How Not to Load a Lotus
Nov 3, 2015 update to the Lotus Elan project car
The next dose of reality on our Lotus Elan saga would be loading three-quarters of a Lotus Elan—that does not roll—onto a trailer for the drive home.
Most shipping companies will not deal with a crippled car that they cannot at least roll onto a trailer. We also did not want to spend thousands to get a cheap car home. We were going to waste enough money on this poor car without starting in the shipping phase.
U-Haul to the rescue! We decided to make a call to U-haul since we already were in Traverse City, Michigan, with a truck and a hitch. U-haul told us that renting a car trailer one way from Michigan to Florida would be nearly $1000. But for some strange reason a 5x9-foot utility trailer was only $59.95—most likely because of where they needed their inventory.
And so our problem was solved… Sort of. You see, even a badly damaged Elan is 6 inches longer than a 9-foot utility trailer.
Not to be denied, we bought a couple of 2x6x12’ boards at a nearby Lowe’s and used them as ramps to raise the nose of the Elan over the front of the trailer. Our geometry skills were rusty, but by creating this triangle, we hoped to bring the rear of the Elan far enough forward to close the trailer’s tailgate.
It nearly worked as we were within just an inch or so of being able to close the gate. Letting the air out of the tires and shoving the car forward allowed us to shut the trailer’s gate. Scratching this hunk of a car was not something we were going to stay up nights worrying about.
With the drivetrain under the front of the car to give us tongue weight and keep the center of gravity a bit lower, we headed to Florida with our treasure and made it without incident.
The story on this car will start shortly in Classic Motorsports magazine. Subscribe now and you won’t miss a single installment of what should be our most interesting project car series yet.
I...suddenly feel much better about my own trailering shenanigans in the past. Well done.
Seems to be a lot of CMS last-minute improvisation lately. Fine use of local resources. You'd make a good backpacker.
Creative loading! I can't wait for the article series.
Bring a Trailer currently has a parts car listed in Fort Lauderdale...
Just in case :-)
The Ft. Lauderdale car is an S4; very different from Tim's and not many parts will cross over.
I've found that these little guys are very handy for such things:
They also can conveniently be placed under each wheel to move cars around the shop.
Ha! A buddy bought an early, rusty 911 several years ago, and a 914. He lived in Kansas City, and the cars were in Chicago, and they were cheap (way underpriced, so time was of the essence). He found a flatbed tow truck owner that said he would drive there and back over the weekend for $500 or something, and they were off. When they got there, the 914 was loaded on the bed, because it was a 914-6, and while rough, was more valuable. The 911 had a rusty front tub, so the suspension mounts were less than secure.
A trip to home depot for 2x4s and lots of wood screws, and they built a through-the-trunk-floor front suspension reinforcement and towed the 911 (rear wheels in the air - stuck in gear or something I can't remember) with the front wheels on the ground all the way home to KC. WISH I had pics.
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All 1964 Lotus Elan updates
Restoration Impossible: Fiberglassing the Bottom
We thought we made good progress. Then we flipped the car over.
Restoration Impossible: Starting Fiberglass Work
Learn how to make fiberglass repairs.
Restoration Impossible: Working on the Wire Framework
Our project Lotus Elan needs some structure repair around the doors.
Restoration Impossible: Making a Trunk Mold
Our Lotus Elan's trunk has a 6-inch hole. Here's how to create the replacement piece.
Restoration Impossible: Grafting in a Whole Quarter of the Body
The left rear quarter of our Elan had been hit hard. Here's how you seamlessly graft in a replacement piece.
Restoration Impossible: Getting the Door Hinges to Work
Our project Lotus Elan is still in the beginning stages of a restoration.
Restoration Impossible: Preparing to Cut the Body
Once you cut, you can't go back.
Restoration Impossible: Starting to Rebuild the Missing Back End
We decided to start our Lotus Elan's restoration with the toughest part first.
Restoration Impossible: Starting Work on the Body
We are getting back into our Lotus in earnest.
Our Elan Gets a Decklid
After lots of searching we find a rare Elan decklid suspiciously close to where we bought our project.
Our Elan Gets Blasted
After a trip to Blast Masters, we see if the fiberglass is salvageable.
One Fresh Elan Engine
With another trip to Twin Cam Sportscars, our Elan's engine is completely refreshed.
A Look Inside Our Lotus Elan's Transmission
We refresh our project Elan's gearbox with the help of Twin Cam Sportscars.
Incredible tranformation: Lotus Elan Carburetors
Our Lotus Elan's carburetors get taken from trash to treasure.
Lotus Elan Frame Dilema: Solved
Our Lotus Elan's frame was bent and broken. How did we solve the issue?
Soda Blasting Our Lotus Elan
Our Lotus Elan takes a trip to Blast Masters to get stripped.
Our Lotus Elan Gets Stripped to the Bone
With our Lotus Elan's engine refresh underway, it was time to start disassembly of the rest of the car.
Restoration Impossible: A Look Inside the Elan's Engine
With the help of Twin Cam Sportscars, we tear our Elan's engine apart.
Lotus Parts Pour In
We find lots of parts for our project Elan thanks to our friends.
Finding a Windshield
Our Lotus Elan gets some fresh glass.
The Parts Search Begins
Our Lotus Elan needs a lot of work and parts. Here's the initial list of what we need.
Figuring Out What We Really Have
After lots of cleaning, we organize our project and assess the situation.
Our Lotus Makes it Home
After dragging our new project to Florida, we begin cleaning it out.
Our Lotus Elan's First Concours Award
Still in pieces, our impossible restoration project attends its first show.
How Not to Load a Lotus
We had to get three-quarters of a lotus from Michigan to Florida.
Meet our new restoration project: a very rough 1964 Lotus Elan.
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