Lotus Elan

crash test

PostPost by: George S L » Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:38 pm

Just removed the seat belt mounts and having inspected the glass fibre i think the whole mount would just pull through the wheel arch in the event of crash. Was crash testing the norm when these cars were built.
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PostPost by: Bud English » Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:50 pm

Only on an individual car by car basis. :wink:
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PostPost by: baileyman » Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:01 pm

I think for this reason TTR offers a kevlar reinforced floor to keep the seat in the car. That stuff is significantly harder to get a drill through than fibreglas. John
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:01 pm

Later on in the Elan cycle, yes, it was. Here are some poor photos from 1970!

Let us not forget that at the time the Elan was introduced, it was considered to have a very stiff chassis and that the fibreglass bodywork was better able to absorb crash shocks than steel. It was therefore considered a safe car by the standards of the day.

Its easy enough to state today that the chassis is not especially strong, that the bodywork is like paper and so on, but we should not judge our nearly 60 year old designed cars by todays standards. Of course, there are things we can now do to our cars to make them stronger and safer, if you are willing to sacrifice originality.

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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:12 am

The US DOT was actually impressed with the crash-worthiness @30MPH.

When the cars were returned to Lotus, they were repaired quickly and put in service as test mules. It was the Federal 5mph bumper requirements and the emission controls requirements that killed the Elan and eventually the Europa.

It was not until '75 the DOT required side impact protection too.
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:19 am

The other thing that improves crash test results of course is weight. The lighter the better except of course when something bigger crashes into you first!
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PostPost by: Matt Elan » Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:53 am

Are those Plus 2 sill mounts seat belt plates? If so they bolt through the inner sill into the steel beam that runs the length of the sill so are actually quite strong - unless your in-sill beam has rotted away. Which most original ones will have by now.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:49 pm

My seat belts held us well when I did this:

RHT900M_1984_Crashed0001.jpg and


In fact so well that my wife still reminds me of the neck injury she received in 1983....
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PostPost by: George S L » Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:18 pm

Not the sill mounts they bolt on either side the rear wheel arch.
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:28 pm

George,
they should bolt through the fibreglass into the sill member, if they don't (and your parts do look pretty bad) the sill member has probably disintegrated too and need replacing urgently.
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PostPost by: George S L » Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:44 pm

These are the top mounts. PO had sills replaced in 97 they were wax oiled also and look as good as new.
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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:44 pm

There's a picture in "Racing Car for the Road" of an Elite that struck a tree at obviously high speed. The car sheared behind the front wheels and at the windshield to roof connection. In the immediate foreground is the fascia, showing gauges. To the left is the bellhousing, further on the tree and the remains of the front portion. To the right is the rear half. The driver walked away.

I was rear-ended by a semi in my faithful old Corolla wagon, and I was glad that wasn't a Lotus. My car was pushed into five other stopped cars, totaling the three large American makes directly in front of me. Nobody believed that I just kicked the stuck door open and jumped out with only a minor cut on my head where the roof folded in and knocked me down into the passenger seat. I did have a sore neck for a long time.

The semi stopped most of the way through the rear seat, so its bumper was right behind my seat. Those occupants wouldn't have been as fortunate. Not a single straight panel on the car, that did its job perfectly, folding like an accordion to keep me alive. After standing at the side of the road for a few minutes talking to someone, I heard a plinking noise and walked over. She was still idling quietly away, ready to serve to the last. Fearful of spreading gasoline, I reached in and shut her off for the last time.

I tried to buy another immediately and only found a used one as they were out of production. That served me well too.
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PostPost by: Matt Elan » Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:20 pm

Ah - I see. The top mounts are a pair of plates forming a sandwich with the glass fibre body as the filling. I'm pretty sure that there would have been some sort of standard which would have applied at the time to make the mount strong enogh to resist crash forces. Just had a quick look at my stripped out shell of one of my Plus 2s and the glass fibre around the mount is pretty rigid and thick. I wouldn't worry about them pulling out in a crash - Lotus did know what they were doing in the 1960s. Nothing to stop you adding a couple of layers of matt or woven cloth between the sandwich plates if you are worried.
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