Lotus Elan

S2 26R Front Bumper question...

PostPost by: Frogelan » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:23 am

I'm quite tempted by the idea of building a 26R replica, with as much of an original feel to it (I can guess you are yawning already...so I'll get on with my "anorak" style question)...

On Page 43 of a book (I have the 1987 reprint edition) by Chris Harvey "The Elite, Elan, Europa" there is a black and white photo accompanied by the inscription:

"The neat enclosed headlights of the 26R sold on the home market are pictured on this model at the London Racing Car Show in 1965. One of the purposeful alloy centre-lock wheels can also be seen".

I can understand the wheels and the enclosed headlights (chinese eye)(lots of threads on all of those), but the photo also shows a very standard type bumper going all the way back to the front of the wheel arch, fitted with the original type bumper bolt and chrome trim bumper strip.

Why does hardly any photo of racers that I can find have this, or was it just a show feature ?
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PostPost by: paddy » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:43 am

Frogelan wrote:... the photo also shows a very standard type bumper going all the way back to the front of the wheel arch, fitted with the original type bumper bolt and chrome trim bumper strip.

Why does hardly any photo of racers that I can find have this, or was it just a show feature ?


The curtailed bumper is necessary when the arches are widened. See lotus-elan-f19/26r-arches-t26832.html#p178922:

The 26r came out initially with the "stock" arches and bumper (I think) with 5 1/2 inch wide wheels, My guess is when they brought out the 6 inch wheels is that the tires mounted on those 6 inch rims fouled at the front and the arches were modified, this left the bumper that extended rearward of the now modified arches so it was like wise modified.


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PostPost by: Frogelan » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:48 am

Paddy

Sounds a very logical reply. Thank you.

I'll try to look up more on the introduction date for the 6" wheels and the date of the show...[I was not born at the time!]
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:14 pm

There is a school of thought that says you should drive cars older than you are.
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PostPost by: redcarandco » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:30 pm

Dear Paddy,I am not very used to "speak" on threads (poor english spoken....) but I own a genuine 26 R( 26R 14) I bought in 68 as a crashed race car and it was fitted with an almost std bodyshell on which front bumper was a std one just because bodyshell was std and it was fitted with original std head lights actioned by vacuum but fitted with Pearce wheels which were not cut(so plain) and fixed by spinner and only 4 studs ....if you could see the car now it has deeply changed to more "conventionnal idea people have of a 26 R because race cars were strongly ""improved""during their live of modern race car but now with historic races it is an other ""debate" (not sure this is correct english) As I am not the king of PC I'll try to send a fotograhy of the car (in Zandvoort) just after it arrived from lotus but not sure it will be a succes....
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PostPost by: Frogelan » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:32 pm

Thank you Mark !

My car was built in 1964 and registered in 1965 in the States.

I was born about 10 months later.... :D
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PostPost by: Frogelan » Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:23 pm

Thank you for your thoughts Roger.

I checked the FIA 127 paper and the possibility of fitting 6" wheels came from November 1964 onwards so it was applicable to new S2 cars.

Your car (Roger) is a S1 which explains the narrow arches, orginal bumper and headlamps.

For post November 1964, S1.5 / S2 cars, the FIA papers are silent on the "Chinese Eye" look or for the wider arches (as far as I can see!). Obviously in period they existed as there are plenty of photos to attest to it.

My question is, if I was to restate it, is it not strange that the 1965 London Racing Car Show car (a new Works car and presumably a S1.5 or S2) has the narrow arches (or at least the bumpers following the original shape, not the wide wheel arch shape) and chinese eye headlamps ?

Perhaps someone has the explanation!
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PostPost by: Davidb » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:29 pm

The earliest photos I have of the series 1 26R5 I owned/raced in the eighties show it as described-with narrow rear arches, headlights "under glass" and the front bumper extending to the wheel arch. However, very soon the rear arches were modified slightly-probably to accommodate the 6 inch rims it had when I acquired it.
I think the Chinese Eye headlights may have had an early and late version as well...
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PostPost by: redcarandco » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:51 pm

As to cars exposed by the factory at all the car shows of this period.... I remember chats with a former lotus factory electrician (an italobelgian boy who established as an electrician/reparator in my town after leaving the factory and sadly passed last year)and in these chats he very often explained with his italian typical way of speaking with hands that the cars exposed where ""sometimes""not absolutely the ones they should have to be in numerous details ....Perhaps any former lotus workers should be able to confirm or not this state of things ..............:
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PostPost by: Davidb » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:23 pm

I think it is probably true that most manufacturers at that time (and earlier) had specially prepared cars for shows. Each 26R would have been built to order...
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:48 pm

There is a vast wealth of knowledge in the archives here (unfortunately the search function continues to be absolutely dire; after 14+ years!).

Short answer: there were two types of front bumper on the 26/R, early versions as per road car, later ones shortened at the sides to fit the wider wheel arches.

There were three types of 26/R headlamp arrangement: 1. standard road-car pop -ups, 2. standard road-car apertures with 7" lamps covered by plexi-glass covers, 3. smaller aperture lamps covered by flush plexi-glass covers. For some reason these latter ones have been miss-named "chinese-eye" at some point.

Any fule knowz that chinese-eye lighting is really four headlamps, the inner two being smaller diameter than the outers and set at a lower level than the large ones. Think Gordon-Keeble or Jensen CV8, for example.
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:04 pm

I sometimes find it easier to put a few key words into Google and then pick from the lotuselan.net results!
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PostPost by: Davidb » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:54 pm

Peter, I prefer to think of a Contental S3... Ex Keef ideally.

I think that there may have been two versions of the 'Chinese Eye' treatment on the 26R-not sure about it though. My S1 26R had elliptical headlight openings-covered in perspex, which seem to be larger than the openings on my S2 26R. Unfortunately, by the time I took ownership of the S1 26R the original body had been destroyed in a crash so I only have/had photos to go by.
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PostPost by: Fredtech » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:36 am

Not sure that this helps or hinders, but here are a few photos of an early 26R, possibly the most original one I have come across. It's in the Toyota Museum in Tokyo and belonged to Tojiro Ukiya, a bit of a tragic story in itself.

VIN Plate shows Chassis Nbr. 26/R/27. I'm guessing its a S 1-1/2, given that it has a full width dash, but round rear lights. In fact, the rear lights look like they are more "Federal-Spec" than UK. Perhaps that's how the fitted all export cars.
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PostPost by: Frogelan » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:30 am

Thanks Freddie, I think it is a S1 judging from the number, but it does have a S2 dash...

The pop up lamps and US spec lamps were standard for most export cars except to Europe (I recently asked the question and received some very useful replies).

What I retain from this is that (a) S2 26Rs could have either the narrow or the wider body...(b) pop up and perspex lights were up to the customer (c) although 6" rims were homologated pre 31/12/65, the tyre manufacturers for historic racing (Dunlop and Avon) actually advise 5.5" rims...
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