Lotus Elan

Is perfection a moving target?

PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:23 am

1969/70 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
"It just wouldn't be a complete day if I didn't forget something!" -Me
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PostPost by: SENC » Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:11 am

I'd say it's an unattainable target!
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PostPost by: Bud English » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:04 am

Perfection is a moving target and if "The best is the enemy of the good.", perfection is the enemy of done. I'm starting to lean towards good enough.
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PostPost by: JonB » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:52 am

Interesting article, thanks for posting it.

Bud, my advice FWIW would be to get your car on the road and start enjoying it. Things that can be addressed later can be done as "good enough". Use a higher level of "perfection" on those things that cannot be easily improved on once the car is back together.

Unless you like working on it more than driving it, of course!
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:53 am

If there is an end point marked perfection it's receding into the distance faster than I can chase it. :(
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PostPost by: miked » Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:05 pm

You can chase perfection for years. Making lists and working through them. Due to the design of the car and the quality of replacement parts it is like getting to the end of a vanishing point. It never comes. For me this is good as I would get bored if there was nothing to diagnose and fettle. I sort out my lists during winter and then hopefully just deal with the unforseen as they rear their head.

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PostPost by: mikealdren » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:56 pm

Perfection is about having a car with enough flaws that you are not scared of driving it.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:10 pm

My approach is along similar lines to Bud's and Jon's, at least insofar as not aiming for some lofty notion of perfection.

Right now the priority is fixing the big obvious problems as well as the 'do it while you're in there so don't have to go back in for it later' stuff, with my main goal being basic (safe, legal) operability of the car. I know that it'll never be a concours-exhibit, at least not while I own it. I want to enjoy driving it more than anything else, so once I've got that good basic operability down then I can spend the rest of my days fettling with the smaller projects and refinements. And it will be good! :D
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PostPost by: vincereynard » Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:21 pm

Wouldn't that make it highly unoriginal? :shock:
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:37 pm

I set out to make my Elan a decent enjoyable car to drive. Mission creep, and a desire to he best I can are resulting in an object that is too precious to use.

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PostPost by: Esprit2 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:49 pm

Disappointment is a function of expectations.

It's not a big stretch to apply that to "perfection" as well.

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PostPost by: Lotus14S2 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:46 pm

Fixing things that are broken is not “pursuit of perfection”.
With any car you wish to maintain and use, will require maintenance, but when the maintenance moves into the realm of trying to make the car perfect, then I think you are then moving into dangerous territory.
Even if you have an absolutely mint Elan, the minute you drive it around the block, you have changed the car; it is no longer mint.
As a person who raced cars in the ‘60s and ‘70s, I looked closely at many race cars. Many of them were absolutely gorgeous, but none of them had a hand rubbed lacquer engine bay.
When I was a kid, I built model airplanes, and my biggest failing was trying to make the model perfect. I could always find a flaw that needed to be removed. What this did was give me a large collection of unfinished models waiting for that final correction to make it perfect. As a result, I didn’t fly them. Instead, I watched my friends flying their less than perfect models, and having the fun I missed.
I did this with a lot of cars too. I had a Morgan, which was really fun to drive, and worked well, but it looked awful. It must have had ten different layers of paint on it. I decided to fix it up, and after three years of it being apart, I ordered a new body from Morgan. When it was delivered; I sold the car (I had lost interest in it), missing all the fun I could have had during that three year period.
If the pursuit of perfection is your hobby, then that will be the end in itself. But if you’re true to that goal, you’ll never finish the car. If it is not your goal, then do some serious thinking as to what your goal really is.
I am rebuilding (not restoring) a Series 1 Elan, it is now at the point where I need to finish touching up the body shell, and get it painted. My goal is to have a good clean street car that I can enjoy, so I will not try to make the car better than it was when it rolled out of the factory; if that is even possible.
My favorite “perfection” story was relayed to me by the fellow who rebuilt my ’61 Elite. He was the mechanic and sometimes driver for another friend who raced cars in vintage/historic racing here on the west coast. The owner had much more money than I and had a fleet of cars, and two full time mechanics. One of his cars was a
Lotus Elite, and he was always in pursuit of making go faster. At one time he changed all the suspension to a fully Heim jointed version. This sort of stuff was popular with those who had to win at all costs; and had the money to do so. The car spent countless hours at Sears Point being tested on the circuit and a skid pad. After all this time and money, the car was just about unbeatable, with a very quick pro driver. Shortly after all this process, the big club in the area had a reevaluation of their rules, and no longer allowed such suspension modifications, and required that all “production” cars ran with factory suspensions. The mechanics were told to make the Elite suspension look stock, but to make new arms and links to the new dimensions, making them look like the original parts. My mechanic friend did that, but as a check he measured the new parts against the originals. It turned out, much to their chagrin, that the dimensions were the same as the originals, proving that Chapman knew what he was doing in the first place!
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PostPost by: cabc26b » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:52 pm

+1 to lotus14s2 "Fixing things that are broken is not “pursuit of perfection”" - my restorations tend to lean towards making the end product function as intended ( or needed) - admittedly there are times when i drift off the initial goal however perfection is not a consideration because the cars get driven/raced ..
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:09 pm

I never want to have perfection. You get scared to drive the car. I had a mint 993 Porsche, last of the air cooled engine cars. Very low mileage. Would park on the far side of any parking lot far away from any cars. Never failed.....I’d find some clunker car parked right next to it when I returned. Sold it and swore I would never own another highly desirable collector car that was “too nice”. I drive my Elan every where.
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:38 pm

That car is not a Sprint, it's not even and S4, it's an S3 and they were never painted Pistaccio. It is Simister's own car which he sold some years ago. Would he not have been better to have used photos of this so-called perfect Sprint, instead of his S3?
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