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Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
7/21/15 8:13 a.m.

Long story short... I ran into a guy with a cool Spitfire a couple of years ago when visiting Traverse City, MI. Out of the blue, he emails me last week and says he knows where a cheap and real rough Lotus Elan Series 1 and Lotus Cortina MkI are stashed near him. I was already planning a trip up this way and decided to look at the cars. I bought them both and am now renting a trailer to drag at least one home. Looks like we have a Lotus project car or two in our future.

They are really bad and I am somehow eerily psyched to see if I can save the Elan, especially. Stay tuned. I'll ask Ed to post some pics.

RossD
RossD PowerDork
7/21/15 8:20 a.m.

Color me jelly.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Editorial Assistant
7/21/15 8:20 a.m.

Just got pictures from Tim. I really can't wait to see them in person. Look like some pretty good projects to me.

petegossett
petegossett PowerDork
7/21/15 10:24 a.m.

I don't think there's enough left to be an Elan...that's more like an "Ela".

NOHOME
NOHOME UberDork
7/21/15 10:40 a.m.
Tim Suddard wrote: . Out of the blue, he emails me last week and says he knows where a cheap and real rough Lotus Elan Series 1 and Lotus Cortina MkI are stashed near him.

"Stashed" connotes a different mental image. How about "Dumped" and "Abandoned"

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 SuperDork
7/21/15 11:21 a.m.

Always had a soft spot for Cortina's. Still have the Corgi model Cortina from my childhood. Lotus Cortina's are even more better.

RossD
RossD PowerDork
7/21/15 12:00 p.m.

I'd like to amend my previous statement so that it only applies to the Cortina.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
7/21/15 4:54 p.m.

Sadly, I am even more drawn to the Élan. I need to save this car and prove to myself I can restore anything. I am feeling a cool column, if nothing else on all this.

What makes seemingly normal people dump cars like this and what makes guys like me drawn to them?

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
7/21/15 4:58 p.m.

What I can't get over is that the p.o. doesn't know what happened to the last couple feet or so of the Elan. Drive-by sawzall? Ass snatchers? I mean, how do you lose a chunk of a car?

Margie

gjz30075
gjz30075 Reader
7/21/15 6:07 p.m.

Save the Cortina. Worth much more. And make sure it's a real one.

petegossett
petegossett PowerDork
7/21/15 8:28 p.m.
gjz30075 wrote: Save the Cortina. Worth much more. And make sure it's a real one.

Really? I'm not really up on the current prices of either, but aren't the top Elan's fetching 6-figures now?

jr02518
jr02518 Reader
7/21/15 9:28 p.m.

Tim,

You need to put a call into Dave Beans shop and ask to talk with Ken Gray, he could be a great resource.

Danny Shields
Danny Shields Reader
7/22/15 6:23 a.m.

You da man, Tim!

I am looking forward to seeing the Cortina on the cover of Classic Motorsports, restored to sparkling glory that would make Colin Chapman proud. Which issue do you think that will be?

As for the pile that looks like most of an Elan, for the rest of your life you can be one of those guys who tells everyone, "Yeah, I've got a Lotus that I'm restoring."

gjz30075
gjz30075 Reader
7/22/15 6:40 a.m.
petegossett wrote:
gjz30075 wrote: Save the Cortina. Worth much more. And make sure it's a real one.
Really? I'm not really up on the current prices of either, but aren't the top Elan's fetching 6-figures now?

I haven't seen an elan go for six figures. You might be thinking of 26R Elans, which are strictly race cars, will go into six figures but very difficult to prove it's a real 26R, if it doesn't have some sort of long term provenance. Top Elans, which would Sprints or early cars with the SE trim (Tim's doesn't have that) COULD be 60-70K, but many go for 35 -50k range. But even mediocre LoCorts are in the 40s. Many mediocre Elans are in the 25 -35k range.

gjz30075
gjz30075 Reader
7/22/15 6:43 a.m.

But hey!, to contradict myself, this is a hobby, not a business, to many of us and probably to Tim, too, so go for what you like. I know I would.

jr02518
jr02518 Reader
7/22/15 7:48 a.m.

As my point of reference I have owned, worked on, scrounged parts for and driven a Series One Elan, serial number 509 and a Mark One Cortina GT. Keep both.

If the Elan has the "Rocket Box" every thing else can be sourced. Even the three tail light system for the back of the now missing body work.

Driving the Cortina at speed and lifting the inside front tire in a sharp bend is rewarded with a sound/thud on corner exit that you have to experience.

Yes, resurrect both.

rconlon
rconlon HalfDork
7/22/15 9:32 a.m.

Why do I read this and think you are going to insert more comedy into CMS magazine?

erohslc
erohslc Dork
7/22/15 11:02 a.m.
Marjorie Suddard wrote: What I can't get over is that the p.o. doesn't know what happened to the last couple feet or so of the Elan. Drive-by sawzall? Ass snatchers? I mean, how do you lose a chunk of a car? Margie

Maybe fallout caused some British tin-worms to mutate into glass-worms?

TR8owner
TR8owner HalfDork
7/22/15 11:36 a.m.

If you can resurrect the Elan then you're a much, much better man than I am. It seems to have "parts car" written all over it. I'd like to see you get the Cortina up and running however.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/22/15 11:47 a.m.

In reply to Marjorie Suddard:

Who knows... maybe some years ago a fellow with a rear-hit Elan asked, "Hey there! I see you've got an old Elan back there... can I buy some parts off you?" and the p.o. agreed without paying attention to what they guy took... Maybe?

NOHOME
NOHOME UberDork
7/22/15 3:25 p.m.
Tim Suddard wrote: Sadly, I am even more drawn to the Élan. I need to save this car and prove to myself I can restore anything. I am feeling a cool column, if nothing else on all this. What makes seemingly normal people dump cars like this and what makes guys like me drawn to them?

I have seen your projects and to be honest I would expect you to know better than to feel like you have anything left to prove.

This project looks like one where you ask a person to hold the (new) ignition key where it should go, and build a car around it. I have done it a few times and the lesson to be learned is to not do it.

Just for kicks, make a list of what will be reused from what you tow home.

Here is what I expect WONT be on the list:

Body. Frame. Suspension wear items. Hydraulics. Glass. Interior. Gauges. Wiring.Tires. Brakes. Chrome.

What surprises me the most is that Mrs Suddard has not hit you over the head with a Johnson Bar for even contemplating this project. She always struck me as a sensible person.

Looking forward to reading along as you do the project.

RoddyMac17
RoddyMac17 New Reader
7/22/15 3:52 p.m.

If it were me, and only because I like to modify things/recreate things, I would turn the Elan into a 26R copy. Tony Thompson has just about everything you would need, provided you have deep enough pockets.

Did both or either of the cars come with titles, engines, gearboxes etc? It looks like the Elan still has the rear end in it, but what all else is missing?

gjz30075
gjz30075 Reader
7/22/15 4:15 p.m.
RoddyMac17 wrote: Did both or either of the cars come with titles, engines, gearboxes etc? It looks like the Elan still has the rear end in it

I think the sawzall got the frame, too.

RossD
RossD PowerDork
7/22/15 4:20 p.m.
jr02518 wrote: As my point of reference I have owned, worked on, scrounged parts for and driven a Series One Elan, serial number 509 and a Mark One Cortina GT. Keep both. If the Elan has the "Rocket Box" every thing else can be sourced. Even the three tail light system for the back of the now missing body work. Driving the Cortina at speed and lifting the inside front tire in a sharp bend is rewarded with a sound/thud on corner exit that you have to experience. Yes, resurrect both.

What's so special about the Rocket Box? IIRC, it's just special gearing in a Ford of German (FOG) Type E? Taylor Race can build you one (for racecar transmission money) or find a Pinto with the pedestrian version and plop in some of their gears.

RoddyMac17
RoddyMac17 New Reader
7/22/15 4:25 p.m.
gjz30075 said: I think the sawzall got the frame, too

Hard to say, maybe the very back of the frame. The pics show at least one rear wheel, and I can sort of make out the other in one of the pics so one would think that at least one of the lower wishbones is at partially there. I was curious about the diff casing more than anything.

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