Lotus Elan

The last Elan made - Historical curiosity

PostPost by: pharriso » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:05 pm

The Last Elan made was a LHD Sprint made on March 6 1973 as documented in the press photo blow from the factory:
hethelproduction_1972.jpg and
0102H having it's harness installed

I was looking at the photo as I am currently workingon my main loom, you can see the 2 assembly workers are stuffing the harness into the cockpit with the Dash behind them.
If you zoom up you can see the glovebox assembled to the dash, just behind the fitter on the left:
lastelan_0102h_glovebox.jpg and
I wonder if that is Rick?

You can see writing on the unseen faces of the glovebox.

Now a couple of years ago I bought what was claimed to be the Glovebox of the last Elan made from Portugal, let's see if it matches:
img_9825.jpg and
Same angle as in photo

Now that's provenance!

& shown from a different view showing some more writing:
img_9826.jpg and


I wonder if Rick is still alive? If he is I bet he doesn't have the same hairstyle!
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:27 pm

Phil,
That’s a nice piece of well researched ephemera. The assembly line photo is great, I expect that Rick had platform shoes and flared jeans to go with that hairstyle as well as a nice collection of Paisley shirts and tank tops.

I wonder how many of the the +2S130 cars following the last Elan still survive?

How many other interesting bits do you have in your collection? The last time I saw you at a show you were laden down with parts and souvenirs!
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:25 pm

Where is the rest of the car?
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PostPost by: pharriso » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:31 pm

The Veg wrote:Where is the rest of the car?

Still in Portugal I believe, I was told this was replaced during a restoration.
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PostPost by: lotocone » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:30 pm

Thanks, for the great photo. Wish we could see details the loom going in, in case I replace mine sometime.
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:42 pm

Wonder what they thought about it being the last of the Elans; whether it was 'thank God we're finished with these antiques', or 'I'll miss these, the stuff they're setting up for now is rubbish'. I suspect from the glove box graffiti it may well have been closer to the latter.

I can't imagine anyone in the nearby Mini factory leaving mementos like that on the current production line but I've read stories (however truthful or not they might be) about low morale line workers back in the old BL Red Robbo days where people found half eaten sandwiches in the recesses of their new cars.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:56 pm

69S4 wrote:Wonder what they thought about it being the last of the Elans; whether it was 'thank God we're finished with these antiques', or 'I'll miss these, the stuff they're setting up for now is rubbish'. I suspect from the glove box graffiti it may well have been closer to the latter.

I can't imagine anyone in the nearby Mini factory leaving mementos like that on the current production line but I've read stories (however truthful or not they might be) about low morale line workers back in the old BL Red Robbo days where people found half eaten sandwiches in the recesses of their new cars.


Cowley being 163 miles from Hethel, hardly makes it nearby, but I sort of get your meaning. ( this being the UK where 20 miles is a long way away)

It would be interesting to discover if there was industrial dissent amongst Lotus workers on a par with BL and Ford in the UK.?

I was slightly surprised to realise that Lotus have produced just over 100,000 cars to date since ACBC built the lost lamented first Lotus MK1, Would Lotus workers be offended to be compared to BL / Ford / Vauxhall mass produced transport assemblers?
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PostPost by: trw99 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:22 pm

Unions weren’t allowed at Hethel. Chapman had a pathological hate (or fear!) of them.

Instead he established a works forum which worked very well.

Nice spot, Phil, well done.

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PostPost by: webbslinger » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:36 pm

Thanks for posting that. It's morning but I think that will be the most intersting thing I will read today. What a find.
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:54 pm

Very cool piece of Lotus Elan memorabilia Phil!
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:22 pm

Spyder fan wrote:Phil,
That’s a nice piece of well researched ephemera. The assembly line photo is great, I expect that Rick had platform shoes and flared jeans to go with that hairstyle as well as a nice collection of Paisley shirts and tank tops.

I wonder how many of the the +2S130 cars following the last Elan still survive?

How many other interesting bits do you have in your collection? The last time I saw you at a show you were laden down with parts and souvenirs!


Ahem, taken in 1975...(the S2 is behind the Mini).

We knew how to dress back then :D

1975.jpg and
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PostPost by: JimE » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:07 pm

69S4 wrote:Wonder what they thought about it being the last of the Elans; whether it was 'thank God we're finished with these antiques', or 'I'll miss these, the stuff they're setting up for now is rubbish'. I suspect from the glove box graffiti it may well have been closer to the latter.

I can't imagine anyone in the nearby Mini factory leaving mementos like that on the current production line but I've read stories (however truthful or not they might be) about low morale line workers back in the old BL Red Robbo days where people found half eaten sandwiches in the recesses of their new cars.


I had a conversation with Steve Morland aka Morland Jones who worked at Len Street, Chelsea in the 70s early 80s. He told me of the time in 1974 when the first 4 seater Elites were delivered to Drayton Gardens to replace the +2S/130. In short, the crew there wondered what the hell Lotus were thinking of especially as the +2 was getting better all the time. There was a story going round that year that because the Elite wasn't selling, Lotus started making the +2 again although I have never seen evidence to back this up. Tim Wilkes might know. Jim
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:25 pm

Slowtus wrote:
Spyder fan wrote:Phil,
That’s a nice piece of well researched ephemera. The assembly line photo is great, I expect that Rick had platform shoes and flared jeans to go with that hairstyle as well as a nice collection of Paisley shirts and tank tops.

I wonder how many of the the +2S130 cars following the last Elan still survive?

How many other interesting bits do you have in your collection? The last time I saw you at a show you were laden down with parts and souvenirs!


Ahem, taken in 1975...(the S2 is behind the Mini).

We knew how to dress back then :D

1975.jpg


:D :D :lol: love it....!
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:43 pm

Spyder fan wrote:
Cowley being 163 miles from Hethel, hardly makes it nearby, but I sort of get your meaning. ( this being the UK where 20 miles is a long way away)

It would be interesting to discover if there was industrial dissent amongst Lotus workers on a par with BL and Ford in the UK.?

I was slightly surprised to realise that Lotus have produced just over 100,000 cars to date since ACBC built the lost lamented first Lotus MK1, Would Lotus workers be offended to be compared to BL / Ford / Vauxhall mass produced transport assemblers?


Sorry, my poor English. I meant that I currently live near the Mini factory. I guess I should have paid more attention to my English homework rather than the girls at the station :lol:

Felt tip markings seem to turn up fairly frequently in Elans and there’s been quite a few posts about it so I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that Rick marked their passing in his own way
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:24 pm

If Rick was say 25 (much older than that I suspect his workmates might have taken the piss) when that was taken he’d be about 70 now so could well be still with us. Someone must know somefolk who were there at the time. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to find him?
Last edited by elanfan1 on Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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