Lotus Elan

Please Introduce your self and welcome to LotusElan.net

PostPost by: twincamman » Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:26 pm

Hi Paddy re Sorry to be a Brit ---My old Galic Granny always said 'THE SUN NEVER SET ON THE BRITISH EMPIRE SO YOU COULD ALWAYS SEE WHAT THE BUGGARS WERE UP TO'--- :) --ed
dont close your eyes --you will miss the crash
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:21 pm

Who am I? David W. Harralson. B Nov 7, 1940. My father was an EE/ME so I am a second-generation geek. I grew up in a log cabin on a lake in a forest. Then in a 3-story 13 room Victorian summerhouse on a 10 acre farm. Dad gave me an ARRL handbook while in grade school, giving me a suitable electronics background. Designed my own SW antennae, stringing it from the house through the trees. By the mid 50s, was interested in cars. Proved top fuel dragsters exceeded 1G acceleration, not considered possible then. Followed Lotus from the mid 50s so Chapman was inspirational. By the end of high school, was doing paper designs for space frame chassis, suspensions, and the first work in transmission ratio design. Off to university where I thought I would be an engine designer. Spent my time in the stacks going through the NACA TRs, and all the other university and industry research. Much more productive than class! Paper engine designs still look state-of-the-art. After 2 years, I did my military service. USMC, drum and bugle corps and drill team (throw bayoneted rifles back and forth!). Sent to Japan, got a Honda CB-72. Almost went off the side of Mt. Fuji on a ride up. Good news was I hit my head on the guardrail ? it was a looong way down. Bad news was I hit my head on the guardrail. Fractured my left auditory nerve, so this opera/classical music lover listens with one ear. Returned to El Toro, CA. The valve springs had weakened, so valve float was at 8500 with power peak at 9000. Somehow, with only the tool kit and a socket set disassembled the engine and lightened the valve gear to get valve float over 10,000. Ported the cylinder head according to theories I had developed. Afterward, the 250cc CB-72 ran equal to my buddy?s 305cc CB-77s. Later got a CB-77, big-bore kit, roller cam, and ported that head also. This turned 11,500 ? 9000 was 105mph. With extensive weight loss (push start only, everything unbolted, lightening holes, etc) it was an early pocket rocket. There were alternative transmission gear teeth available for different models in the range, and I experimented with 1-tooth changes of the various gears, solidifying the theory behind gear ratio design. Wound up with a properly staged close ratio set instead of the stock wide ratio. Went back to school. My savings from USMC only lasted one year, so I got a ?summer job? at Lockeed in Burbank, CA. Even though us ?interns? were supposed to only ?help? real programmers, somehow I got sent over to the ?Skunk Works? where for my first computer program I did the data reduction for the SR-71. I was working 80 hrs/wk, carrying an almost full load at school, and finally had a girlfriend then wife. Lockheed had the fastest computers available, and I found time to develop an early program to develop camshaft profiles. I started a CFD analysis of airflow through the cylinder head. Even now, computers are not fast enough for this, so I didn?t get far. Then went to Litton where I did a portable wireless communication system (late 60s!). First use of LSI, first implementation of token ring networking, early Ethernet type access. My girlfriend (BA Math, Phi Beta Kappa, Summa cum Laude, and a programmer) helped me rebuild the bike, handing me parts and tools as necessary. When she decided it was time to get a car, the Elan was the car she liked. I special ordered a CR 3.55 FHC from Bob Challman who took my deposit, said I was all wet, and delivered a standard car. Well, I?m stubborn, the car now has CR, 3.55, 5.5 wheels, and Challman went out of business. Then I went to NASA JPL to work on the Deep Space Network. Early work on operator interface concepts. Had spare time for research into error correcting codes. Did the first implementation of the gear design program (35+ years ago now), in Fortran on punch cards that would design optimum gear ratios or select an optimum set. F1 teams did not have computers in those days, so it didn?t help them and I never found a way to market it to people who could have used it. Back to Litton for a communication system for NATO. Then to a commercial startup Jacquard Systems where I did a DataPro #1 rated word processor with early developments in operator interface techniques, menu systems, focus tracking help, self-teaching software, and operating environment like we now see in modern systems. Jacquard soared, then collapsed. By then, I had a personal computer. Demonstrated first personal computer networking at NCC. Did a BIOS for one of the first Japanese personal computers (10X faster and more capable than the original). Then wrote a font editor in Forth for the new IBM PC. This was faster than any available in the industry, so it sold into several corporations. Developed ?a process for the visual improvement of digital images? that was used to generate optimum download fonts for laser printers. These fonts went into several major corps, including MS. When the font business went bye-bye, I ?retired? and refinished the wood floors at home. A year later, one of my customers did a startup (Newcomm) and recruited me as VP Engineering. Start-up to 150M in 3 years, then bankrupt. I ?retired? again, and designed retaining walls and brick patterns around home. Then a few years ago at CES, I ran into the VP of Sales/Marketing of Newcomm who had started a new company. Her eyes lit up, she took me around to look at products, and a week later called me up and said, ?I need you? so now I am CTO and part owner of a S-corp. Money is always tight at a small company, so last year I sat down and did financial models of the company assuming various scenarios of capital, did a business plan, and landed almost 1M in last years? credit crunch. The original Elan soldiered on for 90+K and many long trips, but succumbed to a fire outside of Palm Springs. I tried to smother the fire with sand from the side of the road, but couldn?t gain on it, so eventually got our luggage from the boot and we watched the car burn. I bought the wreck to get the CR, 3.55, and wheels. We couldn?t find another car we liked, so eventually got another Elan. On the way back home, less than 3 miles away, a wrong way driver got me and the car needed a new front clip etc. The new car soldiered on for many years, my daily driver (together with a Jaguar MK II Sedan), went to the historic car races in ?95 with a tent in the boot, but later succumbed to another wrong way driver. Another front clip, suspension, and frame this time. My original mechanic had retired, the new guy got the job partly done, then quit. Another shop took the car, but never got anything done. I finally got thrown out, the car is sitting in front of the garage as I fix it up to be able to work on the car. Many parts have "walked away" Will depend on the Workshop manual, Buckland?s book, and LotusElan.net. Sure wish I had a lot of the hands on experience many of you have had.

David
1968 36/7988
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PostPost by: twincamman » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:31 pm

Hi David ---You must have known True Crawford ---ed
dont close your eyes --you will miss the crash
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:32 pm

rgh0 - Rohan Graham Hodges - the Graham reflects my scottish origins. I still have a cousin who still lives in Duns in Scotland - he grew up with a couple useful drivers by name of Innes Ireland and Jim Clarke but i did not know that until a long time after i got into Lotus.

Born in Melbourne and lived there for most of my live apart from a few years in the US and UK for work. A qualified Mech Eng and Chem Eng but a father who was a Elec Eng so i have had pretty broad engineering education.

I was always interested in automobile engineering but on leaving university decided the future of the car industry in Australia was limited and despite pursuing and getting job offers from Ford and GM I decided to work in the petrochemical and process industry (they paid better to).

Got into Lotus 35 years ago after finishing university and having some money for once was looking for a sports car to replace my modified Imp that a guy had just run into the back of ( hot engine twin carbs, lowered, wide wheels etc)- found an Elan cheap that I could afford that was only 5 years old and spent the next few years trying to keep it running as i worked through all the DPO issues that had been carefully hidden by the car yard selling it. Finally did a total rebuild on the Elan in 1980 and started competing in club sprint meetings. i guess getting into developing the Elan was a way of satisfying my automobile engineering desires that I decide to not follow when i graduated

The Elan slowly evolved over the years as I learnt what to do. I added the Plus 2 and Esprit to the collection in the early 80's when i had some spare cash after oveseas work assignments and then along came a family and houses so the collection stopped growing. The Elan kept evolving and I moved into club racing and my addiction to engine development grew. Finally the elan became eligible for historic racing in the mid 90's and I changed classes and kept developing it within the new class constraints.

The Internet in the late 90's changed the availability of information on Elan development and as I had been frustrated for 20 years at how hard it was to get information I have felt an obligation to share knowledge where I can so others dont have the struggles and wasting of money learning like I had in my early years of Lotus ownership

Aiming to retire in a few years from my current job in managing a sugar refining business if my investments ever recover and be able to spend more time on the Lotus and in particular engine building rather than squeeze it in for a few hours at night or on weekends between work and family committments


cheers
Rohan
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:56 pm

Who are you?

An introduction thread seems like a good idea. Thanks Gary for getting it started.

Stu Gilmour here. Age is late 50?s. Live in Calgary Alberta, home of the 1988 Winter Olympics. Grew up in Vancouver BC, home of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Worked several years on the tools in the construction industry, primarily with insulation and paint systems. After spraying literally thousands of gallons of urethane foams and plural component paint systems, I took my father?s advise from the Service ?the spot you are painting now is very similar to the spot you just finished?, and decided to get a degree.

Have worked as a Petroleum Engineer for 25 years with an upstream Exploration and Production company, primarily in Calgary.

Had a series of British rides in the 70?s; Mini, Midget, MGB, Austin A40. Sort of enjoyed fiddling with them, but longed for better performance. Had a good friend who was the Lotus dealer in Vancouver (Chequered Flag Garage), and was always attracted to Lotus. Couldn?t afford one though. Had the chance to drive an Elan and a Lotus Cortina Mk 1, and they were a revelation.

Had a Alfa Berlina for several years in the ?70?s, which I really liked, but could do without the annual head gasket repair and rust issues; just not a great daily driver for Western Canadian conditions I guess.

Moved on to some Honda?s, bikes and cars. Really liked my ?89 Civic SI hatchback. The MX5 Miata was introduced weeks after I bought the Civic, which got me thinking. With approx 108 hp and 2400 lb. the Lotus power to weight ratio still seemed attractive. Anyway, a sports car really wouldn?t have worked then with only one car and student loans to pay.

While living in a small town on the bald assed Canadian prairie I worked with a lady who had a Model A and three T-birds. She knocked me on the side of the head and said you should own some sort of collector/classic rather than just reading about them. Really wanted a BMW 3.0 CSi, but ?reason? prevailed and ended up with a BMW 635, and then an upgrade to a ?87 BMW M6. This involved a seven year rolling restoration program that coincided with development of internet forums and mail lists. Great fun, and still have the M6 for sunny days, long trips.

As the M6 was now working OK and I had a ?84 BMW R100RT Airhead bike, I started looking in to things Lotus again. A couple of years ago I found Lotuselan.net with Google, and thought ?this will work?. The site reminded me of the better BMW forums and clubs, respectful support for all participants with focused interest on the vintage stuff, and a sense of camaraderie similar to BMWMOA. Also liked the obvious penchant for upgrades to the cars, which is a pretty common practice in the BMW community and generally doesn?t destroy all of the value.

Had my wife check out some Lotus ?net photo?s, and the Plus 2 was deemed the correct model for us. Got some much appreciated help from listers here to check out couple of Plus 2?s in Ontario, and drove the selected car across Canada to Calgary.

As mentioned in other threads, the Plus 2 ended up needing a frame-off to pass out of province inspection, be reliable and, more importantly, be viewed as OK by my wife for an extended road trip. I learnt from the M6 process that it's way easier on the home front to have a full restoration project with a final completion. Somehow every upgrade and repair success seems to be viewed as a reliability issue and failure!

Hope is to be running next spring with the Plus 2. Even in rather dodgy condition, it was great fun on the cross Canada adventure, so pretty excited as I can see the end of the project tunnel now. Under estimated the time and dough required by about double, but that appears to be a pretty common theme.

Getting the Plus 2 also got me to join the local vintage club.

http://www.vsccc.ca/

Unfortunately completion of my project looks like it will correspond with the demise of our local road circuit, so will have to wait a bit to track the car the odd time.

http://www.racecity.com/

Have very much appreciated all the advise here, particularly the archived material, BTDT contributions from the longer term members, and advice on parts sources. Based on lots of archive reading here I decided a ?Resto-Mod? approach was the best for us, i.e. Spyder frame, five speed, modern upgrades where warranted, but retention of the Lotus TC that first attracted me to the marque. Have also enjoyed following the summer progress of several members that are finishing up their cars this year; very motivational when your car is spread out all over the country in bits!

Beau might like to know we have several Springer Spaniels; my wife breeds them with her sisters. Hoping the rear seat in the Plus 2 will work for one of them on a road trip or two next year.

http://www.bondir.com/

Cheers!
Stu
1969 Plus 2 Federal LHD
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PostPost by: richgilb » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:02 pm

Richard Gilbert, 40, from Hull, England. Work for the British Chambers Of Commerce. Like Triumphs and Lotuses mainly.Mechanical luddite. Have enjoyed this forum's tone until recently. Never really taken well to being told how I should conduct myself.
I am now an ex-Elan owner but will drop by from time to time with some suitably inappropriate comments.
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:48 pm

richgilb wrote:Richard Gilbert, 40, from Hull, England. Work for the British Chambers Of Commerce. Like Triumphs and Lotuses mainly.Mechanical luddite. Have enjoyed this forum's tone until recently. Never really taken well to being told how I should conduct myself.


Hi Rich

Thanks for the intro, I don't think anyone ever born likes being told what to do, That?s just human nature. I for one, never liked telling anyone what to do that?s a manager?s job and I was never one of those. Consequently I suck at it. Unfortunately I'm gruff, direct and to the point. I don't think anyone would ever work for me any longer than they had to if I were in that position. Thank god I?m not because I would certainly fail. I don't know how to motivate folks and tell them how good they are, I see people do it and they come off as genuine and sincere, If I spoke those same words it would come off false and pretentious. We have the same words and vocabulary, I had to ask Alan what "scrap" meant, to me it copper and brass you take to sell and make a buck, to others well you know what it is. I?d like to see more folks introduce themselves so I can get to know people on this forum so I don?t misunderstand the same words over and over. Email me if you want to talk, I?ve got the time

Gary
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PostPost by: Boston-Sam » Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:01 pm

A little over 26 years ago my siblings and I bought a '67 RHD S3 for our dad's 60th birthday. It is a bit of a mutt - several wrecks assembled into one car. Transmission is from a '69 and other parts of uncertain origin. None the less, it was an every day driver for Dad for the first few years he had it.

Recently Dad has been having trouble with his vision and also managed to loose interest in maintaining the car. To help him out I volunteered to fix it up again. A friend who runs an auto freight business brought it to a garage near my house by flat bed and we have been getting it back on the road. Some creative work has saved significant $ in the repair process (manifold gaskets from an old international truck; Weber parts from a Harley Davidson dealership at a fraction the price seen elsewhere).

It runs well now - after an engine rebuild and many small repairs - no problem taking it on 100+ mile road trips (as long as it doesn't rain - the car leaks and the driver's right leg gets soaked). I drive it almost every day.

Gary has seen the car - I went by his place in July. It will never be a beautiful concourse worthy vehicle but is really fun to drive.

- Sam
Yellow 1967 RHD DHC 45/6513
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PostPost by: prezoom » Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:27 am

Well, Ok.....

Robert Clement Walker. Been Rob since I was born. My dad took me to a midget race at Gilmore Stadium for my 7th birthday. Bad decision on his part.

Knew I was hooked when I first say a TC in 1949. Started reading Road and Track shortly thereafter.

Too young for cars, but had a Whizzer motor bike, which got upgraded to a Triumph Tiger Cub. Then a string of bikes ending in the early 80's. First real car was a 1950 Ford, nosed, decked, frenched, tunneled, raked, with a built 53' Merc. First sports car was a 60' Bug/Frogeye. Tried a gymkana, won my class first time out and that was the begining of the end. Not fast enough, so I decided I needed a Super 7. Went up to LA and tried to buy one in kit form from Challman. They ran me out the door with a bums rush.

When doing my bit as a threat to agression in Southeast Asia, when in Hong Kong, I found a business that shipped British/European cars to the US. The next year when I got back there, I ordered a S7 Cosworth, close ratio trans, oil cooler and roll bar. To be shipped to Long Beach just after I was discharged. Everything got stuck in a dock strike in England (what's new, about that time frame) finally arriving about 5 months late. Autocrossed it for a while, decided I needed more track time and went SCCA racing.

The S7 gave way to a formula car and then after winding up with tire marks on my helmut, decided I needed a roof, doors and a strong roll cage. Sedans from then on. Still have the last one sitting in the garage, but gave up racing because of rules and changes in attitude.

Was with a friend testing his newly restored Dolphin Fjr, just before the Monterey Historics a couple of years ago, when his son, who did the restoration, asked me at diner if I would ever like to have the S7 or the 289 Cobra back? Said no, been there done that. He then asked if I could have any vintage car, what would it be. Thought a minute and replied a 1965 Lotus Elan S2. Without missing a beat, he asked if I wanted one? Seems one of the guys who worked for him had one for sale. We hooked up and I was on my way to Michigan from California to pick up the car. So here I am.

I like different cars, ones you don't see across the intersection while waiting for a green light. So...... when the opportunity came up I bought a 1963 Sabra Coupe, which had been on jackstands in a garage since 1975. Working on that restoration. What a lump. Recently bought a 1964 Elva Mk4 T Coupe, which will have to sit for a while.

Current driver is a Infinity G35 Coupe, six-speed, with Brembo's. Good long distance car, but can't hold a candle to the Elan for fun.

Rob Walker
26 4889
Rob Walker
26-4889
50-0315N
1964 Sabra GT
1964 Elva Mk4T Coupe (awaiting restoration)
1965 Ford Falcon Ranchero, 302,AOD,9",rack and pinion,disc,etc,etc,etc
1954 Nash Healey LeMans Coupe

Owning a Lotus will get you off the couch
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PostPost by: memini55 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:20 pm

Hi Gary,
This looks to be a very interesting post and should help folks to understand a bit better to whom they are communicating with. As you know it always helps to reference the source.

Before I start with details about myself I would like to say I consider your input to this forum to be monumental. I know not everyone agrees with ones comments but that is human nature and they need to make their own choice. It would be a shame if you and a few others were to give up on this for of sharing Lotus knowledge. You have been one of my main reliable sources and I personally do thank you for your efforts. I truly enjoyed reading your bio and learning more about the person.

OK now where do I start, Mark Alan Doubet, age 53 and lived all my life in the state of Iowa. So how did a person in Iowa become a British car nut? I started at about 13 or 14 years of age with the help of my late father. He started me rebuilding lawn mowers and other motors at about 10 and I bought my first Triumph TR3 before I could drive. The carbs had been removed and taken apart, so the fun began. In a few weeks I had fixed the problem and had it running. It had no seats so I tossed in an apple crate or a paint can and dad and I hit the road, well at least we went around the block a couple times. By my 16th birthday I had bought, repaired and sold five or six TR?s and tossed in a midget and sprite. Dad had a big Healey 100-6 which never did get fixed and later was shipped to an overseas buyer.

I have rebuilt/ restored several makes, MG?s, Healey?s, Triumph?s, Mini?s, Morris Minor?s and few others. Only moved from English to one German Porsche 911E and that was very short lived. Rebuilt it and sold it quickly and I thought Lucas electrics were bad.

I decided to move to Lotus cars in 1976 after seeing a few at a dealer about 50 miles north of home. I bought a 73 JPS Europa which I still own today. I have owned about all the models to date at one time or another but find my time now working on Elans and an Elite. I have done about everything from motor, gearboxes, chassis, electrical and even body work. I used to do all my own paint work but gave up with all the new technologies of products and the huge health risks.

The journey to date has sure been fun and even with the life of raising a family and running a business I still find time for my hobby, or as my wife would say my passion.

I am not too active on the forum and do post from time to time. Trying to help with a comment or two. This is a wonderful site and do keep posting.

Gary sorry if most of this is a repeat to you as we have talked a few times, but maybe the rest might enjoy the rambling.
All the best
Mark
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:37 pm

Hi Mark

So far I know most of the introducties. Either in person, telephone, direct email or some other forum. Knowing and helping people is one of the things that owning a lotus is about, as without knowing other people its tough to figure out what and where to get things. Its sometimes a bit pointless to make a post to some username with no other details like location, make, model, year, etc. How many times I come off looking like a jerk on someones first post "where are you" or "what series". Leaving out the details just gets you the wrong answer 9 out of 10 times and wastes everyones time. All of the Elan's and Plus2's that were produced over a 12 year time frame and many of the parts from one series to the next are not the same or even used. When laws changed sometimes the parts did to, when supplies ran out, Lotus moved on to the next. After 33 years of owning an Elan (some of those inactive) you get to know quite a few people from around the globe. At Donington in 2001 we stopped in on the Friday when they were setting up the Club Elite stand, John Mead and Malcom Rickitts were setting up a manikin and were having difficulity attaching one of the arms. I dropped my artificial leg off and offered it towards there direction and asked "see if this one will fit?" John busted a gut laughing, I doubt either will forget the moment. Those that just read the words and don't bother to try and know the people behind the text on the screen are missing out on a lot, I feel bad for them as with a face and a couple of minutes of person to person talk, the text just jumps out at you as if they are speaking it. That is what this topic is for. I hope you can all see that, I am not writing a book, just looking to see a bit more than some of the quotes from this forum.

Thanks to all that have offered up there unique bit of personal info.

Gary
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PostPost by: collins_dan » Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:37 pm

Dan Collins, grew up in NH, not far from where Gary is. I still get up to NH and intend to drop in on Gary and the rest of the Boston area guys one of these days, but with a wife and 2 kids (13 and 11) and family obligations.... it hasn't happened yet, but it will.

I've owned some great cars: '71 LS6 Corvette, '80 Datsun 280zx, '87 VW GTi 16valve, '88 Alfa Quadrifoglio, which I sold when I moved to London in 2000 of all places.

Relocated back to Baltimore, MD and wanted to get a car that would be fun to drive, I could actually do the work myself and one that wasn't a complete money pit, but actually could get some of my money back out of some day. Settled on a Lotus and found one in Baltimore. Have spent lots of time and a reasonable amount of money and love it. I would be really stuck without Gary, Rohan... and the rest of the crowd. I have lots of stupid questions, but am planning to dole them out slowly over the course of time so you don't realize what an automotive idiot I truly am.

I find the group very tolerant for the most part. Searching the archives before posting and including information about the relevant parts is not an unreasonable request, but does sometimes get forgotten in the panic of the moment.

I hope to meet lots of you next fall when LOG is close by in Gettysburg, PA.

Dan
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PostPost by: kerr robertson » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:46 pm

hello to all lotus members first elan s4 bought it to race in scottish classic sports and saloons just getting it up to spec with the help of Mike Stewart great bloke ,so anyone based in perthshire with elan give me a shout always ready to accept advise
Cheers kerr
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PostPost by: mdf » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:58 am

My name is Michael Fatsi and I live in Virginia. I've been lurking on this web site for a few years but I am now waste deep in my Elan restoration and will start participating in the forums in earnest. I bought my car about 6 or 7 years ago The previous owner had completely disassembled it in the early 1990's and abandoned the project. The car is mostly in boxes and bags and many small parts were lost sometime in the mid 1990's I think that is when the previous owner decided to sell it.
Of course when I bought it I was lead to believe that all the parts were there - of course I knew that this was probably a huge stretch but I took on the project anyway.

I bought the car because I always wanted to build an Elan. Hopefully I'll be able to find the myriad of small parts somewhere.......

I have heavily been involved in old cars for most of my adult life. My last project was a 1965 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce that I found in a field and restored over about three or four years. I have owned a 1974 TR-6 for over 20 years. I have a 1954 Swallow Doretti which I have owned for about 15 years.

Wish me luck with the ELan.
-Michael Fatsi
Richmond, Virginia
1963 S1 26/0111
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:31 am

Hello, my name is Eric and I'm a Lotusholic. Thank You Gary for this topic.... I'm fifty eight, have owned many Elans since '73 and still consider them modern inventions...
Currently I have the S1 and a 1969 stock federal Stromberg +2, love them both. I also own two Peugeot 505 turbo sedans. Love them too. What? Me, wierd?
My occupation is car buyer, inexpensive everyday drivers for middle class America. Nearly boring but trying to buy twenty cars every week is a challenge. Speaking from inside the car biz, other than Riley, I'd say GM and Toyota make the best used cars.
If I live long enough, I figure an Elise is in my future.
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