Elantrikbits web site is an Australian lotus elan web site. Experience with the Lotus élan began in 1982, the year in which a full restoration project of a basket case S2 DHC élan began, as can be viewed through the photo collage’s below.
Over the ensuing years, requests were received from other elan enthusiasts for the various special components which we incorporated into the S2 elan restoration, some of which can be viewed on this web site, especially our premier product…
The CV Solid Drive Shaft Conversion.
The elan purist may not condone or agree with some of the mods that can be performed on the classic lotus élan S1- S4, but if the refinements have been done in the interests of reliability, safety, and added performance, in order to promote the longevity of the classic lotus elan marque, then I’m sure you would agree that the effort must be a worthwhile gain.
The Passion For Lotus.
The writers first “up close” encounter with a Lotus elan occurred at a very young age, (18) and from that day on, he knew that ownership of a Lotus elan was on the bucket list, but the asking price of a new elan back then was way out of reach for a rural farm boy, so more than decade passed before finally acquiring the elan, but alas, it was no showroom beauty ready to drive, it was a clapped out, total basket case S2 DHC.
Brought home via two trailer loads of dismantled elan, the car had been mostly raced on Australian race tracks, so the race car theme was continued for the rebuild… eg, flared guards, 14″ X 6″ Simmonds three piece alloy wheels, Ultra Close ratio gearbox, Race design Solid CV drive line, just to mention a few of the goodies that came with the car, and in hindsight, should have also purchased the all steel Brian Hart twin cam engine that was also offered for an extra $1100.00 (1981) but declined, then much regretted at a later date.
Much later in the time frame, another twin cam engine was offered by the owner of a Ford Cortina, the engine had a bad water leak, and all he wanted was AU$250.00 for the whole outfit … weber carbs and all … So, a done deal it was.
From Basket Case To The Fully Rebuilt Lotus elan S2 DHC.
Restoration Time Frame: 1982-1986 – 2500 – 3000 hours- (Minimum).
Showcasing Of Skills:
General restoration skills – metal craft skills – rebuilding of fibre glass body, the challenge of reproducing many different mechanical components – developing unique products/components, this was truly lotus heaven.
The Side Effects Of The Lotus Passion
Near divorce – Near Broke – Hardly ever saw the kids. And I’m sure the neighbours hated the deafening angle grinding noise that emanated from the raw and bare fibreglass body, and for creating a constant cloud of white fibre glass dust that settled on anything and everything, not to mention the constant smell of fibreglass resin as it cured, but hey neighbours, you have to understand that this is a lotus elan I am restoring.
The only jobs farmed out on the project were the cylinder boring and honing of the engine block, the crank and cam grinding, a new wiring loom was made by a young local auto electrician guru, and the upholstery was also done locally, there was no need to run off to the big city to find an over priced specialist guru, because there are plenty of talented people in the bush, and the rest of the work was carried out by the writer.
If you’ve ever been involved in the restoration and rebuild of a Lotus elan, then you’d have a good understanding of the work, financial resources, physical effort and the dedication that you need to throw at a project from beginning to end, the constant work and worry does take it’s toll when progress stagnates from time to time, but eventually, the day does arrive when the project finally begins to come together, and the light at the end of the very long restoration tunnel appears at long last. (Hooray)
The Personal Rewards.
The thrill of being able to own & drive a car that has been totally rebuilt by one’s own toil, skill and resources, and a vehicle that, went, stopped & handled like no other car the writer had ever driven.
The Grin Factor.
The classic lotus elan is just an amazing sports car to own and drive, and guaranteed to put more smiles on your face than many other expensive exotics, this is a car that punches way above its weight, and gives a huge bang for the buck.
Fast Forward To Year 2009.
When an unexpected and traumatic off road event occurred while out on a fun drive, caused by a mechanical failure (Broken rear RHS outboard axle stub shaft) … metal fatigue can take years to propagate until a certain part decides to fail.
Once more the elan was back in the workshop and completely dismantled, and restoration Mk2 begins – But this time we do it proper, and modify and change things where required.
Photo Collage Mk2 – Time Frame: 2009 – 2013.
The Hours Spent Rebuilding.
With a minimum of 4,500 hours spent – rebuilding – refurbishing – fibreglass body repairs – fabricating of suspension wishbones and exhaust extractor system – welding – machining – restoring – hand sanding of body work – priming and painting takes a lot of skilled and seemingly never ending hard work.
A rebuild project such as this allows the honing of many restoration skills, plus the learning and mastering of new skills and techniques to add to the lotus elan restoration knowledge bank. The images above, illustrate just a small selection of the hundreds of shots that were taken during the four year rebuild project.
Imagine having to pay someone to do the restoration work, even at the lowly rate of $30.00AU per hour – The final bill would be somewhere in the region of an eye watering AU$135,000 – Of course no road going elan is bringing that much on the market… Yet!
A genuine Lotus elan 26R will change hands for a very large sum of money, but they are an exception.
I guess that’s what the lotus passion is all about, spending a huge amount of time and resources on a project that you truly enjoy, and the pay off is being able to enjoy the driving thrills and rewards of owning a great Lotus sports car at the end.
If you wish to know more about the after market products we produce, make a general inquiry, or just to say G’day, then please contact us via email through the form on the contact page, or below, we’d like to hear from you.