Lotus Elan

Hello, Relationship, Addiction and Apology

PostPost by: Mister E » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:30 pm

Greetings,
I have recently entered into a new love, hate, love relationship known as a 1969 Lotus Elan DHC LHD. It was running and driving example...until I got ahold of it.

As this is an introduction section, alow me. I am a 51 year old semi-retired small business owner in a small rural town (Sequim) in Washington State, USA. I am married to my best friend and we have a delightful daughter who is starting her second year at Wake Forest University (Go Deacs!). Although Wake Forest is an exemplary institution of higher learning it is yet another reason this introduction is not being made on Ferrari Chat.

I have always been enamored with the industrial art known as the automobile, yet I have remained largely ignorant and somewhat intimidated by the mechanical workings of cars. Since I am ignorant and intimidated in a staggering variety of areas of in my life I decided to attempt to become less so in at least one, namely cars. I set out to educate myself a few years ago by purchasing an older car. I wanted to accomplish three things with my first acquisition.
1.) Cheap. I was certain to cause massive damage on my way to becoming a mechanical virtuoso. Also, friends say I am cheap, but they certainly are not a reliable source of information.
2.) Simple. To match my mental acumine.
3.) Transferable. A car that would seamlessly springboard my growing skillset on to other vehicles.

After careful consideration and to the surprise of no one that knows me, I choose a car designed backwards (some say wrong). It did meet two out of the three criteria and I have enjoyed our 63 VW Bug. It didn't occur to me a car that has an air cooled engine in the back and therefore a torsion bar suspension would not provide that linear learning I had hoped for.

Regardless and somewhat to the amazement to my wife, I have met with some success in caring for and keeping the Bug roadworthy. Well for the most part, at the last cars and coffee we did have to push start it. Anyway, armed with an ounce of new found knowledge which is magnified by a ton of enthusiasm and overconfidence, my ignorance has blossomed into a hobby/addiction/money pit.

As a car guy it seems inevitable to be at least interested with the Lotus Elan. If you enjoy the path less travelled you become enamored. If you also appreciate an over achieving underdog that is just plain fun, you graduate to an unabashed Elan nut like me.

All journeys leave a trail. Here is the trail I have left that has lead to the Elan, and oh what a long strange trip it has been.

63 VW Beetle Ragtop Sunroof (Confusing description, but correct in the odd world of automotive terms)
96 Dodge Viper GTS (Fun, a little scary and obnoxious, don't we all have a little Dennis the Menace in us?)
79 Mercedes 450 SL (No idea why, maybe I'm a closet JR Ewing)
64 Porsche 356 C Coupe (Again with the backwards and wrong design, yet on the path to 911 perfection)
65 Porsche 356 C Coupe (Wasn't looking but had a weak moment and love the 356)
69 Lotus Elan DHC (No explanation needed amongst the similarly afflicted)

I tell my wife they are investments. She says stocks don't require cavernous storage space, expensive bits to keep up, have insurance costs, smell bad, drip oil and cause me to use colorful language. I say they are gorgeous and exciting just like her. She just shakes her head and smiles her beautiful smile. I do need to stop looking for these "investments". There must be a twelve step program out there for me. But until I find it, if anyone knows of a nice Alpine- Renault A110 that is available let me know. Honey if you happen to read this, you're an angel.

My Elan looks somewhat like a lovely eighty year old lady in a bikini. You can tell she was very pretty in the past yet is somewhat difficult to look at in her current attire. The good: rust free frame, strong engine and all there. The less than good: everywhere you look she needs attention.

So why is my Elan not on the road? My short term strategy (a term I use loosely) is to make her safe (in 44 year old tiny fiberglass bodied car standards) by completely restoring the braking and suspension systems. She now resides in my wife's former parking space in the garage on jack stands (wife's an angel I tell ya). It looks a bit like the poor little car got sick and emptied all it's running gear all over the garage floor. I am busy appyling my limited yet improving mechanical "skills" as time and mood (see love, hate, love above) allow.
My long term plan is to enjoy the Elan on the road until my enthusiasm and ignorance of my mechanical skills completely suspend the last few bits of common sense. After which I will attempt a complete restoration. I figure I have only enough sense left to hold off for one to two years maximum.

This forum appears to have many kind, patient and knowledgeable folks for whom I will likely test the bounds of their patience and kindness. So to those I say hello, thank you and sorry in advanced.

I am not sure why I became so long winded, sorry for that too.
Kevin
Kevin
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PostPost by: niagra » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:45 pm

Welcome, and an excellent introduction.

Dario
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PostPost by: ken ob » Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:19 pm

Welcome. I hope all your progress reports ( backwards and forwards ) are as amusing and well written.

Ken
Slightly confused by everything since the invention of the wheel.
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PostPost by: Elanconvert » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:22 am

ken ob wrote:Welcome. I hope all your progress reports ( backwards and forwards ) are as amusing and well written.

Ken


Hear! Hear! brilliant intro Kevin.....keep it coming!

Your long-suffering wife sounds just like mine... :lol:
You are one step ahead of me, as I'm still looking for an elan.........I hope I will still have a sense of humour
after I've found one....
Fred
'Never give up!....unless it's hopeless.....'

1970 S4 dhc big valve
1973 Ginetta G15
1967 Ginetta G4 [sadly now sold]
1959 lotus elite type 14
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:40 am

welcome to the gang of us crazy blokes (i also worked in england for months: north of London) and
it took me 2000hrs to restore my car. when i left seattle (mercer island) as a kid i had already had seen
MY future car in R&T or car + driver: about 30 years later i bought one - and it's in perfect condition
as M Y wife can not appreciate. 2 weeks ago she came for her FIRST ride since 1984!! so now you
can estimate her very minimal passion. i loved your prologue! and have always known that I do also
luv me wife BUT................................................................................... alpine greetings sandy j
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PostPost by: UAB807F » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:25 pm

Welcome to the forum Kevin. What a great introduction, that certainly put a smile on my face. We all ramble on about Lotus cars so you're in good company !

Brian
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PostPost by: Bill » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:26 pm

Hi Kevin

I am close by to you on Vancouver Island - love your intro.

I am looking foreward to seeing the result of your shared passion one day, perhaps you will get to the Vancouver ABFM in May sometime soon.

Bill (26/0538)
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PostPost by: memini55 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:14 pm

Kevin,

Great to have you aboard and wonderful write up. If you can't find help here then something is wrong and since you are near Bill you have a great source close to home, he is one of the long standing owners from new and been there and done that as they say.

As you may have found out a good set of working brakes are your friend and if you jump into rebuilding them don't go cheap, to use your words. I look at doing them once and moving on, get stainless pistons and rebuild kits and good pads. Since mine is stored fro long winters I choose dot5 silicon fluid to reduce water build up.

As for your solid frame, do a search and read up on the front uprights and how to care for them. Cleaning out the weep hole and I opened mine up a little larger to insure the drain.

Anyway I hope you enjoy your journey with the Elan and it really helps to have a good wife!

Mark
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PostPost by: Mister E » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:22 am

Mark,
I agree regarding parts for brakes. I'm spending money on them as if my life depended on them. Stainless, braided and dot 5 too. I did find the weep holes and did a bit of a novice clean up. I'll read how the clever people do it. After cleaning them out a bit I blasted away with WD-40 which I seem to be using like holy water. Thanks for the sentiment. I'm having a blast when I'm not cursing...and sometimes then too.
Kevin
memini55 wrote:Kevin,

Great to have you aboard and wonderful write up. If you can't find help here then something is wrong and since you are near Bill you have a great source close to home, he is one of the long standing owners from new and been there and done that as they say.

As you may have found out a good set of working brakes are your friend and if you jump into rebuilding them don't go cheap, to use your words. I look at doing them once and moving on, get stainless pistons and rebuild kits and good pads. Since mine is stored fro long winters I choose dot5 silicon fluid to reduce water build up.

As for your solid frame, do a search and read up on the front uprights and how to care for them. Cleaning out the weep hole and I opened mine up a little larger to insure the drain.

Anyway I hope you enjoy your journey with the Elan and it really helps to have a good wife!

Mark
Kevin
1969 Lotus Elan S4 DHC
John Player Special
One of none
Mister E
Second Gear
Second Gear
 
Posts: 62
Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Location: Washington State, United States

PostPost by: Mister E » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:32 am

Hello Bill,
You are practically a neighbor. Glad you enjoyed the intro. I'll get the AAA towing insurance all paid up and head over next May.
Kevin

Bill wrote:Hi Kevin

I am close by to you on Vancouver Island - love your intro.

I am looking foreward to seeing the result of your shared passion one day, perhaps you will get to the Vancouver ABFM in May sometime soon.

Bill (26/0538)
Kevin
1969 Lotus Elan S4 DHC
John Player Special
One of none
Mister E
Second Gear
Second Gear
 
Posts: 62
Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Location: Washington State, United States

PostPost by: Mister E » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:35 am

Brian,
Thanks for the welcome. I just keep telling myself people are laughing WITH me.
Keivn
UAB807F wrote:Welcome to the forum Kevin. What a great introduction, that certainly put a smile on my face. We all ramble on about Lotus cars so you're in good company !

Brian
Kevin
1969 Lotus Elan S4 DHC
John Player Special
One of none
Mister E
Second Gear
Second Gear
 
Posts: 62
Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Location: Washington State, United States

PostPost by: ftsoft » Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:57 am

Welcome

Lots of good advice here. I also moved from Porsche(59 356 convertible) to Lotus Elan (in 1967). Quite a difference. We have visited friends in your town last year and you should have fun driving the Lotus on the local roads. Not much of an investment I fear. The good news is that most bits are available still. Good luck with your project.

Frank
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PostPost by: Mister E » Fri May 08, 2015 1:36 pm

It's been a while. Car was road worthy. Not any more. The journey begins. Body coming off.
Attachments
Elan.jpg and
Kevin
1969 Lotus Elan S4 DHC
John Player Special
One of none
Mister E
Second Gear
Second Gear
 
Posts: 62
Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Location: Washington State, United States

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