Lotus Elan

Lotus Elan Shapecraft

PostPost by: bigvalvehead » Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:45 pm

Hi
Who did the drawings?

Pics of mould taken from SHAPECRAFT.

dave
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138.JPG and
Dave Hughes
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Elan DHC Sprint
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Turbocharged 26R clone (also in progress)
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:04 pm

Real nice work Dave. Love the slice and dice pile o bits in back too. When can I get one?

Gary
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PostPost by: paddy » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:37 am

I thought I heard from Ian (aka RIB) that the rear section of his car was aluminium, not fibreglass. Maybe I misheard?

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1963 Elan S1
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PostPost by: bigvalvehead » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:12 am

Hi Paddy
Yes the roof on the original is aaloy but at 5 grand a pop a bit out of my pocket for a replica!!

Cheers
Dave
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Elan DHC Sprint
Shapecraft Honda powered S1(in progress)
Turbocharged 26R clone (also in progress)
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PostPost by: RIB » Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:27 pm

Dave,

Good to see that you are making progress on your Shapecraft replica.

No progress on rebuilding mine; the photograph shows the changing fashions in Shapecraft colours from 1963-1977.


Pete,

Yes I should have ?fixed? it years ago but too many other interests, cars, family priorities and lack of funds got in the way. It is now a retirement project.

Keep reading Classic and Sportscar to find out about another Shapecraft that has been unused for even longer than mine.

A photograph of a Shapecraft with wire wheels from Autocar 24th January 1964, now Malcolm Rickett's car with proper wheels.

Ian
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Autocar 24 January 1964.pdf
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close up colours.jpg and
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PostPost by: RedS4 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:02 am

Interesting wire wheels on that Autocar Shapecraft. :)

RIB
How many colours are on yours? Was painting it an annual event??? :shock:
Evan J
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PostPost by: bigvalvehead » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:52 am

Hi Ian
Take all the paint off and you'll save a lot of weight!!
cheers
Dave
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Turbocharged 26R clone (also in progress)
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PostPost by: RIB » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:04 pm

Hi Evan and Dave,

I can identify 28 different colours including primers/fillers, in some places about 6mm (1/4 inch) thick, but not much left now so much less weight. I have not managed to contact former owners to ask why so many colour changes, as I said before, I think it was trying to keep up with what was the latest fashion in the 60s and early 70s.

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:40 pm

No sign of pistachio!
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PostPost by: bonsaichris » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:41 pm

Well, this forum and this topic has been pointed out to me by one of your members, Ian Burt who contacted me about his car. It is some years ago now but I was employed by Barry Wood when he first set up Surbiton Motors, we had both previously worked for Paddy Gaston of Supercharged Sebring Sprite fame. It was a small set up just Barry, me as a mechanic and a salesman. I may be wrong on dates but I think they will drop into place with the details you already have. The car that Ian has is the original Shapecraft Elan, Barry had obtained an agency for MG and Lotus and purchased the S1 to race, the top was his concept and he found Shapecraft, a local firm working in Alloy and Stainless mainly for the aero industry, to produce the top for him, it was a "one off". At the same time they were working on another Elan, I think for David Ogle, that was having a conventional shape hard top fitted but also having a new nose section fabricated. Barry adapted their ideas and had a similar front put on his. The front was never, to my knowledge, repeated on any othe Elan. At that stage neither the top or the front were made on moulds they were fabricated straight onto the car.
Barry decided to market the top and persuaded Shapecraft to fund the making of a mould on which the tops could more easily be produced. We built a car that had a top fitted and was exibited at the Racing Car Show. I think the original car was built and raced in 1963, I think the show was end of 63 beginning of 64. The car at the show was purchased by Peter Sellers as an engagement present to Britt Eckland. Barry discovered at the show that Lotus were producing the 26R for the 1964 season and immediately placed an order for one, He also persuaded a good friend of ours, Les Arnold, to purchase one as well. Both cars would be fitted with the hardtops and would be raced as a Surbiton Motors Team.

I will continue this separately, I dont want to exceed your words limit
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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:48 pm

Chris

Welcome and thank you for your interesting and informative post. I'm not sure you would be in danger of exceeding the word count but I certainly look forward to your next installment.

As you may be aware, your recall of the fabrication of the front of the Ogle car and Barry's copy may cause some further discussion here!

Tim
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PostPost by: ardee_selby » Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:06 pm

trw99 wrote:Chris Welcome and thank you for your interesting and informative post...I certainly look forward to your next installment. Tim


+1

Cheers - Richard
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PostPost by: bonsaichris » Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:14 pm

Well, it was many years ago and I will plead insanity if necessary :lol:
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PostPost by: bonsaichris » Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:52 pm

I cannot remember the name of the gentleman who owned Shapecraft, it was a relativly small company based in Tolworth in Surrey, I think it may have been Harold. I seem to remember the cars being entered by Shapecraft. the 2 cars were fitted with identical tops ie additional quarter light behind the B pillar aand the vent in the rear of the roof. they were formed on the same mould as the standard ones so the basic shape was the same. As I said previously the original was not made on that mould. We also did an additional 26R to the same spec for Dick Crossfield who had previously raced a Daimeler SP250.
Those 3 were the only 26R spec Elans that had those tops fitted by Surbiton Motors. Barrys and Dicks must have been sold on but Les Arnolds car was very badly damaged at Zandvort during 1964, the last I heard it was in a scrap yard in Essex somewhere being held against money owed, the o/s was virtuallt ripped off the car.
I dont know how many we sold, none were sold for customer fit, most were cars supplied as kits and built by us, what I am sure of is that Surbiton Motors neithewr produced or sold anymore cars after 1964 and there was only ever a full length hard top, the basic shape of which was always the same. I am also fairly confident that the firm shown in some of your posts as Shapecraft is or was not the same company.
Barry was a bit careless with some of the finance companies money and dissapeared one weekend, they did catch up with him and he was detained at her majesties pleasure for a time. It cost me money, but life is too short. I think Barry was trying to avoid me but I did manage to contact him through a mutual friend and persuade him that I was no threat. we did meet up , I had spent a lot of time with him and Jean, his wife and young son, and counted the family as friends. Barry did do some racing after that but I think the Elan thing stopped with his problems at the end of 1964.
The one thing I am not sure about is to whether or not Shapecraft did anything after that independantly, it was not their line of business and they would not have anybody with the experiance or knowledge to carry it forward. But, they did own the pattern mould and could have produced more, they themselves had never fitted any or been involved in the trimming, glazing or marketing of the tops or cars.
Looking through my bits and pieces I have very little relating to that period, I do have some of the original sales leaflets and one or two pictures. There was also an article by John Blunsden in the Oct 64 BRSCC Motor Racing Magazine

I hope this helps settle a few discussions and hasnt added too much confusion to the history of Shapecraft
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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:14 pm

Chris

Thanks again. If you can I know many of us here would love to see you post up scans of the brochures, photos and other docs that you have; they would be very interesting for those of us into Lotus history.

Tim
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