Lotus Elan

1965 Elan DHC (red) for sale - Serial #26-3958

PostPost by: wthode » Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:22 pm

I bought the car in June of 2015 from Paul Quiniff (Des Plaines, IL), with an assist from his friend Bob Herzog, who placed the ad on this site. This was the ad?s text:

?Spring time is here! Time to get out and enjoy the backroads. And what better way to enjoy springtime driving than with a 1965 Series 2 Lotus Elan.
I'm selling this car for my friend who is a great wrench and does some amazing things with fiberglass, but he struggles painfully with a pc. So this is one of his daily summer drive toy cars. Time to thin out the herd for some parking space so this one was tagged to go.
The Twin Cam, Weber head engine starts easy and runs well. The car handles fine and gets lots of thumbs up and double takes wherever it is driven. The cloth seats are a bit overstuffed so they are comfortable. Trans was rebuilt and shifts great. New drive donuts were installed about 6 years ago. The problematic headlight vacuum system was replaced with real nifty gas struts. Miniature versions of what holds up the back of a hatchback. You pop up the headlight pods when you want the lights on at night and pop them back down when you don?t. Adjustable height coil over shocks in the back. Clutch and brakes are good. Clutch master and slave cylinders were recently rebuilt. Convertible top is old but complete. It has a few patches but it keeps out at least 80 of the rain. Rear fenders have slight flares. Stock generator was replaced with an alternator. The car has just over 50,000 miles on the odometer.
This car was in a rear end accident about 15 years ago. A new-used rear fiberglass clip was glassed on by the owner at Fiberglass Solutions in Addison Illinois. The car was then professionally painted by the local paint shop down the street. The car has been driven as often as the weather allowed since it was rebuilt.
Now the warts. The paint is just so-so. It has some scratches and chips and a few cracks here and there. A little TLC would make it better. The engine starts easy and runs good but it is a bit lumpy. Could maybe use a good carb tune up. There are the usual engine oil leaks. Nothing terrible but you will want to stay away from fresh concrete driveways.
As this is a Lotus, there will be a certain amount of fiddling you will have to do on a regular basis.?

When I picked up the car, it had 50,138 miles on the odometer. It now has 52,409. Since I got the car, the following work has been done:
Some may recall that, when my friend Walt and I got back to Boise after driving it from Chicago?with no problems?the next morning it wouldn?t start. It turned out that both the battery and alternator had given up the ghost; we probably drove the last stretch on battery alone. So both were replaced the next day.
Since the tires were worn, and were so wide that they rubbed on the front fenders when turning sharp corners, I bought a new set of 155-13?s, as close as I could get to the 145?s that came on the car originally.
I had the motor mounts replaced.
I had the cam cover gaskets/seals and front crankshaft seal replaced.
I had the fuel pump overhauled.
I had the oil pump cover resealed.
I had both Webers checked, cleaned, and tuned.
I had one oil pan bolt?s threads repaired.
I had the radiator checked and a leak repaired.
I had exhaust system repaired (leaks) and remounted.
I got new spark plugs.
I had the wheel bearings adjusted and repacked.
I had the steering tie rods tightened.
I had the rear struts/shocks pulled and had shims added to take up some clearance.
I had the wiper switch repaired/replaced.

A few things about the car are unique:
As noted in the original posting, the previous owner got rid of the vacuum-activated headlights and installed small struts to hold the lights up. This gets rid of the annoying headlight droop when going up a hill. But it means you have to stop and raise each headlight by hand.
He also got rid of the springs that raised the hood (bonnet?) when you pull the two levers in the cockpit. Instead, he added a tiny plastic strip on the back edge of the hood that you pull while also pulling the two levers. (I know, three hands, right? But it seems to work.)

As far as I know, one of the only issues the car has is that the front tires still rub against the fenders when the car is loaded and extreme turns are made. It looks to me like someone lowered the front end at some point in its past, and I?ve not seen a simple way to raise it back up, and it?s not a problem when I?m driving alone, so I haven?t done anything about it yet. Also, the speedometer quit working on the way from Chicago; I?m told the cable is fine, but the speedo itself needs to be fixed. (Who needs a speedometer; we drive by tach, right?) Otherwise, the car is in good shape and is still fun to drive.

Since I got the car, it?s been driven less than 2,500 miles (and 1,800 of those were the trip from Chicago to Boise). I find that I am not driving it much. I?d owned two other Elans in the ?70s, and wanted to experience the car again, but at 75 years of age I?m just not making use of the car. (Truth be known, I drive my 2014 Porsche Cayman instead.) The car ought to go to someone who will enjoy it and drive it more than I do.

I'm asking $29,000 for the car. If anyone expresses real interest, I'll send photos.
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PostPost by: knockoffnut » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:42 pm

This sounds like an interesting car. It would be great to see some pictures posted. Pictures would answer a lot of questions. A couple of anorak comments; S2 Elans are roadsters because the roof stores in the trunk, S3 Elans are DHC (drop head coupes) because the roof stays attached and folds down. If the tires are rubbing on bumps in tight cornering, then lowering or raising wouldn't make much difference as lowering is the same as hitting a bigger bump. I would not have expected 155 tires to hit the fenders if the wheels are stock size and offset. What kind of wheels are on it?
1963 Unicorn
1964 S1
1965 S2
1967 S3 SE DHC
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Seven S2 F
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PostPost by: wthode » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:33 pm

You're right about the DHC designation. I'd forgotten that S1 and S2 Elans didn't have a hardtop version.
Regarding the rubbing, I believe the wheels are stock wheels. I've noted that, when the car is viewed from the side, the front end seems slightly lower than the back end, and I remember Elans as being perfectly level. The struts, shocks, etc., look standard, but I'm no expert.
I'll try to post some photos later. When I attempted earlier, it didn't seem to go as I expected.
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PostPost by: wthode » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:44 pm


I don't think I know how to post photos here. If you want photos, send your email address to [email protected].
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PostPost by: paddy » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:11 am

Perhaps the rack was replaced with a standard Triumph one without the lock limiters? It seems that the wheels rub on the ARB in this case rather than the arches, but worth a check?

1963 Elan S1
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PostPost by: jonas » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:50 am

Is your car still for sale and have you adjusted the price? Thanks! ED
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PostPost by: wthode » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:10 pm

Still for sale. I don?t know what price you saw, but my FIRM price is $25,000.
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