Lotus Elan

Help identifying, Super Safety?

PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:35 pm

A friend has contacted me to help sell his ill father's Elan. The friend thought the car was an S2, but it appears to me to be an S3/Super Safety:

1. S4 dash
2. Power bulge bonnet
3. Stromberg head (with SU's installed)
4. S3 exterior door handles
5. S3 tail lights
6. S3 demister grill


The VIN plate is as below: 45/7280
Image.jpeg and
IMG_6761.jpg and
IMG_6757.jpg and
IMG_6758.jpg and



Car is registered in Pennsylvania as a 1968. Been in the father's possession for 25 years. Unfortunately the father is not in a condition to provide us any information.
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PostPost by: Lotusian » Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:26 pm

To help with identification, can you post photo of interior door panel and window frame?
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:14 pm

Wow, this is amazing.
1Owner, I can't get over this car is just a few miles away from mine!
My chassis/unit number is is 45/7279 Engine LP8149. It was also delivered to Duchess Auto in PA and titled as a '68.

It certainly looks like an early/pre Super Safety. The inner door latch levers are somewhat teardrop shape and hang down from the inner door panel. Because of the earlier engine# mine is a Weber head.

The carbs appear to be SU instead of Strombergs, possibly a period mod by some since the fit up was simple.

There was an earlier chassis number here in the area around #7268. It had none of the SS features that I could find.

On edit, I realize the cars were probably not build one after the other on the assembly line, but the similarities and the differences are very interesting. Until now I had never seen an SS equipped car prior to chassis #7400...

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Dan
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PostPost by: elangtv2000 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:44 pm

The photos don't show the wheel arches which would help. The VIN plate indicates S4, as does the dash, switches, Stromberg head (despite the SUs obviously swapped in later).
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:56 pm

Here are walk around and driving videos.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo7gAS-AiGk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKQtSF7SaaQ

Looks like an S3 body to me.
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PostPost by: elangtv2000 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:04 pm

I agree. S3 body, but S4 features and SS features. Must be a transitional car, which would be supported by the early number. Interestingly, it doesn't have the reversed angle spinners.
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:54 pm

elangtv2000 wrote:I agree. S3 body, but S4 features and SS features. Must be a transitional car, which would be supported by the early number. Interestingly, it doesn't have the reversed angle spinners.


The transitional cars, at least the Std, not the S/E were delivered with bolt on wheels and standard hubcaps according to my correspondence with Andy Graham. My car was converted to K/O wheels.

The car in the video has the same dash, door skins, and chrome inner door latch pulls as mine. Even the seat belts are the same as mine. If you look at the anchored ends of the webbing, there's a fabric label that says "British Parachute Specification...."
This looks like a wonderful car.

@Elan45 also owns an early Super Safety and might be able to chime in.
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:27 am

elangtv2000 wrote:I agree. S3 body, but S4 features and SS features. Must be a transitional car, which would be supported by the early number. Interestingly, it doesn't have the reversed angle spinners.


Very few owners kept the reversed angled K/Os. They were miserable to use.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:59 pm

I hope the attached article, which I wrote for the Club Lotus News magazine last year, is helpful in identifying the Super Safety.

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2019 Jan The Elan Super Safety.pdf
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:01 pm

trw99 wrote:I hope the attached article, which I wrote for the Club Lotus News magazine last year, is helpful in identifying the Super Safety.

Tim


Thanks Tim! That's really helpful.
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:32 am

My Super Safety DHC is unit 45-7380, exactly 100 units later than this car for sale. Lotus archives show 7380 was distributed by Duchess Auto, but the difference here is that it has always been titled as a 1967 model.

It sold new in Pittsburgh PA and I understand it must have been seiously autocrossed. I have tried to find the original purchaser in Pittsburgh, with little success. i knew the fellow I bought it from had purchased it from Lotus Mid-West in Livonia MI about 2 years prior to my purchase. Part of my search was aided by a grille badge for Competition & Touring Sports Car Club, a Pittsburgh area autocross and rally club.

7380 has all the features listed as Super Safety spec. When I restored 7380 in the mid-1980s on a new galvanized chassis frame, I found duct tape covering the hole in the inner wing where extra space was required to fit the dual brake master cylinder and I discovered the brake fail micro switch when I stretched my leg under the pedals.

I still think that the unit number 7400 was simply a number snatched from thin air, an educated guess, close to what someone remembered when Super Safety actually started to update the shop manual and parts book, perhaps a couple of years after the fact.

Tim is also correct about cars built during the Super Safety "period" were not all made to the SS spec. A very close friend owned 45-7450 and the only feature was the plastic interior door pulls and matching window frame. It used the normal S3 interior door latch. 7450 had a flat bonnet and Weber DCOE's.

This car looks like a fine specimen of the Super Safety spec, except it looks as if the head and carbs have been replaced over the years. I'll bet the number on the back of the head does not match the engine number marked on the VIN plate.

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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:34 pm

At least on this side of the pond, emission-controlled Strombergs were known as untunable back in the day. The emission controls started being required in this same timeframe and the manufacturer responses to the requirements effectively prevented proper tuning after delivery by anyone who didn't have the ability to replace parts (which was also illegal to do). On the SU, a clamp was placed on the mixture nut after setting it up that prevented adjusting to any richer setting.

As a result, many went with easily swapped earlier carbs that were more tunable, because only California actually checked for the presence of the original emissions equipment. I suspect the carbs on here are pre-emissions SU's, which in my Spitfire experience are easily tuned to a wide range of parameters and basically bulletproof. You can also get great mileage in exchange for power if you wish -- the Spitfire delivered over 40 mpg in lean form.
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:04 pm

denicholls2 wrote:At least on this side of the pond, emission-controlled Strombergs were known as untunable back in the day. The emission controls started being required in this same timeframe and the manufacturer responses to the requirements effectively prevented proper tuning after delivery by anyone who didn't have the ability to replace parts (which was also illegal to do). On the SU, a clamp was placed on the mixture nut after setting it up that prevented adjusting to any richer setting.

As a result, many went with easily swapped earlier carbs that were more tunable, because only California actually checked for the presence of the original emissions equipment. I suspect the carbs on here are pre-emissions SU's, which in my Spitfire experience are easily tuned to a wide range of parameters and basically bulletproof. You can also get great mileage in exchange for power if you wish -- the Spitfire delivered over 40 mpg in lean form.

I found an old article written by the owner of this Elan (Dad) about converting from Strombergs to SU's. I think published in Lotus ReMarque:
Carb1.pdf
(1.67 MiB) Downloaded 65 times
Carb2.pdf
(1.29 MiB) Downloaded 68 times
Carb3.pdf
(1.45 MiB) Downloaded 63 times


I would also note that Omnitech (John McCoy) has built at least one TC engine with SU's (instead of his Stromberg Weber conversion - "Mister E" on the Forum - car now sold to another): https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1969-lotus-elan-s4-7/

BTW, the son reports that the original Strombergs are saved in their extra parts.
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:42 pm

But the Stromburgs were not original to this car. It would have originally had Webers as all S3 Super Safety cars

Look at the engine number stamped into the VIN # plate and then compare this number to the engine # stamped into the block just above the RH engine mount and then compare both numbers to the number stamped into the middle back of the head just above the mounting face. On this car, the numbers will not match.

Roger
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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:46 am

Roger, you are quite correct. The Engine No scribed on the VIN plate above has been added later. This Elan was fitted with a different engine when it first left the factory, according to the records.

Tim
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