Lotus Elan

Len Street Chelsea

PostPost by: lottex » Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:17 pm

Can anyone help? Just wondered if any one out there knows anything about the London Lotus dealer Len Street..?
When did they start selling Lotus cars? It seems that Len Street Engineering was already around in the early sixties working out of a mews in Bayswater, then later moved to Chelsea as the business grew. I used to buy my parts there in the mid 80's! I know it's a long shot but I'd interested to know if any database/ archive of cars that were sold through Len Street was ever retained.
Many thanks.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:28 pm

You could try Miles Wilkins, I think he was parts manager there.
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PostPost by: casalunge » Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:43 pm

Steve from Morland & Jones used to work at Len Street same era as Miles
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:48 pm

Len Street (Engineering) Ltd
67-69 Drayton Gdns
Chelsea
SW10 9QZ

From 1963 to 1997. Lotus & BMW, claimed to be England's largest service centre and was a Lotus Personal Export centre.

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PostPost by: NedK » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:18 pm

Hello

My +2S from December 1969 has a dealer sticker in the back window, which I'm assuming has been in there from new. Lotus records the original dealer as the London Sports Car Centre - I'm not sure if they and Len Street are related.

The sticker is very fragile and has fragmented, so I have made a reproduction using the correct font etc, and will get a new vinyl one printed out. If anyone else wants one, I'm happy to supply them too, once I get around to it.

All the best
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:56 pm

Those were the days when i used to drive up from Portsmouth to Len Streets to buy the goodies for my Lotus +2.
Then take a beer in "The George " at Borough High Street with my Lotus parked in the court yard of the pub 8)
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PostPost by: RichC » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:49 pm

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PostPost by: RichC » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:04 pm

also it's just round the corner from that infamous lotus elan fatal accident of tara browne in 1966
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tara_Browne

the book on Tara Browne has been mentioned on the forum before now and its a very good read , if you're into that era in London
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PostPost by: NedK » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:20 pm



Many thanks, very interesting. Ned
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:35 pm

I bought my Elan second-hand from them in May 1969 for £875 and it had just been resprayed so they, or a client, must have crashed it as the previous owner, a forum member, claims it had no damage when he sold it to them. A rear wheel arch had (and still has) a poor repair and showed splits after a few years.

The front offside turret rusted through within four months and they all denied they had ever seen such a failure, which of course they had, but they contributed £100 towards fixing it, at my suggestion. I think I paid £60. Miles Wilkins had the same problem with his S3 and they tried to fob him off too: "You didn't keep the drain holes clear!" but as he was an ex-employee that didn't work!
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PostPost by: JimE » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:52 am

When I first got into Lotus in the early 1970s I would be a regular visitor to Len Street in Drayton Gardens. Sprints, +2s and Europas all over the place. The premises also sold petrol and the attendant would place bets for the locals which included some celebrities. I often used the parts department for my Elan Sprint and +2 which replaced it. The service department was upstairs and you would have to drive your car into a large lift. As previously mentioned, Steve Morland aka Morland Jones worked there. He was their expert on Europas and setting up the gear change. Steve worked on my Europa Special and did a fine job on my gear change mechanism which was getting a little worn. Jim
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PostPost by: Pastapesto » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:12 pm

Looking into the bit above about Tara Browne from RichC, I looked up some info on him and it said that apparently he worked at Len Street & that was probably why he was in a Lotus at that time. The "worked at Len Street" bit was written by him in a magazine that he contributed to at that time. I would love to know if that was true!

His girlfriend in the car, who survived unhurt was quoted as saying that Tara swerved the car to save her but unfortunately not himself. Her name was Suki Potier and she went on to be Brian Jones' girlfriend. Very sadly she was killed in a car crash along with her husband in the early 80's in Portugal, poor girl.

A
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PostPost by: elj221c » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:49 pm

I too used them in the '70s. Very convenient for me for spares as they were on my way home from work in the West End.
One John (Pancho) Webb worked for them as a sales manager. He raced a 26R in the Rochas Historic Sports Car Championship, which he won in '76. Went on to race Lolas in Sports 2000 and yachts.
elan-racing-f12/26r-identities-and-other-info-t17764-300.html
See my entry 7/3/2011
Pinched Pete's picture below as at the time I was too busy looking after a 1 litre BRM powered Lotus 23 to take my own. Not sure that this was John or his team mate Ken Eady.
No help at all to lottex, I suspect!

rochas-elan-2-copy.jpg and


Photo care of Pete Taylor, elansprint71
http://www.petetaylor.org.uk/
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PostPost by: Davidb » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:57 pm

elj221c-- My understanding is that the two "M. Rochas" cars were not, in fact, 26Rs but modified Elans-presumably modified at Len Streets?

The book on Tara Browne is an interesting read...
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PostPost by: elj221c » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:27 pm

Ah - ha! Where do you get your information from? My recollection is that John's car was a genuine S1 26R but Ken's was 'built up' from an S2.

Anyway, this shouldn't be about Rs. As you know, that was all done years ago!

elan-racing-f12/26r-identities-and-other-info-t17764.html

I would be curious to hear more about Len Streets as well.
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