Lotus Elan

My Elan S3 DHC restoration thread (warning: picture heavy)

PostPost by: tomjones20194 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:33 pm

Hello Folks - I just picked up my 1967 Lotus Elan this weekend. Made the trip from Virginia to Maine and back in two albeit long days. I opted for picking it up myself since shipping was quoted at $1500-1600 - that’s a lot of money that can be used to buy parts instead. My first impression is that the car is in rougher shape than I expected from the pictures (but isn’t that usually the case?). It’s also much smaller than I expected but no issues there. Owner says car was running when parked over 15 years ago - so I’m hoping it won’t take much to get it running again.

Here it is on the trailer:

ddcc674a-ac2e-4327-9b70-25624ef091d9.jpeg and


Here are a couple after I pressure washed it and got it into my garage.

3c696295-f130-4082-a7bc-25cfd160a0b2.jpeg and


1afa6478-d737-4650-94f9-80751b301901.jpeg and


I’ve got lots of questions so I’ll be posting most pics shortly.
Last edited by tomjones20194 on Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: tomjones20194 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:24 pm

OK - first up, I’m trying to determine exact model and year. Prior registration says it is a 1967 with ID 4516697. The 1 is a mistake. Here is the VIN plate - it’s a model 45, chassis #6697. Unfortunately no engine number is engraved so I won’t be able to tell if motor is original or not.

1b1bb2af-091b-4075-86a8-5ce20f8bf185.jpeg and


According to figure 1 in Robinshaw’s book, this makes it a series 3 DHC. I believe it to be an S/E model based on side markers on the front fenders. It also has other things like locking glove box, small air vents on the dash, electric windows with switches on the dashboard, chrome window frames, rear view mirror on the aluminum rod that runs vertical in middle of windshield and the proper S3 taillights.

But it has some oddities that I’d like to hear folks opinions on. First, the trunk hinges appear to be from a S4. The Lotus emblem on the nose is black and chrome (not green and yellow). It has air horns and regular horns (probably aftermarket). And it may have two ignition switches?? See pics below.

d68f0421-8395-44c3-8cc7-f8325ab9d2a1.jpeg and


ed300b5d-eef2-4bab-80dd-9d017008f988.jpeg and


2919d87d-123f-45c7-8492-170aff66f1ac.jpeg and


7d309035-879e-418c-bef3-282dff1ec49d.jpeg and


9bbc8e7f-3310-4d44-9e26-7b6f23449870.jpeg and


017d4365-7356-43a1-95e9-769f1ab37244.jpeg and


So verdict? 1967 S3 DHC S/E?
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:40 am

Looks like an SE to me, the one in the chass no. is not a one......it is a forward slash /.
Can’t quite see but think the chassis plate has the type of diff oil scratched out, for some reason Lotus did this on the S3 SE which had 3.55 diffs.
SE cars also had the indicator repeater lights on top of the fenders and the chrome strips under the doors, all of which your car has.
Have a read over this thread as it contains some chassis numbers which puts it as an SE.
lotus-chassis-f36/what-this-missing-piece-interior-trim-next-dash-t42748-15.html
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:25 am

Congratulations on your find. The good thing is, it's all there so you have something to go on.

You'll find this group very helpful, mostly sympathetic, with the occasional dose of sarcasm.

It looks very much like what I brought home 39 years ago, "running when parked".

Best wishes to you,
Dan Wise
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PostPost by: Bombay Racing Green » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:41 am

Hi,

Congratulations on the Elan. Yes, they are small but I find it quite roomy inside. I’m 6’2” and I don’t have the seat all the way back. I think the second ingnition switch is the steering column lock. I also think the black badge was available on the later S3s onward. I seem to remember seeing a road test report (Brooklands books) with an S3SE FHC with a black badge on it. I won’t get into the Black badge background!

Good luck!
Pete
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:57 am

Congratulations. Nice find. First, it looks like someone swapped out the boot hinges to S4 type. The boot
lids have indentations for the hinges and it looks like yours has the indentation for the longer S3 type.

I'd be surprised if the locking steering column should be there. Locking columns are found on much later
S4's.

Hopefully we'll see you, and your car, of course, at the next LOG in Sturbridge, MA, next year.
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:22 am

Looks like a great restoration project! Congratulations! The group on this forum is extremely knowledgeable and very helpful. I could not have completed my various restorations without them.

What are your plans? Just get it running and drive it or major restoration ?

Best, Glen
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PostPost by: USA64 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:05 pm

I bought my S4 in Virginia registered as 45l9033 the slash changed to a small L. When I registered in NJ I tried to correct it and was told, brusquely, " We do not use slashes ". I was advised against trying to change a VIN as well.
We are supposed to be having fun, are we not?
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:52 pm

Tom,

Your Elan is a DHC Type 45 Series 3 Special Equipment model. The Unit No is 6697. It was invoiced by the factory at Cheshunt on 17 April 1967 If you contact Andy Graham at Lotus he will be able to let you know through which importer the car was shipped, which would have been 3 to four months after the invoice date.

All Elans exported to North America were SE versions, once it had been introduced. The black badge was fitted to some S3 and S4 Elans at this time. It is not indicative of anything connected with the running of the car! The ignition switch should be on the dashboard. The switch was integrated into the steering column with a lock on later S4 Elans for the export market.

Looking forward to watching your progress on this.

Tim
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:31 pm

virginia to maine in 2 days???
I've got you beat. I just did a round trip between New Jersey and New Mexico in 4 days towing my new ElanS2 project. :D
don't you just love finding these cars begging to be brought back to life once again??
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PostPost by: Jon Eckman » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:02 pm

Right hand drive? Did you look at many others before choosing this one? FWIW, I'm in Connecticut and usually get parts in one day from Ray at RD Enterprises in PA (no affiliation). Back in the 70's, it used to take me 7 hours to get to Camden ME from CT (in an Elan S2), so I can only imagine what VA was like. Good luck with your efforts and look forward to seeing and reading about your progress.

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PostPost by: tomjones20194 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:41 pm

All -

Thanks for the various feedback, tips and questions. I will try to answer them all in this post.

"What are your plans? Just get it running and drive it or major restoration?"
Answer: My immediate plans are to just get it running and drivable. It needs all new engine seals, clutch job and brake job. Wiring needs to be cleaned up. Shocks and springs seem ok, but all the bushings are dry rot. Steering needs to be tightened up. Sway bars need all new bushings too. After that, it'll need some fiberglass work, new paint, new upholstery and new top. Will cross those bridges in the future.

"I bought my S4 in Virginia registered as 45l9033 the slash changed to a small L. When I registered in NJ I tried to correct it and was told, brusquely, " We do not use slashes ". I was advised against trying to change a VIN as well."
Comment: Agreed. I filled out the VA DMV paperwork using 4516697 as that was what on the previous reg. info. I successfully got the car titled in my name this morning!!

"Your Elan is a DHC Type 45 Series 3 Special Equipment model. The Unit No is 6697. It was invoiced by the factory at Cheshunt on 17 April 1967 If you contact Andy Graham at Lotus..."
Comment: Thanks for the info. I contacted Andy last week and he requested a few pictures of VIN, casting on firewall and casting on block. I sent him the pics this morning, so I hope to hear back in a few days with more info.

"don't you just love finding these cars begging to be brought back to life once again?"
Comment: I really do enjoy fixing old cars and getting them back on the road. Tackling a system/subsystem, e.g., engine, lights, brakes, etc. and getting them to work gives me the feeling of success.

"Right hand drive? Did you look at many others before choosing this one?"
Answer: No - this kinda fell in my lap. I had been looking for a fairly unique project car (no set make/model). My brother works with the previous owner. The owner mentioned that he was thinking of selling his Lotus and that spurred my brother to contact me about it. I did some research (but not a ton) on these cars before deciding to buy it. RHD doesn't both me as this will be a weekend tourer, not a daily.

Thanks,
Tom
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PostPost by: Famous Frank » Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:52 am

Tom,

Great project! Don't forget, that green valve cover is also part of the SE package and it included hotter cams and different carb jetting.

Just some thoughts about getting it started. Old fuel is one of your biggest enemies. I would remove the fuel tank and have it "tanked". You don't want anything that is still in there to go through the fuel line and make it to the carbs. It could gum things up forever!

Same with any brake fluid. Yuk!

All the best,
Frank
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PostPost by: tomjones20194 » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:30 pm

Folks -

I have some time yesterday to work on the car. I tested some of the electrical systems. Good news is that most everything worked. Here is the list of systems that worked and some comments:

- Headlights: worked - high and low beam lit, was not able to test opening/closing as car is not yet running
- Fog lights: worked - these are the small white light on the front nose
- Wipers: worked - they are slow and need some adjustment, did not test washer fluid sprayer
- Horns: Electric ones worked, air ones are untested
- Electric windows: worked - they are very slow and do not open or close evenly and need some hand assistance but it's a good start
- Heater fan: worked - two speeds, it's making a heck of a racket though like the blades are hitting something...
- Interior light on dashboard: worked

I do have some questions about the dashboard layout though. Looks like a previous owner created some unique work arounds when switches went bad. I have labeled the function of the swithes in my car and would like to know if these are correct or if they were changed to perform a different function. Let me know what is stock and what was changed.

dashboard_markup1.jpg and


dashboard_markup2.jpg and
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:11 pm

S3 Dash
Attachments
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s3-dash-copy-copy.jpg and
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