Our Lotus Elan Gets Stripped to the Bone
Jan 26, 2016 update to the Lotus Elan project car
We were a bit nervous on this one, as the car was in such terrible shape and had been sitting outside for about 38 years in northern Michigan. Would we be able to get fasteners off? Would we have anything left if—and when—we did get the car apart?
Amazingly, the answer was yes and yes. We had very little trouble disassembling the car. We took our time and carefully bagged and tagged everything we took off. We also photographed every inch of the car before, during and after taking it apart. We had learned the hard way on our Mini project that you cannot be too careful in photographing and marking everything when dissembling an old sports car.
The final steps in this process were to make careful notes of what parts needed to be ordered new or found used, and then to carefully box everything up to properly store until it was time to reassemble the car.
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Tim, your dismantling the Elan the right way. Photograph everything! I just ordered a replacement wiring harness from British Wiring for the Elan S4 I am restoring, it is very well made and color coded to the manufacturer specifications. The S1 harness is much simpler, you shouldn't have any problems.
Pay attention to the shims (sometimes they are washers) used between the chassis and the body as well as the shims under the steering rack. The exact location and number of them is vital!
Restoration Impossible? So which one of you is Jim Phelps? Barney Collier? Willy Armitage? We know who Cinnamon Carter is.
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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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