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New S4 owner

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 11:30 pm
by tjb0274
Hi -

Have been in the Lotus world for a few years as a Europa owner, but just bought my first Elan sight unseen (gulp!).

It's an S4, which looks to have been cosmetically updated to look like a Sprint. Only seen pics so far, but looking forward to seeing it in the "flesh" when I pick it up in a couple of weeks.

Also looking forward to the exploration phase - it's supposed to be mechanically decent but cosmetically rough, but we'll see. No illusions, but also from my Europa experience I'm confident that anything on these backbone cars can be sorted out :-)


Tim Bentley

Re: New S4 owner

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 6:30 am
by 512BB
Welcome aboard Tim.

Lets hope the car turns out to be everything you expect it to be, and more. Post up some pictures when it arrives.

Best,

Leslie

Re: New S4 owner

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 7:07 am
by nmauduit
bold move! did the same 15 years ago, never regretted it (at least when overhaul was completed)

keep it on the road !

Re: New S4 owner

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 7:14 am
by tjb0274
Thanks both :-)

I'll definitely post some pics.

The car has a slightly quirky history - according to the PO it was assembled in France originally, and it has a Paris address on the chassis plate rather than the usual Lotus UK address. At some point it was imported to Australia, and converted to RHD.

I know that in the 60s Lotuses were often sent to overseas distributors in kit form and then assembled locally, but in the case of all the Australian cars that I've looked at, the chassis plate is the standard one with the UK factory address.

I've done some googling, but haven't been able to find anything about Lotus cars assembled in France. I have a few Lotus books, but they're very Europa-centric, and none of those mention anything about France that I can see.

If anyone can shed some light on why the car would have a Paris address on the chassis plate, I'd be grateful :-)

Re: New S4 owner

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 8:34 am
by Certified Lotus
Welcome Tim! As an Elan S1 owner, a previous Elan S4 owner and a current in the midst of a restoration 72 Europa owner I can tell you that Elan’s are far easier to work on! Good luck with your acquisition and do post some photos when she arrives.

Re: New S4 owner

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 9:12 am
by Europatc
Welcome Tim

Re: New S4 owner

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 9:32 am
by tjb0274
Certified Lotus wrote:Welcome Tim! As an Elan S1 owner, a previous Elan S4 owner and a current in the midst of a restoration 72 Europa owner I can tell you that Elan’s are far easier to work on! Good luck with your acquisition and do post some photos when she arrives.


Thanks Glen - I'm looking forward to comparing the two cars. The Europa was my first Lotus, and after many years of mainly Alfa ownership, a revelation in agility and steering precision. Mine has a midly tuned crossflow motor from a Renault 16TS, and on modern rubber it is a very quick car - easily saw off a modern 911 Carrera S on a twisty road a while back. I've got it on period-style Pirellis now and the grip is lower, but the ride and steering feel are much better.

Pleased to hear the Elan will easier to work on - it has certainly been an interesting challenge figuring out how to get at some of the less accessible bits (steering rack, for starters) of the Europa :D

Re: New S4 owner

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 10:56 am
by rgh0
tjb
Dont worry the Elan has plenty of its own accessibility challenges to rival a Renault Europa. Now an S1 Esprit is another thing all together that combines the best of both cars in accessibility challenge and Lotus managed to improve on that with the later Esprits :lol:

cheers
Rohan

Re: New S4 owner

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 5:27 pm
by foxoles
Certified Lotus wrote:Welcome Tim! As an Elan S1 owner, a previous Elan S4 owner and a current in the midst of a restoration 72 Europa owner I can tell you that Elan’s are far easier to work on! Good luck with your acquisition and do post some photos when she arrives.


I'd say the opposite, went from a Europa Special to a S4 Elan. No way is the gearbox access better on an Elan - you can stand in the engine bay of the Europa and remove the gearbox by hand - literally! Two things are easier on the Elan...petrol tank and door locks as far as I'm concerned.

Re: New S4 owner

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 3:26 pm
by tjb0274
foxoles wrote:I'd say the opposite, went from a Europa Special to a S4 Elan. No way is the gearbox access better on an Elan - you can stand in the engine bay of the Europa and remove the gearbox by hand - literally! Two things are easier on the Elan...petrol tank and door locks as far as I'm concerned.


Lol - I didn't intend to start a Europa/Elan competition for "hardest car to work on" :-)

Both fantastic cars without a doubt. The Europa was the car that made me believe in the Lotus legend - everything has to be right, but once it is, I've never experienced anything like it for handling and precision.

Really looking forward to exploring the Elan. I'm expecting it to be perhaps slightly less inclined to bump-steer, and to have more capacity to safely explore the limits. The Europa has high limits but can get twitchy once you find them.

Re: New S4 owner

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 11:41 pm
by The Veg
Welcome Tim!

Re: New S4 owner

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 3:11 pm
by denicholls2
Welcome, Tim!

Don't fret... I bought my Europa sight unseen from the opposite side of the (very large) country. Mark seemed like a nice guy so I decided to trust him. And no regrets here. Do that and your expectations are lower, which may be a good thing with any old car.

Having popped the rack from mine (1969 Federal 54) I wouldn't say it's difficult -- you do need front access. Overall, unless you're upside-down under the dash, I'd say the Europa is very easy to work on.

Your expectations roughly match mine for the Elan. One thing you will likely find different is that the much-maligned Renault delivers usable torque a lot earlier than the Twincam. At least mine, not as hot as your Crossflow on a Hermes kit, does. I could never figure out why on club drives I was always up the tail of the TC's when we were going through the gears until I got my dyno sheet and saw how much of a low-end advantage the Renault has. Horsepower-wise, the Hermes-Renault is about the same as a stock Twincam. But the Twincam doesn't match the Renault's torque until the mid-fives and the Renault will spin a lot faster (and joyfully!) without coming apart.

Re: New S4 owner

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 7:19 pm
by tjb0274
denicholls2 wrote:Welcome, Tim!

Don't fret... I bought my Europa sight unseen from the opposite side of the (very large) country. Mark seemed like a nice guy so I decided to trust him. And no regrets here. Do that and your expectations are lower, which may be a good thing with any old car.

Having popped the rack from mine (1969 Federal 54) I wouldn't say it's difficult -- you do need front access. Overall, unless you're upside-down under the dash, I'd say the Europa is very easy to work on.

Your expectations roughly match mine for the Elan. One thing you will likely find different is that the much-maligned Renault delivers usable torque a lot earlier than the Twincam. At least mine, not as hot as your Crossflow on a Hermes kit, does. I could never figure out why on club drives I was always up the tail of the TC's when we were going through the gears until I got my dyno sheet and saw how much of a low-end advantage the Renault has. Horsepower-wise, the Hermes-Renault is about the same as a stock Twincam. But the Twincam doesn't match the Renault's torque until the mid-fives and the Renault will spin a lot faster (and joyfully!) without coming apart.


Thanks @denicholis2 :-)

Yeah, those Renault engines are very underrated. Alpine reckoned they were getting 160hp out of the crossflow in the 1600 A110s, which is remarkable for a 1600 engine of that era. I've driven a Europa with a highly tuned crossflow - high comp. pistons, big valves, aggressive cam and twin DCOEs - and it was super quick. Mine is milder (standard 16TS tune, basically), and as you say the low down torque is really impressive.

Re: New S4 owner

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 2:44 pm
by The Veg
rgh0 wrote:Dont worry the Elan has plenty of its own accessibility challenges to rival a Renault Europa. Now an S1 Esprit is another thing all together that combines the best of both cars in accessibility challenge and Lotus managed to improve on that with the later Esprits :lol:


Having had a Giugiaro-era Turbo Esprit before the Plus 2, I can definitely vouch for that! The Turbo Esprit was the most challenging car on which I ever turned a spanner! I can think of several nasty jobs I had to do with it. But GREAT fun to drive!