Lotus Elan

Slow re-birth of a Sprint

PostPost by: slowsprinter » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:15 pm

Hello All
I finally feel confident enough to post!
I bought my Sprint project about a year ago. It used to be owned by a friend of mine when we were both crew members on RAF Nimrods. It was a 1972 Sprint FHC when it was a runner, but my friend put it upside down in a field near to the airfield writing it and nearly himself off. Happily he recovered but the Sprint is only just starting its recovery! Basically he collected what was left of the car and put it into a barn awaiting funds to re-build.
In the mean time he started a family and you guys know the rest. His rebuild never really got started. When I found out he had an Elan in a barn, I said to him, years ago that I would buy it if ever he felt like selling. You see I was made in 1962 same year as the Elan, and as a boy the Elan was my favourite car. Since then we both left the RAF and almost lost touch. Out of the blue he phoned me and asked if I still wanted it. Of course. Now I am the proud owner of a pile of Elan bits. His wife was always pestering him to clear his outbuildings of car wreckage. I must say I met plenty of resistance from my own! However after a new dishwasher and washing machine, I won the day.
I am just about to start my re-build in earnest but I know it will be slow as I work away quite a bit. I just wanted to say hello to all you gurus out there because I know I will need you. I live in Scotland and will value your help along the road!
Last edited by slowsprinter on Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:32 pm

Welcome to the Forum - Tim (TRW999) will be along in a minute wanting your chassis number details for his register - he's always glad to find another Sprint (Sprinter? - is this a Scottish term?).

Sounds like you will have quite a project on your hands - my last one took 7 years and the current one isn't far off the same - so no hurry!

Good luck with it.

Steve
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:51 pm

Good to know that they are still "out there" and coming back. No need for a lack of confidence, I claim the record for daft questions but it's up for grabs!

Welcome.
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PostPost by: slowsprinter » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:05 pm

Thanks Steve
Your right, of course I know its a sprint. Its because I called myself slowsprinter and I'm getting old! I also sometimes drive one of the Mercedes variety. So sadly not a Scottish term :oops:
My chassis has re-visited Spyder for a check over and a repaint. The brakes have visited Classicar, they went looking like museum artifacts and came back gleaming, amazing transformation. Spyder also carried out a 2.25" spring conversion on my rear struts and done the bearings. A local garage have had the gearbox and diff for a check up. New seals, bearings and oil. The twink will go there one day when the funds recover as it needs a re-build.

I have had to build my workshop and garage around the wreck and have just installed a compressor and blast cab so i am ready to renovate in earnest. First jobs are to install diff and box back into the chassis, clean up, paint and install the rear suspension. Brake pipes are bought but not yet fitted. Does anyone have any advice on painting diff and box and suspension?

The shell is a DHC in reasonable shape apart from a broken off top rail. This will have to wait for much later! The drivers door window frame was destroyed in the crash, but thanks to Brian Buckland (I have bought his excellent book) I have sourced a replacement. One or two other parts did not survive either, e.g dash and loom, windscreen, wheels. This weekends job is to get my compressor/blaster set up ready to start.

Thanks in advance to all!
Ian.
Last edited by slowsprinter on Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:29 pm

If you are starting a long-term restoration one piece of advice would be not to buy any of the "rubber" parts yet. Due to H&S regulations the modern stuff seems to last no time at all, so if a poly bush exists, fit it; if you buy new engine mounts or diff mounts, don't expect them to be any use in two years time. Forget drive-shaft doughnuts (preferably forever but at least until the last minute). Even things like rack gaiters will perish, as will flexi brake pipes.

Read the archives here, definitely buy Brian Buckland's Elan book (and any others you see cheaply on e-bay but don't rush in) join Club Lotus, even if they are crap locally, the national outfit is not too bad. In Scotland (a large suburb of England to the north of the Peoples' Republic of Cumbria, as I understand it) the Lotus Driver' Club appears active, ask Alex.
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PostPost by: slowsprinter » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:50 pm

Thanks Pete
You guys are great, replies and great advice already.

I have been an avid reader of this site for more than a year. I have already decided to bin the donuts and will one day go for the Sue Millers or TTR version. Most of the rubber items have already gone hard so are useless. That prompts more questions. I have bought new diff mounts and a top diff brace strut from TT. The Lotocones, engine mounts I have look good, do you think I should throw away? Are there poly bush versions of Lotocones and diff mounts?

I also have Spyder suspension A-frames with ok looking bushes. I had already decided to go poly bushes for these but understand from previous posts that they may not fit. Does anyone have further news on this?

My steering rack looks poor and I would like to replace, does anyone have advice on this (suppliers)? Also I forgot to mark the propshaft when I took the car apart. Is there a way of working out how it should go back/balancing or should I guess and worry about it when the car is running?
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:15 am

Hey Ian, sounds like a great project with an enthusiastic start. Agree not to rush and keep it fun. I sure found that a few weeks break from time to time reinvigorated me and kept me patient.

For the Spyder wishbones, pretty sure mine came with poly bushes installed. I believe they sold them separate or assembled. If need be they could probably install for you on your wishbones? Not sure about the Lotocones & diff mounts; my Spyder supplied one's were black rubber.

I painted my Ali diff cover, but sure opinions vary. Didn't paint my transmission, but think it would have looked better if I did. Be careful about blasting to clean up though.

I got my new replacement rack from Spyder. My Plus 2 is LHD, so may be different for you, but worth an ask. Used my original Plus 2 extensions; understand the rack is the same for the two seater.

Pics always welcome when you get sorted. :)
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PostPost by: trw99 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:46 am

Hi Ian

Thanks for starting to post and for bringing us the welcome news that you will soon have another fine Sprint on the road. And yes, if you could kindly send me a PM with your car's VIN plate details that would be really helpful.

If you have not already done so, do read Alex Black's account of his Sprint restoration. Another Scot, his record is an excellent blow by blow on line restoration. It would be great if you kept us as up to date with yours as Alex did. If I may suggest, always use this post as the rest of us then know what the story is.

You did not mention what your intention is on using the car once you have completed the restoration. It would be interesting to know what your philosophy is and thus we can recommend certain parts, ways of doing things, paths to go down.

Lastly, I'm sure it will not have escaped your notice that next year is the Elan's 50th anniversary (and yours, clearly!). Do you reckon you will have the Sprint ready to celebrate too?!

Tim
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PostPost by: slowsprinter » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:56 am

Thanks Tim

Steve said you would be on to me, you are a few hours late! I will get those details off to you asap.
I have been reading Alex's thread with interest and it acts as inspiration for me. Alex, if you are reading I would love to take a closer look at your beauty one day for further inspiration. I have to confess to all that I am not Scottish but a Brummie, part of the Army of Occupation! I have lived here for over 20 years though. My 2 boys have Scottish accents though, despite my attempts at re-education. They do support England in footie and rugby, which freaks out the natives.
I have a photo of Neil Jukes lovely orange and white sprint (I am a weirdo) outside Leeds Castle as wallpaper on my laptop. This is my favourite photo of an Elan and I plan to make mine look similar. Neil you are another of my Elan heroes. I have considered Alex's colour scheme but its like RAF blue and would give me too many flashbacks! My IT skills are not great but will attempt photos soon.
My intentions, Tim, for the car is as a simple nice day run around and the odd holiday trip. I intend to keep the car more or less standard but I am not too concerned about originality. I will use some of the popular modern upgrades like driveshafts, polybushes, alternator etc.
You are indeed correct, I share my half century with the Elan. Being realistic my elan currently looks like a Libyan airstrike though so I very much doubt it will make it. Mrs SS is quite harsh on releasing funds to finance adequate progress too!
Thanks again for all your support. Stu, thanks for your advice from over the pond too! My Spyder wishbones are inherited from previous owner fitted with rubber bushes. Do you know if Spyder sell poly bushes to fit their wishbones?
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PostPost by: Hitus » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:17 pm

Hello Ian,
So, another sprint in Moray then. I've sent you an email.
Neil.
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PostPost by: lotusfan » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:06 pm

Ian

Colorado Orange and white is not a weirdo colour scheme, in my humble opinion it is the only one to have, very 1970's. Others will have different opinions no doubt. I too am restoring a Sprint and I must get it finished for next years celebrations. Good luck with yours and as others have said this place is full of very knowledgeable people.

The attached photo shows that there is still some way to go!!
Attachments
100_2881.JPG and
Mike
72 Sprint DHC
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:11 pm

Definitely keep the TT diff mounts, they are superb but I don't think they are made of Elf 'n Safety rubber somehow! :wink: They should last for some little while yet.
If you have a Spyder tubular chassis, you will need to cut a bit of the ally off the TT top Diff mounts, it's dead obvious if you are assembling with the body off, might be harder to figure with it on.
I think I've have seen poly Lotocones advertised a while back but I'm not sure where.
Colorado is a great colour.
Great news that you have another car to look at "locally", and someone to bounce ideas off.
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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:00 pm

Hello guys, Ian,
Just back from a round trip to pick up my repaired bonnet from Option 1... Wow! Just beautiful..

Anyway after 12 hrs on the train I'm here.....

Ian.. Be my guest. The car is here for you (or anyone) to come and see.. And I am always happy to help. This is one fantastic forum with great guys involved. You will get real help and advice within minutes.

I was blown away by the knowledge and helpfulness which is Just wonderful... Get yourself down to Donnington to say hello to a few of them.. (Club lotus show)

My advice is do not bodge anything. Do it right 1st time.

All the best with it.

Alex B..... 8)
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PostPost by: SADLOTUS » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:17 pm

Welcome Slows Printer (well that's how i read it) ... thought it was a strange nom de plume :roll:

Good job Neil's got a DHC!
I expect you've seen his blow by blow - pic by pic - rebuild on flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... 420384607/

A resource in itself.
Don't be shy about aking something that's been keeping you awake at night, however trivial you might think it is, you'll usually get an answer pretty quick and pretty knowledgable too. The web never sleeps.

good luck
Paul
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:13 am

Ian, pretty sure Sean at Spyder should be able to fix you up with poly bushes as parts or installed. I expect the bush dimension would be same as stock, but best to ask. They can be a bit slow with email, so phoning works best. They list their various wishbones as with or without bushes, so must have them around. If your rear one's turn out to be damaged, they also have very nice rear adjustable wishbones that allow toe-in adjustment.
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