Lotus Elan

Early S1 steering wheel

PostPost by: dunclentdr » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:51 pm

I am excited about having got hold of one of the earliest Lotus bodied 1963 Elans (just post the Bourne cars).

It was one owner from new until 2015 and the gentleman who owned it records that both the painted black dash and the steering wheel were fitted as new in 1963.

The wheel looks slightly different to others I have seen, any information available on it please?

Thanks

David
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PostPost by: Bill » Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:15 pm

David

I have an Elan 1600 - 26/0538 that I purchased factory direct in Dec 63.

The dash is teak veneer, the 14 inch wheel is wood rim with rivets

All is still origonal from factory

Bill
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PostPost by: cabc26b » Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:20 pm

Hi David,

I can't say as I have seen that particular wheel on a S1 and or claimed as factory - most look like this - with or with out rivet s this is off a late 63 S1post bourne - wheel has rivets. My 64's had this wood wheel minus the rivets.

Regards,

George
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PostPost by: dunclentdr » Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:59 pm

Thanks - here's what the original owners says..!

David
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PostPost by: SpeedModel » Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:12 am

I believe it is a 26R style steering wheel, although it differs slightly. Yours has larger cutouts on the spokes. It's a nice looking wheel.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:23 am

David, I see your PO lives in the same village as Peter Day!

I would imagine that he might have asked Lotus to fit that wheel at the time, though he'd probably have recalled that and told you. The only other explanation would be that that the factory ran out of the standard fitment wheel on the day the car was being finished and someone had to buy in a small cache of off the shelf wheels.

It would be interesting to look on the reverse of the wheel, to see if it is a Springall/Springalex, since they were the Lotus supplier of steering wheels at the time. However I have my doubts since the spokes to central boss appear to have been cut from a single sheet of steel, whereas all the Springall wheels have separate spokes to a separate boss.

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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:24 am

Maybe our archivist has more information to either verify or deny. I know he posts here occasionally.
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PostPost by: dunclentdr » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:36 am

Thanks - will have a look at the back of the wheel.

Sadly I think the PO, Mr McCabe has passed away.

The dash was also painted flat back so I think maybe the wheel and dash were a specific request or immediate modification. Anyway, as far as I'm concerned I am going to treat them as nice and original to the spirit of the car.

David
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PostPost by: jonsered 11 » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:56 pm

Hi David,

is this wheel on chassis number 339? As Bill says it looks like a 26R one, however the wheel on mine has a narrower slot on the spokes, one of my Bournes had a black dash also, but it was covered in black leather cloth and I'm sure hadn't left the factory like that?

Regards Jonsered
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PostPost by: dunclentdr » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:25 am

Hi Jonsered

It is on an Elan registered 1/1/64 which may be the first fitted with a Lotus made body (in the crossover month with Bournes).

David
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PostPost by: knockoffnut » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:01 am

Hi David,
I have heard enough people with sufficient history of Lotus ownership, and in dept knowledge tell me that there were Elans built with black covered dashboards that I tend to believe it. One of these people is the top Elan archivist and has owned countless cars. I used to believe the book that states that all Elans came with black interiors until I bought my S3 SE with a factory red interior... I was told that mine was part of a special order of three white cars with red interiors. No one believed me that it was factory until they saw that the vacuum formed parts are red too. I have been told many times that Colin would sell a car with whatever options someone was willing to pay enough extra to get built. I suspect that the steering wheel was installed simply because the buyer wanted it built that way and was willing to pay the extra cost.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:56 pm

Andrew, this car we are discussing came from the original owner with written confirmation that he bought the car from Lotus with the black dash and that steering wheel.

It's my understanding that there were more than three Elans made with red interiors, more like 20 - 30, though no records exist to confirm this. I also believe that black dashes were fitted to a number of the earlier 1600 Elans.

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PostPost by: elancoupe » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:54 pm

I know of both S2 roadsters and early S3 Coupes with red interiors.
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PostPost by: Geoffers71 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:18 pm

I've said before that my first Elan , a 65 S2 a came from the factory with Silver paint and Red interior.
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PostPost by: knockoffnut » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:13 pm

Thanks for the feedback and info Tim and Geoffers and elancoupe. Just to clarify my comments I wasn't implying that there were only three red interiors, but that my car was rumoured to be one of a group of three cars ordered together for a Canadian racing team, all three being white with red interiors. All of that of course was only talk, by my car does have nice red molded plastic bits and red vinyl on the seats, and the interior has never been restored save for the carpeting which I replaced around 1980 if I recall correctly. If anyone on here knows any more about the Elans that raced at Mosport in Canada in the sixties perhaps you may be able to tell me more about my (originally) White/red S3SE DHC, or my yellow S1 on JAP Magna's There must be some pictures floating around out there...
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