Lotus Elan

Engine builder

PostPost by: shaun » Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:30 pm

Hi looking for a engine builder in midlands . John Smirthwaits name keeps cropping up has anybody had any dealings recently thanks Shaun
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PostPost by: seriouslylotus » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:07 am

Craig beck has a fantastic reputation apparently
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PostPost by: Donels » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:22 am

JS has good name for engines rebuilds but a very poor name in customer relations.
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PostPost by: HJF » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:54 pm

Donels wrote:JS has good name for engines rebuilds but a very poor name in customer relations.


Are you able to amplify this point? Reason is that I made a tentative enquiry by ‘phone recently to help me scope out a possible rebuild in terms of cost and time. He was helpful and answered all my questions and gave me rough cost and timescales without a problem.
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PostPost by: Chris » Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:11 pm

Regarding the negative comment about John Smirthwaite. About customer relations, I have found John both understanding and accommodating. I had hardened seats fitted by Burtons after which I discovered that the valves were too short due to incorrect seat cutting depth and requiring extremely thin shims. Rather than return the head 300 miles I asked for longer valves but Burtons could not supply. John said he could supply racing valves of the correct length, and as he was travelling to Glasgow he would deliver them the following day to Carlisle where I met him in Tesco's car park. Brilliant service.
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:52 pm

I used JS to rebuild my engine and run it in on his dyno - 140 bhp from my big valve.
He does virtually nothing but twinks, there were at least half a dozen in his workshop whenever I visited.
He is busy and took quite a bit longer than 'promised' because he got broken engines in from regular racing customers.
He is pretty particular about what be puts back in!
For example one of my conrods was 'in tolerance' but out by more than he liked so replaced.
His basic price strikes me as reasonable and includes gaskets and bolts (everything new rather than cleaned and put back).
Repainting and crackle finish on rocker cover.
My engine had been unused for 30 years so
I ended up with a pretty long list of parts!
He buys a lot so knows where to get good quality at a fair price.
He collected my engine and lent me stands to bring it back.
I think that Paul Matty use him for rebuild work if they are doing restoration work.
He absolutely knows his stuff and will strip down and check everything before he starts work - he was keen for me to see the engine in bits and went through all recommendations and costings before starting work.
Most machining is subcontracted - I think he probably only does valve seats and guides himself. But he knows the right people.
So knowledgeable and thorough.
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PostPost by: HJF » Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:46 pm

The positive comments above all seem consistent with my impression when I phoned him.
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PostPost by: avro » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:04 am

As a fellow Race Engine Builder / Machinist ( trying to retire) l would have no hesitation in recommending John Smirthwaite.
There are times especially on the run up to and during the race season when it can be a little difficult to get his full attention, but this is understandable due to his commitment to his race engine customers.
Over the years l have found him extremely helpful and someone who’s knowledge of the Lotus Twin Cam engine will ensure that you will receive a well engineered and well built engine.

Nick
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PostPost by: geni » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:25 am

could you post his address, useful if need be!
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PostPost by: 661 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:27 am

avro wrote:As a fellow Race Engine Builder / Machinist ( trying to retire) l would have no hesitation in recommending John Smirthwaite.
There are times especially on the run up to and during the race season when it can be a little difficult to get his full attention, but this is understandable due to his commitment to his race engine customers.
Over the years l have found him extremely helpful and someone who’s knowledge of the Lotus Twin Cam engine will ensure that you will receive a well engineered and well built engine.

Nick

I think that is a very fair way to describe the difficulties that I know one on his customers experienced in reflection to me. There is no doubt on the high quality of the finished product.
I have had Craig Beck build mine and I was very pleased with all aspects of the service.
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:38 am

Here's his website
http://www.jsmotorsport.net/

To be fair he did say you should never believe an engine builder's delivery date!

I didn't start in a particular rush but I did have to remind John afyer the fitst 2 dates passed that I had told him our "drop dead" date for our son's wedding when the car was to be a central feature!
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