Lotus Elan

Restoration blues

PostPost by: alaric » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:14 pm

Everyone must go through the blues at certain points in the restoration of their Loti. What's the best way to get enthusiasm up again when everything seems to be going wrong; I need a restoration version of viagra.

I'm considering putting ?20 notes into an envelope and burning them on the barby, as that's a lot less hassle, and I can at least watch the colored flames....

Any other suggestions?
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:48 pm

Get Brian Bucklands book 'The Rebuilding of a Lotus Elan' to get you enthused again. I did a quick 'initial impression' of the book on a thread a few weeks ago, and the best comment that someone added was that it fired them back up again....and it does. So much so that I bought a S4 dhc last week that's been stood for 10 years to apply my new found wisdom!
If you're doing a Plus 2, it doesn't matter, as there is still a heck of a lot you can learn for that as well.
What stage are you at? It may be worthwhile stopping doing what you're currently on and turn your attention to another piece of work, something that can be completed in a farly short period of time. I guess that the worst job if you are doing it yourself is the bodywork, in which case get the suspension sorted, or the dash re-done....something different that you can finish and make progress....a sense of achievement.
Don't let it end up on ebay as yet another unfinished project, or I'll be compelled to buy it!!
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PostPost by: Hamish Coutts » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:12 pm


I went through a similar stage a few months ago. Nothing seemed to be going well, In fact there seemed to be problem piling on top of problem. I was megga pissed off.

A few things helped me:
~ the encouragement of the guys on this site to keep going. People like Steve, Chris Hewitt.
~ guys on this site sharing their lotus problems so I didn't feel that I was the only one with lotus faults
~ solving a few problems on my car as a result of this and getting a bit more of an apetite to do more.
~ sticking with it no matter what. Believing things will get better - they do!! I had a fantastic week on Arran a couple of weeks ago with a fully functioning car. I wouldn't have swapped that for anything.

Also try reading some of the restoration stuff or going for a run in a working Lotus.

The key thing is that you see what success looks like. That lets you see where you can get to and that it is possible to get there. That may sound naff but it is true.

Burning bank notes might be colourful but you end up with a pile of grey ash. At least if you spend it on the car you end up with something that is quite unique - and gives a hell of a lot of pleasure. :) :)

Courage mon brave!

"One day I'll finish the restoration - honest, darling, just a few more years....."
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PostPost by: ppnelan » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:18 pm

How about going to see someone else who has a car under restoration? Or even one that is up & running? Then you'll be able to exchange ideas and remember why you started doing it in the first place... :)

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PostPost by: chrishewett » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:32 pm

I have to echo Hamish, without the support of this forum I think a gallon of optimax and a match would have been the way my seven years of Lotus ownership would have ended! ( For the car not me).
Recently I reached an all time low when I realised that the so called engine rebuild of a couple of years ago was a disaster. I then bit the bullit and had it rebuilt by a proper race engine man only to have the bottom end wrecked after a bungled commisioning ( by someone else). Two weeks and another ?500 with the engine man and I fitted the engine myself today. It sounds just great! Tomorrow it goes to the weber man and his rolling road when hopefully this chapter of the rebuild will be over. All I then need to do is run it in before taking it to classic Le Mans next wednesday!
My advise is ( finances allowing) keep going. My mistake has been to sort one job and then leave the car in the garage for to long as I find the money or enthusiasm for the next stage. These cars need using and prolonged inactivity causes more problems.
Good luck with it,
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PostPost by: alaric » Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:32 pm

Thanks chaps.

Only kidding about the money on the barby.

The body has just been restored, and I'm now having to deal with a few faults. The paintwork is outstanding, but there is a crack in the nose, and in two of the wheel arch rims. I paid extra to have the nose section strengthened, and when I inspected it was impressed with the work that had been done, but saw no cracks - I think they've appeared since the respray, I believe during transportation. The light pods now fit beautifully. I'm really surprised and quite gutted to be finding faults in areas that, even to me, as someone that's never attempted fibreglassing, are obvious places that need care, as they are vulnerable and load bearing. These bodies only work if all the box sections and cross members are sound. To cap it all, there's a scratch in the centre of the new windscreen. I can repair all the faults, and it may even not need a respray if I'm careful.

The rest of the car is basically ready to be assembled. I have elan guage ornaments in the lounge, badges on the walls, trim behind the sofa, and a loft full of powder coated and re-chromed parts, a new dash and wiring looms, new carpets etc. The engine's sat patiently in the garage with the new gearbox. It's like a kit car that's been waiting for the body to come back for assembly. My little two and a half year old lad knows all these items and the Elan as 'pas touche' - his mother's French so we're both learning the lingo together.

Should I just rectify the faults myself, or let it out of my sight again? I've not managed to have proper discussion with the restorer yet, so it's not really fair to be critical until he's had a chance to sort it out.

I've attached a piccy of the car taken minutes after delivery.

It makes me feel better just to go and look at it - if only it wasn't for those stupid cracks - aaahhhhh!!!!! Why not get it right!

Ok I'll cut the crap and get back to it.

20060615 003 small.jpg and
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PostPost by: elandoc » Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:57 am


One of the things we do in our club (Lotus Club Queensland) is every now and then have a "Tour de Sheds", where we visit club members' garages and sheds, admire the set up, and encourage them to "sever the taproot" that's grown from their 10 year restoration project throught the garage floor and deep in to the earth.
Many a stalled project has been put back on track in this manner, resulting in a lot of newly restored cars turning up to club meetings and drives, getting admiring comments from other club members.
So my question is: Are you a member of a Lotus Club?

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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Thu Jun 29, 2006 6:02 am

What is needed is someone local to go give the man a blast round the country lanes,that should re-kindle the fire for a while....

John :wink:
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PostPost by: tdafforn » Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:04 am

Hi Alaric,
I couldn't agree more with John...
TRy and get to see (and hear) a running elan...
I'd happily offer but the midlands are a little far from Dorset..
On one of my previous projects I hit the blues big time. Then one weekend I jury rigged the engine (which was on the chassis minus the body) to run...
The sound of the engine made me want to finish the whole thing!
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PostPost by: ngs » Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:59 am

Hi Sean.

I can relate to your mood.

I got my car's body back from being refaced and painted with primer filler only to find quite a few areas that need more work.

If it helps, I bet you'll be driving your car before I get mine finished.

Cheers, Nigel
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PostPost by: alaric » Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:22 pm

Thanks all for your support - as you all know it just helps to try and have a bit of a laugh about it and talk to others. The finish on the car really is great - I'm actually really nervous of going near it until I have a definitive view from the people that did the work. However, as I need to progress the car, I'm heading out to buy fibreglass material tomorrow, and plan to start reinforcing some of the traditional weak spots such as round the boot hinges etc etc. This'll hopefully give me the experience to repair the faults myself.

There's a club lotus run out on Sunday. We have quite an active group centred in the New Forest, so I'm hoping to get a ride in one of the +2s that'll be there.

I got my engine running in the chassis back in March. Fantastic.

Nigel, your car looks like it's having a really thorough restoration, you're in one of the best parts of the world, and drive on the correct side of the road. I'd love to head into the Blue Mountains in a +2. Must be fantastic. Have you decided on a colour yet? That was one of the hardest decisions.

All the best.

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:18 pm

Get yourself to Cadwell Park when the Elans are racing!

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PostPost by: twincamman » Sat Jul 01, 2006 1:25 pm

OK sounds like you are attacking too many projects at a time -and worrying about the finished car ---I use a black board and list what has to be done by sections ----suspension -electrics -motor etc ----that way you don't worry about finishing the car and a sense of accomplishment is constant ---and its very satisfying to remove the accomplished task from the board ---and one day there are no more items to add to the board --the car is done---- and you can go look for another one ----NOW GET TO WORK AND QUIT WHINING -- :lol: --ed
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PostPost by: miked » Sat Jul 01, 2006 2:09 pm

For my two pennies worth!

I agree with ED. I never thought about the car being finished. As strange as it sounds. I made lists and worked through them, stock piled new, cleaned and painted bit etc.

One morning I was working and realised that I was almost finished. Then there are the years of tweaking and playing to get it better and better. I was actaully fed up when I had nothing to play with. Hence the trackday S4 bits gathering. I do agree about getting out in some ones car. It really does inspire to go for a ride and also to see Elans on the track. Just hearing one. If it was ever annoying me I was proably tired and shoud not be in the garage. Re: Money, they do drain, I just slow down when the wife starts to moan.

Good luck

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