Lotus Elan

S3 covers 80+ miles in the snow today

PostPost by: jmp » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:45 pm

I ended up driving the elan on the M54 in snow earlier today as Pam's TF has gone in under Warranty for a suspected clutch release bearing replacement so she was using the Freelander. What an experience on a motorway in the snow these days. From Telford to Cannock fortunately for me, all on the opposite carriageway 5 seperate accidents. I'm still amased at the speed and TAILGATING that goes on in the conditions that we were driving in. Fortunately for me the driver behind me was keeping a very sensible distance and so did I from the one in front. Not the same applied to the drivers that were travelling 4 or 5 mtrs apart in the outside lane still doing 50 plus miles per hour.

One of the first jobs that will need to be done on the elan will be the addition of an alternator. Despite it being a new dynamo on it, headlights on,wipers on, fan now and again to clear the screen and stop start driving puts the ignition light on. I bet you all remember sitting in traffic in the good old days revving the engine now and again (a bit like being a boy racer again really ) to make sure more was going in the battery than was coming out.

Lights didn't seem to want to switch off either, so after a couple of hundred miles of use I've got the snag list made up. Engines good though with a nice turn of speed. I'm remembering most of the time that it hasn't got a 5th gear either.

Pic attached of the depth of snow on the boot lid when I arrived home. I had a twitchy rear end a couple of times but on the whole it wasn't as bad as it could have been in the snow. I did spend most of one hill decent dabbing the brakes though just to keep the speed down and still have traction.
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:55 pm

Very well done :D but just make sure you hose the underside of any salt. I'm starting to see corrosion damage from 2 journeys last year on the rear suspension arms.

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PostPost by: Mazzini » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:04 pm

Well done that man :)

I remember as a teenager driving down the M1 from Leeds to London in bad snow. My S3 never missed a beat. I remember at one point the snow was so bad I couldn't see the road, it was just a blanket of snow. Nowadays I'd just stay at home and wait for the snow to melt.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:19 pm

For a sports car, Elans have remarkably good traction in snow and can sometimes cruise past stranded saloons (especially BMWs!).

I once spent eight hours overnight driving from the Bavarian Alps to north Germany in snow, which got progressively worse the further north I drove, to the point where it was almost impossible to make out the edge of the autobahn. The constant flakes of white in the headlights caused me a headache but I was younger then!

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PostPost by: msd1107 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:38 pm

Very true.

We started off in Oregon at sea level in the rain one day, then turned away from the river and up into the mountains. It was a very quiet day, and we were the only car on the road.

The rain stopped and turned into snow. Up, up we went. The landscape turned into a white blanket. Then, only a few miles from the summit, the forest service closed the road as impassible (not for us). So we turned around and backtracked so we could circle around the closed section.

It was a very quiet day with no other traffic, only snow and white scenery. We were snug and warm in the FHC. Finally, toward the end of the day, we descended out of the snow and into civilization.

The Elan is a good puddle jumper also, getting through sections that drown other cars.

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:24 am

Narrow tyres win again!
Most modern cars (even shopping cars) run around on tyres wider than Grand Prix cars had in the 1960s, basic laws of physics, Mr Bond. :wink:
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:05 am

i remember many years ago i had spent the w/e at Dulwich village at a party. The next day sunday there was lots of snow. As i drive my 1970 +2s from it's parking place a could feel my seat moving up and done with the frozen snow touching the floor of my Lotus. I had to drive down the A3 to Waterlooville near Portsmouth. i had a full tank of petrol and so i thought that i would give it a go. When i arrived at Hindhead and the devil's punchbowl the road was closed with a police redirecting traffic. My only chance to continue was to take minor roads through little villages and the Meon valley. All the way in 1st and 2nd gear to keep the battery charging and stay on the road. I was alone tracing the first tracks in virgin snow :mrgreen: It took me 6 hours to drive the 70 miles or plus but i was well pleased with the balance of the +2
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PostPost by: bast0n » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:23 pm

David - the other one - said

The Elan is a good puddle jumper also, getting through sections that drown other cars.


And so it is. The pictures below show mine in the South of France a few years back when 31 people sadly died and they were clearing the south coast autoroute with snow plows to clear the mud!

I was followed into one flood, dynamo off line and under water, and a chap in a turbo diesel Alfa Romeo followed. The bang from his engine was most satisfying as it hydrauliced. The indistinct picture is crossing a massive crossflow with a bit of speed on where I forgot to close my window and the wave came in and soaked me :roll:

Flood 7.JPG and


Flood 6.1.jpg
Flood 6.1.jpg (10.03 KiB) Viewed 448 times


When we got back to Somerset there was mud on top of the radiator - but with the intake tube disconnected we had no troubles at all apart from damp driver, wife and carpets.....

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PostPost by: Mazzini » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:55 pm

David, I thought you'd have seen enough of water for one life time ;)
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PostPost by: kstrutt11 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:58 pm

I used my +2 every day throughout the winter a couple of years ago and appart from the need to avoid deep water or snow it was amazingly capable.

Even with a 17ACR alternator charging was still an issue though, I found it would just about hold it's own with everything on, but if the battery got a bit low there was not enough juice to recharge it.

I got around it by putting it on trickle charge every night, one day I may fit a more powerfull modern alternator. (I've used a Escort diesel one as a direct replacement for the 17ACR before).

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PostPost by: bast0n » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:14 pm

Kevin - I now have an 17ACR fitted with my wizzo twin pulley system, and it charges like billyo with everything on full including driving lamps as well as heads.

Have you got the right pulley to make it rotate fast enough and of course no slip?

Just a thought - or perhaps it is a duff alternator...............

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PostPost by: kstrutt11 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:00 am

Is there a special alternator pulley for the Elan to go with the smaller crank pulley? the one that's on there is the one that came with the car but looks the same as used on mk2 Escorts etc with a larger crank pulley.
I did think about lobbing it in the lathe and turning it down.


It does look like it needs to go faster as it does not charge until around 1000rpm, I have already swapped the alternator with one which worked fine on my series Landrover so I don't think it is that.
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