Lotus Elan

Silver metal flake roofs

PostPost by: LotusArchives » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:15 pm

In need of assistance again to help me piece together these old archive records. I have seen noted that most of the +2S 130 had silver metal flake roofs, and I know the later ones have body coloured as this is noted in our records when they had body coloured roofs.

What I want to confirm is did all of the colours come with silver roofs, so where the records do not show the roof as body coloured, that it was silver? Some of the colours like Pistachio and silver seam an unusual combination.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:00 pm

There certainly were some gold roofs....on the JPS obviously, but I believe that some red cars and tawney cars had gold as well. And I would further guess that you could order any colour with any colour metalflake!

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PostPost by: DavidLB » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:08 am

I was a dealer in the 70s as far as I can remember the the metalflake was on all the cars, with the option at no cost of having a single colour, I do have a couple of price lists from 1973 that show the cost options. Also a couple of brochures which show single colour and metalflake. The JPS colour was very popular both on the plus 2 and the Europa, the last plus2 we sold was a solid colour in sable, as we where in Guernsey the price lists are export prices until I managed to get the price as UK less tax.
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PostPost by: DavidLB » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:13 am

Sorry didn't answer your question as far as I can remember apart from the JPS I don't recall other than silver, in fact I think that the metalflake was moulded in when the body was made and painted over for the solid colour, although memories can play tricks.
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PostPost by: Lotus fan » Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:25 am

My S130 had 'all yellow' written down the transmission tunnel so I assume the person that ordered it didn't want a glitter roof.
When I stripped back the body to repaint it, the roof did indeed have metalflake in the gelcoat.

The car is a 1972 S130.

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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:33 am

My 1972 S130 was originally white with silver metalflake roof, when I stripped the front end down to bare glass, there were patches of metalflake in the gel coat all over the tops of the wings & some of the nose, suggesting the flake was indeed in the gel coat & they weren't too worried where it ended up :)

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PostPost by: LotusArchives » Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:02 pm

David LB, was this the dealer? British & Guernsey Garage Ltd. Southside St. Sampsons Guernsey 1974

Is it possible you can scan and e-mail me the price lists to [email protected] so that I can add these to the archives?

So in answer to the question, all +2S 130 had silver metal flake roofs (and maybe other parts) with either below the waiste in body colour, or all in body colour if so requested.

Ian & Tim, can you let me know the full chassis numbers for your cars so that I can see if they are recorded as 'all...' or just body colour? You can send them by PM if you don't want them on show.
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PostPost by: DavidLB » Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:19 pm

Yes I owned British and Guernsey, am at present rebuilding one of the plus 2 I sold in 74. All over sable.
I will scan the price lists for your records with pleasure,
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PostPost by: DavidLB » Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:26 pm

I think that at some point the metalflake was discontinued as the car I have is single colour sable, and on stripping has no silver in the gel coat, build date was oct 73, again from memory the last cars were single colour,the last elan plus two I sold was a single colour sable. It was originally built for Portugal but was converted left hand drive for my customer.
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PostPost by: cal44 » Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:38 pm

Mr. G,

Not certain if this helps, I have one of the last P2's listed on the Elan Registry in the States. I have a snap shot of the original owner standing by the car. The roof was the same color as the body...........when the car was re-sprayed the prior owner (2nd) liked the flake and now it is silver flake on the roof.

Who knows when the roof was painted originally. Factory? dealer?........

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PostPost by: Matt Elan » Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:49 pm

It would be worth trying to find a worker or two in the body shop to see what the actual practice was. When I worked in glass fibre (not for Lotus) I did a fair amount of hand layup work and one job I had was mixing up pre coloured gel coat which go on the first coat in the mould so have some industrial experience in the field. For a semi metal flake finish I would suspect that the whole mould was clear gel coated, then the roof part of the mould would have a second coat of gel and flake mix applied; the gel and flake mixture would need to be well mixed to get a consistent finish - not an easy thing to achieve. Then the rest of the body can be laid up with mat as required. Quality control would then need to asses the completed body and any with dodgy flake were probably painted body colour overall as special orders and the good bodies just have the standard bottom half paint applied.
However this is just speculation on my part hence suggesting that original workers be consulted.
As far as my research has shown to date the roofs were metal flake in the gel coat rather than a painted finish. Incidentally the Norton Commando bike used that same technique for their glass fibre metelflake finish tanks and side panels in the late 1960's and early 70's before glasses fibre fuel tanks were banned......
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:06 am

Am I right in thinking that the metalflake is actually in the gel coat and all the cars had it, the metalflake cards had lacquered roofs and the roof was painted over for the 'plain' cars and this is why I think repainted metalflake roofs never quite look the same?

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:50 am

Mike, my understanding is that Lotus wanted to set the metalflake in the gelcoat, but more often than not it didn't work, and the roof had to be painted in the traditional way...metalflake or body colour...before it could be sold. This sometimes happened at Hethel, and very often at the dealership!.

I've had 2 very late cars, and still have one of them. Both had body coloured roofs, and there was no metalflake under the paint or set into the gelcoat on either of them. Metalflake was not very trendy by the end of '73!

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PostPost by: mikealdren » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:29 pm

Duplicate post, sorry.
Last edited by mikealdren on Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:31 pm

Thanks Mark,
Like many things Lotus, I suspect there are no fixed rules. I could never understand how they could get a good finish with the metalflake in the gel anyway. If I ever get round to refinishing my metalflake car, I will be interested to see what happens when I strip the lacquer from the roof.

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