Lotus Elan

Never give up

PostPost by: prezoom » Sat May 28, 2016 2:44 am

From a recent couple of responses to a post in the For Sale section, large feet and advancing age seem to be common denominators in Lotus ownership.

I know my size 12's require putting on the Puma SpeedCats to keep from hitting more than one pedal at a time. Going for the clutch and the brake at the same time without these narrow shoes, means all three pedals become involved. That's OK, when changing gears heading into a slow turn from speed, but for around town driving, in heavy traffic, not a great experience.

As far as advancing age, I am on the downhill slide towards 78, but I will be damned if I am going to give up sliding into my S2. Sliding out is another question. Lots of grunting and groaning, coupled with some ooooofffs accompany my exit. But, even though it takes more effort than getting into the family truckster, or the Infinity coupe, the Elan offers way more fun that almost any other car I have owed. The day I can't get out, I'll ask my wife to dig a hole in the backyard and bury us both.

So, how many of you owners are pushing the end of the envelope, but are defying the inevitable, to keep putting the ear to ear grin that comes when driving their Elans?
Rob Walker
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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: john.p.clegg » Sat May 28, 2016 5:27 am

Rob

The pedals problem is an easy fix ( unless you're a purist ) with a vice,lump hammer and a little heat...

John :wink:
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PostPost by: gherlt » Sat May 28, 2016 5:58 am

Well, what a prospect ! I recently became adult (age 47, my wife still not certain about that) and have average shoe size (european 44 1/2), I not yet have problems with getting in or out.
But with the 14-16h it takes between Germany and Spain (1625km/1000miles, in one day) with my Elan, headache (mitigated by ear plugs) and backpain are quite assured. In the first years of ownership there was also signs of Parkinson (steering wheel vibrations not related to the wheels). Now I suffer the secondary effects of Elan ownership: emotional connection to a car, depression when driving other cars, sense of lost occasion, loss of apetite when Elan is not available, loss of interest in modern cars (even sports cars).
A kind of strong emotional dependency.

But it is assuring that Elan ownership is desireable and bearable up to advanced age.

And this really happens, that gives this forum (and its youngster users) a big advantage:
the accumulated experience shared by looooong-term owners, many being original owners, is invaluable, especially when shared freely in this forum.
1964 S1 (engine ready, awainting body paint)
1967 S3 DHC (now adjusted by Brian Buckland, totally calm idle)
1969 S4 FHC (final interior stuff)
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PostPost by: Chancer » Sat May 28, 2016 7:18 am

As my elan has waited over 20 years now for me to restore her I will probably be in my 60's maybe 70's before I am able to so could well only start driving it in my 70's, something to look forward to!

I have a race sprung motorcycle engined Caterham 7 that I havn't driven since my early 40's, I'm now in my late 50's, the appeal is definitely dwindling but the appeal of the Elan increasing.
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PostPost by: elanner » Sat May 28, 2016 12:54 pm

Fortunately, for now, getting in and out is not a problem. Give it time.

But my pedals have the rubber covers and I always drive with bare feet. (And occasionally with my daily driver too, especially on long trips.)

Nick
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PostPost by: woodcock » Sat May 28, 2016 1:47 pm

Over the years my feet have grown, longer but not wider. I was a 9.5 (US size) in 1966 with my first Elan Coupe. Sold it last year, moved to southern Florida and bought a TTR Elan GTS. A lot easier in & out of than the Coupe & especially the Elise that I just sold. Life is great in an Elan even if all the curves are 90 deg and so is the temp.

Ron
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Sat May 28, 2016 4:11 pm

Size 9.5 also. Age 76. Still no problem getting in and out of my FHC.

Like they say, never give up.

I had a severe concussion, lost the hearing in my left ear and balance on that side. But I learned to ski at 57 and have skiied the black slopes. I had stage 4 cancer. Chemotherapy wiped out my strength and gave me nerve damage that wiped out what was left om my balance skills. Then I got hydrocephalous that required brain surgery. But I started Masters Rowing at age 70. Near term schedule calls for me to go to the Western Regional Championships in June, another regatta in July and August, the World Rowing Masters Regatta in September, Head of the Charles in October, Head of the America in November, and Christmas Regatta in December. Hopefully, I will bring back one or medals from each.

So, never give up!

David
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PostPost by: Bill » Sat May 28, 2016 6:43 pm

76 years old - 53 if them with my Elan 1600.

Exiting does now take more effort but I will not stop driving. The old fart aches and pains (as well as more serious illnesses do get in the way at times). 3 years ago I delayed triple bypass heart surgery as the date conflicted with the Vancouver All British Field Meet, my surgen accommodated me - he appreciated Elans. So I took what I thought may be my last trip off the rock to my 16th ABFM. Not the case - got first in Lotus Open last weekend

Fortunately I am size 8 although I drive bare foot at times.

I figure it will be my coffin if my son doesn't want it when I go.

Off to the Canadian F One grand Prix 2 weeks from now.

Cheers
Bill Rathlef
Vancouver Island, Canada
"Keep your stick on the ice, boys."
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PostPost by: Gordon Sauer » Sat May 28, 2016 7:39 pm

I am trying to not think that I missed my prime in my Elan since I bought it in 73 and totally took it apart in 77 and I've just re gelcoated it and hope to spray it this summer. But in the meantime I did finish my +2 that I bought an 89 and have been enjoying it for four years now. So I hope to be in the ?lan soon and even though 66, I still figure I can get some good years out of it, if not mine, then enjoying my three kids in their 30s when they come home getting to cruise around. Gordon Sauer
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PostPost by: bulfin » Sat May 28, 2016 7:56 pm

As an almost 70 year old, you guys are giving me lots of encouragement. My helmet went out of date this year and I was not going to get a new one. After reading this, I think I will. Thanks for the perspective.

Bob
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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Sat May 28, 2016 9:19 pm

After 4,400 miles with three friends in my Elan S2 and Seven S3, as told in the post The Louts, Lotus and the Great River on this same forum, at age 72, I sold on the Seven as it was too raw and stark for my creaking frame. But as I said at the end of that trip,
The Elan is a bit more congenial in that it has a bit more room, and at least nominal wind and weather protection, thus she can escort me through a few more years before I can no longer fold myself into her. I promise I am not done with the journeys yet but I will see them a bit differently than before. So, please wave when you see a lone Lotus wandering the Blue Highways?it will probably be me.
:D :D
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PostPost by: seniorchristo » Sat May 28, 2016 9:34 pm

At age 63 I went 38 years between Elans. I purchased my second one, an S3, in 2014 and plan to make up for the lost time. It may be hard getting in and out but there is no substitute for the ride in between. Thanks Prezoom for starting this thread! :)
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PostPost by: webbslinger » Sat May 28, 2016 10:01 pm

I bind my size 12's in 11 Speed Cats, the old style, not the pointy ones. Can't walk in them but the pedals are fine. But getting in and out? I'm 68 and it's still OK, but nothing like when I was 21. Back then I was push starting an S2 (#2) down a hill and when I tried to swing in the steering wheel rim came off in my hand. I fell back in the road but got up and managed to run it down, swing in, and compression start it. If that happened today I'd be laying in the road looking at the car at the bottom of the hill jammed into the side of a building as I waited for the EMT's. One thing, I'm pretty sure it was more fun driving an Elan back then when some of the police still had a sence of humor and everyone on the road didn't have a cell phone. Pretty sure.
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PostPost by: prezoom » Sat May 28, 2016 10:15 pm

Ahhhhhhh...... Blue Highways. When William Least Heat Moon, moved from disappointment and depression to a wonderful tale.
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
prezoom
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PostPost by: nomad » Sun May 29, 2016 12:36 am

Thanks all! :D

Kurt
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