Lotus Elan

Miles Wilkins

PostPost by: GHill » Fri May 26, 2017 8:39 pm

Hi Forum

Im sure this has been communicated already but just in case - Miles Wilkins has sold his garage premises but he will be keeping his parts business, but essentially I understand he is retiring to write a book on Lotus. I'd heard lots of stories about Miles before I met him however I find him to be a fantastic bloke and it will be a great shame when his garage closes (in November of this year).

I for one will be going to see him again before it closes to buy some parts from him and to get some tidbits about what must be one of the most fascinating characters in the Lotus community.

Cheers
Gareth
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri May 26, 2017 9:20 pm

He will have some great stories to tell, for sure. He is one of the last of the 'old' Lotus characters, and there's not much he doesn't know about Elans and Elites.

He ran Club Elite for a while, and really put the Elite back on the map in the UK, being the only bloke who knew anything about them. He was also a great supporter of the resurrected Club Lotus in the mid 1970s, He did a road show with Graham Arnold and Jem Marsh drumming up support for the club and hunting out more folks to run the area groups. Their enthusiasm was very evident and catching!

I'm looking forward to the book!

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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Sat May 27, 2017 7:51 am

It would be a good read.....his language is a lot more moderate in print. :-)

Miles has looked after my Sprint for the last 20 years so it'll be a shock to get someone else to do it, as his enthusiasm for the cars always shone through.

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PostPost by: elan66 » Sat May 27, 2017 8:13 pm

I have allways got on with Miles and his book should be a great read,but if they do an audio tape it may carry a parental guidance warning :lol:
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Sun May 28, 2017 3:02 pm

He recently received unwanted attention from a criminal gang, who had been operating from his premises, forcing him to erect a security fence around the whole lot. This may have triggered his decision, which I didn't know about though I saw him last month.

His assistant Ian has his own garage but I'm not sure where it is, possibly down the Selsey peninsula, but I will find out and also if he will continue with Lotus work. I doubt he does painting.
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Sun May 28, 2017 3:27 pm

Yes I think Ian does his own thing as well as his work for Miles.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Tue May 30, 2017 8:59 am

I have always liked Miles and had good contact. I never forget the day i visited to ask about the price for a galvanised chassis for my +2. I ended up leaving with a chassis on the roofrack and giving him a cheque that he said he would cash 3 weeks later when i had enough on my account. He didn't really know me but trusted me.
I like the way he is frank and if he thinks you are talking crap he will say so to your face.
I look forward to his book and i'm sure it will be very colourful :shock:
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PostPost by: pereirac » Tue May 30, 2017 5:48 pm

I only dealt with very Miles very recently but discovered another great Lotus character who is amazingly helpful. I which he was closer to me.. :D
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PostPost by: JimE » Tue May 30, 2017 9:06 pm

I got to know Miles when he was a concours judge for Club Team Lotus. As my cars were praised by him for their originality, they must have been right. I can't think of anyone else (other than Graham Arnold) best suited to put pen to paper. I hope he covers some anecdotes of his days working at Len Street, Chelsea when Lotus were selling Elans and Europas. In those days I use to press my face against the showroom window, sowing the seeds for future ownership. And I will never forget when his wife Belinda took me around Goodwood in his Elite. My hearing has never been the same since!
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PostPost by: reb53 » Wed May 31, 2017 6:42 am

Quart Meg Miles wrote: who had been operating from his premises,


I hope you mis-phrased that !
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PostPost by: William2 » Wed May 31, 2017 11:46 am

I also have got to know Miles over many years of Elan ownership and he has always been very helpful and a good source for spare parts. A fountain of knowledge so I look forward to reading any future book that he writes.
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Wed May 31, 2017 12:52 pm

Well, a somewhat less positive memory comes to mind : about 30 years ago, I had ordered from Fiberglass Services a number of parts for what I found at the time a sizeable amount (several thousand quids), including a chassis and a LHD dashboard, to be shipped overseas. I had discussed on the phone and specified in writing that it would be advisable to ship the dash taped to the chassis so that is well protected. Somehow chassis and parts arrived on the truck, dash separately in a cardboard box and split. I called, it was agreed to be exchanged; to be safe I built a wooden crate for it so that the new one would be well protected. A while later, I receive the crate back, and the dash that was not new but possibly with an extra coat of varnish, the crack still clearly visible. Well I call again, send it back again ... and never got anything back or heard of Miles since, in spite of several letters.
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PostPost by: JimE » Wed May 31, 2017 2:23 pm

I'll sure we all have our horror stories to tell. At the end of the day I suspect that few are perfect but they do help to keep us on the road. The only people I can put hand on heart and say "I trusted them" was the Lotus Service Garage, Hethel and Morland Jones, London (both now defunct).
Last edited by JimE on Wed May 31, 2017 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Wed May 31, 2017 5:51 pm

Good example of Miles:

I was coming back to home in Bromley from his place near Arundel (about 70 miles) after a service with the car running worse & worse until it packed up altogether. Managed to limp home, and called him later. I was working away during the week so we agreed he would come up to my house to fix the car when my wife was in - problem was a failed coil so all he charged me for was the component. His total mileage & hourly work including travelling must have been 4-5 hours and 150 Miles.

Poor example from Miles:

My Weber 18's were suffering from poor leaking trumpets due to wear on the fixings. I requested replacements (151's) which he put on for me. The top covers never seemed to fit well & when I looked later he had placed the brass floats from the old carbs into the new housings, and left the plastic ones alone.

Still an enthusiast though !!!
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PostPost by: oldchieft » Wed May 31, 2017 8:41 pm

Conversation in Paul Matey's parts parts store: -

"Do you have the Miles Wilkins twin-cam book?"

"Yes, signed by Miles!"

"Ah, do you have the rare un-signed copy?"

"Oh, I see you have met Miles."

Jon the Chief.
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