Lotus Elan

Assistance sought

PostPost by: Rrsg » Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:03 am

I?m trying to trace the competition history of a 1964 Lotus Elan S1 that I bought recently. The car was purchased in 1974 by an Australian Bill O?Gorman from Ron Douglas and Brian Ashmeade who operated a used racing car business in Birmingham at the time. The had obviously been constructed as a race car as it had no Lotus construction plate, but rather an ID plate with engine number, stating that it had been prepared for competition by the Ford Performance Centre, Boreham Airport , Essex.
The car seems to have been constructed to full 26R specification, with 4 pin centre-lock wheels, adjustable centre arms, all-stel dry sump race engine, close-ratio gearbox and alloy housings for diff and gearbox as well as AP Lockheed alloy race calipers and dual-circuit brake system. This is the condition in which the car was delivered to Australia in 1974.
I guess one way of tracking the competition history would be to examine the entry lists of the relevant class that the car would have been entered in in 1964-1974. Can anyone suggest the class that the car would have competed in in the U.K during that period? Does anyone know if there are any records from the Ford Performance Centre available?
Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.
Simon Elliott
I'll post a pic of the ID plate separately as the file is too big to include here.
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PostPost by: Rrsg » Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:18 am

Are there any records available to assist me in identifying this car?
Simon
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This is the ID plate on my 1964 Lotus Elan S1. How can I trace its history?
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:03 am

Hi Simon

Welcome. Perhaps you could change the title to Help Identify Racing Elan or something similar, as the current subject could cover anything.

The tag you show is not correct for an Elan or a 26R. So in the first instance you need to find the unit number for the car, as that will give us something to go on (I have a full listing of Elans, including engine numbers and date of invoice, so can help once you get a unit number). If the car still has it's original engine and you can find it's number, that could also help. Look on the engine block at the horizontal surface of the engine mount under the carbs, the number should be lightly scratched in there. Sometimes the unit number was written in crayon on the inside of doors, headlight buckets, the roof, bonnets, boot lids and even the reverse of the glovebox. However your car may have been re-bodied with a lightweight shell?

Once we know the original unit number you can write to the Lotus archivist, Andy Graham and he should be able to tell you what is on file - it wont be much apart from the above and maybe the first owner/dealer and body number. Then contact Club Lotus and ask if they have any prior knowledge of the car; it's a long shot but worth it if a previous owner had told them some history. If you know of the UK registration number then that will indicate where it may have been first registered, which could help. Sometimes the DVLA can help with information on past owners too, though in your case it's highly unlikely as they did not computerise their records until the late 1970s.

Mark (Elanintheforest) may be able to be helpful regarding the Boreham plate, as he knows Lotus Cortina's backwards - and can even drive them like that too! I have never heard or seen of such a plate in an Elan before.

Plenty of early Elans have been rebuilt as 26Rs. The genuine 26Rs are known about and verifiable. If/when you have identified your car, the best resource for you to ask about competition history is the TFN forum (http://forums.autosport.com/forum/10-th ... gia-forum/). They are a very knowledgeable bunch but you will probably have to give them more info than you currently have on your car.

Good luck.

Tim
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:35 am

Simon, I'm afraid that's an engine build plate from an Escort, fitted from 1968 to 78. It was affixed to the cam cover, and has nothing to do with identifying a car...especially not a Lotus Elan!

Boreham outsourced engine building prior to the Escort Twincam (around 1968) to Cosworth and BRM, and I don't think that the plates were used much after 1978 on the RS1800 Escorts BDG cars.

As Boreham were producing the state of the art rally cars in this period, they wouldn't have been working on an old Elan. They were a division of Ford.

Unfortunately I don't know of any records that exist from that period as Boreham closed over 10 years ago, and Ford had no interest in keeping old records. They wouldn't help you if they did exist as that plate only describes an engine!

Sorry that this information doesn't help your cause, but at least you know what your car isn't!

Mark
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:58 am

Hi Simon
The car has very distinctive flared guards on it. If those are original from its UK days a photo may help people recall it.

cheers
Rohan
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PostPost by: Rozzer » Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:48 pm

Hi Simon

Is the car that Barry then Ben Batagol previously owned? If so, it might be worth speaking to Marc Schagen as, although he was unable to find out its early provenance in time for the publication of his excellent book, he has a habit of not giving up! Let me know if you need his contact details.

Best regards,

Ashton
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PostPost by: Rrsg » Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:34 pm

Thanks so much Tim.
The 1976 Confederation of Australia Motor Sport logbook shows the chassis no as 26A701 and engine no as 681F6015N. The car has of course complete race history here in Australia (CAMS logbooks) and I have spoken to the second owner and have a letter from the engineer who converted it to Australian race compliance , both of whom confirmed its arrival in Australia as a race car, albeit a very tired one.By the way have you any clues about the Ron Douglas and Brian Ashmead business that the car was purchased from? I don't believe the car has ever been a road car or ever had identification as such . Perhaps it was even purchased in component form.
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PostPost by: Rrsg » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:55 am

Thanks very much Ashton, I had Marc's details but have mislaid them Would you kindly post them again for me please.
Simon
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:12 am

"The 1976 Confederation of Australia Motor Sport logbook shows the chassis no as 26A701 and engine no as 681F6015N."

Simon, I'm afraid that those are not the right numbers. The unit number is close and I might guess that it could in fact be 26/3701, which is a Jun 1964 S1 Elan. The engine number would be LP1731 or similar. You will need to seek physical evidence on the car and engine itself.

Ron Douglas was a Ford Escort twin cam engine tuner who became involved in Rallycross in the mid-70s. That's all I have been able to find out so far.

Tim
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:26 am

It sounds like the car was fitted with a ex Boreham engine from the late sixties by the time it arrived in Australia. The CAMS recorded "681F..". engine number is a block casting number from this period. Potentially the car was assembled from bits around that time. Whether the CAMS recorded chassis number properly corrected to something like the suggested 26/3701 is the real source car or they just picked a suitable one out of the blue as they did an engine number hard to tell if no actual evidence on the car or its paperwork of the source of the rest of the car.

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PostPost by: Elan45 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:53 pm

26 A 701 is the PART number for the chassis, complete. As confused as the supposed engine #

Some ID may be gotten from chassis number stamped into the frame near the RH engine mount.

Roger
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:55 pm

The 681M casting number will also mean that the block is not original to the car, and may also be an indicator that it is a tall 1600 crossflo block.

Roger
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'67 Elan S3 SE upgrade to 26R by Original owner
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'70 Elan +2S RHD
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PostPost by: Rrsg » Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:10 pm

Thanks again Tim. Yet again you've been extremely helpful. I Googled Ron Douglas Ford Escort rallycross" and found the following fascinating quote in a small par on Ron Douglas in Rallycross World June 20012 edition pp27/28 "his name does appear very often in the list of winners of major events, but Ron Douglas' influence in rallycross far exceeds anything he achieved on the racetrack" (!). So what did Ron use on the racetrack?
We know he was a tuner of repute and Escort Rallycross driver and this may possibly explain - through his involvement with Boreham - the origin of the identification plate on the bulkhead. So, how do we find out what he raced in on the track during the period? Any suggestions?
Simon
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PostPost by: holywood3645 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:54 am

If your car still has the orginal chassis, the chassis number may be stamped on the RSF chassis top near the engine mount. It may take the removal of some paint and there are lots of examples here on the board of what it looks like. (sorry, I see this has been posted before)
Good luck
James
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