Lotus Elan

Spyder chassis history

PostPost by: MikeB » Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:11 pm

Folks

When I look on the Spyder site, it mentions the current spaceframe haas been developed over the last 10 years. The Elan I bought last week had a Spyder chassis fitted in the early 1980s, but the section of the chassis visible in the engine bay is not a spaceframe, though the front crossmember appears to be tubular, not a box session. What were the early Spyder chassis options.

Before someone asks, the car is not currently in my possession, I just have a poor quality pic I took of the engine bay.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Mike
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:34 pm

Hi Mike,
Spyder also do a stressed skin folded steel replacement chassis like the Lotus original but with some modifications - sounds like that's what you have.
It is mentioned on their website lower down the Chassis page......

"We can also offer a improved replacement stress skinned original type chassis with sensible improvement to help longjevity but retaining original appearance,we do close the front towers add a tow eye fit stronger steering rack mounts,and a detachable engine bay lower crossmember,we fully shot blast then 2K prime and top coat all chassis standard colours being Red/Black/Grey any colour available at request but may incur extra costs.

Also we offer 26R gussets and stiffening in addition to either Elan or +2 Stress skinned chassis."
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:17 pm

And having a stressed skin chassis helps you declare no modifications if you are thinking of going down the no MoT route.
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PostPost by: Craven » Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:51 pm

If the Spyder chassis was fitted in the early 80?s then the 30 yr rule applies ?
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:18 pm

Yes, I'd also say that a Spyder stressed skin chassis with standard suspension is same type as original whenever fitted.
As discussed elsewhere the spaceframe was contemporary and on might well argue that a like for like replacement inside 30 years is not major change?
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PostPost by: UAB807F » Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:18 am

Hi Mike,

I have a Spyder chassis of the type you describe on my car which I fitted in 1980. From what I recall you could either buy a new sheet metal chassis with subtle strengthening modifications or what they called a "service exchange", which I think was supposed to be an original Lotus chassis with the front crossmember replaced with their tubular design and the whole thing powder coated.

At the time Lotus were poor on supplying new chassis and Spyder were filling a gap in the market. But Lotus got their lawyers on the case and at the time I bought mine, Spyder were under threat. (or at least that was the rumour)

So in 1980 the spaceframe wasn't generally available or I'd have bought one. I'd guess it came about mainly through Lotus protecting their copyright, so Spyder made something different. At a guess I'd place the spaceframe chassis at the early 80s, maybe 82-83.

Is this what you have ?

new-chassis00.jpg and

and
new-chassis02.jpg and


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PostPost by: MikeB » Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:04 am

Gents

Thank you for all the information, I'll have a look at the car in more detail on Saturday.

Brian, thank you for the photos, that looks something like it, now I know what to look for I'll report back


Cheers

Mike
Cheers

Mike
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PostPost by: Peter +2 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:06 am

Brian is correct in that Spyder did offer a Service exchange chassis. The Front turrets often rusted out or got whacked whereas the Engines oil would provide great rust protection for the rest!

So as Brian mentions Spyder would simply weld on a new front turret and tubular crossmember. IIRC it was on an exchange basis. I fitted one to my then S4.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:37 am

The Spyder space frame chassis has existed since the late 80's at least as I fitted one to my Plus 2 then. At that time they did not offer full sheet metal chassis ( at least openly) as they where pushing their space frame. i think Lotus was also chasing them to not make a straight copy of the Lotus sheet metal chassis at the time. They would do a replacement of the front towers and cross member on your Lotus sheet metal chassis.

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PostPost by: types26/36 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:15 am

I used to have an S3 which had a Spyder/Lotus chassis (front Spyder and Lotus rear) I think it was from the late 80's or early 90's.
The most prominent differences were the round vacuum chamber with tow eye and the detachable cross brace, probably a few strengthening gussets but otherwise it looked Lotus.
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s3-chassis.jpg and
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PostPost by: elj221c » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:25 pm

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PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:23 am

I bought and fitted a Spyder chassis as in the pictures from Brian in 1985, it was grey in colour when supplied. The main differences were the round front cross member, the front wishbone pivots were replaceable spindles in tubes rather than being welded in, positions to fit Spyders dual wishbone rear suspension in place of the original Chapman strut , and a removable cross brace under the engine. It?s still in the car now, but powder coated black.
Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine!
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PostPost by: MikeB » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:43 pm

Guys

Got the car home on Saturday and started investigating further. I have a receipt from Feb 1980 from Spyder for a Replacement chassis, it?s an outright purchase no mention of Exchange.

It?s a sheet metal chassis and has the additional brace, just behind the Anti roll bar mounts and the tubular front crossmember.

So, thank you all for your advice and information
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9f7764a4-61f9-413b-8c2e-ab97b46fc3aa.jpeg and
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