Restoration Impossible: Running New Lines

Oct 10, 2017 update to the Lotus Elan project car

The final steps in finishing off our chassis were to replace the brake and fuel lines. We learned several projects ago that it is way better to just call Classic Tube, rather than fool with making our own lines.

They have patterns that fit nearly every car imaginable, and their low cost brake line kits come in either stainless steel or traditional mild steel.

In the past, we have used their stainless steel kits. While ultimately better and longer lasting, they are more expensive. The stainless steel lines are also much harder to use because they are so stiff and more difficult to cut and add new ends to, should that become necessary.

This time around we ordered a mild steel kit for a late model Elan. We decided that as this car would see little in the way of weather and would be well cared for, the hassles and expense of stainless steel was not warranted.

While they don’t offer a kit for an early Elan like ours, we assured the folks at Classic Tube, that all Elans are pretty similar and we could modify a line or two if needed.

As it turned out, all the lines—except the main line that runs from the front of the car to the rear brakes—fit perfectly, even though the kit we ordered was for a later car.

That one main line, while the correct length, just had to be compared to the original line (which we always save). A couple of simple changes done with our bare hands allowed us to quickly remedy the situation.

Again, bending and flaring brake lines is a tedious and imprecise process where kinks, ugly bends and leaks are likely. Do yourself a favor as we now do, and spend the extra $100 and save days of hassle with one of Classic Tube’s brake line kits.


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