Lotus Elan

Lotus Elan.Net, Virtual Friends and the 1000 Club

PostPost by: mark030358 » Mon Oct 19, 2020 10:58 pm

It seems to me as though I have been a member on here for eons, so I thought I’d put a few words down to describe my car and journey via this forum, please bear with me....

My journey with Lotus began in 1978 when I had a TR6 and my friend a red S2 Europa, which he bought from a Beauty Queen in Blackpool. The doors drooped, it didn’t start, it coughed and it spluttered BUT the Europa was quicker, more nimble and above all else, sexier.... it was just magnificent.... I HAD TO HAVE ONE. My first many many years later being a Roman Purple Twin Cam, quickly followed by my dream car the S2 Europa.

I think I joined The forum around 2004 after my latest project at the time, a 1970 S2 Europa met an untimely end on the M53, on a May Day bank holiday. Having been partially destroyed by it snapping a rear hub and reversing Itself into the central reservation Crash barrier. It was completely destroyed by “plod” (Police, to our American friends) who then dragged it, and me, to safety across the motorway onto the hard shoulder, using the rear hoop of the chassis. (We will return to this later)...

A few months later I was the proud owner of JAO 952L, a pristine, one owner Lagoon Blue over White Elan Sprint, that had stood without turning a wheel since 1992. This was however, after chasing all around the UK for mint cars, including buying two one way tickets to Aberdeen to look at a particular motor, that shall we say, was not “mint”. “Mint”, may I say is in the eye of the beholder and more so in the eye of the “Owner”. The internet was not fully up to speed then and the forums, Auto Trader and C&C magazine resulted in various trips to view differing “mint” cars. Ones that failed to start, had “never” been painted, were “Motor Show” cars, you get the picture.

Anyway, what followed was a labour of love to revive this magnificent car, owned for all its life by a really remarkable man. He was an artist, a sculptor, a mountain rescue leader; a man that had landed in Normandy as a teenager during WW2. It just had to come back right. I went back to Keswick around 3 years ago, only to learn he had passed away.

So, around August 2004 Myself and my friend arrived in the Lake District with a bag full of cash, yes a bag full of cash, as he would not take a draft (remember those) or a cheque. His daughter-in law took an hour to count, it at least three times, before we loaded her on the trailer

The body, trim, wheels just perfect, however the engine just would not turn over. So back in sunny Cheshire the engine was pulled, packed off to QED and the engine bay given a good clean. Suspension was overhauled, along with the brakes and anything else that needed work. CV driveshafts fitted, you know how it goes. Sue Millar was the only person I used for parts, by the way I think she should get a title, “Dame”, “Lady” whatever, as she was just excellent in helping me get to know these cars. And her knowledge I found remarkable.

So, from getting everything right and ready to rock, the car was a pig To drive. Didn’t tick over, wouldn’t pull, I was lost. Enter my virtual best friend over many many years on this forum, BG, (you know who you are). The man with the “Wipers” avatar fixed everything with a “Have you synced the carbs”..... Oh my, joy of joys, Trumpets, Angels, Manor from Heaven, the whole nine yards..... what a transformation, what a car.....

So the early years of ownership landed me on this forum virtually every night, spending really far too much time here, learning, helping, eventually meeting characters such as Pete (ElanSprint71) at a Gold Cup at Oulton Park, Miked, who actually I knew a from a long time ago, Greg who I met in Southport and more recently a top chap who goes by Rdracer.

For the last 5 or 6 years I have been into the later type of Lotus and perhaps the Elan has taken a bit of a back seat. However this year I decided she is going to do a Swiss Alps tour, with hopefully one Other very rare and very unique Elan, which is currently under restoration in the south of France. With the owners consent, I hope to Be able put a lot of information on here about that car, and document the details, idyosyncrasies (spelling) and history of the car, it is unique in what it is. Anyway hopefully the 5 speed conversion will go well and the engine, now at John Smurthwaite, for a health check will get us up and around the Andermatt Loops very soon.

Which leads me to my final piece of waffle tonight, in so much that the coming months will see me reach the magic 1000 posts and the coveted 5 spanner’s. I cant wait for that magical moment............ This forum is excellent. :D

Cheers and Beers from Algeria....
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:18 pm

Mark,
I clearly recall our meeting at Oulton Park. I instantly recognised your car; I first met it when the (then) owner was extracting his 82(?) year-old mother from it in Keswick. This struck a chord because my Mother at 82 was still able to get out of my (DHC) Elan un-aided!

When, after some little while of non-Elan ownership I decide to dive back in to ownership (again), the search was on for a Lagoon Blue example (preferably without the white under-skirt).... I believe that it was due to the Great Jim Jackson that I was thus inflicted. I possibly saw his mono Sprint weeping oil alongside my '68 JPS S4SE at our local dealer (Sports Motors, Manchester). That was the prettiest Elan I ever saw.
Anyway; nothing was available at that time and I finished up with a tarty Yellow over White example. :twisted.

The adventure continues... I'm six months in to another period of non-activity on the S4SE BRM FHC.

Life get's tedious, don't it? :roll:
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PostPost by: jimj » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:07 am

Pete, our monotone Lagoon Blue may well be the prettiest car you`ve ever seen but it`s never been in a Manchester dealer and, certainly, does not leak oil. How dare you be so confused?
Jim
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PostPost by: RogerFrench » Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:49 am

Mark, thanks for that. In the Covid era it's great to have a little entertainment relating to ones own interests.
My wife Pat (A Wirral-born lady) were glad to meet you during your brief stay in Houston, sorry it wasn't longer but it's also good to keep in touch and this forum certainly plays it's part in that.
Good luck with your trip, I hope the countries are open for you and look forward to reading about it. Where is the Elan in France? I ask because my Caterham-owning son lives there, not far from Nice.
1967 Elan S3
1972 Europa Twin Cam
2005 Elise
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Sat Oct 24, 2020 12:05 pm

jimj wrote:Pete, our monotone Lagoon Blue may well be the prettiest car you`ve ever seen but it`s never been in a Manchester dealer and, certainly, does not leak oil. How dare you be so confused?
Jim

Then there must be at least one other owner with impeccable taste! :D
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