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Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:11 am
by fj55mike
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:
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Garage Recovery

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Odometer

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Safely Home

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:20 am
by fj55mike
Came with a few spares

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Spares

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More Spares

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Extras

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Boxes

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:37 am
by fj55mike
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

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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


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I was just going to fix the fuel pump


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Excellent taste in cars

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:46 am
by fj55mike
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:

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What are they building this time?


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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.

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Filth Transfer


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

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Markings

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:49 am
by gjz30075
Welcome! and a great start. Looking forward to the 'saga'.

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:18 pm
by pharriso
Welcome Mike, looks like a great project!

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:29 pm
by Elan45
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

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:15 pm
by mbell
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

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:02 pm
by Gordon Sauer
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)

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:47 pm
by The Veg
Welcome back Mike, can't wait to see your progress!

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:47 am
by fj55mike
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:

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Reseal and Rotoflex Replacement

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Time for a brake job too

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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.

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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.

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Front Tower

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Filth


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

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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.

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3.7 Diff I assume

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Getting Cleaner - Look at the yellow Inspection marks

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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.

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:07 am
by bitsobrits
Interesting. Found similar, if less well preserved, markings on my S3 project, so clearly part of the factory process...

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 7:00 pm
by Elan45
I had the same yellow 3.7 painted onto my chassis too.

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 7:59 pm
by gjz30075
Diff ratio?

Re: Texas S3 DHC Restoration

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 8:53 pm
by pcarew
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.