Lotus Elan

Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPost by: fj55mike » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:11 am

I'm finally getting around to posting a thread on my '66 S3 DHC project.

The car was last registered in the 1970's, with an honest 56,000 miles on it. Sold new at Lotus Southwest in Dallas and parked in a garage since about 1975. I bought it from the second owner's widow about 10 years ago. Engine was out, and badly repainted but amazingly original and unmolested inside. Came with a spare Lotus Cortina MkII engine and boxes of parts.

Lots of cool original stuff in the car like the cardboard tail light panel and Lucas wiring harness inspection tag. The car has never been in an accident, never been jacked on the body, and having spend the majority of its life in an El Paso, TX garage the frame is amazingly rust-free. You couldn't pick a nicer car to start a restoration.

Couple of goofy modifications are a rear swaybar and narrow diameter rear springs. Other than that, it's a remarkably un-messed-with car.

I'm getting lots of help from my dad (forum member GLB who just finished up restoring 26/0045 ) but I'm sure I'll be asking lots of questions

Here are some photos from when we dug it out of the garage in 2010:
_MSB2896.jpg and
Garage Recovery

_MSB2935.jpg and
Odometer

_MSB2912.jpg and
Safely Home
Michael B
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PostPost by: fj55mike » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:20 am

Came with a few spares

_MSB3037.jpg and
Spares

_MSB2925.jpg and
More Spares

_MSB3027.jpg and
Extras

_MSB3020.jpg and
Boxes
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PostPost by: fj55mike » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:37 am

And then I parked it for a few years while I lived in an apartment, was unemployed, moved 600 miles away, and finally got a garage where I could begin disassembly

IMG_0539.JPG and
Not an ideal tow truck

IMG_0544.JPG and
Good Company


But then got deep into shipwright's disease and "while I'm in there" disorder with the Jaguar. I then decided I didn't have enough stressful things in my life so I had a baby and joined a startup.

IMG_0448.JPG and
Going to eat the Elan


IMG_1624.jpg and
I was just going to fix the fuel pump


IMG_2728.jpg and
Excellent taste in cars
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PostPost by: fj55mike » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:46 am

That brings us to this past weekend. I managed to pretty well strip the car down to the body shell, and since I had the West Texas Elan Expert come to visit for the first time in months, we decided to do something crazy:

_MSB4286.jpg and
What are they building this time?


_MSB4301.jpg and
Success


Three of us lifted the body off without too much struggle (doors and boot lid removed of course).

I then began transferring the filth of the car onto my clothes and arms.

_MSB4340.jpg and
Filth Transfer


Cleans up pretty well. Anyone ever see the writing on the fork cover before?

_MSB4350.jpg and
Markings
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:49 am

Welcome! and a great start. Looking forward to the 'saga'.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:18 pm

Welcome Mike, looks like a great project!
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:29 pm

Wellcome to the group. I love digging for history on the cars we restore. I too have an Elan that we think went through Lotus SouthWest. Were you able to find any info on the previous owners through previous Lotus SW owners and/or employees. I'd love to find the original owner of my Texas Coupe.

Roger
'67 Elan S3 SS DHC
'67 Elan FHC pre-airflow
'67 Elan S3 SE upgrade to 26R by Original owner
'58 Eleven S2 (ex-works)
'62 20/22 FJ (ex-Yamura)
'70 Elan +2S RHD
'61 20 FJ project
'76 Modus M1 F3
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PostPost by: mbell » Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:15 pm

Glad to hear your getting to start work on it! I look forward to seeing it at some point and likely losing out to it (and hopefully Gary's S1) at TXBCD one day.

If you need local help let me know, happy to help. Covid limitation permitting etc.

Mark
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: Gordon Sauer » Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:02 pm

We should have a barn raising and get these Texas Elans on the road— mine off the road since 78, my own barn find Gordon Sauer (Irving)
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PostPost by: The Veg » Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:47 pm

Welcome back Mike, can't wait to see your progress!
1969/70 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
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PostPost by: fj55mike » Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:47 am

Thanks for the warm welcome (been a member for a while, but not participated much). Gordon and Mark, I'd really like to have the refurbished chassis on display at next years' ABCD. Dad and I are planning on driving to Salt Lake City for the LOG but maybe we can convice him to drive 0045 to Round Rock too.

Starting to evaluate the chassis and components, things look pretty filthy with only a couple of surprises:

_MSB4383.jpg and
Reseal and Rotoflex Replacement

IMG_4050.jpg and
Time for a brake job too

IMG_4053.jpg and
Spring Perch


You'll notice that my rear springs are small diameter, with lots of clearance to the tire. When the PO replaced the springs, they hammered and bent the lower spring perch to fit the new springs. Shock inserts look original and they have the original castle nut at the top.

_MSB4310.jpg and
Shock Nut


My front spring towers are perfect. I can't overstate how dry this car's life was in El Paso (~6 inches of rain per year). There is not a speck of rust on this chassis.

IMG_4060.jpg and
Front Tower

_MSB4455.jpg and
Filth


This car probably never saw rain in its entire life. The masking tape label on the insulation would have disintegrated on most cars

_MSB4410.jpg and
Masking Tape Label


There was quite a bit of grease and dust on the chassis, so we rolled it out to pressure wash it off after scraping the egregious filth away.

_MSB4472.jpg and
3.7 Diff I assume

_MSB4479.jpg and
Getting Cleaner - Look at the yellow Inspection marks

_MSB4471.jpg and
Anti-roll bar


I guess the PO was pretty active in SCCA Autocross and added this rear anti-roll bar. Does anyone have any info on how it effects the handling?

Also note the yellow paint on the chassis near the seat belt mounting point. Factory inspection marks? The chassis is covered in them, and after hanging out with Jaguar and Corvette nerds I'll probably have to replicate them during restoration.
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PostPost by: bitsobrits » Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:07 am

Interesting. Found similar, if less well preserved, markings on my S3 project, so clearly part of the factory process...
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IMG_0465.jpeg and
IMG_0461.jpeg and
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Elan S1 1963-Bourne bodied
Elan S3 1967 FHC pre airflow

Formerly:
Elan S1 1964
Elan S3 1966 FHC pre airflow
Elan S3 1967 FHC airflow
Elan S4 1969 FHC
Europa S2 1970
Esprit S2 1979
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 7:00 pm

I had the same yellow 3.7 painted onto my chassis too.
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'67 Elan S3 SS DHC
'67 Elan FHC pre-airflow
'67 Elan S3 SE upgrade to 26R by Original owner
'58 Eleven S2 (ex-works)
'62 20/22 FJ (ex-Yamura)
'70 Elan +2S RHD
'61 20 FJ project
'76 Modus M1 F3
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 7:59 pm

Diff ratio?
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PostPost by: pcarew » Fri Oct 02, 2020 8:53 pm

Hello Mike,
Nice project

And guess what, I live right here in Austin with a '67 S3SE FHC

At some point, it would be great to meet up.
Paul.
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1967 Lotus Elan S3SE Right Hand Drive, FHC 36/7152 BOO 758F
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