Lotus Elan

Elan S4 being awakened after 35 year slumber.

PostPost by: Pastapesto » Sun May 02, 2021 7:43 pm

Do you know what Mark? I'm starting to think along those lines too.......if you have it too perfect, you worry about what can or cannot happen if you use it........a well used but mechanically perfect car just might actually b the ideal Elan to have.......good luck with solving the problem.....A
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:49 pm

Well, the old S4 is now pretty much back together, with just a few small jobs to complete.

The callipers were overhauled and bleed very easily, and that was the last set of parts required to take the car out for a drive. Well, a couple of times around the paddock, but she went up to third on the small round trip and it really was a thrill to drive the car after she had been stood for 35 or so years.

I need to find a hefty / racing battery now that will fit in the boot and crank the engine over! The compression tester shows 210 psi on all cylinders, due to the Accralite ‘intruder’ pistons, so the standard battery just won’t turn it over, especially as it is also newly built and tight. I use a battery from my old Daihatsu Rocky and once the engine goes over the first compression it fires up straight away, and settles down to a very smooth tickover. That battery cranks the engine over very quickly for pumping up the petrol, so no issues with the starter or solenoid, which are both standard. The engine is essentially sprint specification, but has been ported and polished at some time. If the cams were to be changed for something a little more hairy, I’m sure it would be a flying machine.

The old tonneau cover cleaned up very well, and I probably won’t bother with a hood now. I doubt the car will be used much in the pouring rain in November.

The paintwork repairs have been limited to the areas under the front and rear bumpers, which had a fair few bumps and scrapes. I’ve done those now and they are looking good, especially with the front bumper now re-painted as well. The rear bumper is going to be painted next, and the wheels blasted / repainted silver and a new set of tyres fitted, but that will probably be next spring.

Whist the front was up in the air, I have been cleaning out the arches and spraying a thin layer of black underseal under there. It was stone-chipped a long time ago, then over painted in white, and the paint had cracked as it nearly always does with stone-chip. It looked messy, and I prefer the arches in black so they can’t be seen with the wheels on.

It has been a really interesting project, and I’ve learnt more about Elan electrics on this car than any other car. Overall, it was in superb, original condition when it was laid up, but pretty tired! The original paint is responding well to a bit of touch-up, and the stress cracks and some micro blisters just add to the patina of the car.

This week I received 4 parcels from Sue Miller which is the start of the next project….refreshing my old S3 Coupe. I replaced the chassis on that car in 1978, Miles Wilkins re-built the engine in 1989. and since then it’s had a few more bits and pieces done. It now needs the rear suspension, differential, driveshafts, front suspension, steering and brakes restoring properly after all this time. I’ll start a new topic for this one!
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PostPost by: trw99 » Fri Sep 24, 2021 3:40 pm

Well done, Mark!

It must have been glorious driving the car for the first time in so long; a great feeling, I'm sure.

I note you used Jubilee clips on the water hoses! Seriously, the engine compartment looks splendid, a real credit to you.

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PostPost by: Mazzini » Fri Sep 24, 2021 5:27 pm

Well done indeed!
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PostPost by: Geoffers71 » Fri Sep 24, 2021 10:24 pm

Well done Mark, really nice work. Is the S3 your last project or is there more after that one ?
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PostPost by: pharriso » Sat Sep 25, 2021 7:59 am

Looks great, well done. Now get it on the road & enjoy the late summer :D
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Sep 25, 2021 8:58 am

Thanks for the comments guys. One of the main things I've learnt from doing the Elan is that original parts are now pretty scarce, and getting the right parts from the classic Lotus specialists isn't a given any more. The exception to this is getting stuff from Sue Miller, who really knows the Elan inside out and if the part or parts are in stock they generally arrive the next day. I don't see the point in going anywhere else now.

As for another project Geoff, I have been after an early S1 for restoration / re-commissioning for a couple of years now. I did bid on one a couple of weeks back at Mathewsons (Bangers and Cash) auction house which was a superb, very original car that had been parked up in 1976 ! But at just over £25k I backed off, and the car was bought by the Bangers and Cash restoration team and will be the subject of a television program next year. I'll find a nice early car one day though!

After the S3 I still have a Mk2 Lotus Cortina to finish off. I bought that as a non-runner 12 years ago, and have since built a new engine and ancillaries for it, re-built the brakes and completed a few other jobs. I now need to do the rest of the work and get it back on the road.

A chap came onto a Lotus Cortina Facebook group just 2 weeks ago asking if anybody knew where his old Lotus Cortina had ended up, and it was the one I have. A few chats with him have filled in a fair bit of history of the car. It was a show car in the late 1980s / early 1990s, still in it's original paint and with very little rust. It was stolen by joy-riders some time in the 1990s, and when it turned up a day later it had a bent front end and a very tired engine.

it was repaired, some good and some bad, but it then went though a couple of hands with the engine being very unwell in the end. I rescued the old thing from a bus depot near Aberystwyth. It's the right colour, the shell is superb, and the main mechanical assemblies are now healthy, and it just needs a few hundred hours spending on getting the detail bits right.

So the short answer to your question Geoff is...at least one more after he S3, probably 2 !

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PostPost by: SENC » Sat Sep 25, 2021 11:35 am

Well done Mark, looks great!
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