Lotus Elan

1970 S4 S/E

PostPost by: DrinkMan » Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:00 pm

Not my car. But when I was looking at a website for an acquaintance of mine to see what he was playing with, I found this. The seller usually has some very interesting cars. Enjoy his website.

http://thecarnut.com/LotusElan.html
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PostPost by: nigelrbfurness » Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:55 pm

It clearly is an S4, but why no window frames? How does the hood seal against the windows? I have honestly never seen a similar car. Anyone able to tell its story? A prototype of some sort perhaps? Is it a one-off or were there more of these cars? In 50 years of being immersed in Elans I thought I'd seen all the variants but this one is new to me.
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PostPost by: DrinkMan » Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:00 pm

One of the pictures shows the window frames (not on car). I was confused about the car. You can contact the seller but I know he is not a Lotus guy and isn't familiar with details.
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:24 pm

nigelrbfurness wrote:It clearly is an S4, but why no window frames? How does the hood seal against the windows? I have honestly never seen a similar car. Anyone able to tell its story? A prototype of some sort perhaps? Is it a one-off or were there more of these cars? In 50 years of being immersed in Elans I thought I'd seen all the variants but this one is new to me.


Quite a few people have chopped the frames off as they opine that the frames spoil the look.

Yes, quite a few.
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PostPost by: Famous Frank » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:38 pm

Not a prototype or anything unique. Just a S4 Elan with some personal modifications. Yes, someone cut of the window frames. You can see the parts they cut off in the pictures. Although I like the look, I have no personal knowledge of how well the windows work, especially at high speeds or with cross winds.

Someone also change the head to a Weber head and changed the carbs from Strombergs to Webers. They also changed the exhaust system to headers and eliminated the cross over tubes.

Ad says a new interior but seats and door cards appear to be original. Maybe the dash was changed as it looks newer. Also the dash pad has been recovered with something else.

The asking price is not out of line although it surely was dismantled down to the last bolt. It may require some fettering for everything to work and run properly.

Will the paint ever be shiny, .....? No idea. But someone did spend a bunch of money. New frame, new tires, appears to have new donuts, new head, new carbs, new radio, and lots of labor. Lots of money spent in its past.
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PostPost by: thecarnut » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:34 pm

DrinkMan wrote:One of the pictures shows the window frames (not on car). I was confused about the car. You can contact the seller but I know he is not a Lotus guy and isn't familiar with details.


It is my car, which I acquired in a trade with a Maserati. The previous owner, who is a friend, cut the window frames since he did not like the look. The windows seem to work well without the frames and personally I also prefer the frame-less look. The frame pieces are included if anyone wanted to weld them back.

I am not familiar with Lotus and welcome comments about the car. I will not be insulted with people pointing out things that are "wrong" :) I have been collecting vintage cars for many years and to me it looks like a very honest example.

On my website http://www.thecarnut.com you will find many photos of the Elan, especially if you follow the Dropbox link which has photos of the car when it was restored and the results of a recent engine compression test.

Is my asking price of $27,500 USD realistic ... or too low, too high?

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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:15 am

very realistic price.
Love the Maserati !!!
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:55 am

I think that's a very reasonable price for the Elan and like Ted, I love the Maserati.
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PostPost by: thecarnut » Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:11 pm

Is S/E a rare and/or desirable option or not a big deal?
Could the Weber carbs be original since the car was sold in Canada or did all 1970 S4 come with Strombergs?

I assumed the interior had been redone since the seats and door cards are in very good condition, but it could be original.

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:36 pm

It's not a big deal Ivan but nice to have. The S/E had about 10bhp more power from different cams, jets and distributor dynamic advance, and was identified by having the S/E badge, a chrome strip under the doors on the sill panel and repeater indicator lamps on the front wings. The steering wheel was a leather covered Colin Chapman signed Springall 14 inch wheel, and the differential was usually 3.55 ratio instead of the normal 3.7 ratio.

Looks like the green S4 has lost it's chrome trim and repeaters in the restoration sadly. The repeaters are easy to replace, but the chrome trim very hard to find.

I believe that all S4 Elans from late 1969 on had Stromberg carburettors originally, even the UK domestic models. But many folks fitted a weber head quite early on, especially in a cold climate where the Strombergs would ice up readily. Your car may well be a 1969 manufactured car, in which case it could well have had webers for the Canadian market.

The prefix of the engine number will tell you what the engine started off with. 'C' (S/E) or 'D' (std) is a weber engine, 'K' (std) or 'L' (S/E) a Stromberg.

This shows my S/E with the chrome strip and repeaters....

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PostPost by: thecarnut » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:16 am

I need some help figuring out the engine number. According to the data plate the engine number should be L/18930 but what is stamped in the area between the carbs (which is extremely difficult to see) appears to be "61 16".

Perhaps the engine was replaced at some time but why do the numbers not follow the same format? That is a unique looking "6" .... is this the correct font for the engine number?

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:48 am

It's not standard Ivan, but could well have been stamped on by the shop that rebuilt the engine at some time in the last 50 years! It's not uncommon to find an Elan with a different engine fitted.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:25 am

This car was for sale in Canada in 2016. The advert ran as follows:

"Completely restored with new Lotus galvanized chassis. 4,200 miles since restoration. Excellent running condition. Drives strong, handles like a.. Lotus Elan. Located in Knowlton, Quebec. Ownership known from 1973, in Ontario, Canada. Purchased by present owner in 2011. Had been stored for 12 years with nearly completed restoration. Detailed list of work done and photos. Present owner completed restoration in 2013. Has covered 4,200 miles since then. Everything is in working condition, many new parts. The car is in standard S4 configuration, with the following exceptions:
- Ignition changed to Pertronix (with upgrade of the tachometer)
- Proper modern electric radiator fan fitted with both thermostatic and manual controls
- Larger S3 radiator fitted to replace smaller S4, thus solving hot running problem
- Original air filter deleted (included) and replaced with individual Weber “socks” inside airbox
- Vacuum servo deleted to solve front brake seizing
- 4 tires (Sumitomo 185 60x13) fitted to standard Lotus steel wheels (spare wheel included)
- Battery moved to center of shelf in the trunk (with kill switch)
- Alpine Radio, 2 speakers behind seats, electric antenna
The body finish is the only weak point. The car deserves to be resprayed for 2 reasons: the original finish was rather dull and the surface has water stains (photo 84) due to sitting outside for a few days under a tarp, and very minor cracking (photo 85). The stains seem to be embedded in the paint. Attempts at wet sanding did not improve the condition. I decided not to have it resprayed but to offer it for sale as is to allow the new owner to paint the car to his/her liking. The asking price has been adjusted accordingly. The car can be viewed in Knowlton, Quebec."

The car was invoiced by the factory in May 1969. It was indeed fitted originally with Engine No L18930. L denotes a Domestic (UK) market SE Stromberg equipped twin cam. It was around this time that the Canadian market spec diverged from the American market spec, perhaps in subtle ways we are not entirely sure about. For example, Federal Elans had the indicator repeaters fitted into the side of the front bumpers/fenders and on the rear flanks. This car does not. Federal cars had the instrument bezels recessed fully in the dashboard. This car does not. Federal cars had an hazard warning switch. This car does not. At around this time, Canadian cars had their fuel tanks moved to sit between the rear suspension struts. This car does not.

Given all the above, I wonder if this car may have been either originally RHD for the UK market and then exported by an owner to Canada. Or it may have been built as a LHD but for a RoW destination, where close to UK spec cars were acceptable. I hope to have an answer to this soon!

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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:45 pm

And here we go!

The car was delivered by the factory to Sports Cars Unlimited in Oakville, Ontario.

At the time Canada imported both RoW export specification and Federal specification cars. Perhaps this reflected different Canadian state laws at that time or there was some other legal loop hole involved. Maybe one of our Canadian friends can enlighten us?

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PostPost by: knockoffnut » Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:50 pm

I believe that a number of later S4 and sprints were delivered to Canada with Weber heads, but I thought that they all had Dellortos from the factory...? They still had the bump on the bonnet, but Lotus had switched back from Strombergs to Dellortos for Canada. I think this was fairly late in Elan production, maybe in 1971 and 1972. I was pretty young then so perhaps some of my Canadian friends can jump in here and correct me?
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