Lotus Elan

Just been brave - or was it just stupid

PostPost by: gav » Sat Oct 03, 2020 11:21 am

Hi all

My MOT and 6 month extension are going to expire imminently so I booked an MOT which was this morning.

Not sure I've driven through so much rain - I'm normally a fair weather driver in the Elan but I decided to push the boat out (!) and carry on despite the downpours and rivers in the road.

My normal road tyres are the Uniroyal rain series and they were fantastic. Only one issue - I ran over a screw in the process which now needs dealing with.

The drive was fine - I had the heater on which demisted the car and the roof kept all but a couple of drops out so overall very happy - and of course the car sailed through the MOT as it always does.

Just started the drying process.....

Gavin
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PostPost by: TBG » Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:46 pm

What a lovely story! It brought to mind a trip in Italy about 25 or so years ago when on an autoroute just north of Umbria we ran into biblical rain. I had just over taken a Porsche going very slowly, when to my distress the engine stopped! There was a bridge in the distance but my momentum was not sufficient to carry me there and so in the simply appalling visibility I pulled up alongside the guard rail. My worry was that if we opened the passenger door it would be ripped off by trucks passing very close indeed - the hard shoulder was very narrow. So it was that unable to open my door as it was up against the barrier, I had to climb out of my window. Yes I know, I was smaller then! Getting my wife to pull both bonnet releases (thank god I have got rid of them - see other posts ) - I had to dry the distributor. An original, points and all - also long gone. Using lots of handkerchiefs and available rags to dry it off - still in torrential rain - I had to climb back in through the window - and low and behold it started first go and on we went to a very happy holiday in that lovely part of Italy!! What fun we had then and still do. Regretfully our holiday in June this year to the Italian Lakes via the Alps fell foul of Trumps disease - but next year................ :roll: :roll:
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PostPost by: gav » Sat Oct 03, 2020 6:53 pm

That’s a proper story
Glad it worked out so well
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sat Oct 03, 2020 7:48 pm

I really enjoy using an Elan in the rain, tyres are so much better than they used to be :D
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PostPost by: reb53 » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:36 am

You don't need a roof if you keep moving !

The heaviest rain I've ever driven in in the Elan was a few years ago on a road trip with my wife.
As we drove through some narrow gorges there were waterfalls coming down the sides, and cars, ours included, were leaving rooster tails of spray behind them.
We didn't bother stopping to put the roof up, and didn't get a drop of rain on us, it just blew over the top.
People we passed must have thought us crazy but the heater worked well and we were really quite cozy.
Rain blowing off the top of the screen blew back , hit the roll bar, and then dribbled down to make a small wet patch behind a seat, that was all.
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PostPost by: TBG » Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:05 pm

Continuing the wet drives theme, this one may make you smile. In September 2002 we were touring around southern France in company with some friends who were in an Espace. We stayed a night at a very unwelcoming chateau arriving in pouring rain. We cooked our supper of toast on a halogen uplighter accompanied by lots of wine! During the night torrential rain continued and helicopters, that we later learned were French military ones doing night rescues, roared over head at frequent intervals. Clearly the rain was causing problems. When we went down to the cars in the morning they were parked in about 4 or 5 inches of water as the moat had overflowed and the rain was still tumbling out of leaden skies. Ever the optimists we set off for our next stop. As you can guess this was probably a mistake but nothing ventured nothing gained. The roads were awash with frequent floods to negotiate. At this point I disconnected the inlet trunking from the cold air box to raise the inlet height, a good move as it turned out. Some of the floods were so deep that the dynamo kept tripping as it was under water and did not take kindly to this treatment. The clutch also complained loudly and became very harsh for similar reasons. Amazingly no water entered through the door seals and the hood was pretty watertight. At one point we came across a queue of cars that had chickened out of going through a flood so full of confidence I led the way! Seeing this tiny white car going through emboldened some of them with varying degrees of success. Peugeots just could not hack it as their intakes are low down behind the bumper, so they stalled with goodness knows what damage. A very smart black Alfa Romeo decided to follow me, and we having got through watched it approach. Half way through the inevitable happened and this very smart Italian climbed out removing his very smart long leather boots before taking the paddle!! Much swearing in Italian and much mirth from us. A few miles and floods further on we came across a torrent rushing across the road from left to right and pouring over the edge into a ravine. Trapped against the guardrail was a motorcyclist unable to move as the pressure of water was holding him against it. Undeterred, both of us are ex Royal Navy Commando helicopter pilots, we got out tow ropes and wandered in and pulled him and his bike to safety. He was very grateful!! We then reached a village where there were diversions leading to what looked like a river crossing – actually another torrent sweeping down the main street from right to left with a patch of road showing on the far side. Nothing for it but to have a bash in front of the astounded locals. Well we got across but half way through this boiling water everything went a bit light on the steering – were we afloat? - but worst of all I had failed to shut the driver’s window and a wave of muddy water came in and soaked me from shoulder to feet!! On we went and eventually got to the autoroute to the south. On either side were vineyards flooded to the tops of the vines with chaps sitting in rubber dinghies puffing on their Gauloise and drinking wine!! Snowploughs were going up and down to remove water and huge amounts of mud from the carriageways and at last the rain stopped and we got on with eating and drinking, the little car going like dream as though nothing had happened.
A sad footnote – “At least 20 people have been killed in floods which have swept through parts of southern France, the authorities say.”

Spot the Lotus!!
Flood 6.1.jpg and
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PostPost by: SENC » Sun Oct 04, 2020 1:55 pm

Wow, what great stories!

I drove through a light mist once.
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PostPost by: TBG » Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:01 am

Just found this picture of the road in Southern France all those years ago...................

Flood France.01.jpg and
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:05 am

Yes, when it storms down there it you certainly get your money's worth. I got caught in one near Grenoble some years back on a motorcycle. Absolutely everything was soaked through to skin level. When I was drying out in the flat afterwards I found all the ink had run in my passport so you couldn't read anything. :( I did get some strange looks at UK passport contol on the way back but fortunately the chip still worked.

We got caught in a huge storm a couple of years after yours while on a canoe trip down the Ardeche river - a place famous for its steep sided gorges. The river came up so fast we had to be evacuated, climbing a kind of donkey trail up the side of a gorge at midnight roped to the rescue workers. We spent the rest of the night with a couple of hundred other 'survivors' camped out in the local school hall. My (then) 8yr old daughter still remembers it as one of her best holidays ever ... :shock: She was particularly pleased when the mayor brought round the contents of the local boulangerie (cake shop!) next morning When we got back to the campsite we were staying at the Ardeche had flooded it and then retreated leaving loads of dead fish scattered over the ground. :? Sadly, we learned later, there had been a number of fatalities from that storm as well.

You do run the risk of getting wet on two wheels but there's wet and wet. About five years ago we were two wheeled touring across the USA and on a stretch of I-40 between Nashville and Memphis we could see a rain storm a few miles ahead. We stopped, put all our rain clothing on, and continued, but this was no ordinary storm. We could see the rain front coming up the interstate like a blast wave from an explosion. One second it was dry, the next second it was like you'd jumped into the sea. There was more rain than air. We were wet through within a second or two and, more worrying, visibility went to zero. Trying to decide what to do in those circumstances was life or death - speed up and hit the (slowing) car in front? Slow down and get hit from behind? Change lanes - where are the lanes? Head for the shoulder - like everyone else and hit a stationary car? Fortunately it only lasted about 10 seconds but it felt like a lifetime and I still get cold sweats thinking about it now.
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:49 pm

This is myself and my good lady wife on the way to Le Mans in 1997. We had just driven through a cloudburst, and as mentioned elsewhere - keep going and you don't get wet !

I had renewed all the tyres a couple of months before & the roadholding was as good as gold. Didn't hurt that the car was full of passengers, and camping gear and cases/bags etc.
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PostPost by: TBG » Tue Oct 06, 2020 5:35 pm

I find I do get wet in heavy rain with the roof down. Not from the rain itself but the backdraught. It means that SWMBO has to keep the inside of the screen wiped! Keeps her busy I suppose..................

This works but not going very fast!

Umbrella.jpg and
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PostPost by: Rob_LaMoreaux » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:28 pm

Back in 2002 I drove from Ann Arbor to Lake Geneva Wisconsin for LOG (around 300miles). I started out caravaning with an Esprit owner who had to stop when the rented trailer blew a tire. I then continued and got hit by heavy rain on the Freeway where cars go close to 80MPH. The car did well with the usual drops coming in and in spite of the heater fan not working the windshield did not get too foggy.

It dried out by Chicago and I met up with a group of Esprit owners for the last leg. They were surprise how well I kept up.

When I got there the generator wasn't putting out so I changed the regulator and it got worse. I cleaned the contacts on the original and it was all good. Then I went for a test drive on Sunday afternoon only to get 1/2 mile and have the throttle cable break. I coasted into a parking lot and realized I forgot the spare at home. I then looked up and it was a bike store. I got a bicycle brake cable put it in and it was fixed. So I got another as a spare.

On the return trip I took the freeway through Illinois and Indiana then 55MPH backroad through Michigan where I didn't have to listen to the high RPM drone. Then next weekend I filled up and calculated the fuel mileage. 42MPG! Those strombergs did pretty well (adjustable needles and other tuning).

A few years later that engine developed bearing issues from the oil pickup problem. So now I have the Weber engine I bought from a friend after he replaced it with a 246bhp Cosworth BDP in his car. I had McCoy do the head with his 440 lift 290 degree cam and porting so it does well but the webers are still rich since kids the house and work take up too much time.

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PostPost by: TBG » Wed Oct 07, 2020 5:52 pm

"where I didn't have to listen to the high RPM drone"

Rob - try the 3:1 CWP that I have.................... :D :D
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