Lotus Elan

Lottie, new S4 Sprint project

PostPost by: Huntd105 » Thu Jan 25, 2024 5:24 am

Good Morning all,

I've been a member for a little while now in preparation for the upcoming ownership of my Grandad's Elan which as of last week I am now in possession of.

She is a 1971 S4 Sprint named lottie. The story goes some decades ago it had some crash damage to the front right and my Grandad sore this as an opportunity to give it a full restoration. So car was stripped. Everything cleaned/repainted/replaced and rolling chassis put together. Then at some point as it often does life stepped in and the project stopped. It since stayed locked in a Garage.

Fast forward to now after years of talking about it and more life events happening my Grandad agreed to sell me the car for ONE whole pound. Happy days.

So now I have the car. Its partly assembled so that transportation was possible. I have all the parts carefully packed into boxes. So now what?

My first job has been to give it a clean. Decades of dirt had covered its fresh paint (all be it decades old paint) but it was garage stored the whole time so all is good.

IMG_20240121_154214_4.jpg and
Before Clean, Ignore my other project there in the background.


Second Job: Assessment of everything. What parts do I have? What condition is everything? Does all the rubber items require replacement?

These questions are yet to be answered but Im after opinions as I start work on her is there any recommendations of things I should do/issues to look for. I.e. Rotoflex couplings. Mine are toast. Should I replace with new or buy CV axles?

Anyway, I plan to document this build. Might even upload to YouTube who knows. But now il upload a pair of pictures before and after she got a clean.
Attachments
IMG_20240124_102655_1.jpg and
After Clean, Not bad at all.
Regards

Dan,
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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Jan 25, 2024 8:15 am

Welcome and great to see another Sprint getting ready to be back on the road.

Yes, do check the rubber. If it was new when stored and then kept in darkness it should be okay, but give it a good inspection. I’m an originalist so I would say go with the rubber doughnuts. Plenty on here will recommend otherwise, but I like to replicate the driving experience of the car as it left the factory. Your choice!

If you send me a PM with the VIN details of your car I may have some history on it in my private register. See my website, below.

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PostPost by: Pastapesto » Thu Jan 25, 2024 8:28 am

Hello there and welcome.....firstly, what is your name and where are you? I also have a Sprint, same colour as yours and a drophead too. What a nice thing your grandad did there......I also sold my son a car for a pound although it wasn't my Sprint.....it was a Skoda Octavia......There are some really nice helpful people on here so have a really good look at your car and then ask lots of questions.....As Tim says, lovely to see another Sprint getting ready for the road.
All the best

Adam
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PostPost by: Huntd105 » Thu Jan 25, 2024 9:11 am

I do apologise my name is Dan, I live currently in Bovington,

Tim - I will send you a pm once I have the Chassis No to hand, I'm very interested about the history of the car. In terms of originality I'm not normally overly concerned, but in saying that the car is, I think too special to go mental and change loads of things around, but I'll price up parts, weigh up the cost/quality and longevity of parts and go from there.

Adam - yes I will have a thousand questions I'm sure but with Lottie came a Proper workshop manual and parts catalogue so I feel very equipped atm.

So my Top Concerns:
- DriveShafts, rotoflex or CV joint
- Anything rubber or seal related on the car (brake lines, seals, bushes, ball joint covers, fuel lines, gaskets, shocks) all needs to be checked.
- The Engine - has sat without spark plug fitted so naturally there is garage debris in the cylinders. so head will come off.
- Gearbox - very leaky.
- Electrics - not fitted
- Carbs - they are either dell-otro or webbers doesn't matter they are large heavy double barrelled beasts - both completely stripped.
- Tyres - ancient and need replacement
Regards

Dan,
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PostPost by: 512BB » Thu Jan 25, 2024 9:25 am

Well, the most important thing, that you don't mention Dan, is the chassis. When your Gd crashed the car, was it replaced? If not, that should be your starting point, to check that it is straight.

Out of curiousity, do you know who carried out the glassfibre repairs and the repaint. In your neck of the woods, maybe Robin Alabaster, one of the best. Did your Gd own the car from new?

Lovely project, good luck with it.

Leslie
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PostPost by: Huntd105 » Thu Jan 25, 2024 9:35 am

Hello,

At the time Grandad said the chassis was checked over found to be undamaged which is fair enough as it was only a little crash,

As for the body repairs, i never asked and it wouldn't have been around my current neck of the woods. Grandad currently lives in Gloucester but is from London area so could be anywhere.
Regards

Dan,
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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Thu Jan 25, 2024 9:37 am

Dan,

Welcome to Elan ownership. All of the questions you have asked have been covered many times on the forum - its what makes it such a great resource.

I would suggest searching the forum for each of the topics you are interested in, you will find a much greater depth of information that way than a few replies to your questions from guys who just happen to see your posts. Jeff (who runs the site) does a great job, but doesn't have Google's $280 Billion of revenue to play with, so I would recommend using Google's search facility, rather than the one embedded in the site. Google is particularly useful to search for pictures related to a particular topic.

If you construct your query in the Google search bar as:

site:lotuselan.net your_topic_here

Replace your_topic_here with (say) CV driveshafts and you will be rewarded with well over 100 hits on the site arguing the merits of Rotoflex vs CVs, and at least 50 photos of driveshafts.
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PostPost by: JonB » Thu Jan 25, 2024 10:01 am

Welcome, Dan. Your grandfather lives not far from me.

Your Sprint looks really nice, what a lucky fellow you are! It's also nice that the car is being kept in the family.

As to your questions, I think they have been addressed mostly, but I'll add a vote for CV shafts. I had Rotoflexes and CV shafts on my +2 and found CVs superior. I did not like the sensation of the rotoflexes winding up and they made smooth driving difficult. You will see this sort of comment in your search results. I'd also suggest checking the wiring looms out. The S4 has three; one in the engine bay, one behind the dash and one to supply power to the rear lights. On my car (a 1970 S4) the looms are all there but they seem rather stiff and this is caused by the insulation which goes hard over time. There is also the matter of the bullet connectors. They do not seem to corrode as such, but they go dull with time and I suspect this contributes to increased resistance. On mine, I will clean them up if I keep them (not guaranteed I'll do this, as new ones are readily available from the likes of Autosparks).

Another thing you'll want to assess is the state of the shock absorbers. These are service items and if original will most liklely need to be changed. Again, freely available from the usual suspects. Bear in mind that if you choose CV jointed half shafts you will need to either fit droop limiting shock absorbers to the rear, or straps to perform the same job. These are needed because the CV joints don't work well at extreme angles; they can bind. And the Elan can make this happen if airborne and the rear suspension drops to the end of its travel. Hence you need to limit this movement ("droop") in some way to protect the CV joints.

I look forward to seeing your reports!

Cheers
JonB
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PostPost by: pharriso » Thu Jan 25, 2024 11:25 am

Congratulations, what a gift!

Lovely to keep her in the family :D
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PostPost by: Sadbrewer » Thu Jan 25, 2024 1:22 pm

Bite the bullet and buy the Lotus workshop manual, it will be invaluable...probably worth also buying Brian Buckland's book about Elan restoration...there may be other good books around too.
Take photo's before you dissemble things.
Don't mess about with the electrics unless you know what you're doing...if in doubt get a professional auto electrician to check them through.
Inspect the chassis in detail...particularly around the front suspension towers and the cross member that acts as the vacuum chamber...they rot horribly there.
I would change every bearing and rubber bush on the car, buy a press for doing the job, they're not expensive these days and it will pay you back in the long term.
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PostPost by: Huntd105 » Thu Jan 25, 2024 1:46 pm

I have the manuals but I will look for Brian Buckland's book tonight.

Unfortunately all the electrics apart from the side lights are packed in a box but I'm content with wiring as I have done a couple cars, Currently my Series is getting a custom loom made by me, The Lotus does come with its Original looms and a new set.

Yeah Body off is certainly planned, just need to work out how I will do it, either some friends or borrow an engine hoist.
Regards

Dan,
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Thu Jan 25, 2024 11:47 pm

With regards to comments about shock absorbers. If they are the originally fitted Armstrong and in good condition I personally would not change them unless you are using the car for some specific purpose - racing etc. I’m sure Lotus knew better than anyone what the best calibration was and you’ll loose the original feel if you do. I tend to keep things others chuck out and I’ve managed to gather all the OEM shock absorbers for my cars. Some Armstrong struts for example are rebuildable so even if bad and you replace them I wouldn’t chuck them out.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Fri Jan 26, 2024 10:10 am

[quote="2cams70"]With regards to comments about shock absorbers. If they are the originally fitted Armstrong and in good condition I personally would not change them unless you are using the car for some specific purpose - racing etc. I’m sure Lotus knew better than anyone what the best calibration was and you’ll loose the original feel if you do. I tend to keep things others chuck out and I’ve managed to gather all the OEM shock absorbers for my cars. Some Armstrong struts for example are rebuildable so even if bad and you replace them I wouldn’t chuck them out.[/quote]

I quite agree! I have some NOS front Armstrongs ready to fit to my Sprint when the old ones expire. The rear Armstrongs can be rebuilt by Leda suspension in Lincs, They will restore struts, springs and dampers to original spec: http://ledasuspension.co.uk/

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Sun Jan 28, 2024 12:46 pm

Welcome to the Sprint club! :D
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PostPost by: JonB » Sun Jan 28, 2024 9:11 pm

How do you tell your Armstrongs are OK apart from a corner bump test?
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