Lotus Elan

Were Elans/Plus 2s tested by the factory?

PostPost by: Mazzini » Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:45 am

frearther wrote:
Mr. Mazzini was kind enough to upload this certificate, a while back...

download/file.php?id=11956[/quote]

I wonder why the certificate is dated in 1968; I own 26/4934, and it was built in 1965. Could it have been a long time building a kit car?[/quote]

Years ago I owned a 1968 S3 Lotus Seven, it was registered in 1973. I asked the previous/original owner why there was a five year gap between delivery of the kit and road registering it, he seemed surprised and said that he hadn't realised it had taken so long to build.

UK Sports Cars have an Elite supplied in kit form in '62 and if I've read the documents correctly, it changed hands and then was built and had it's first inspection in late '65.
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PostPost by: ardee_selby » Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:38 pm

Mazzini wrote: Years ago I owned a 1968 S3 Lotus Seven, it was registered in 1973. I asked the previous/original owner why there was a five year gap between delivery of the kit and road registering it, he seemed surprised and said that he hadn't realised it had taken so long to build.


A bit of slippage! :)

I believe Lotus reckoned on "20 hours" to assemble a 7 supplied in component form.

(Not sure if Doctor Hammond was involved though)

Richard
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:55 am

Just in case someone hasn't seen this . . .

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/extra-lotus-cars

Came up on another thread (can't remember off-hand, though I have it "subscribed") and sparked a discussion/debate about what the grey coating was on some of the cars in the shop/assembly scenes.

At the end of the newsreel, you'll see the cars tested on the Hethel track as the commentator states those that are parked are "tested and ready for shipping", etc.

Who knows whether this means all cars were driven . . . :?:

In any case, you'll really enjoy the footage :mrgreen:

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PostPost by: ardee_selby » Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:10 am

Sea Ranch wrote:Came up on another thread (can't remember off-hand)


Come on Randy...think...s'obvious now innit? :wink: :)

elan-plus-f13/builders-t23830.html

I bet you didn't search for it using the term "Builders" :roll:

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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:10 am

Ahh . . . I had to think about your post for a few minutes, Richard (which shows that, as you suggest, I'm not always "think"ing :wink: )

But I think I get it! :mrgreen:

Yeah, searching under a thread titled "Builders" for a news reel clip from 1970 might not be very intuitive (though the thread title was appropriate for the OP's intended discussion). I might have scanned through the titles of my "subscribed" threads for a long time before I identified the one which contained the link. So thanks for the support!!

(And you're a pretty funny guy with that written accent and all! :mrgreen: )

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PostPost by: Roy Gillett » Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:40 pm

Hi

Some of you may know that my +2 started life in 1972 as the company car of the Lotus Managing director Richard Morely and we made contact recently and he has been reunited with the S130 he had nearly 40 years ago.

Anyway I thought who would know better than Richard how the cars were tested from the factory so I emailed him to ask.

This is the relevant part of his reply:

"Re the testing of factory built +2s, I cannot now be 100% certain but I think all were track tested during my time as a Director with Lotus. Due to insurance issues, very few were road tested - However design and/or dev elopement engineers were authorised to take new cars from the end of the assembly line for road testing (carrying red plates) from time to time particularly when cars were fitted with new options for the first time and/or for periodic performance and quality audits. Colin Chapman, Tony Rudd and I would also take new cars home or for a short spin occasionally all as part of the overall Lotus audit policy."

So there we have it straight from the horse's mouth.

Roy
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:34 am

Cool first-hand source, Roy!

And confirms the news reel claim.

But really, would that not have been a great gig? Working for Lotus in the '60s/'70s?? :mrgreen:

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PostPost by: lotocone » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:08 am

Thanks for sharing this info Roy! It is very interesting stuff from an important insider.

I hope he is enjoying the S130 again.
Bob
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PostPost by: hatman » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:57 am

Sea Ranch wrote:
But really, would that not have been a great gig? Working for Lotus in the '60s/'70s??



A dream job for everyone on here I would imagine. Today's equivalent would be a job at McClaren; I see a couple of guys out testing MP4 12C's on my local roads virtually every day. Tough job but someone's got to do it I suppose. 8)
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PostPost by: Roy Gillett » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:44 pm

Hi Bob,

"Thanks for sharing this info Roy! It is very interesting stuff from an important insider.

I hope he is enjoying the S130 again."

I only said I had reacquainted him with the car. Sadly for Richard it is still in my possession to enjoy. We did meet up when I went west for the Three Castles Welsh Classic Trial last year and I have photos which I will post if anyone is interested and I can get the hang of posting pictures again. He certainly seemed pleased to see the car again. He could not get over how small it now looks! He went to Portugal in it twice during his year of running it. We will meet up again this June when I visit the North West again for the Three Castles just before the car's 40th birthday!


Sea Ranch says what a brilliant job working for Lotus in the '70's . I am sure Richard would agree in part from the stories he has shared with me.But equally his first task when he was promoted to MD was reducing the workforce from 1000 to 600 with all available space around the factory occupied by unsold Elans and +2's. The sales were perked up by revamping some of the cars and hence the S130 +2 and the Elan Sprint were born. More from the marketing department than the R & D depatrtment the way Richard recounts it!

Anyone else in contact with their car's first owner?

Roy
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PostPost by: DJ908 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:47 pm

I am adding some comment here to a thread that has not been active for 12 or more months in the hope that it might clarify a point raised earlier.

The certificate which has been posted on this thread was signed by Trevor Shann who was the Service Manager at Hethel in the late 1960's. I think you can see from Trevor's signature that he had a very neat and tidy hand writing and I doubt therefore that he will have signed a document dated 1968 when it might have been 1965.

Perhaps then this certificate relates to some work done on the car sometime after it had been purchased. Perhaps the car had gone back to the factory for the work to be done, and this document is dated correctly.

I have no such document relating to some work done on my car at the factory in 1969 although it is noted very clearly on the documents which I have here that the car was road tested - presumably around the test track.

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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:45 am

Interesting point Robert.

I looked up unit 26/4891 and according to Lotus records it's build date was 21 July 1965.

The certificate states the car had 879 miles on it at the time of testing, which to my eyes was in 1968. The service department did carry out repairs, warranty claims and ordinary services on customer cars as well as the factory cars used by employees. My assumption would be that this car was low mileage, little used and perhaps was sent to Lotus for service and 'recommissioning' prior to sale.

Tim
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sun May 05, 2013 8:11 am

trw99 wrote:Interesting point Robert.

I looked up unit 26/4891 and according to Lotus records it's build date was 21 July 1965.

The certificate states the car had 879 miles on it at the time of testing, which to my eyes was in 1968. The service department did carry out repairs, warranty claims and ordinary services on customer cars as well as the factory cars used by employees. My assumption would be that this car was low mileage, little used and perhaps was sent to Lotus for service and 'recommissioning' prior to sale.

Tim


26/4891 was bought new by the late Roy Bacon, my avatar photo is of him taking delivery of the car after, I suspect, it had been built by a local garage in Brightlinsea, Essex. Roy owned the car for just under forty years. Being an engineer he kept most of the original paperwork and along with the Elan Test Certificate is a Warranty Certificate and an invoice from the Lotus Service Department for the cars five hundred mile service - the job was started on the 7th September 1965 and paid for on the 9th. I can post scans if anybody is interested, but I think it's conclusively '65 and not '68.

For it's 500 mile service Roy complained that the car suffered from water leaks (hoho) but he didn't complain about the ripples above both rear wheel arches. Forty-eight years later the car was at Option 1 for a repaint, Frank stripped the paint off and found that the gel coat was thin in that area and the ripples were caused by the sill lattice stiffener rods showing through! There was no trace of accident repair work so it must have been like that from new. The bonnet on the 4891 is very heavy, I suspect by the time they got to the end of the shell they were running short of materials.
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