Lotus Elan

Tony Thompson 26R wheel arches on S3 body

PostPost by: danwasdahl » Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:33 pm

Has anyone tried to put Tony Thompson Racing wide 26 R wheel arches onto an S3 Elan body? I’m wondering if they fit with minimal modification. Not that I would ever commit such an offense. Asking for a friend.
I’ve searched several threads and cannot find this question addressed.
1969 elan DHC
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:21 pm

Please don`t even suggest putting wheel arches on such a beautiful body as an S3. Somebody might do it and then that is another one spoilt.
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PostPost by: Gray » Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:29 am

I've put 26R arches on my S4, fronts not too difficult, rears I had to cut into three to make them fit the way I wanted with equidistant spacing to the front and rear of the wheel and to fit to the top of the wing. Looking at 26Rs and conversions showed all sorts of spacing, many didn't look right to me, although could be original. A three dimensional jigsaw, I'm probably being over fussy with profile gauges to make sure each side matches - far better than when the car was made. You need the 26R bumpers for alignment, front was OK but rear bumper is very poor, bobins in different positions, etc. Unfortunately I've never finished and unlikely to in my current state of health, hopefully my sons will finish it one day.
Changes from original are a personal choice, as my S4 was in a dire state when purchased and I'd had 9 other Lotus previously I'd kept pretty much standard I decided to build it the way I wanted. I would probably keep fairly standard with a few subtly modifications for reliability and safety, if I started again now. Although a BDA engine, etc. also appeals.
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Thu Mar 05, 2020 7:38 am

Gray wrote:I've put 26R arches on my S4,


What wheels and tire sizes do you now use on your S4?
'69 Elan S4 SE
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PostPost by: Terry Posma » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:07 am

Yes, I have done this. Car was very badly burnt so I wasn't too worried about making some mods.

The job wasn't that easy according to my 20 year ago memory and hard to see from original until you mount some larger rims and tyres underneath. In this case 6" Minilites and 175/65/13 tyres.

The rear arches and the bumper have little in common as described above.

IMG_0862.JPG and


IMG_0863.JPG and
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PostPost by: TrevorJones » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:27 am

I fitted extended arches to my S3 in 1974 following some drunken louts trying to lift the car by its arches with obvious consequence. The job allowed me to fit 205 width tyres without changing the rear suspension spring mounts and IMHO the car was a stunner.

I retired in 2015 and had thoughts of entering the car in the swinging sixties races but ran into the FIA and competition rules regarding original profile, the only profiles I could use as justification were photos of 1970's racing Elan's but these ran under the Modsport rules. So after a year or so I had either to revert to original or fit 26R wings if available, I found two sources for the 26R wings TTR and a member of this site who manufactured lightweight 26R wings. As the light weight set was only 40 miles away in Cardiff I popped over for a look and came home with a full set.

Fitting the front was pretty straight forward but the rear needed some modification to obtain a smooth Lotus shape transition into the rear panel and once fitted I strengthened all the arches with additional glass fibre from inside the arch (defeating the Lightweight objective of the manufacturer).

I had to modify the rear spring platforms to get the off set correct for 6" compliant wheels.

I had the Swinging sixties people look it over at Castle Combe and all agreed the Profile issue was no longer an issue, Hooray.
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IMG_2051.JPG and
2017 26R shape
IMG_0739.JPG and
1975 extended arches
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PostPost by: Gray » Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:42 am

My arches were fitted to provide adequate clearance for 6x14 wheels with 185/60 tyres. The car has a spyder chassis and spyder double wishbone rear suspension. Even with the original rear hubs machined a little by spyder there was not really enough clearance to the standard arches at the rear.
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PostPost by: gino1 » Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:35 pm

Hi,
If you look at the thread on my S2 restoration it will show you in detail what i did...

It's number 52 on the list.. digit .. search for "S2 restoration"

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PostPost by: Elan45 » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:14 pm

Terry and Trevor,

I like the front arches on your blue car best. I also like the short front bumper. Does your guy 40 miles away in Devon still make arches and I assume the bumper too? Can you get me contact info for him?

I am restoring my pre-airflow coupe right now and it will be as original as I can make it. I'm lucky to be the 3rd owner, so it never got butchered.

I also own a 3rd S3 Elan that the original owner turned into a 26R back in the late 60s. He died about 1974 and his son took over the car, driving it through one of the hardest winters we've ever had in 1975 and he crashed it on the slick city streets. He sold the car through a friend in 1984 and I had enough contacts that I was able to actually get a clear title from his mother. The majority of the accident damage is to the nose; a good bit of it is gone and the head and front timing cover were severely damaged. The flared arches on the rear are not the prettiest, but after 36 years of looking at this project, I've accepted them and just want to repair the front and prepare the car to be a sometimes vintage racer, track day car and street car.

Remember, this conversion was done in the late 60s, long before Tony Thompson was producing 26R repo parts. I have obtained a good original S3 nose, but it does not cover all the damage, especially on the LH side. The car has all the 26R S2 hubs and wheels and all adjustable suspension, diff cooler scoop, crossed roller halfshafts and everything else the good Dr was able to buy for the conversion at that time. Since I bought it from the estate, I'm essentially the 2nd owner. I'd send photos but I don't have them on my new computer yet and the original photos I have are film based
'67 Elan S3 SS DHC
'67 Elan FHC pre-airflow
'67 Elan S3 SE upgrade to 26R by Original owner
'58 Eleven S2 (ex-works)
'62 20/22 FJ (ex-Yamura)
'70 Elan +2S RHD
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PostPost by: tvacc » Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:11 pm

I did not do the conversion on my car. I bought it that way back in 1986. I have it for sale so it is on my website www.lotusowners.com. it is on the for sale page with lots of photos. The only part I don't think that I like is the fit of the window frames at the A pillar.

I think the guys that did this did a great job.

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PostPost by: TrevorJones » Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:43 am

Hi Elan45

Sorry to take so long responding, I went to Twickenham for the England V Wales 6 Nations rugby last weekend. Excellent game of rugby only marred by Wales leaving their comeback 15 min too late.

The arches on the Blue elan where supplied by Dave Hughes (bigvalvehead) a member of this excellent site. The arches are light weight (almost see through), this allows you some flexibility to deal with minor miss-alignment when fitting them and then simply strengthen inside the arch to your own thickness requirement.

Try sending him a PM.

Trev
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PostPost by: ChrisD » Mon Mar 16, 2020 10:44 pm

Hello, here is what I did. TTR arches on S3 body. You need front and rear bumoers.I cut them into three peaces and then everything fitted well... Don't forget that you have to fill the gaps inside the inner wheel arches. It always needs some patience. But it was worth it. What you see is 185/70 R13. Hope it helps. Cheers Christian
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Mon Mar 16, 2020 11:07 pm

I am curious:

With the 185 width tires do you have any interference with the ARB (Anti roll bar) on full lock?

I have 185/60 tires on my S4 and have to limit the rack travel to avoid having the tires foul the ARB.
'69 Elan S4 SE
Street 181 BHP
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PostPost by: TrevorJones » Tue Mar 17, 2020 8:48 am

Using Yokohama Advan 185x60x13 I found that the drivers side tyre touched the ARB on full lock but solved the issue by re-centralising the rack to give a few millimeters each side on full lock. The wheel you choose needs to be a 5 or 5.5j rim and may need a small positive off-set to keep the inside tyre protrusion off the ARB.
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PostPost by: ChrisD » Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:16 am

I use a Caterham steering rack, no problems here.
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