Lotus Elan

My slow-but-progressing '67 S3 Coupe thread

PostPost by: MrBonus » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:05 am

So here is my story and how I ended up wallet deep in this gorgeous Elan. I agreed to buy this car in the fall of 2017 from a heck of a nice guy with limited knowledge of the cars after the owner committed to putting in a new water pump. It took ~9 months to complete the water pump replacement and by the time I actually took delivery, my wife was 8 months pregnant.

I knew it had some minor issues relating to the horn honking while the wheel turned and various electrical components not functioning, but I didn't expect to fall down the rabbit hole of a partial restore.

First, I replaced the 20 year-old tires with new 195/45/15 Toyo Proxy T1Rs.

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The exhaust looked pretty rough.

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So after a few weeks of driving it around the neighborhood, one of my brake lines burst in my driveway. I needed to address the brake lines as well as the various electrical issues if I wanted to get it registered.

It took me about 5 months to commit to a shop to work on it because first, I'm partially mechanically inept and second, my infant was taking up the majority of my free time.

I decided I didn't want to simply fix the issues but fix as many potential reliability concerns down the road, so I started ordering parts from RDent. I ordered the CV joint conversion, Petronix ignition, and ended up picking up their small alternator kit to replace the failing Lucas unit the owner before last installed.

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So first and foremost, all the brake lines were replaced with stainless steel custom lines.

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This miraculously freed up the three stuck calipers I had (the car had sat quite a bit with the prior owner).

Pretty new exhaust to replace the leaking, rusted out piece it had:

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Beautiful, new CV joints to replace my donuts:

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The new alternator:

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My mechanic noted that my wiring was dodgy to say the least, with numerous splices and pieces of electrical tape keeping everything together, so it was determined to order a fresh harness from British Wiring.

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I also ordered a Spiyda RCI to RVI conversion kit in the hopes my tach will place nice with the new Petronix distributor. I also had a series of other items installed like a new choke cable, new horn button (mine crumbled in my palm when I removed it), and plan to add a pair of 10" fans to the front of the radiator.

Is there anything I'm missing? The car is almost done being rewired and I'm dying to drive it.

Also, I noticed the cabin was very hot while driving. I've read here the fans in front of the radiator will do quite a bit to dissipate heat in the engine bay and thus the cabin and can be coupled with a pair of 2.5" holes in the engine bay near the header. Will this work?

I'm kind of learning this car on the fly so I'm at the "while I'm in there" stage of the project so any recommendations are greatly appreciated!
Last edited by MrBonus on Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
1967 Lotus Elan Coupe - Super Safety
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PostPost by: MrBonus » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:20 am

As an added bonus, I was dead set on selling the damn thing this summer until I went to the RDent owner gathering and meeting a number of you local Lotus heads renewed my spirit to finishing this insane little labor of love.

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PostPost by: webbslinger » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:49 am

20190728_102956.jpg and
You should be OK with the heat. Add a manual switch for the fans so you can stay ahead of it. Make sure your radiator is in good shape or consider upgrading it. I made a heat shield for the clutch slave and my right foot that clamps to the exhaust. It makes a noticeable difference. Attached are some pictures of it.
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PostPost by: Bombay Racing Green » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:15 am

Very nice car! Well done. Thanks for the pictures.
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:24 am

MrBonus wrote:First, I replaced the 20 year-old tires with new 195/45/15 Toyo Proxy T1Rs.



Looks like a really nice car. Do I see flares (and probably narrow rear springs)?
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:00 am

If your serious about driving any “classic” Lotus you will have to open up your check book. Looks like you got religion quickly :lol:

And, if your not mechanically inclined (as mentioned) or just don’t have time (new baby will do that) I would find a mechanic that knows Elan’s inside and out. In your area that would be Don Butler.

All the things you have done so far are a good start. Particularly regarding safety and reliability. At this stage I might suggest a larger radiator from Tony Thompson with Electric fan. Regarding heat in the cockpit, there are several thing you can do, but I found that ceramic coating the headers (if your car has them) and installing self adhesive heat shield on the inside of the engine bay that is next to where your legs are located when sitting in the car helps quite a bit.

Keep the faith, nothing drives like a Lotus (and I’ve owned two Porsche’s).

Yes, any group Lotus event will keep you in the fold. Glad you made it to Ray’s open garage!
43ee82d2-d466-4844-9659-b2fc5cab8321.jpeg and

2543df9b-8a6d-45d1-92e5-a16f97142ecd.jpeg and
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PostPost by: MrBonus » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:56 am

webbslinger wrote:
20190728_102956.jpg
You should be OK with the heat. Add a manual switch for the fans so you can stay ahead of it. Make sure your radiator is in good shape or consider upgrading it. I made a heat shield for the clutch slave and my right foot that clamps to the exhaust. It makes a noticeable difference. Attached are some pictures of it.


Thanks, the radiator is the older, wider style and appears to be in good shape so I'm hoping it's going to be sufficient, but I guess time will tell. Good idea on the heat shield. I'll talk to my body guy about fabricating one.

Certified Lotus wrote:If your serious about driving any “classic” Lotus you will have to open up your check book. Looks like you got religion quickly :lol:

And, if your not mechanically inclined (as mentioned) or just don’t have time (new baby will do that) I would find a mechanic that knows Elan’s inside and out. In your area that would be Don Butler.

All the things you have done so far are a good start. Particularly regarding safety and reliability. At this stage I might suggest a larger radiator from Tony Thompson with Electric fan. Regarding heat in the cockpit, there are several thing you can do, but I found that ceramic coating the headers (if your car has them) and installing self adhesive heat shield on the inside of the engine bay that is next to where your legs are located when sitting in the car helps quite a bit.

Keep the faith, nothing drives like a Lotus (and I’ve owned two Porsche’s).

Yes, any group Lotus event will keep you in the fold. Glad you made it to Ray’s open garage!
43EE82D2-D466-4844-9659-B2FC5CAB8321.jpeg

2543DF9B-8A6D-45D1-92E5-A16F97142ECD.jpeg


Thanks, Glen! It was great meeting you at Ray's place. This is Ian and I came in the blue Carrera. Your Elan is a masterpiece.

I agree regarding Porsches and Lotuses. The first time I drove my Elan, my Porsche felt numb by comparison.

I'll consider ceramic coating the headers down the road. I'll give the heat shield a try as that is likely an easy job I can perform at home.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:47 pm

Your cars looks good but I just want to point out that the rear wishbone bolts appear to be fitted incorrectly, the bolt heads should be on the inside facing each other and it looks like the nuts on your car are on the inside.
Its not a problem with the rear bolt but should you want to remove the wishbone you cannot remove the front bolt as there is not enough space due to the body’s close proximity to the wishbone mounting point.
This situation arises when someone fits the bolts the wrong way while the body is off the chassis.
The only options are:
1: To lift the body.
2: Try to cut through the bolt with an appropriate tool.
3: Cut a hole in the fibreglass opposite the bolt inside the car.
Its not a problem if you are not going to remove the wishbones but sometimes this is necessary to fit new bushes or replace the wishbone.
Sorry to give you this news :(
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PostPost by: MrBonus » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:10 pm

types26/36 wrote:Your cars looks good but I just want to point out that the rear wishbone bolts appear to be fitted incorrectly, the bolt heads should be on the inside facing each other and it looks like the nuts on your car are on the inside.
Its not a problem with the rear bolt but should you want to remove the wishbone you cannot remove the front bolt as there is not enough space due to the body’s close proximity to the wishbone mounting point.
This situation arises when someone fits the bolts the wrong way while the body is off the chassis.
The only options are:
1: To lift the body.
2: Try to cut through the bolt with an appropriate tool.
3: Cut a hole in the fibreglass opposite the bolt inside the car.
Its not a problem if you are not going to remove the wishbones but sometimes this is necessary to fit new bushes or replace the wishbone.
Sorry to give you this news :(


Thanks for the information. I always love finding easter eggs with old cars. I'll probably just hold off on doing anything until I have a reason to remove the rear wishbones.
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PostPost by: mbell » Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:41 am

FYI I run the wide rad and haven't had issues. Was using the car in 100f this week. Just need some good fans.
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:53 am

Ian, are you coming to LOG39 later this month? If so, a number of us are doing a road trip in “classic” Lotus cars (Elan’s& Europa’s) and your welcome to join us.

Your Elan looks great! Can’t wait to see it!
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PostPost by: Tmac897 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:54 am

Beautiful car. Hope mine looks as good some day!
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PostPost by: MrBonus » Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:22 pm

Certified Lotus wrote:Ian, are you coming to LOG39 later this month? If so, a number of us are doing a road trip in “classic” Lotus cars (Elan’s& Europa’s) and your welcome to join us.

Your Elan looks great! Can’t wait to see it!


I would love to but it’s hard for me to do more than day trips with the 1 year old. Thanks for the invite. I look forward to the pictures though!
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:57 pm

Ian! Good hearing from you! Glad to hear that your spirit is renewed with the car, and looking forward to more updates.
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PostPost by: MrBonus » Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:15 pm

The Veg wrote:Ian! Good hearing from you! Glad to hear that your spirit is renewed with the car, and looking forward to more updates.


Hey Ben! Hope all is well with you. I wanted to accumulate some updates because everything seems to move forward, then stop, then move forward, then stop. Really hoping I can have the car registered and on the road by the fall.
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