Lotus Elan

Quick questions about the 26R

PostPost by: stugilmour » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:36 pm

Were the Lotus 26R roofs made as bolted additions to the S1 / S2 body shell? The pictures I gave available look like a removable hardtop panel with a gasket at the base of the roof piece. I have seen references here to lightweight solid roofs, but not sure if the 26R used a similar approach?

Were the 26R cars generally based on S2 models for other items like the tail lights, etc.

Reason I ask is because I have been looking at 1/42 scale diecast models and I am trying to figure out what broadly separates the 26R from the S1 and S2 road cars. One of our friends had a track based Elan in the sixties which I am trying to represent. I am not expecting an exact model, really more curious than anything else. I have some 1/24th scale plastic models that one might be a bit more fussy about.

Thanks

Stu
Stu
1969 Plus 2 Federal LHD
User avatar
stugilmour
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1751
Joined: 03 Sep 2007
Location: Calgary Alberta Canada

PostPost by: benymazz » Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:58 am

My 26R knowledge is highly limited and it's hard for me to differentiate between cars that are "original" 26Rs and cars that have been modified to 26R spec and then beyond, having seen few period photographs of the former and having seen many present photographs of the latter.

To answer your question, to the best of my knowledge the 26R roofs are the exact same style as the hard tops for the roadgoing S1 and S2—detachable. Probably some thinning as well to decrease weight although my S2 hardtop is already incredibly flimsy at factory thickness...

As for lights, I've got no clue. I have seen 26Rs with the S1 style tailights (two round lenses on each side, one red and one amber) as well as the S2 (Vauxhall) taillights.

Other easily seen exterior differences that I have seen include the shorter front bumper, differential/brake cooling scoops located directly below and aft of the doors (not sure if these existed in-period), chinese/dragon eye headlights instead of pop-ups (although I think I read somewhere that some 26Rs were factory supplied with pop-ups...?), single center-mounted windshield wiper (again not sure if correct for period but seen today).

I also think that there were S1 26Rs and S2 26Rs... so that could account for some of the differences.

For instance, 26-R-9, a "S1" 26R, has the S1 taillights. 26-S2-21 (for sale currently) has the S2 taillights and a cooling scoop on the left hand side.

I'm also certain there's a certain degree of 1960s Lotus bull**** — that is to say, throwing whatever components they had at the time on the car with little notation of the change from one to the other. All the more difficult to sort out now as there were only 90-something 26Rs made, not many of them exist today, and very few if any exist with their original bodyshells.

-Ben
1965 S2 26/4623
Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.
"I'm never gonna financially recover from this"
benymazz
Second Gear
Second Gear
 
Posts: 150
Joined: 11 Jul 2016
Location: Daytona Beach, FL / Albany, NY

PostPost by: StressCraxx » Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:26 am

benymazz wrote:
....I'm also certain there's a certain degree of 1960s Lotus bull**** — that is to say, throwing whatever components they had at the time on the car with little notation of the change from one to the other. All the more difficult to sort out now as there were only 90-something 26Rs made, not many of them exist today, and very few if any exist with their original bodyshells.

-Ben


Ben, you are right, that few likely exist with their original bodyshells from the hazards of racing. I have loved these cars since I was a kid. Today, the vintage racers like to say, "only 450 of the original 140 still exist."

There are a few replicas and interpretations out there.

Regards,
Dan
There is no cure for Lotus, only treatment.
User avatar
StressCraxx
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1007
Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, California

PostPost by: Frogelan » Thu Apr 30, 2020 4:56 am

Stu

If you have a look at this: https://historicdb.fia.com/car/lotus-elan

You can see what is officially sanctioned. I'm not sure of the correct reply regarding hardtops as Shapecraft and Costin mods were done in period. These are seemingly still allowed if historical traces still exist that can satisfy the HTP folks who often have a very tricky job.

There are a few inconsistencies of course:

With homologation in period, Lotus sold "Racing" kit in the same way that all other manufacturers sold (and still sell) go faster parts. The "26R" does not exist as a separate model in homologation terms but did exist in Chassis VIN plate terms.

As such, it was the basic Elan that was homologated with all of the parts some of which were not always fitted to the standard car. BMC did the same with the Cooper S and MGB. A real stickler for the rules could argue that cars with the original 26R chassis numbers are therefore not homologated ;-) as not enough of these were produced (in period) to qualify...

There are also some things missing on the homologation papers...that are FIA accepted today. For example, the ducts to the rear axle and the spinners for the Mag wheels that do not appear on the homologation papers...Other items such as the sump guard are not pictured, but are homologated.

The FIA's job is tricky. A MGB using an aluminium radiator is clearly blatant cheating ;-) but preparation to V8s which produced 300 bhp on a good day in period can these days "legally" produce well over 500 bhp...and benefit from FIA sanctioned roll cages for chassis stiffening. Legal, but Is this fair?

The S1 and S2 26Rs have differences that the homologation papers and the FIA seem to overlook such as variable front head lamps and front bumper patterns, the "high back" chassis and the dry sump which although it is in the list of mods that the FIA annexe which is dated before 31/12/65, it was not homologated before early 66).

Obviously, there have also been other interpretations but this is the case with other "modern historics".

I've not been much help with the hard top, have I ?
1965 Lotus Elan S2 26/4022 (originally Dutchess Lotus East, PA and NJ Area, USA)
Frogelan
Third Gear
Third Gear
 
Posts: 396
Joined: 03 Jul 2017
Location: Paris, France

PostPost by: vstibbard » Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:05 am

Stu,

Bolted on in same way as the stand road Elan. The 26R's simply had lighter weight fibreglass layup than the normal road Elans, my original S2 26R roof deflects easily when pushed with a single finger in the centre of the roof.

Two series of 26R's were made, S1 based on the normal road going elan shell but lighter fibreglass layup and minor modification to rear inner guards and various aluminium or magnesium castings to reduce weight, alloy radiators, oil cooler, engines either BRM or Cosworth, differential air scoop, light seats, instruments, chassis standard design but strengthened, modified front wishbones with bushes, adjustable rear arms and had the rotoflex couplings, uprated front sway bar, rear sway bar etc all standard. Early S1 26Rs UK had perspex cover for standard opening, all had pop up headlights for international markets.

S226R's had flared front and rear guards, modified rear section of strengthened chassis, twin master brake cylinder pedal assembly (Maybe on S1 as well), wider mag wheels, adjustable top front suspension arms with rose joints, same rear arms, sway bars as S1, different headlight treatment for "Chinese eye" version, alloy fuel tanks, and options for differential cooler and pump, long range fuel tank.

Both had all standard road going trim and instruments, tail lights etc.

Cheers

Vaughan
Last edited by vstibbard on Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
vstibbard
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 562
Joined: 22 Jul 2008
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:22 am

From an article I wrote for the HLR magazine a few years ago:

Colin Chapman saw the Elan purely as a road car and indeed that was how it was designed and built. The Lotus press release for the racing version Elan 26R had this telling introduction: “The standard Lotus Elan as produced by Lotus Cars Limited is a production high performance luxury sports car designed to give the owner value on a price/performance basis hitherto unequalled in the small capacity market. It is not suitable for racing. Many of our customers, however, like to take advantage of the outstanding performance, road holding and braking customary with our cars and use them for competition. Because of this, Lotus Components Limited, the company within the Lotus Group who build all Lotus racing cars, have produced a Lotus Elan competition model, the specification of which is listed below. This specification should however, be read in conjunction with the standard specification for the Lotus Elan as we have endeavoured to show here the major difference in the competition version.” More on that spec later.

It took a while for the factory to realise that a racing Elan would sell. Many private racing teams rapidly saw the potential of the Elan as a race tool during 1963, notably Graham Warner of the Chequered Flag team, who helped in the development of the 26R through the first season experimenting with power and set up of the Elan. In fact, Chapman ended up helping him out with varying degrees of assistance. The earliest record we can find of an Elan racing comes from the 19th April 1963 Autosport, which records that Kevin Keegan was 3rd in the up to 1600cc race in his Elan at Brands Hatch on Easter Monday 15th April. At the Snetterton BRSCC meeting on 28 April, no fewer than three Elans were entered, those of L Fryer, H Fernando and H Jones (of Para VC fame). None featured in the results, however! From its introduction in late January to the end of April 1963 Lotus sold 38 of the brand new Elan. Apart from Jimmy Clark, racing drivers including Stirling Moss and Barry Wood were amongst those first customers. They clearly believed the Lotus magic would be immediately imbued in the Elan!

By the end of the 1963 season Lotus realised that they could introduce a racing Elan and so the Type 26R was conceived. As we have seen, much of the initial development work had been done for them by Warner. Lotus Components first let it be known they would produce a Type 26R at the January 1964 Racing Car Show and the first press release was indeed dated January 1964, quoting a price then of £1,645 ex works in component form. The first 26R was delivered to the customer on 25th February 1964, finished in Cirrus White and fitted with a 3.9:1 final drive and Hewland LSD. During the year the 26R was fully homologated. Unit numbers were recorded as 26-R-# and 52 of these S1 Elan 26Rs were built by Lotus Components. The principle specifications for the S1 26R were as follows: Engine - Cosworth Mk15 1594cc, 140bhp. Twin Weber 40 DCOE2, Bendix electrical fuel pump. Alloy drive casings. Competition wishbones. Rose jointed rear wishbones. Thicker antiroll bar. Magnesium hub carriers. Alloy front callipers, with special disc. 3.9 diff with 4.1 and 4.4 option. Alloy radiator. Dunlop 550/13 R6 racing tyres. Lightweight body and seats, wider wheel arches. Most were fitted with the optional hard top.

In early 1965 the Elan S2 was coming on line with added refinements. At the same time the S2 Elan 26R was worked up and shown at the 1965 Racing Car Show. The first one was delivered on the 5th May, coincidentally going to the same customer who had bought the first S1 26R. Unit numbers were recorded as 26-S2-# and a total of 49 were produced. Listed here are the main S2 26R specs, again not intended to be exhaustive: Engine - BRM type 84 phase III, 1594cc, 150bhp. Twin Weber 45 DCOE13, electric fuel pump. Large bore four branch exhaust. Alloy drive casings. Adjustable competition wishbones. Thicker antiroll bar. Rose jointed rear with antiroll bar. Roller spline driveshafts with UJ's. Alloy front callipers with special discs. Dual master cylinders and brake balance bar. Same diff options as above. Larger alloy radiator. Diff oil cooler. Rollover bar behind driver. Varley battery. Headlamps under Perspex covers. Dunlop 600/13 R7 on cast magnesium wheels.

Interestingly customers later worked out that the best engines had a Cosworth block and a BRM head. The completed racing car weighed in at around 600 kg and were all produced in RHD. Lotus never put together their own team of 26Rs, although Ray Parsons, a Team Lotus mechanic, did compete in three races in an S1 26R, registration HJH 171C, entered by Team Lotus Ltd. The first was in the Sussex Trophy at Goodwood on 9th April. The second was the International Car Race Meeting at Crystal Palace on 7th June and the third was in Class C of the Redex Trophy at the Guards International meeting at Brands Hatch on 30th August 1965.

Tim
User avatar
trw99
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 2815
Joined: 31 Dec 2003
Location: Essex/Herts border, UK

PostPost by: geni » Thu Apr 30, 2020 9:11 am

thank you for this very informative info
if you have others to appear!
geni
Second Gear
Second Gear
 
Posts: 96
Joined: 30 Dec 2014
Location: FRANCE

PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Apr 30, 2020 2:50 pm

Thanks guys. What a marvellous summary of this significant car.

Interesting that the light weight roof attached with fittings. When my friend first received the car, I vaguely remember a classic race meet story. The tech inspector maintained the roof was not ‘attached’ to the body as per the rules. A couple of fibreglass bandaids were rapidly applied on top of the paint at the base of the roof. With a stern look the inspector was asked “Is it attached now?” He got to race. Even if the story is apocryphal or embellished a bit, I think I will add the bandaids to the diorama as a tribute.

Here is the model I am going to use. I do not recall my late friend's race car in similar livery, but a friend assures me it was delivered in similar colours. Looks like they have included some of the 26R’s broader identifying features. At $CDN 39 I think it will be fine. Just noticing I will have to see if I can look up his competition number.

https://mimodels.com/catalog/product_in ... ts_id=1427

60173270-2523-41B5-8CE2-9646DBADEA32.jpeg
Lotus 26R in British Racing Green with Yellow stripe.
60173270-2523-41B5-8CE2-9646DBADEA32.jpeg (58.08 KiB) Viewed 678 times


This appears to be a really great model, but at $CDN 235 it is too spendy for me. This historic car may be of interest to some here. The vendor is a first rate fellow that replies quickly by email.

BEA92BC4-2E5A-4D00-8D90-E11A59F9283B.jpeg and
Beautiful 1/43 scale LeMans 26R in Blue


The diorama will also include this beautiful Type 47 Europa. If my memory is correct my late friend co-drove a similar car but his Lotus dealership didn’t own this one.

003D12F9-57C7-4FF5-884A-070CF8DB1F1B.jpeg and
Beautiful Lotus 47 Europa in blue, front 3/4 view.


709C4991-FD5E-4250-8F6B-9562BF2B3D91.jpeg and
The Lotus 47 in rear 3/4 view. Nice interior details.


Thanks again

Stu
Last edited by stugilmour on Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Stu
1969 Plus 2 Federal LHD
User avatar
stugilmour
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1751
Joined: 03 Sep 2007
Location: Calgary Alberta Canada

PostPost by: elancoupe » Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:06 pm

4B236732-AAE3-4135-9DE3-4AB985B18554.jpeg and
Mike
elancoupe
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 971
Joined: 11 Sep 2003
Location: Spam-on-Rye

PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:12 pm

Very nice Mike! That model clearly shows the roof attachment. What scale is the model?

Stu
Stu
1969 Plus 2 Federal LHD
User avatar
stugilmour
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1751
Joined: 03 Sep 2007
Location: Calgary Alberta Canada

PostPost by: elancoupe » Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:17 pm

It is 1/43 scale. If you need more photos , let me know.
Mike
elancoupe
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 971
Joined: 11 Sep 2003
Location: Spam-on-Rye

PostPost by: tvacc » Thu Apr 30, 2020 4:21 pm

For what it is worth, I worked on a real 26r when I was in college, 1972 or so. It belonged to a man named Harold ODay. He gave the hardtop. I sold it to a guy in Pittsburgh around 1980. As my brother-in-law had an Elan with a stock hardtop, it was easy for me to compare. The stock one was finished, headliner, glass window, thick. The 26r was very thin, easily deflected with one finger. No liner and plastic window (window being plastic I am recalling, but many years ago) It attached the same way as stock.
Tony Vaccaro
http://www.lotusowners.com
LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York)
Drive Fast Take Chances
71 Spyder Elan, ElanGTS, 93 Caterham, 05 Elise,
99 Elise190, 91 M100 Elan, 74 Europa, 72 Europa JPS #15, 68 Elan Coupe RHD
User avatar
tvacc
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1160
Joined: 24 Dec 2003
Location: Buffalo NY

PostPost by: Davidb » Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:36 pm

[quote="stugilmour"]Thanks guys. What a marvellous summary of this significant car.

"Interesting that the light weight roof attached with fittings. When my friend first received the car, I vaguely remember a classic race meet story. The tech inspector maintained the roof was not ‘attached’ to the body as per the rules. A couple of fibreglass bandaids were rapidly applied on top of the paint at the base of the roof. With a stern look the inspector was asked “Is it attached now?” He got to race. Even if the story is apocryphal or embellished a bit, I think I will add the bandaids to the diorama as a tribute."

Stu: I wonder if the story you are referring to concerns one of my old 26Rs --26-S2-18. This was raced for many years in Western Canada. The hardtop still had traces of the fiberglass that was used (barely) to attach it to the body after it failed scrutineering at a race-at Westwood (Vancouver)-probably about 1980 or so.

Here is a photo I just found that shows the remnants of the fiberglass around the edge of the hardtop-when I first saw 26-S2-18 in about 1979 it was in JPS livery and obviously had been used to advertise the Elan Sprint-behind it is 26R-5 that had been fitted with a special, very lightweight, S4 coupe body supplied by the factory in 1971ish:
img075.jpg and
'65 S2 4844
Davidb
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 866
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:00 pm

Yes David, I bet that is the car. Awesome!

The story was indeed at Westwood, home of Mountain High Racing. I thought it was earlier in the ‘70’s. I discussed timing with my friend any may be correct. I was not sure if the car was a factory 26R or not, and certainly didn’t have a clue to it’s identity. I understood it was imported from the UK in the late ‘60’s or so as a used race car. Although my friend recalls the green livery, I only recall it as white with perhaps red and gold accents and striping. Not a Gold Leaf livery, but similar colours with the shop & driver’s names.

Perhaps you recall the dealership, which was originally located by the Bayshore Inn (before my memory), and then down by where the CBC building is located now. Next door to the Chequered Flag Garage (not sure if the spelling was Chequered or Checkered?) was a very early Honda car dealership. Think the building ended up a Greek restaurant for a time, but given all the changes to Vancouver it is probably long gone now.

Besides the Elan and association with the Type 47, the principal had a Type 14 Elite race car for a time. That one was before my time, but I understand it was British Racing Green. There was also an earlier silver ex Mike Spence Elan race car, presumably 26R, that was written off in the Westwood hairpin infield. I was getting the two cars confused while trying to recall the timing of things. The dealership eventually moved to Burrard St I think, but I had left Vancouver by then.

Another amusing story about your 26R They got it running after service, but needed to test it before putting her on the trailer. My friend was enlisted to hold a dealer plates in the windows while it was hooned around several downtown streets during rush hour. None of the regular commuters batted an eye at the loud and kinda funny looking race car.

Another notable local Lotus you may have run across was a very early white Plus 2 road car. I recall chassis 50/0018 or there about. Not sure who imported this RHD example, but a friend of mine had it for a while. The original UK registration documents were to Mike Spence, but not sure if it was a dealership demonstrator or a personal car. We all thought it had a stronger Twin Cam and lighter body shell, but I don’t know what modifications it had. Very strong car and a lot of fun.

Very cool to have the roof story confirmed. Would be cool if you have any other Lotus pictures from early Vancouver. I can be reached by PM or eMail. I will also be participating in the upcoming BC Lotus Club on-line virtual meeting next week from Calgary If you are a member.

Stu

PS Does anyone know how I can change the thread title? I thought there was a button for that? There are quick 26R questions but it seems there never are quick answers! :D
Last edited by stugilmour on Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Stu
1969 Plus 2 Federal LHD
User avatar
stugilmour
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
 
Posts: 1751
Joined: 03 Sep 2007
Location: Calgary Alberta Canada

PostPost by: Davidb » Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:31 pm

Stu: You are right it would have been the earlier seventies. When I saw the car in 78/79 I realise it already had the top 'glued' on.

The car came from Eastern Canada and was raced by Max Nerriere (Sp?) and was white with a red strip at that time I think.

The dealership in Vancouver you are thinking of is indeed "The Chequered Flag" and they had a 47 and a racing Elite which I had some dealing with.

The Elite was the car that Innes Ireland bought new and hated apparently! It was hit in 'Clubhouse' turn at Westwood by a Bugeye Sprite that had been fitted with a Chevy V8--it ran out of brakes apparently...

It sat for several years before being acquired by a friend, the late Peter Price, who had a new l/h door made from scratch and repaired the rest of the car. It had been fitted with a Ford pushrood 1600 by that time although the original, trick, Coventry Climax motor came with it. I was racing a sports racer with a Coventry Climax FWA at the time (1978) and I bought up every Climax part I could find, including this engine. The engine is now in a Series 2 Lotus Eleven near by. I dunno where the 47 went-I tried to find it years ago but it was long gone apparently.

I bought 26R-5 from the owner of Chequered Flag but by then it had a different name-he had also imported the car from Eastern Canada.
'65 S2 4844
Davidb
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
 
Posts: 866
Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Next

Total Online:

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 22 guests