Lotus Elan

1972 Sprint

PostPost by: joris » Thu Nov 20, 2003 7:36 pm

Is there anyone outhere who can give this Flemish fellow a helping hand on identifying an 1972 Elan as being a sprint. I guess the chassis number only gives indication on year and month of build and model number ( E for S4 SE FHC ).
But what about identification as a sprint ?
Help would be very much apreciated.
Best regards and greetings from Flanders
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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Thu Nov 20, 2003 7:56 pm

According to what is said on the lotuselan.net website, Sprint production started with the number 71.02, which means February 1971. Every Elan built after this date should be a proper Sprint, simple as that. The letters like E and F indicate if the car was built for export, if it was a fixed or drophead etc. Technically speaking, the Sprints were S4 Sprints, so they use the same letter system as the S4 cars. However, the most important thing is, as said before, the built date. A car with a 72 number will be a Sprint anyway.
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PostPost by: joris » Thu Nov 20, 2003 8:13 pm

Jolly Jumper thanks for your very quick and reveiling answer.
The chassis number indicates indeed 7207.
All the best
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PostPost by: archigator » Fri Nov 21, 2003 2:08 am

Elan Sprints all had the clearly marked 126 hp "LOTUS BIG VALVE" engine. Says so right on the valve cover. Mine also has the badged right front fender that says "Lotus Elan Sprint," but I assume that badge is missing on your car. Mine is a RHD model that has twin 40DCOE Webers, but LHD American export Sprint models usually had twin Strombergs and the resulting buldge on the hood. Dellorto carbs replaced Webers at "some unrecorded point in 1972." Between 900 to 1,353 Elan Sprints were said to have been produced between February 1971 and the "middle of the year" in 1973 (exact date varies). "The Original Lotus Elan," by Robinshaw and Ross is a great reference book.

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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Fri Nov 21, 2003 11:15 am

Trouble is, nothing is easier than changing a cam cover and glueing on some badges. Even the letter "Z", which is engraved on the cylinder head near the spark plugs can be added later to create a fake Sprint.
Only the chassis number will tell.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Fri Nov 21, 2003 1:17 pm

Jolly Jumper,
I have never seen a "Z" on a Sprint cyl head, mine and every other Sprint I have seen had a "N" on the head (U.K. spec.)
Three things I have found to identify Sprints apart from chassis no. & BV cam cover are:
1. "N" in the engine No. on the block
2. diff. strenghening bracket (above the diff)
3. the seats do not tip up, an extra bracket is bolted to the floor (I have taken mine off so the seats can tip)
These have held true for all the Sprints I have seen but I am sure as with all "Lotus"
there are exceptions to the rule.
It is also documented although Sprints officially started in Feb 71, Lotus recalled some 1970 S4's and painted them in Sprint colours, fitted a BV engine and sold them as Sprints. I know of one of these "S4 Sprints"
I quote from one book:
"As for the Elans we had in stock at Hethel, we systematically changed out the cylinder heads one by one modifying them as we went, painting the bottoms of the doors gold, explained Tony."
If anyone else with a Sprint has an opinion or comment I would like to hear your views. :rolleyes:
Brian.
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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Fri Nov 21, 2003 1:31 pm

Brian, you are right: N. But it can look a like Z, depending from where you are looking. ;)
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PostPost by: joris » Sun Nov 23, 2003 11:20 am

Jolly Jumper, Gary, Brian,


Thanks for your help. I don't have the Elan yet as I only bought her a week ago in England,( on description and photo )
I'm planning to go and collect her on wednesday and make a two or three tour before returning home ( near Antwerp ).
As for the Elan she is orriginaly UK, badge OK, valve cover OK, Dellorto carbs ( july ' 72 ) OK, no buldge on the hood, chassis number OK , don't know about the N but will look for it, Lotus gold leaf colors OK, surely don't know about the diff strenghtening bracket nor the seats being able to tip.
The " problem " isn't so much the car I bought, I do trust the British vendor 100% and there will be old mots with the car going back to ' 76 ) but an ELan DHC which was for sale overhere the ad reading as " very rare Elan Sprint DHC 1970 ".
This car' s chassisnumber ended with a C, right hand drive, Dellorto carbs, buldge on the hood, " standard " valve cover, no lock on the steeringwheel, badge on right fender.
That's how I started wondering how to recognize a true Sprint.
And indeed as Jolly Jumper said creating a fake ( at least at first sight ) isn't that difficult.
I will surely have a look for the Robinshaw and Ross book on the Elan.
I will report on returning.
Have a nice sunday
Joris
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PostPost by: joris » Fri Dec 19, 2003 6:12 pm

Hi guys


The two day trip from Leeds to Dover for the majority only by taking the B roads was simply great. The Sprint is a real delight to drive. We had some problem with the clutch though but some very nice chaps in the Longmynd Garage in Church Stretton took care of that in notime. Thanks Simon and Bill who at that moment also advised us to have a look at the disc and so on once we were home.
So for the moment the engine is out, we are going to change the clutch fork ( which was almost broken ) , the disc , pressure plate ( from Paul Matty's ), flywheel and ringgear ( from QED ) as some " teeth " were slighly damaged.

Numbers are matching and the engine nr is indeed proceeded by a N. She has had a Spyderchasis mounted some ten years ago.

I will be needing you guys again as I will have a question on the Dellorto's ( cold start no problem, when the engine is warm one has to try starting for four to five times ) and the brake ( booster ? ). At one time after having stopped for some five minutes the brakes were stuck. Some five minutes later a noise was heard coming from the front and the problem had solved itself. According to Roy at Paul Matty's this seems to be a rather common problem with these brakeboosters that once replaced the original. Any idea ?
I must say that all the way long we had a smell of something burning.

Thanks and season greetings from Vlaanderen

Joris
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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Fri Dec 19, 2003 10:23 pm

<!--QuoteBegin-joris+Dec 19 2003, 06:12 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (joris @ Dec 19 2003, 06:12 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin--> (...) and the brake ( booster ? ). At one time after having stopped for some five minutes the brakes were stuck. Some five minutes later a noise was heard coming from the front and the problem had solved itself. According to Roy at Paul Matty's this seems to be a rather common problem with these brakeboosters that once replaced the original. Any idea ?
I must say that all the way long we had a smell of something burning.

Thanks and season greetings from Vlaanderen

Joris [/quote]
Hi Joris

Congratulations, sounds promising.
As for the brake booster (servo), I have been through three of them in six years.
They only seem to last for a couple of years and all you can do is replace them.
A specialist told me it's got something to do with the way the servo and the pipes are located, apparently it's far from ideal.

Regards
Jolly
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PostPost by: type36lotus » Sat Dec 20, 2003 12:57 am

Joris, My Elan with dellortos is difficult to start, unless I depress the throttle about 1/4 the way. Then it starts up immediatly.

Mike Geiger... now wonderfully cool here on the central west coast of Florida. :D
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sat Dec 20, 2003 9:47 am

Joris,
Glad to hear you are happy with your new car despite it needing a little work and it sounds like a genuine Sprint. :rolleyes:
As regards your starting problems my experience is slightly diffent, my Europa with Dellortos starts no problems hot or cold but I have heard Dellortos have a tendency to flood when left standing and the cure is to fit an electric fuel shut off valve (from later cars Elite's? etc.)
My Sprint (which I converted to Webers) displays the same symptons i.e. hard starting when hot but is overcome by as Mike said holding the throttle open.
I had a similar brake problem after I had rebuilt the brake servo's but they are both the originals (Girling mk2B's) the Europas's also stuck on, I released the pressure and no more problems! the Sprints on the other hand worked fine except for the air valve not sealing which I fixed. Up untill now both are working O.K.
Seasons Greetings, :D
Brian.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sat Dec 20, 2003 10:30 am

Josis,
Just had an other thought as regards your brake problem, check there is some "free play" at the master cyl. push rod. You mention a burning smell, if your brakes are binding (hand brake sticking/calipers not releasing etc.) it could build up pressure in the system and lock the brakes which would then return to normal as it cooled down.
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PostPost by: tdafforn » Sat Dec 20, 2003 5:00 pm

if the servo is a Lockheed replacement then there is a fix for them sticking that involves the insertion of an extra spring. I had the same problem and a lister on yahoo sent me the spring. It was easy to instal and worked perfectly
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PostPost by: joris » Sun Dec 21, 2003 9:03 pm

Tim, Mike, Brian, Jolly


Thanks again for all the advice. We will be rebuilding the Elan next week so hopefully she will be back on the road before the end of the year.
The replacement booster is indeed a Lockheed so let's hope the problem can be solved with an aditional spring...
As for Mike well today we had a storm with some rather heavy rainfall , temp around 5? C . Normally we should suffer some minus ten this time of year. So even for us it is " marvelously cool " instead of " cold ".
For the follwing days we are " promised " to get some snow ( look it up in the dictionary if necessary ...) Christmas won't be a white one however.
Anyway merry Christmas to you all.

Joris
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