Lotus Elan

Question for owners with Black painted chassis

PostPost by: Patrickt » Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:08 pm

Hello All !
My first post here. I`m helping my dad out with his 1965 Elan. My question is for those owners who have/had their Elan chassis in the original Black from the factory. After checking out some of the older posts, i understand that Black paint over a red oxide primer of sorts started on the S4, that the earlier Elans had the chassis in some red oxide color (like red primer maybe ?). The chassis we presently have is already primered in Grey. So we decided between a color closest to the original red oxide ones, or black. We decided on black. So on to my question : Was the black glossy, semi-glossy, or flat ? Thanks !
Patrick
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PostPost by: nigelrbfurness » Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:51 pm

Hi Patrick. My 1970 S4 came with a brick red chassis, possibly red oxide. My 1964 S1 had a blackish chassis that appeared to be a thin coat of bitumastic-type paint, except where it had been liberally doused in 20 years worth of oil and the bitumastic had just washed off to reveal red oxide underneath. I've never seen a gloss black chassis on an unmolested car, but am quite willing to be corrected. All my replacement Elan chassis receive a coat of galvanised metal primer then a brick red semi gloss top coat which matches well with my memory of cars when they were new. Not sure if that helps!
1970 S4SE/1760cc big valve/SA-AX block, L2s, 45DCOEs, 1978 Jensen GT, 1962 AH Sprite, Alfa-Romeo 159, 1966 Bristol Bus, 1947 AEC Regal bus.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:05 pm

I agree with Nigel, I don't think Black paint was ever used; it's like a bitumastic coating srayed over the Red Oxide paint.
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PostPost by: 512BB » Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:39 pm

Welcome to the board Patrick, you are most welcome here. Good to have some fresh blood, and not just on the carpet :D Post up some pictures of your Dad's car, always adds to the story.

For a period, just ordinary flat black paint was sprayed directly onto bare metal chassis'. Some of those chassis lasted barely 3 years before they needed replacing, due to rust. Quality control at Lotus was not the best.

Look forward to hearing more from you.

Leslie
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:07 pm

The original chassis on my 68 S4 was just sprayed in one thin coat of matt black

cheers
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:17 pm

Patrick,

My car a 1968 S4 had the chassis painted in red oxide. I bought the car in 1979 and the chassis was so corroded that the front suspension had collapsed. I bought a Lotus Replacement Chassis which was mat black, there was no primer, no undercoat and not preparation. The paint fell off in sheets before I got round to installation. I have chosen mat black as the finished colour.

Hope this helps,

Richard Hawkins
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PostPost by: pharriso » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:40 pm

512BB wrote:For a period, just ordinary flat black paint was sprayed directly onto bare metal chassis'. Some of those chassis lasted barely 3 years before they needed replacing, due to rust. Quality control at Lotus was not the best.

Leslie


Maybe I haven't seen one of these as they have rusted away! :roll:
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:14 pm

RichardHawkins wrote:Patrick,

My car a 1968 S4 had the chassis painted in red oxide. I bought the car in 1979 and the chassis was so corroded that the front suspension had collapsed. I bought a Lotus Replacement Chassis which was mat black, there was no primer, no undercoat and not preparation. The paint fell off in sheets before I got round to installation. I have chosen mat black as the finished colour.

Hope this helps,

Richard Hawkins


I also got a Lotus replacement chassis in 1979. And it came in Matt Black also like my original.
I stripped of the paint which was not hard as it was also falling off already and repainted it with inorganic zinc primer and grey alkyd enamel, this an industrial metal paint system and has lasted now for 40 years but rust in Australia is not the problem it is in the Uk . I prefer grey as it helps to see the oil leaks !

cheers
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PostPost by: Gray » Mon Mar 23, 2020 6:31 am

I saw numerous replacement chassis in the mid to late 70s at the local Lotus dealer (for a short while I helped out in the stores in my spare time), they were all matt black and in very short supply at times - paintwork was generally poor. I replaced an S4 chassis in 78 and painted in black hammerite before fitting, I think I've got a picture somewhere. Earlier cars were generally red oxide, some with black bitumastic/underseal coating - possibly added by owners to kit cars?
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PostPost by: Patrickt » Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:04 am

Thanks so much for all your thorough replies guys, much appreciated !

As it already has the grey primer on it, we will decide between a flat or semi glossy black. Of course, as Rohan pointed out, a lighter color like grey would better show any oil leaks, or for that matter any other external irregularities in the chassis that might come out in the future... oh, and Cheers to you as well Rohan !

Leslie - Thank You for the warm welcome ! Maybe i`ll say hello on the newbies introduction forum... Yes, i`ve heard the Lotus reputation for (lack of) quality control, but maybe not in todays models (?). Regardless, i realize you drive an Elan for everything else that makes it one of THEE drivers car :) . The body is off the chassis and due for some painting and such. I will first learn how to send pics.
Thanks again Everyone !
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PostPost by: ecamiel » Mon Mar 23, 2020 4:56 pm

My 64 S1 chassis was grey - no red primer. It seemed to be original.

I have seen some pics where that seemed to be the color of early cars.

Eric
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PostPost by: Patrickt » Tue Mar 24, 2020 12:33 am

Eric - Thanks for chiming in ! Always good to have extra information. So did you maintain a grey color (primer only or paint) ?
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