Lotus Elan

Progress and Setbacks on Plus

PostPost by: JJDraper » Sun May 17, 2009 5:19 pm

May

From the pictures you will see that this is not a concours rebuild by any means, more a complete refresh of the car for another forty years of hard work. So if mods offend you, please do not read any further!

Progress and setbacks. Long time since the last report and the usual ups and downs of any resto have been the hallmark of the last two months. Biggest problem has been the body. Superb craftsmanship plus a misunderstanding over the final finish has slowed things down.. Suffice to say I have learnt from the experience to be very precise as to what you, as the client, want from the process ? preferably in writing and with some sample finishes. I thought I had been clear, but apparently not clear enough. The finish was superb, but just not exactly what I wanted. I find it difficult to criticise someone?s obvious craftsmanship, but after some soul searching (I could accept the work and live with it) I decided that it would bug me for the rest of my term of ownership ? which I hope will be a long time! After a tense meeting we agreed that the change would be made, but this has put back the schedule several weeks and will involve some to-ing and fro-wing between the workshop and the paintshop. Ho hum?

Different story at the workshop where Neil has been fitting out the chassis ready for the body. No major refurb work is needed on the suspension, other than a clean, new disks and pads. Engine, gearbox, prop and diff are now fitted. Recon steering rack fitted ? the old one did not show any particular problems, but I had the recon one in stock so that went in. Some minor niggles with the Spyder chassis and suspension arms ? bushes a little tight, so needed a light ream (better than loose I suppose) and some other minor odds and ends. Brighter points with the chassis are the better engine mounting arrangement (fail safe and away from the heat of the exhaust), access and general ease of the job. And of course, lighter and stronger.

Late style dashboard has been sourced from Classical Dash in High Wycombe ( http://www.Classical-dash.co.uk ) who gave an excellent service. I went for a custom burr oak finish, which is lighter than burr walnut. This will lighten up the cabin, which can be a little sombre with all that black. Ambient air temp gauge will be replaced with a far more useful oil temp gauge from Holdens. This will go in a modified sump plug. I have no idea what temperature to expect, so this will be an interesting mod. New three part wiring loom is waiting to be fitted. I spent a happy three hours soldering all the connections in an effort to help out the flow of electrickery. Dashboard bulbs will be LEDs sourced form another great website ( http://www.ultraleds.co.uk ); these are polarity dependant so you must test before fitting the dash! They are reverse polarity protected, so no worries there. I have used rear light LEDs for years and they have never failed, giving full brightness even at lower voltages, while being protected against high voltages and surges.

I sold off my old 3.77 diff and spent the cash on one of Sarto?s spinner tools. Arrived a week later, along with a suitable socket ? a thing of beauty! Can?t wait to try it out in earnest?

Thoughts now turn to the interior, which is a potential vexing area. The existing headlining is nasty, with worryingly organic looking brown stains and dribble marks - probably a mix of nicotine and general brown-ness of forty years of use. Neil has a contact who can make and fit a new headlining from scratch. Neil refuses to do this aspect of the rebuild as he says the Plus 2 headlining is particularly difficult and prefers to leave it to a specialist. Front seats have been sourced as previously mentioned ? MGB units. The seats that were in the car were fitted to the normal Lotus/Ford rails which allow the seats to tip forward. MGB seats come with fixed rails, providing a lever to allow the seats to tip forward instead. This seems to be a safer arrangement and we will see if the MGB rails can be used instead of the Lotus ones (they are lighter as well..). I noticed one of the +2s at Donnington on the Saturday had MGB seats as well ? is this a common mod? Has anyone else used the MGB rails? The rest of the original underdash trim is missing, replaced with plywood panels. I am not sure how this area will be resolved yet!

On a more esoteric note, at the last MOT, the tester noted that the chassis number on the plate didn?t match the documents.. A bit of checking showed that a PO had registered a chassis change, so the chassis number started SPY? for a new Spyder chassis. This is clearly a mistake as the identity of the car goes with the body not the chassis for a Plus 2 (and Elan for that matter). I duly sent the documents to be amended correctly. After 6 weeks I had not heard anything so called up the DVLA and asked what the problem was. A nice lady asked me to wait while she checked with the supervisor. Apparently they had realised that something was amiss as I was requesting a change of number back to a previous number? I explained the problem and they said they would investigate further. I will keep the old chassis for a bit longer as this has the number that is in the documentation. At least the engine number is still correct as per the factory. Watch this space.

The Spa Classic is still the target date for completion, although I hope to put on a few hundred miles beforehand to shake it down. Lets hope it all goes smoothly from now on!

Jeremy
Attachments
Chassis retirement home.jpg and
Where old chassis go....
LED Dash bulb.jpg and
The bulb base is only compatible with the late wiring looms. Bulb is plenty bright enough and uses very little power.
Chassis build 1.jpg and
Chassis build 2.jpg and
Chassis build Handbrake 3.jpg and
Handbrake cable runs very close to the drop link mounting..
Chassis build 4.jpg and
Chassis build 5.jpg and
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Sun May 17, 2009 8:28 pm

Hi Jeremy

so the chassis number started SPY? for a new Spyder chassis


My chassis number is the same; I requested all the old log books from the DVLA and this change was pre 1982 so the DVLA records for this period are not accurate enough to state what the original lotus chassis number was. I know what the original number was as it is marked on various locations on the body but thought it best not to push this with DVLA as I did not want a 'Q' plate at the end of the investigation.

I would be interested to know if you get your original number back, so please PM me the result if you can.

The build looks great :)

Thanks

Jason
50/0951 1968 Wedgewood blue +2, 1990 Mini Cooper RSP
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PostPost by: Craig Elliott » Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:45 am

Hi Jeremy

Have you managed to grasp the nettle of fitting your headlining yet? - The windscreen on my +2 cracked recently so while it was out I decided to do the stained headlining as well (plus the dash, dash top etc etc...). I got hold of a new headlining from Sue Miller and picked up a really helpful tip from one of the trim stands at the Club Lotus Donnington show. I'll try to write up the process if it would help...

C
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:08 pm

Jeremy

Can you post a list of the led's that you are using as I haven't had much success with them,the only ones that I've left in are the number plate lamps and the front sidelights...

Thanks

John :wink:
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:43 pm

john.p.clegg wrote:Jeremy

Can you post a list of the led's that you are using as I haven't had much success with them,the only ones that I've left in are the number plate lamps and the front sidelights...

Thanks

John :wink:


+1
I would also like some dash lamps that would suit the older screw fitting but found it difficult to navigate my way around the Ultraled site the last time I looked.

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Editor: On Sunday morning, February 8th 2015, Derek "John" Pelly AKA GrumpyBodger passed away genuinely peacefully at Weston Hospicecare, Weston Super Mare. He will be missed.
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:52 pm

Shouldn't really be replying to this thread as I have moved on to Trials and Smiles! But here goes...

Chassis number - Log book now sorted; monolithic Gov agency reduced to a single contact name & tel number with email. After speaknng to the case worker, the problem is now sorted & correct log book back in my possession.

Headlining - Neil has experience of these and regards the +2 as 'difficult', so doesn't fit them - "a specialist can do the job in less time than me, so the overall cost is less". Mine will be made to measure, using the original as a pattern. It will now have to wait until the roof is done. Fitting will be in a few weeks. I find writing up any process, experience or feelings an extension of the pleasure of dealing with old cars, or anything else for that matter.

LEDs - The dashboard LEDs are the only new ones I am fitting. The others that were already fitted were the stop/tail ones fitted over six years ago, but I think they were bought over the counter at a local motor factor. I have since discovered this site - http://www.norbsa02.freeuk.com/goffyleds.htm which seems to offer a more comprehensive selection of bulbs. His new ones look much brighter than the ones I already have fitted, especially those with radial LEDs to light up the whole lamp. Might be worth contacting him for difficult to find bulb fittings. Alternatively, I read one of the threads on the +2 section that someone had converted the sidelights to the modern fitting, the same as the dashboard shown in this thread.

Car has now gone back to Options to have the roof made more spangly.

Having pangs of guilt that I am not doing the whole restoration myself rather than acting as a client..... but I want the car back to use this year not the inevitable ten years if I did it all myself! (given that I have work, distance learning qualifications to attain, home rebuilding work, children to worry about, cats peeing everywhere, lizard to feed - and no garage).

Off to Bremen tomorrow, so I may be quiet for a bit...

Jeremy
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Not enough hours of daylight.jpg and
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