Lotus Elan

Elan on gravel-again

PostPost by: Davidb » Tue Aug 29, 2023 6:08 pm

So last night( Sunday Aug 27) I got home at 6.30pm after driving in my Lotus Elan to Bella Coola, via 100 Mile House and Williams Lake from Vancouver-British Columbia-western Canada. The return was a little more ambitious with us going cross country from around Riske Creek on gravel roads back to 100 Mile. Total miles 1450 in four days. This involved hours of driving in the dark, with no exhaust system (removed by a gravel berm but tucked into another vehicle for refitting later). We (my co-driver Owen Bubb and I) arrived back in 100 mile at 10.00 pm having driven alone for what seemed hours. As we were thrashing along in the dark over a rough section there was a sudden lurch from the back and the car started rear wheel steering-one of the Heim joints at the outer end of the l/rear suspension arm had sheared! So we had to slow right down. As we rounded a corner I was aware of a white shape looming up and suddenly there was a white face at the window with fangs bared-it turned out to be one of the cattle guarding dogs! HUGE great white thing. It wanted to tear the Elan apart and I was concerned about hitting it but managed to accelerate away without losing the back end. It gave us quite a turn! Earlier a large Black Bear had run up the track in front of us-frightened by the loud exhaust noise. For those who have never driven into Bella Coola it involves "The Hill". This is a narrow loose gravel road over a mountain pass (5000ft I think) before descending through stunning terrain that includes vertical drops off the edge of the road-which isn't very far away at any time-mostly single lane and very loose gravel. Thrilling is one word. The return is the same, only more so since you are going uphill and fighting for traction. It beats the organized runs to Langley or Whistler... This event, called "The Rush to Gold Bridge" was organised by Dave Hord of Classic Car Adventures--the organizers of The Spring Thaw rally for the past 15 years or so. Photo by Meshed House Creative-I will post more if there is interest
Elan on Rush To GB Aug 2023.jpg and
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PostPost by: USA64 » Wed Aug 30, 2023 3:35 am

Awesome, definite interest! :D
We are supposed to be having fun, are we not?
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PostPost by: gherlt » Wed Aug 30, 2023 7:38 am

For certain there is interest for pictures with great views and an Elan in it ....
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PostPost by: Davidb » Wed Aug 30, 2023 3:17 pm

I am waiting for the professional photographers who were part of the group to publish their photos-may be a couple of days.
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Wed Aug 30, 2023 5:47 pm

at least the gravel roads are well traveled
my father-in-law lives in Anaheim Lake, I had many years working whitewater there.

Looking forward to pictures & etc...
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PostPost by: Davidb » Wed Aug 30, 2023 7:40 pm

Never saw another vehicle on the gravel roads-apart from the drive into Bella Coola of course.
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Wed Aug 30, 2023 8:02 pm

Interesting, should be lots of fishing going on, some whitewater. My father-in-law has horses, did my fair share of horseback around there too.
The comment was more directed to the conditions of the gravel, though I haven’t traveled that road in 7 years. At one point, the road was fairly good.
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PostPost by: Davidb » Wed Aug 30, 2023 8:11 pm

Remember we were there late afternoon, with the sun setting, much driving during darkness-some were out until gone midnight!
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PostPost by: Davidb » Thu Sep 07, 2023 1:53 am

The photos were finally published last night. I am afraid I have none of our "expedition" with no exhaust and broken suspension.
The group that completed the run in Bella Coola-Mostly German!-just the Elan and a bog stock MGB-for some reason the photo gets cropped and the MGB and a Mercedes 560SEC cut out-the 560SEC must be the ultimate rally car!
Elan on Rush 2023 at Bella Coola.jpg and


This is on the additional section that caused us trouble-the Fraser River Plateau-note the road winding into the distance-good condition at this point but it got very rough (and dark) later:
Elan on gravel on Frazer Plateau.jpg and
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PostPost by: Davidb » Thu Sep 07, 2023 2:24 am

Please forgive my lack of skill on a computer-I am having difficulty finding the photos!

This is on the climb to the summit before the descent into Bella Cool-nice road-note the damage from forest fires:
CCA_R2GB23_051AHe[1].jpg and

Scuttling over a crest:
'
CCA_R2GB23_053AHe[1].jpg and

Chasing the rally organizer, Dave Hord, in his very modified Super Beetle (12 quart dry sump etc, etc...
CCA_R2GB23_100AHe[1].jpg and


Finally repairing the Elan at the hotel before the 456km drive home:
elan repairing after R2GB.jpg and
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PostPost by: Davidb » Sun Sep 17, 2023 1:36 am

I finally got around to pressure washing the engine compartment and the underside of the car.

There is not even a chip on the sump (oil pan)!

The chassis appears to have sustained no damage whatsoever-it was heavily reinforced during restoration and a roll bar ties the back turrets together.

There are a couple more rock chips on the front area-between the headlights but nothing serious.

The one serious piece of damage to the body is a rock "bruise" on the top of the left front wing where a stone was thrown up by the front wheel-we both heard that and it was quite a Crack! Pity about that.

The exhaust will need repair work...
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PostPost by: Davidb » Fri Sep 22, 2023 2:13 am

No response!
I would appreciate feedback even if it is negative!

I am trying to demonstrate that the Elan is not nearly as fragile as many think.
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Fri Sep 22, 2023 4:13 am

David, I completely agree. Elans can actually be tough little cars.

44 years ago in Denver, Colorado, I dragged one out from under a tarpaulin where it had sat in the weather for 4 miserable winters and hot dry summers. I had it running with about 2 hours work. It had 70,000 miles and I drove it another 100,000 miles all over Colorado and California dirt/gravel/washboard roads for fly fishing or spring snow skiing. It took us over the Continental Divide several times with our dog, even packing it for weekend camping trips in the Rockies, Sierras and of course it's annual pilgrimage to the Monterey Historics with our oldest son.

The only times it ever let me down were from a stuck starter pinion, a broken throttle cable and a broken suspension pickup point in the back with over 40 years of abuse with only regular maintenance.

Barry Spencer is restoring it now and it will be back in service soon for another 170K.
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Fri Sep 22, 2023 4:39 am

If I compare any Lotus, to say my 73 450SLC. It is fragile. But, fixable.
An Elan composite body is fragile compared to steel & much, much easier to repair on the spot.

How many steel bodied race cars do you see? & which steel body cars can you flick about, and in famous words, “wish through a corner”

Compare apples to apples.
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PostPost by: Davidb » Fri Sep 22, 2023 11:50 pm

StressCraxx wrote:David, I completely agree. Elans can actually be tough little cars.

44 years ago in Denver, Colorado, I dragged one out from under a tarpaulin where it had sat in the weather for 4 miserable winters and hot dry summers. I had it running with about 2 hours work. It had 70,000 miles and I drove it another 100,000 miles all over Colorado and California dirt/gravel/washboard roads for fly fishing or spring snow skiing. It took us over the Continental Divide several times with our dog, even packing it for weekend camping trips in the Rockies, Sierras and of course it's annual pilgrimage to the Monterey Historics with our oldest son.

The only times it ever let me down were from a stuck starter pinion, a broken throttle cable and a broken suspension pickup point in the back with over 40 years of abuse with only regular maintenance.

Barry Spencer is restoring it now and it will be back in service soon for another 170K.


THAT is what a sports car is for! :) None of this polishing stuff! :twisted:
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