Lotus Elan

Re-introduction from BC, Canada

PostPost by: Brock » Thu Feb 03, 2022 5:02 am

Hi All,

I have been away from here for a long time. It's nice to be back. I bought a half-share of a '64 Elan 1600 from my elderly father eight years ago... Long story short, it hasn't been driven in seven years due to his endless divorce (the car was held captive!) -- and then he was stuck in Mexico since before Covid (insuring it here in BC required both of our signatures, and in his declining years he couldn't navigate mailing documents). So it sat -- with the occasional swapped licence-plate run up to temperature. Finally, it is just about free to be enjoyed on the most ideal roads here in the Okanagan, BC. Dad passed and the Lotus is the silver lining.

Elans have always been special car to me, and part of the family mythology. With my mother in labour (with me), Dad drove her to the hospital in his '65 Elan S2 -- with a police escort over the Lion's Gate Bridge to Vancouver. He got fired over that car; he was a salesman at Clark Simpkins in Vancouver (BMC, Rover, Rolls...)... A customer wanted to trade in the year-old Lotus -- and he was willing to take their ridiculously low offer. My Dad -- always looking for a deal -- asked Old Man Simpkins if he could buy it for himself instead. No was the answer. My dad bought the car and lost the job.

I have vivid memories of bombing around Vancouver with him in the early '70's.... Usually alone with him, but other times sitting on the battery box -- with my brother in my mom's lap. He was a BC Sports Car Club Champion (in a Morris Minor and a 100M Healey), so he could really drive. He would say that there wasn't a corner on any road in Vancouver that he couldn't do at 85mph in that car. Those were the days.

Those were also the days to get killed in a car. As an aside -- and a cool story.... Stirling Moss, upon learning of his racing success, told my Dad to stop racing because all of his friends were dead and he would be too -- and that he couldn't really remember anything from before his accident at Spa. So, rather than buy a sports racing Lotus (23? ... not sure, but it was some Lotus that killed you if a driveshaft broke), my Dad quit racing. Stirling gave him that advice when he had the thrill of picking him up at the airport at Honolulu in a Lancia Flaminia Zagato and driving him to his hotel in Waikiki. Dad said he drove as smoothly as possible and he didn't break the speed limit by half a mile-an-hour. Stirling appreciated that -- commenting that racing drivers were forever showing off to him and scaring him to death.

That Elan S2 was sold to people (In Vancouver) who eventually stored it in their basement for 25 years. Over the years, I begged my Dad a thousand times to buy it back -- but they always wanted too much money. Besides, he had a '55 Speedster that he bought 25 years earlier for $1200 and a beautifully patinated charcoal MK2 Jag 4sp w/OD that he would wind the hell out of often. Finally, in around 2006 -- with youth long gone from both of us, he bought this Elan. So he couldn't sell it, I later bought half.

Our car (I guess my car now) is a restored and modified '64 S1 with twin tail lights and a one-piece dash (chassis number I forget ... and it is outside under cover at -10°C while I rearrange my shop). It has a Toyota 4AGE engine to offend the purists -- and to fearlessly push. It has CV joints, Porsche headlight actuators and an aluminum radiator (plus fan) angled back in the nose. The chassis was reinforced in the standard places. It has a diff bracket and an aluminium fuel tank in the trunk. It's a well sorted car. I tuned the 40DCOE's with a wideband O2 sensor and those innovative jets that I can't recall the name of. It literally feels like a fuel-injected car at all throttle positions. I tuned it, but we didn't build it. I wish I knew who did, but my Dad got into a quarrel with the guy (not the guy's fault) and we lost touch. It's from Puget Sound or somewhere NW USA. It's a former racing car -- and it was built to drive. It looks quite nice and it's well sorted; it's not a concours car, but it's a very nice driver. It's damn near rattle free too. Hopefully I can glean the name of the builder here.... This was something like early 2000's... but I don't know. It was built with high compression pistons and lumpy cams -- but it was crazy. It's back to normal Toyota spec. I recall it being sprung a bit stiff -- that's something I'd like to sort out with your help eventually. For you purists, there is nothing stopping fitting an original engine -- except my love for the 4AGE (I was into RWD Corollas back in the day, and the 4AGE was the mod of choice). They fit the character of an Elan well -- and there is the modern Lotus connection. It's an Japanese Cosworth BDA, as people say.... and they basically never need valve adjustments.

So, I'm waiting on Pirelli Cinturatos, a death certificate from Mexico and our amazing, dry summer. I'll go through it all first.

Weirdly, as much as I love it, I'm not fond of convertibles. It's way too hot in the sun here often (like 40°C / 105F) I'm planning on fitting a hardtop -- which I will insulate and trim lightly. Also... the colour.... I'm not a fan. I'll try to live with it... but it's a bit bright. It's BMW Laguna blue. More grey would be better -- or that bright olive green you'll see if you google 1964 Lotus Elan S1.

Forgive the ramble and the navel-gazing.... It has been a very long road to here.

All the best to you guys,
Brock

Hopefully there is a photo below without fussing around.



[img]<blockquote%20class="imgur-embed-pub"%20lang="en"%20data-id="a/ZkBS6Wy"><a%20href="//imgur.com/ZkBS6Wy">1964%20Lotus%20Elan%201600%20(S1)</a></blockquote><script%20async%20src="//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js"%20charset="utf-8"></script>[/img]
1964 Elan 1600 #3370
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PostPost by: Foxie » Thu Feb 03, 2022 12:46 pm

Hi Brock !

Welcome aboard ! That's a great history !

(Try again with the photos, have to see more of this car ! )

:)
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Thu Feb 03, 2022 1:57 pm

Still cold here in the W Kootenays, see you for a rip in spring!
Sorry about your loss, congratulations on the gain.
BC Lotus club, and Canadian Lotus are both a treat!
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Thu Feb 03, 2022 5:51 pm

Hello Brock,

Welcome!

Interesting background history - thanks for sharing that.

Cheerio,

Rob
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PostPost by: Brock » Fri Feb 04, 2022 12:34 am

I'll try a photo again...
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1964LotusElan1600.jpg and
1964 Elan 1600 #3370
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Fri Feb 04, 2022 7:02 am

Lovely car. A picture of the engine would be appreciated.
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PostPost by: Brock » Sat Feb 05, 2022 1:23 am

Here's the mill.

A few things that I don't like...

The throttle return spring is goofy -- hooked to the air cleaner. I hate K&N filters - they don't filter fine particles.

The cam covers had their Toyota badging milled off badly. I'm not ashamed of the engine, so I'm working on a set of originals. They boldly say TOYOTA Twin Cam 1600...

The electrical panel down on the inner left wing had a sheet of plastic over it at that time. This needs an elegant solution.

The distributor is goofy and won't quite adjust for enough advance. I think it's VW of all things. I'll go Megajolt EDIS -- and I can use a cam pulley as a trigger wheel (very handy 36 tooth.... just mill half a tooth off and re-balance it).

I took the timing covers off -- which is probably a bit dumb. It looks great, but I should probably refit them. If I can find them.

Things to love:

It's a non-interference engine.

That TRD intake manifold is almost unobtainium.

The jets in those carbs are Hypojets -- and WOW, did they transform the tune with the help of an Innovate wideband O2 sensor (not permanently installed). I highly recommend this Weber treatment. It runs at just at 14.5:1 under no load, and enrichens to 13.5 wide open (if I remember correctly). Really amazing. Struggling with Weber jets had me planning ITB fuel injection, but now there is no point.

Look how there is no radiator in the way! It is tucked low in the nose. The expansion bottle could be relocated.

The headers, which can't be seen, are gorgeous. They need ceramic coating.

It's Toyota only up to, and including, the flywheel, of course.
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Elan4AGE.jpg and
1964 Elan 1600 #3370
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PostPost by: RichardS » Sat Feb 05, 2022 8:59 am

Welcome back
Great story to read!
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Feb 05, 2022 9:23 pm

Welcome back Brock! Fantastic car!
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sat Feb 05, 2022 9:38 pm

Interesting! Looks like a Vegantune engine.
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PostPost by: bitsobrits » Sun Feb 06, 2022 1:38 am

What gearbox are you running?
Steve

Elan S1 1963-Bourne bodied
Elan S3 1967 FHC pre airflow

Formerly:
Elan S1 1964
Elan S3 1966 FHC pre airflow
Elan S3 1967 FHC airflow
Elan S4 1969 FHC
Europa S2 1970
Esprit S2 1979
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PostPost by: Brock » Sun Feb 06, 2022 1:41 am

bitsobrits wrote:What gearbox are you running?


Original Lotus. I'm not sure if it's close-ratio or not at the moment.
1964 Elan 1600 #3370
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Sun Feb 06, 2022 4:54 am

Hi Brock,

I've owned quite a few '80s Corollas and I kept my AE86 Coupe. But I haven't gotten to the point that I want to merge the Toy and Elan. I still like the twink.

Sorry to here about your dad. My dad left this world in 1999. He was a car guy, but mostly pre-WW2 cars, although he did have an MGA for a few years and really enjoyed that.

Roger
'67 Elan S3 SS DHC
'67 Elan FHC pre-airflow
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PostPost by: Brock » Sun Feb 06, 2022 10:18 am

Thanks Roger.

Hey, I LOVE the Twink -- but when this car came up, Dad made the leap because I had a spare 4AGE and experience with them -- and he loved the idea of 26R power for one quarter the price (or less!). The original configuration had something like 165bhp (It was said to have been dyno'd), which, in the end, he didn't like; he was a quick-in-a-slower-car kind of driver. It probably has 130hp now. The extra 1200rpm redline is comforting and very fun.
1964 Elan 1600 #3370
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PostPost by: bitsobrits » Mon Feb 07, 2022 1:07 am

Brock wrote:
bitsobrits wrote:What gearbox are you running?


Original Lotus. I'm not sure if it's close-ratio or not at the moment.



So Lotus or Toyota bell housing?

I should just ask: can you provide some details of the installation specifics/challenges?
Steve

Elan S1 1963-Bourne bodied
Elan S3 1967 FHC pre airflow

Formerly:
Elan S1 1964
Elan S3 1966 FHC pre airflow
Elan S3 1967 FHC airflow
Elan S4 1969 FHC
Europa S2 1970
Esprit S2 1979
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