Lotus Elan

Which steering wheel do I have?

PostPost by: 661 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:47 pm

Having read the excellent Club Lotus article I'm still unsure as I fall between pillar and post.
The 15" wheel I have seems to fit the bill of a S2 wheel but the wood appears a bit dark.
The wheel was bought from a 3rd party who has 'lots of Lotus bits over the years' and advertised as a late S1/S2/early S3 wheel.
img_16771.jpg and
img_16761.jpg and
img_16751.jpg and
img_16721.jpg and
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:51 pm

Pretty sure it's as described Graeme, but covered in a staining lacquer. I'll bet if you strip the wood you'll find it's quite a light (almost straw) colour under there.
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PostPost by: 661 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:09 pm

Thanks Mark. It's actually quite pleasant as it is. A bit of UV instead of sitting in the garage may be what's needed.
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PostPost by: mac5777 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:13 pm

Hello Graeme,
I've been restoring the 15 inch Springall wood steering wheels. They were used in the S1, S2 and S3.
Mark is correct, the original wood wheels were a light color. Many have have been recoated with a darker finish.
Your shows that it has been recoated by the way the stains appear on the finger grips.
Hope that helps. You have a very nice survivor.
Sarto
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lotus elan 1966 S3 FHC
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:16 pm

I had a very original S3 in the 1980's, the wheel as far as I could tell hadn't been repainted but was a similar dark colour, it seemed to match the colour of the dash.

The wheel of my S2 (one owner for most of it's life) is also a similar dark colour.
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PostPost by: Bill » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:40 pm

That is an S2 wheel, that on my S2 is dark as well (origionally) as well as from aging (patina). I suspect from the apparent high gloss shine that it has been refinished.

An S1 wheel has rivet heads on the back of the wheel and a different profile of the rim. The wheel on my Elan 1600 has a dark patina (and a dull gloss) after 53 years of my driving it.

Nice find.

Bill
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PostPost by: 661 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:02 pm

Thank you all. It is interesting that there appears to be some evidence that originally supplied wheels may have been darker. Is this something the dealers did or perhaps at the factory at the request of owners?
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:56 am

I think in 1965 the words 'quality control' didn't carry much weight with the local motor factors whom like to be paid now and again...

I can dig through old period road tests but I think quite a few early cars had dark steering wheels.

I have a feeling that LoCort wheels were lighter in colour and Elan wheels matched the dashboards, but I can't back that up.
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PostPost by: Bill » Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:40 pm

The wheel on my Elan 1600 (26/0538) was origionaly a darker colour and matched the oiled teak veneered dash when it was unloaded from the ship in Vancouver in early '64.

It still does.
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PostPost by: gino1 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:53 am

Hi Graeme,

Looking closely at the rim of your wheel it seems as if it has been reproduced at sometime as the rim looks a bit chunky and the notches on the rear side look hand carved as they are not perfectly divided.
The rest of the wheel looks original though.
That's my opinion and purely based on the photos I have seen.

Gino
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PostPost by: mac5777 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:55 pm

I think Gino's observation is correct. i remember an earlier forum post, "to be able to tell if it was an original Spingall wood wheel, it would have 22 finger notches on the top part of the wheel between the screws" Don't count the notches with screws. Graeme's picture has 24 but looks like an original Springall wheel.
2/3 of the wheels I restored had a darker finish, the remainder 1/3 had a golden honey color.
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PostPost by: AlCat » Thu May 18, 2017 4:23 pm

What are the dimensions of the correct boss and horn push?
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