Update: Restoration Project Continues (but anyone who wants to take over, please give a shout). Don't let this one go, while waiting for your 'barn find'!
I am the original owner. I ordered it on 12/31/1966 and imported it new to the USA myself (those were the days. 'Provenance Tim' (via Andy at Lotus) verified that the engine and chassis numbers belong to a single car; I was told Lotus would update its incorrect engine number. The stamping was hard to read; one digit was a misread. The shipping insurance got it wrong also. But Tim/Andy said they would accept my many other provenance documents with correct engine data, including the new car Warranty. Have original purchase order, Lotus warranty, bill of lading, shipping insurance, customs forms, and yearly licensing receipts for the five years it was on the road.
All original documentation is available, including Workshop Manual and Lotus Master Parts Catalog for the S3 series. Also Dave Bean and Sue Miller catalogs of some vintage, and valuable books by Wilkins and Robinshaw/Ross.
Last licensed in California in 1973 at ~35K miles. Always garaged since. One very minor driveway mishap and repaint early on. Still Leicester (Lotus) Yellow. I had most external chrome bits redone in black matte chrome. Very durable, still as new, with less bling in the eyes of driver.
Seats resemble new. Original retracting safety belts. Dash pad has no cracking - could pass for new. New OEM-match carpeting is being installed. One side of the tunnel cover cracked off. Will try repair, but doubtful; else replace with ABS replica. Padding affixed to cover is as new and can be retained. Door panels are good - dyed the kick plate carpeting to restore color,
The early S3 dash has been reconfigured to disappear the ashtray and cigar lighter (still available), replacing the double gauge with two separate ones, and adding a volt meter; thus two extra gauges, one where the cigar lighter went, the other where the ashtray resided. I re-veneered the original dash in sapele (mahogany-like grain) with appropriate finish to resemble original dash, which was not teak, but resembled mahogany. The radio blanking plate that came with the car is still installed as original, so the match can be assessed. The original steering wheel broke early on; not available. The original gear shift knob was lost sometime before car entered customs here.
Engine was overhauled just 5K miles prior to its long layup (diagnosis: Weber mountings caused float bowl vibration and/or air leak, causing a lean cylinder and a burned piston). Engine now has forged pistons, forged main center bearing cap, stellite valve seats; swinging baffle oil pan; ported and polished, tubular headers (original exhaust manifold unfortunately no longer available).
This engine was built by Lotus just before the transition from MKI to MkII. Perhaps because it is in SE trim, this car got the stronger MKII con rods and a MKII head and MkII oil pickup. It has MKI 4-bolt output coupling and rope seal.
I have done a compression check to demonstrate the engine has not turned to junk: 130±5 PSI across all cylnders on cold engine. The starter motor cranks it fine and the oil pump lubricates the cams. Over the years, I have pushed it around in 4th gear occasionally, always spraying the cylinders with aerokroil first. The water pump bearing is trashed, so some work required. I'm told this can be done without removing the head. No significant corrosion in coolant passage by thermostat; was stored with pure Dupont Telar Antifreeze; no water added
Body has never been off. I will lift the car and get lower chassis pix ASAP. I am confident the chassis is sound. It held vacuum when last run, and has been dry since. See pictures on the linked website.
For your aural pleasure, four 4" speakers, 2 per side, are now built into the external footwell cavities in sealed enclosures, powered by a home-brew amp; music is via iPhone, through connector in glove compartment.
If you are looking for a total "body-off, restore to original factory manufacture" project, this car is likely not your best investment. If you want a 99% original car that can be a strong runner with minimal investment, this one would be a good bet. And you get the complete provenance of an original factory build.
Here's the deal. I am now offering this car for sale. I think a new owner might want to do the refinishing of the car to their own tastes and standards. However, I am not doing myself a favor selling this car in incomplete condition. Hence I intend to keep working on it, finishing the interior and then sending it out for mechanical detail. But as of the moment, I find it doubtful that I will ever drive it much. So I am notifying the community that it is available at any time; I'm hoping for $14K USD as documented here. When the car achieves my planned finished condition, even with some imperfections in the body finish that I intend to leave for the next owner, this project will likely command a price above 30K USD. It was a strong runner when parked, and nothing mechanical has been disturbed since.
See it in original trim at https://www.elanregistry.org/app/list_cars.php. Search for chassis# 6759 to see an as-new picture; then follow the link to the car's webpages with more recent pictures and restoration info/status (follow links at bottom of each webpage).
Cheers and patience to all interested Elan lovers. I'll keep you posted here as progress made.
the dreaded PO himself
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Still have/considering a sale?
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