Lotus Elan

Were Elans made LHD ready??

PostPost by: djb222 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:15 pm

In my engine bay at the end of the passenger footwell there is a 'pop riveted' thin fibre board cover. It seemed an odd and out of place item, so before removing I thought I'd have a look inside and found that it covered cut outs for brake and clutch cylinders. The car was registered in the UK and to my knowledge has ever left or been converted to LHD.
So is this something that Lotus did as a matter of course??

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PostPost by: benymazz » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:22 pm

I would not be surprised. I know my dad purchased his S2 as LHD right from the factory in England, but I don't know much about it beyond that.
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:52 pm

I think the bodies were moulded for both side, the pop riveted part may have been added afterward, by a previous owner.
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PostPost by: snowyelan » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:27 pm

My 69 S4 LHD has that cover but on the RHS....with the cutouts as well.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:28 pm

I think the bodies had the holes cut for RHD and LHD, later on when the cars were rolling down the production line it was decided which batch of cars were going where, it was then just a simple matter of blanking the unneeded holes off.
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PostPost by: bitsobrits » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:02 am

My very original early S3 (LHD) had the riveted fiberboard over the holes for RHD controls. I once had another RHD S3 that had the same setup, but on the LHD side. I would have to believe this was from the factory.
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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:17 am

Certainly they were LHD ready from the start. Chapman was smarter than to think he could ever turn a profit selling only in the UK. MG and Triumph had already proven that the U.S. market was where the easy money was. And the Continent is not RHD either.
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PostPost by: djb222 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:02 am

I must say that was my initial thought, however unlike other manufacturers, who had to have tooling to produce the panels to accommodate right and left, with lotus it was just a few holes, presumably after moulding. Also, it looks like they forgot the hole for the Steering column (in my car)........unless I've missed it.

Has this always been the case with the +2, Europa etc........and what about the more modern Lotus?
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:48 pm

Interesting....... Having worked on a number of rhd Elans now i don't remember seeing a second set of LHD holes? i suspect all the Elans (pre-federal) started off life with a set of RHD holes and the LHD set were added later in production to meet orders, so maybe you just ended up with a Body that was originally destined for sunnier climates and for what ever reason stayed in the Uk.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:38 pm

My rhd S2 has the holes with a type of fibre board over them and my old S3 (sold) also had the holes covered with the board.
Have not checked my Sprint as its in storage at the moment.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:45 pm

I have a 1965 S2, a 1967 S3 and a Sprint (all UK RHD) and in the past I have had S1's, 3's and 4's (also UK RHD) and they've all had the holes cut out for LHD and covered over with board of some type (same stuff used to cover over the fuel tank hose to main pipe I think).
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:13 am

My federal Plus 2 has no RHD holes. That said, it looks like the holes could be cut on either side.

And since more modern Lotus came up, my former '86 Esprit, if I recall, had a body made for one side and not the other; however, the dashboard's exteriour trim appear appeared to be designed to be used on either type- there was a big rectangular hole on each side, which on one side accommodated the instrument binnacle and on the other side accommodated the glovebox-lid.
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PostPost by: prezoom » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:14 pm

My 1972 130S had a fiber board cover over some holes on the top of the right side footwell. The holes were not large enough to accommodate the pedal assembly, and I couldn't quite figure out why the holes were there. Repaired when I did the engine conversion.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:27 pm

Hi Rob,

Just out of curiosity do you know if 26-4889 was originally painted in BRG?

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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:09 am

The Veg wrote:My federal Plus 2 has no RHD holes. That said, it looks like the holes could be cut on either side.

And since more modern Lotus came up, my former '86 Esprit, if I recall, had a body made for one side and not the other; however, the dashboard's exteriour trim appear appeared to be designed to be used on either type- there was a big rectangular hole on each side, which on one side accommodated the instrument binnacle and on the other side accommodated the glovebox-lid.


My Elise had a hole for a LHD pedal box with a plate (badly) riveted over it.
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