Restoration Impossible: Starting to Rebuild the Missing Back End

Jan 25, 2017 update to the Lotus Elan project car

Like a wound that has now been cleaned up, this picture shows us exactly how bad the rear ned of our Elan is damaged.

We decided to start our Lotus Elan‘s restoration with the toughest part first: rebuilding the mostly missing back end of our car.

While we have not finalized exactly where we are going to join the new panels to the car, we are studying the best way to do it.

Despite the fact that fiberglass hides a lot of sins, and we feel competent that you will never be able to see where we joined our Elan’s body back together, there are some areas that are better than other for grafting. The area that strikes us as the best to rejoin the body panels is in the center of the car where the frame both hides any potential seams, and offers additional strength to pieces that have been bonded together.

We are also looking for easy places to measure, which isn’t as easy as it sounds on a curvy body like an Elan’s.

One thing we have decided to do is to temporarily reinstall the rear bumper in an effort to see how our used left and NOS (new old stock) right rear quarter panels match up. Obviously, we will need this rear bumper to fit correctly and bolt on easily, so it will guide us as we begin to graft the rear body pieces back together—perhaps even more than exact measurements.

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Reader comments:

gjz30075
gjz30075 HalfDork
Jan. 25, 2017 5:23 p.m.

Looking forward to seeing it at Amelia.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
Jan. 26, 2017 8:49 a.m.

We plan on having the Elan at Amelia in 2018, not 2017. We are good, but not that freakin' good!

racerdave600
racerdave600 SuperDork
Jan. 26, 2017 3:18 p.m.

So Tim, I have been a subscriber to GRM or Classic since '92, and I have watched through the pages all the cars you've restored, but the Elan could only loosely be called a car when you picked it up. I've restored two cars over the years, but nothing remotely to that degree. Looking forward to the rest!

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
Jan. 27, 2017 11:01 a.m.

racerdave, thanks. It is weird how the more of them you do and the more difficult the project gets, you just kind of get used to running through the same steps.

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