman wrote:ok---add a remote fire bottle with a remote release and 3 nozzles --one at the fuel pump --one at the carbs and one at the drivers gonads ---as I have done --ed



Make sure it isn't CO2 or you could wind up with ice cubes! :lol:
Last edited by Galwaylotus on Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:35 am, edited 4 times in total.
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:29 am

Hi,

I think we've gone a fair way off topic but Marks comments have reminded me of a Lotus that I once owned.
The car had had a number of previous owners & had also been used widely in competition.
Subsequently the car had "evolved" & had changed considerably since it left the Factory.
However, the car was an early Prototype so who's to know what it looked like & what non-standard parts were in fact fitted at that stage?
When I owned the car it was pretty unique due to the OM evolution & I think that the car would have been known to quite a lot of enthusiasts when in that form.
The car spent a number of years in USA after I sold it & it was also used there in that form for competition.
The present owner had the car re-imported to GB & "restored" it to look like every other car of its type.(Mk14)
As an ex-owner I was shown photos of the magnificent & extensive restoration.
But I wonder if that's the way the car should look?
To be honest I cannot summon up any form of identity with the car that was once mine.
My oppinion, keep the car as close to the specification it was in when in its "Prime"; it's a piece of History

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PostPost by: FritzPasadena » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:58 am

As far as I know, the car was a standard Type 26 Elan S2 that the first owner (John Gordon) made a few minor changes to for competition. I still have the original hood so assume it arrived in the Bahams complete with a regular windscreen. Therefore, most of the mechanical parts should be standard Elan S2. I have contacted Lotus and whilst they confirmed the delivery spec (colours) and details (supplying dealer etc.), there was no record of any special competition modifications in the letter they sent me. From correspondence I have had with a previous owner who purchased the Elan from Mr Gordon, it seems that the car was brought up to full/partial SE spec for 1966 (when it was also fitted with the JAP mag wheels and flared rear arches) and there must also be a few special (period or later) parts that are contributing to the 125bhp or so the car is currently developing.

Unfortunately the weather here today is poor so I won't be pulling the car out for any photographs just yet. However, I think the way to proceed is to put the car back to exactly as it would have been in 1966 and simply try to engineer as much reliability into it as possible.

Could anybody PM me the contact details for Tim Mees at the Type 26 register please? I would like to forward a set of the photographs to him as I think the input of as many experts as possible will be beneficial.

Thanks again for everyone's input. :D
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PostPost by: paddy » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:00 am

You have a PM.

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PostPost by: FritzPasadena » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:09 am

Just thought you guys might like to see this in the absense of any current pics right now. It's a photo from the 1966 Bahamas Speed Weeks where John Gordon won no less than three events with the car. This is precisely how I'd like it to be restored.
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1966speedweeks.jpg and
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PostPost by: FritzPasadena » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:11 am

Thanks Paddy.
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Thu Jun 11, 2009 3:59 am

How cow - what a list of changes! Please stop and think about what is broken before you make any changes to an S2, especially one that might have a competition history given your profile photo. I have spent the past 20 years reversing the "improvements" I made to my +2 in the first 10 years of my ownership. The modern starters are nice, but my Lucas with Bendix engagement has not failed once in the 120,000 miles since I installed a replacement. Electric fuel pumps? OK, but Webers won't take more than 1.25 to 1.75 psi inlet pressure without flooding so you will need a pressure regulator as well. Alternators are nice but they are obvious in the engine compartment. There are clever versions built into a generator housing so as to appear original, try Racemettle in the UK. Cartridge water pumps, the Burton unit is nice, Bean not so. Both are obvious so wait until you need to make a change. Do not feel compelled to rush in to changes.
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