Lotus Elan

26R 26-S2-4 Restoration

PostPost by: 26-S2-4 » Mon Mar 06, 2023 11:27 am

Hello Everyone,

I would like to share with you the restoration of my Elan 26R, 26-S2-4 I purchased last year so I will need a lot of advices in order to restore it as close as possible to its original specification.

After having bought it I spent almost one year to register it in Italy as after Brexit everything got more complicated; although the car seemed to be in good but road legal condition it really needs a total restoration.
My intention, being an avid racer, it's to prepare it for racing but not making an extreme car like all the ones racing in Masters serie or similar as I want to preserve its originality; also need to revert many details in original condition, such as front indicators and remove the fog lights or replace the bumper as the car in period used a road long bumper, not the 26R style one.

The car was delivered new in Austria to the local Lotus importer, Rolf Markl, who raced it for a year and then sold it to Peter Peter. Subsequently sold to Richard Gerin who had a crash with and sold the car.
Registered for the first time in 1973 and since used as road car by the two owners.
I do still own the original BRM dry sump engine but it will be stored as dry sump is not allowed on cars in pre66 spec.
I decided to install a Craig Beck engine producing 176bhp, not the most powerful one but perfect for my purpose, drivetrain supplied by Tony Thompson has been bought and installed by the previous owner so a lot of work saved.

I don't like stripes liveries so It will be in British racing green only as it was in its first race.

Here is a photo of its first race
Attachments
JE-RF-1965-183-0030.jpeg and
Last edited by 26-S2-4 on Mon Mar 06, 2023 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: 26-S2-4 » Mon Mar 06, 2023 11:33 am

Here is the car as it was when I purchased it
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PostPost by: elans3 » Mon Mar 06, 2023 3:01 pm

Very nice car ! Right up my street !
Current :- Elan S3 DHC SE S/S 1968,
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PostPost by: baileyman » Mon Mar 06, 2023 4:01 pm

Very interesting. As bought looks like S2 flairs, but the as-raced looks like no flairs? Could this car have had an S1 body with S2 lights?

Love the red interior. John
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PostPost by: 26-S2-4 » Mon Mar 06, 2023 4:31 pm

I do agree John, I believe, being one of the very first S2 cars, at the factory they may have adapted an S1 body to S2 spec in fact from a different angle is clearly visible that it has got large rear arches, correct for an S2, while they cut off a part to allow large tires, another thing that may confirm this is the road front bumper.
I attach another later period picture of the car.
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JE-RF-1965-665-0032.jpeg and
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PostPost by: Frogelan » Tue Mar 07, 2023 11:53 am

This is a really interesting find and many thanks for sharing the photos.

I did a post a few years ago enquiring about the same front bumper question on Racing S2's as the display car at the 1965 Racing Car Show had exactly this configuration as I had seen the photos in a book.

I did not want to publish the photo for intellectual property reasons...Here are those photos as this is important subject imho as I would like to incorporate this feature on 26/4022...

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Several observations:

- the front tyres for the S2R were listed in the S2R parts list as being narrower than the rears (along with the dry sump). Of course the FIA rely only on the 128 form despite annexing this official parts list which dates from 1964...
- some race organisers are now insisting on Dunlop M 5.25 tyres (rather than 5.5" or even 6.0")

I hope this helps!

Andrew
1965 Lotus Elan S2 26/4022 (originally Dutchess Lotus East, PA and NJ Area, USA)
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PostPost by: 26-S2-4 » Tue Mar 07, 2023 1:50 pm

Thank you Andrew,

That's interesting, good to share these infos, I have found another 26R in the same configuration of mine one, I'll try to find out details.

Yes, the only accepted specs are from Homologation form 127 where there are 6" wheels but sadly FIA do not accept components only shown on parts list/promotional brochure. I had a similar problem with my Lotus Eleven although the 4-2-1 exhaust manifold is show on the car catalog they do not accept it.

Agree about tires, Peterauto only accepts 5.25M for the Lotus Elan

Cheers, Andrea
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Tue Mar 07, 2023 4:28 pm

I just wanted to say that that is a fabulous car.

I briefly owned a 26R in the 1980's, it was in bits, I ended up selling it to Tony Thompson (surprise). It had been road registered in 1967 as SNP 603F. The guy that it owned at the time worked with a very young Paul Matty at the Ashmore Brothers.

I'll dig the pictures out, if I can find them. It was a 'normal' S2, by that I mean late production.
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PostPost by: knockoffnut » Tue Mar 07, 2023 10:29 pm

I thank you for posting these pictures. It is so rare to see a 26R with correct original body and details. i would love to see higher resolution pictures if that would be at all possible. I find the red interior fascinating. I have an S3SE with original factory red interior, including the original red vinyl and original red plastic console, but I have not previously seen an earlier car (S1 or S2) with a red interior. I would love to see pictures of the door panels of your car. I have been studying the variations between the 26Rs and the regular Elans, and i can confidently say that the 26R bodies did not come from the same molds (moulds for you British gentlemen) as the regular Elan bodies. This body is certainly a second series 26R body not a first series 26R body with later lights added. It is extremely rare to see a 26R with its original body. Fabulous!
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PostPost by: 26-S2-4 » Wed Mar 08, 2023 9:04 am

Thank you,

When I bought the car I've been able to get in touch with a friend of the last owner who sadly passed away, this friend took care of the "restoration", very unprofessionally done, and gave me a lot of details about the car. It's a shame they ruined many original parts and trashed many others: the door cards were original and they decided to make them red, the original driver seat used on a sport car for racing, they drilled the dashboard to add additional switches and warning lamps.
He also confirmed that, following the crash in 1967, the front end has been replaced, using a wrong one; on other parts of the body some differences with modern shells can be seen. For sure the actual one is much heavier than brand new TTR one.
I'll keep you updated with more details when stripping down the car.
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PostPost by: 661 » Wed Mar 08, 2023 10:15 am

Lovely car.
5.50 M's don't fit in the bodywork of my TTR S2 shell. I guess L section 5.50s would fit but I run 5.25 Ms in my series.
I thought dry sumps were allowed???? Certainly if it can be shown to have been raced in period with a dry sump then that must be allowable, but I just seem to recall seeing something saying it was allowable. Frogelan will surely know as he knows the regs inside out :)
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PostPost by: 26-S2-4 » Wed Mar 08, 2023 10:27 am

Thank you Graeme,

interesting information about tires.

My car in 1966 was converted to dry sump, I still retain the original BRM prepared engine, but it was homologated on the 1st of February 1966 (it is the last extension of 127 Homologation form) so we can certainly use it but the car will compete in G1 period, no longer in F and it means I could no longer join the series I usually compete on.
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PostPost by: knockoffnut » Wed Mar 08, 2023 12:01 pm

Be very careful about assumptions on what was factory original. So many details on the 26R were different from Elans, for example, the dashboard, was different and had extra warning lights. Be careful with assumptions about turn signals too. I know that the bodies came from different molds and were a different shape than the stock elan (not just the flares). The Tony Thompson body mold was created to be a modular mold, allowing production of different body options, not accounting for the actual differences between first series 26R bodies, and second series 26R bodies and regular Elan bodies. His mold was taken mainly from a regular Elan and then the fender flares only, were molded off an original 26R body, and then grafted/blended to the (regular) Elan body mold, so TTR bodies do not very closely represent the shape of an original 26R. I have an original S1 Elan, S2 Elan, S3 Elan, S1 bodied race car (the Unicorn), and a TTR body and I test fitted doors, boot and bonnet lids between them to check fits. Then I called Tony to ask about the results and that is when he told me the story of how his mold was created, saying it was built to make spares for racing, not to do concourse restorations. The nose of my S1 racecar (the Unicorn) is a grafted on piece which also doesn't match any known Lotus mold, but does match photos of another European 26R, after that car was crashed and repaired. I expect there were a few people molding replacement noses out of separate partial molds, back in the day, just as there are today.
Every Elan I have ever stripped has been crashed in the front end. When I have seen collected pictorial histories of these cars, the cars often have replacement front bodywork from extremely early in their careers. For example my buddy bought an Elan from the factory, took it to Europe and crashed it, went back to the factory, bought another and crashed that one too, then bought another. I offer this for your consideration: all of the early pictures I have seen of the second series cars had the short, rounded front bumper. Since the Series 2 26R came out of a separate body mold it is unlikely that the brand new body mold would have been modified from long bumper to short bumper after the first few cars. The bumper needed to be short for the wide contours of the second series 26R body. By this time many racers were already running widened fenders, and replacing nose panels after races/crashes. It is however very likely that the first cars were crashed in testing before ever being shown to the public, and may have already been repaired with partial front ends, pulled off the shelf of existing spares for S1 cars, prior to being shown to the public, and the first available photo of any given car may have also been taken after that car's first crash and repair. As there was nothing else like a 26R available when they came out I expect many drivers pushed to find the limit and crashed in their earliest drives. If you end up stripping off all of the paint from your car then you may find evidence of what the original body looked like, or where it was cut and replaced. To me your body looks remarkably original for a second series 26R. If the door cards of your car were switched to red, and the seats, from what I can see (though I cannot see much) do not appear to be 26R seats (which were completely different) then this car may have been delivered with a standard 26R interior, and switched to a later red interior, which I have (so far) only first seen on series three cars.
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PostPost by: 26-S2-4 » Wed Mar 08, 2023 2:23 pm

I agree, for some stuff or addition I can only trust the man who worked on the car and personally did some works on it!

About the body I have pictures from almost all the races it did, obviously it's impossible to know exactly what happened in every race or every single damage that occurred to the car. For example in the period photo I posted (the one with the striped car) you can see the windscreen is broken on a corner and reinforced with some electrical tape probably due to a minor touch which SEEMS not to have damaged the body.
On the photo I attach you can see the damaged screen and a scratch on the door.
I have a photo from 1967 when Richard Gerlin crashed it in an hillclimb and the front end was almost completely missing so it's highly probable what you say: to fix the car they ordered a front end and they received the short bumper one.
Agree with the interior, again from what the mechanic said, the car arrived with black interior and just one bucket seat (perhaps the original 26R? who knows) but the owner asked to swap to red so they removed the black vinyl from door cards and replaced it with red leather and installed std seats in red along with a leather trim behind the seats; this to confirm what you say, it's quite hard to know exactly what happened and how the car was originally equipped.
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PostPost by: knockoffnut » Thu Mar 09, 2023 1:22 am

One of our good friends here on Lotuselan.net has just sent to me a picture of an S2 Elan with an original, factory red interior, so I have now seen an original red interior in an Elan S2! What a great group of people we have on this forum!
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