Lotus Elan

Recalling the 500 mile "free" service

PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:12 pm

I was trying to piece together my recollections of my 500 mile service after I picked my Elan S4 SE (Federal) at Hethel in July 1969. As I recall I had the service done at Rob Walker. They had the car for almost 10 hours. It seemed that they did a very thorough inspection and retorque of "everything". I don't have the original service voucher book (stolen when the car was shipped back to California in August 69). Be interested to know what was supposedly included in the 500 mile service as it seemed to be quite extensive.

I recall that they replaced the dual gauge, probably due to my concerns about overheating, and ascribing it to a faulty gauge. But, the overheating problems persisted on my S4 until just recently, now going to a large, oversized aluminum TTR radiator.

The most memorable part of the 500 mile service was when I picked the car up at the end of the day. The mechanic offered to take this "Yank" for a fast ride on the local country roads. We grabbed a customer's car and off he drove at break neck speed. I remember hitting 100mph on a narrow hedge-sided road, him driving. Scared the hell out of me. Also, gave me to wonder if they treated all customer cars this way! And was glad to have collected my car before they could do the same "test drive" with it.
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:30 pm

here in switzerland a mechanic wouldn't have to go to work the next day --- NOR do you ever have a client show his "skills". ------------------------- AND never overestimate YOUR skills: there's always someone MUCH faster than you! sandy: alpine driver ------------------- engine ran it's 1st half hour today: looks poifect
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PostPost by: Frogelan » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:30 am

My sensible car is a Z4.

The local BMW garage mechanics enjoy taking it out and think that zeroeing the trip meter I will not notice the drop of a quarter of a fuel tank when they take it out for a thrash, probably without warming it up as religiously as I do.

It now goes to the garage with just a few litres of fuel and once the light has gone on!
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PostPost by: Craven » Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:34 am

I once recorded the mileage before an MOT when return there were a number of extra miles shown, on enquiry I was told your car did not fit our brake tester so we had to carry out a road test.
Older members will recall the wooden box used on the floor of the car that indicated the deceleration in some way.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:39 pm

Craven wrote:Older members will recall the wooden box used on the floor of the car that indicated the deceleration in some way.

I remember them well, I used to use one back in the day......and if you want one.....
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/263941520893
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PostPost by: Barney » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:51 pm

A friend of mine delivers his car to the garage on 4 x space-saver wheels. Stops all that malarky.
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PostPost by: prezoom » Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:39 pm

A couple of days ago, my wife took the family truckster in for service at our local dealership. While waiting for me to arrive to pick her up, she noticed our car, with the usual tag hanging from the mirror being driven out of the dealership. Then she noticed several other cars that had been brought in for service also being driven out. When we returned to pick up the car, she questioned the reason for the car leaving the dealership, and was told they have a 3 mile loop they use to test drive each car brought in for service. Next time we will set the trip odometer to zero to see if the 3 mile test is actually a 3 mile test, or a trip to the donut shop, which is within this 3 mile loop.
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PostPost by: saildrive2001 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:08 pm

I purchased my car as a kit in April 69 & Lotus required you to have a free inspection of your car before completing 500 miles, in order for them to warranty the car. The inspection of course had to be at a Lotus dealer.
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PostPost by: lotusS2guy » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:09 am

I purchased my Elan S2 in early '66 from Tom O'Brien Sports Cars in NJ. I recall that the 500 mile service took the better part of a day and included torquing the head and setting the valve clearances. After the service, I immediately hit the road for California. No problems except for a nail in a tire and the loss of a headlamp relay. (Prince of Darkness struck early in that trip.)
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PostPost by: reb53 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:47 am

Craven wrote:I once recorded the mileage before an MOT when return there were a number of extra miles shown, on enquiry I was told your car did not fit our brake tester so we had to carry out a road test.
Older members will recall the wooden box used on the floor of the car that indicated the deceleration in some way.


Ahh...the famous Tapley meter.
I recall taking the owner of the small local garage out in my car when I went in for my MOT.
He was in the passenger seat with the meter on the floor.
When he told me to "brake", I did and he hit his head on the glovebox !
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PostPost by: vxah » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:26 am

types26/36 wrote:
Craven wrote:Older members will recall the wooden box used on the floor of the car that indicated the deceleration in some way.

I remember them well, I used to use one back in the day......and if you want one.....
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/263941520893



Still use the same one today! £80 calibration every year for half a dozen tests of permanent four wheel drive vehicles... Roller brake tester doesn't work very well on them!
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PostPost by: prezoom » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:13 pm

I can remember when a Tapley meter was a regular part of the road tests in Road &Track magazines.
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1964 Elva Mk4T Coupe (awaiting restoration)
1965 Ford Falcon Ranchero, 302,AOD,9",rack and pinion,disc,etc,etc,etc
1954 Nash Healey LeMans Coupe

Tread softly in the grease mud, for there lurks the skid demon
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:24 am

The Elan and Plus 2 Service Voucher Book, from early 1970s.

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PostPost by: The Veg » Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:31 pm

prezoom wrote:I can remember when a Tapley meter was a regular part of the road tests in Road &Track magazines.


That was before my time, but I do recall the humourous inclusion of one in a comparo they did in the '80s of trans-atlantic trips by ship and by Concorde. I think they referred to it as 'the sainted Tapley meter,' and the reading for the Concorde was off the scale.
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:02 am

Thanks for posting the service booklet. Hadn’t seen mine for almost 5 decades. Went missing when the car was shipped to California from the UK, along with my tool roll, and Italian air horns I had purchased in Italy for later fitment.

I will say the service I got in the UK and Geneva in 1969 was superb before transport to the States. In Geneva they subverted my emission control and transformed the car into what it was intended to be. What a revelation. I was ecstatic. Today, the car is even truer to its roots with a Weber instead of Stromberg head. No offense to Strombergs but you are not going to get 181 hp from them.
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