Lotus Elan

S4 DHC Project

PostPost by: seriouslylotus » Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:26 pm

Well after almost 6 months of searching i have found a car that i hope to bring back to life!
It is a 1970 S4 drop head, It is a two owner car with 64000 miles on the clock.
The second owner actually assembled the kit for the first owner and looked after it until its rest period started in 1986!!
As you can see its somewhat dirty and in need of a serious amount of work, How ever it is as it left the factory except for the repaint in the late 70's (Was green when new so hasnt had a colour change)

The plan is to carry out a full restoration but add a few small updates to improve some of the known charateristic.
Things like
Add an electronic ignition pack inside the distributor
Alternator conversion
Possible drive shaft upgrade

The only thing i cannot decide is whether to keep the stromberg head od change to a weber head...time will tell
Leaving early in the morning to colect
Wish me luck please
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elan1.jpg and
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:35 pm

Congratulations! Keep the reports and pictures coming as the project progresses.

Re: switching heads. My Federal Sprint has Strombergs. The idle is a bit lumpy, but certainly no issues with performance. Not sure I could justify the cost of a conversion just to get a cooler look and a smoother idle.

Have fun!
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PostPost by: mark030358 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:38 pm

Brilliant. I restored a 1970 S4 and left the strombergs on. Best of luck..

Cheers
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PostPost by: Bits » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:00 am

Hi,
I'm waiting for my Mk4 FHC body to be returned from the paint shop. It has taken me 350 hours to remove the paint and repair the GRP ready to be taken to get painted.
I was lucky as my dad lives alone on the outskirts of Congleton with no neighbors to complain about the noise and dust. My body had had only one respray but had a lot of minor GRP damage. The previous owner had done all the mechanical/engine & gearbox work. The paint removal is not nice work but the GRP made up for it, I loved it, and surprised myself on how well it turned out. :D

img_0079.jpg and
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PostPost by: William2 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:29 pm

Is this the car that was advertised in this months Club Lotus magazine?
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PostPost by: Bits » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:33 pm

No. If you are referring to mine? :P
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PostPost by: seriouslylotus » Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:16 pm

Well that was a long journey at 60mph max Total of just over 500 miles.
Car is in a sorry state from its time being stood!
Paint work is truly terrible and is flaking of the body in places, as the body was not prepared correctly!!
The good news is upon inspection the chassis looks really rather good, The black paint/sealant/under seal is flaking off, Using a scraper it is easy to remove and unveils a pristine shiny red oxide type paint.
I am hopeful the chassis will go again.
Its a matching numbers car with what appears to be all the correct period features from what i can see so far...time will tell.
Haven't tried to start it but the engine does turn freely and the coolant system still has clean green fluid (antifreeze / corrosion inhibitor) up to the top of the rad, so i'm hopeful the engine will refresh without to much expenditure.
I have lots of paperwork with the car including some old mot certs, copies of the log books with the two previous owners listed and a letter from its last owner stating he built it form a kit supplied by bell and colville for the first owner
Yes i found the car in the club lotus magazine, It arrive Thursday afternoon at about 1.00pm at 1.01pm I had contacted the previous owner.
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PostPost by: seriouslylotus » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:58 am

Yesterday was a slow day with work so ui got the new project onto the four poster ramp for a better inspection.
Initial thoughts are i'may' be able to reuse the original chassis for the rebuild.
As you can see from the pictures, When i remove the flaking black underseal from the chassis i find a nice clean red, good condition chassis, I eve managed to find the original chassis number stamped into it by lotus!!
I have looked as hard as i can and apart from some localised surface rust in a few not critical areas, the rest is really rather good especially for something 50 years old...
Please let me know what you think
Attachments
chassis4.jpg and
chassis3.jpg and
chassis2.jpg and
chassis1.jpg and
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:04 pm

well done! this should keep you busy over the winter months...

you'll find all you need (and more) on this site for your journey, I would start by a hard look at the front turrets (are the bottom holes free, is there some crud inside, how deep is the rust etc if questionable is the cross member holding vacuum...). Take your time to establish your diagnostic then goal and roadmap.

keep it on the road !
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PostPost by: seriouslylotus » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:41 pm

Turretsrs are clean and still have the factory red paint in there!
Not worried as a new chassis will just get added to the list if I need one.
Such a shame don't long term store cars correctly, there loss is my gain!!
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PostPost by: William2 » Tue Oct 29, 2019 5:31 pm

I have recently restored an S4 Elan which also had the original chassis which was fine apart from a small amount of surface rust (ex USA car). I think an original chassis is also a plus point on the resale front.
If I were restoring your car I think I would consider getting the chassis sand or media blasted along with all the other rusty parts in one go. Saves a lot of time and effort and you can then get a good picture of the true condition of all the parts. As long as there is no deep rust or stress cracks on engine mounts, etc.
Sounds like a great project car.
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PostPost by: jaman » Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:30 am

William2 wrote:I have recently restored an S4 Elan which also had the original chassis which was fine apart from a small amount of surface rust (ex USA car). I think an original chassis is also a plus point on the resale front.
If I were restoring your car I think I would consider getting the chassis sand or media blasted along with all the other rusty parts in one go. Saves a lot of time and effort and you can then get a good picture of the true condition of all the parts. As long as there is no deep rust or stress cracks on engine mounts, etc.
Sounds like a great project car.



NO!!! NO!!! NO!!!
DO NOT SAND OR MEDIA BLAST YOUR FRAME unless you plan to have it HOT Dipped Re-galvanized.
I had a local restorer say to me when I took my frame for some minor welding repairs " hey why don't you let me clean-up tis frame for you" so I asked what are you suggesting? "OH media blast & powder coat" .. I had to explain that these Lotus frames are designed to flex and that had I agreed to his suggestion the corrosion under the cracked powder coat may have resulting in a serious accident when the frame had corroded unnoticed and I had left the road and impacted a tree. BTW I have had a lot of experience with powder coated boat parts.

Moral of story … use a power wire brush to clean any surface dirt / rust and apply a good quality elastomeric coating of underseal to your frame. Let the baby wiggle un-retrained.
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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 6:46 am

There has been a lot of controversy about galvanised frames. To the best of my knowledge Elans all left the factory with painted frames, but replacement frames were available for a while that were hot-dipped galvanised.

I have a galvanised replacement frame on my Sprint that dates back to the early 80s, so they must have been available during that period.

The controversy revolves around the stress relief effects of hot-dipping, causing the frames to warp and distort. I don't know how true this is, but I believe all frames are now only available ungalvanised - apparently to avoid this problem.
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:48 pm

I have media blasted a couple chassis and had all the parts powder coated on a number of my restorations. The first one I did was over 5 years ago. This Elan is on my lift about every 4 months where i do a very thorough inspection of all components. I can tell you I have not had any paint cracks or chips on any part over thousands of miles of driving in all weather conditions.

b4a2c7e9-7e00-4cd2-a803-24473d7c3baa.jpeg and


My latest Lotus restoration is a 72 Europa Twin Cam. This time I brought the media blaster all suspension and chassis parts to clean off the surface rust and after I inspected every part had them delivered to the powder coater down the road. I finished this restoration this summer and have driven almost 2000 miles in this car. No cracks, chips or any sign of stress on any of the parts that were powder coated.
f064391c-015a-4a2e-b108-393aa1cfd023.jpeg and


I would suggest that most of these restored cars are not daily drivers. They are typically weekend drivers in nice weather and only caught in the rain by surprise. The vast majority don’t see the same mileage use as they did early in their lives. I would also suggest that many of these cars spend time in a garage sheltered from the elements. The warnings of not using media blasting and powder coating are overblown in my humble opinion if your car falls into the conditions above.
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Fri Nov 15, 2019 1:03 pm

Certified Lotus wrote: The warnings of not using media blasting and powder coating are overblown in my humble opinion if your car falls into the conditions above.

if I may, it is not the "powder coating" process that may be questionable, it is the actual stuff that the chassis is coated with : without getting into details, some powders are of the rock hard kind (e.g. home central heating cast radiators protection...), others may remain more pliable when adequately cured and sufficiently compliant for an elan chassis protection.

Then the problem is: how to trust the sale pitch of someone that desperately wants to sell a powder coating service? after thinking about it, I would opt for a fully controllable and traceable product, esp. if removal of something that happens to be wrong is an absolute nightmare.
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