Lotus Elan

Building A Kit Elan In The 60s

PostPost by: Tonyw » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:43 pm

Hi all,

This brings back memory's for me. As a very young man I worked for a corner garage in Surrey we did two of these one was red the other yellow. I recall getting the drive shafts to install on both and thought at the time that was a 'bugger" of a job. We did the first one which took two days the second only took one day albeit a long day both were DHC's the customers helped to put these together and I recall we had a really good time culminating in a few drinks in the Foresters Arms afterwards.

Mark thanks for posting this.

Regards,

Tonyw
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PostPost by: saildrive2001 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:16 am

Built mine in May of 69 on one weekedn with the help of two friends. Mine also arrived on a flat bed truck with ony the driver. As in the article with the help of neigbours pressganged into batlle we slid & lifted the completed body off the truck. Next major job was to get the engine/gearbox off. The hardest job was installing the engine with the headers installed into the car. Tried three times bfore being successful. You had to take the car to a Lotus dealer within 500miles for a free inspection otherwise the warranty wasn't valid.
You were not allowed to use any professional help otherwise you had to pay the purchase tax.
This is the same car that I am now in the long process of restoring. I'm looking forward to the same rush I had when I first started & drove my shiny new Elan.
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PostPost by: skelteanema » Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:00 am

Maybe the rapid assembly of a Lotus required the skills and dexterity of of a surgeon, and our good friend Dr Hammond was used to working with precise and sensitive equipment. The Lotus Elan is like a living creature, well mine seems to have a mind of its own at times!
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:31 am

skelteanema wrote:Maybe the rapid assembly of a Lotus required the skills and dexterity of of a surgeon, and our good friend Dr Hammond was used to working with precise and sensitive equipment.


I remember thinking when I first saw the Dr Hammond advert many years ago that some of his more "sensitive" patients might prefer to wait a few days for an appointment until he manages to get the oil and dirt out from under his fingernails. :shock: :shock:

Of course he might not be a medical doctor but the advert was obviously intended to indicate the social stratum Lotus wanted to pitch to. There was me in the 70's, working in a research lab and aspiring to a PhD (didn't happen!) and if an Elan was good enough for Dr Hammond ...
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:14 am

Interesting the the Motor kit arrived with the rear suspension and final drive fitted, whereas Dr Hammersmith's :roll: did not.

Thanks for posting; a very good read.
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PostPost by: jimj » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:26 am

Well, 70s actually in my case. The diff. was in but not the rear suspension. All the washers and nuts for everything were in place in the right order so it was pretty straight forward. They weren`t allowed to give instructions for assembly but could and did give instructions for disassembly, so you worked backwards. The problem was fitting silly things like the radiator. We just got it basically together and the dealer picked it up on a trailer and finished it properly, checked all the torque settings etc. and trouble free motoring ensued. Marvellous.
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PostPost by: ardee_selby » Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:24 pm

The Elan owners I am most envious of are guys like you...Keith & Jim. What better way to have learnt the nature of the beast!

Can't help thinking you had an unfair advantage over others dealing with all those (deadly? dreaded? diabolical?) previous owners! :wink:

I guess that with the information disseminated via this network, and publications such as those from Messrs Wilkins & Buckland, that DPO's are now extinct.

DVLA couldn't tell me who my PO's were...but they did have photos! :)

Cheers - Richard
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PostPost by: saildrive2001 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:34 pm

Mine came without any of the drive train or suspension installed. Body was fully trimmed & mounted on the chassis but everything else including all the suspension pieces, radiator etc. can either loose or in open cardboard boxes. It really was an amature way of shipping expensive pieces. At least the engine had been bench tested.
I don't think the Rebuild instructions were that helpful, you certainly had to have some good mechanical knowledge to be able to build the car.
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PostPost by: RogerFrench » Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:08 pm

I remember that article when it was first published. The author, Charles Bulmer, was one of my father's friends, and has a particular claim to fame in that he won the very first 750 formula race.

My father was either second or third. Reports vary, but he thought he'd got second on the ine, and anyway after 60+ years it's not very important.

There was also a time when we saw a gorgeous car coming down the lane to our farmhouse home in Gloucestershire. Turned out to be Charles in the then-unannounced Jaguar E-Type.
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PostPost by: Tonyw » Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:52 pm

Richard,

I never knew that Dennis the menace and My Gumby owned a Lotus Elan...................

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PostPost by: skelteanema » Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:24 am

I assume the Denis Jenkinson mentioned as part of the "build team" was the "Jenks" famous for his Motorsport journalism. If its him, then I read recently in our NZ classic car mag that he navigated for Stirling Moss in a Works Mercedes cars at the Mille Miglia in mid 50's (a bit before my time). And to think he found the time and enthusiasm to help build a Lotus Elan Kit.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:58 am

Dr Hammerton neglected to tell us of his prior experience in building an Elan when he put His S4 NAH 120J together in 1970.

He'd already put an S3 together in 1967, registartion NAH 120F.

What are the chances, eh?

Mark
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PostPost by: Pastapesto » Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:00 pm

Ah but Mark, wasn't that his friend "Dr Hammond" from the earlier ad? Must have been good at building Elans from kits these doctors! He obviously gave Dr Hammerton some useful tips and advice so that he too could get down the pub in his new Lotus on Sunday evening.

All the best

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:06 pm

I hadn't noticed that they were two different names!

And there I was thinking that Lotus were being cheapskates re-using an old advert, when it was two different Drs all along.

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PostPost by: types26/36 » Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:22 pm

Well Doctor Hammerton had a nice trolley to rest the body on (probably a hospital trolley) but despite the fact he says "Placing the car on trestles" his "trestles look remarkably like bricks to me :shock:
I also have to wonder how many pints the good Doctor consumed and if he went home in a taxi....(and not because the Elan would not start) :lol:
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