Lotus Elan

Elan S1 Hardtop mounting

PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:34 pm

I’m almost finished with the restoration of my OEM Lotus Elan S1 hardtop and while discussing the interior trim requirements with the trim shop it became oblivious that I didn’t know how the hardtop attaches to the rear deck of the car. There does not seem to be a firm attachment point to the body. First I thought the two bolts with metal pins on the end of them (#20 in the drawing) would hold the hardtop down to the body on the side, but these seem to be location points and not hold down points.

Can someone clue me in?
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:09 pm

I have a hardtop for my S2 but it is not an original so not the same as yours but as I understand it, the Lotus one just hooks under the front part of the boot hinges at the rear. Then two set screws (1/4 unc) # 20 in your picture hold it at the side, they screw into what is the locating pin holes for the cant rails but the holes have a threaded bobbin.
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:05 am

one hole is locating pin, the other bolts down a fitting to clamp top to.
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:55 am

Types26/36, what you have described is exactly the way the hardtop fits (plus the three threaded bolts with thumb screws and a clamp for the leading edge). But I’m not sure I would trust it for a long drive as the attachment at the rear is very suspect. It just doesn’t seem to be attached very well at the back.

Ted, the clamping system on yours looks very secure, but that does not exist on mine.

Anyone have an early Elan OEM hardtop?
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PostPost by: Geoffers71 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:30 am

Certified Lotus wrote:Types26/36, what you have described is exactly the way the hardtop fits (plus the three threaded bolts with thumb screws and a clamp for the leading edge). But I’m not sure I would trust it for a long drive as the attachment at the rear is very suspect. It just doesn’t seem to be attached very well at the back.

Ted, the clamping system on yours looks very secure, but that does not exist on mine.

Anyone have an early Elan OEM hardtop?


I agree with the above, my hardtop fits exactly like that and it's never given me a problem at any speed. Bit noisy though. My first Elan S2 that I had in the 60s also fitted the same way and I used to drive it like a lunatic back then again with no problem with the hardtop. :roll: :mrgreen:
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:31 am

As I said my hardtop is not an original and it does have two mountings bobbins at the rear, the problem is that to use them you have to remove the two soft top fittings (the ones that the metal rail slides into) and then the bolts go up into the bobbins from inside the boot.
It’s a pain to remove and install them so I don’t bother, just stuck some thick form to the hardtop and it rests on the soft top fittings. It does not even have the luxury of fitting under the boot hinges.
It is bolted at the sides with the two setscrews and at the front it has a single over-centre clasp, it also has two bolts that screw into bobbins in the hardtop at the corners but I have to remove the cant rail “eye bolts” as these two bolts go through the screen frame.
Ok, I don’t use the hardtop much but I have never had a problem with it lifting.
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:43 am

Well then, I guess the hardtop was never really designed to be a firm fixture on the car. I wonder what the track cars with hard tops do?
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