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Elite joins the fleet

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#1 OFFLINE   Skizzer

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:15 PM

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I've got no more storage space and no time for cars these days so obviously last week I bought this.

 

36262237125_2a69d674ec_z.jpg

1976 Lotus Elite 503 by Skizzer, on Flickr

 

It was on eBay looking horrid and nobody else bid on it.  It has a fresh MOT though, and has had a bunch of mechanical work done recently, and has a galvanised replacement chassis.  The seller turned out to be a very amiable chap who has had it a few years, knew the previous two owners, is a proper engineer and is into old military vehicles so cares about the substance not the surface.  Ideal.

 

It wasn't a megabargain but these seem to be on the up nowadays and have been on my want list since they were new and I was six.  They come up for sale reasonably regularly but are either stupidly expensive or utter basket cases:  this one was nicely Goldilocks.

 

It runs but I trailered it away because 1. I didn't do that with the last car I bought and regretted it (Gamma, still not running) and 2. I need to justify owning a trailer.

 

35868431370_3bcd205e1c_z.jpg

1976 Lotus Elite 503 by Skizzer, on Flickr

 

It's an absolute hoot to drive.  Lovely snickety gear change, super precise steering, good brakes, fab noise.  There are a few issues to sort and it needs a bit of a service/tune, so I'm planning to trailer it to LotusBits for fettling soon.  

 

Interior is really good, apart from the seats needing a bit of a clean:

 

35458310133_0243377ba5_z.jpg

1976 Lotus Elite 503 by Skizzer, on Flickr

 

It's currently in storage at a friend's house (there are clues in the pictures); I have no idea where I'll put it when it comes home but hopefully some solution will turn up by then.

 

35458311493_6c1537a835_z.jpg

1976 Lotus Elite 503 by Skizzer, on Flickr


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75N Vauxhall 2300S | 76P Lotus Elite | 76P Renault 16TL | 79T Rover 3500 | 82X Lancia Gamma Coupe | 82Y Jaguar XJ-S HE | 83A Jaguar Sovereign 4.2 | 84B Talbot-Matra Rancho | 85C Ford Granada 2.8 estate | 91H Audi 80 2.0E | 91J VW Golf Rivage cabrio | 99T Land Rover Discovery V8 | 06 Alfa Brera 2.2JTS | 14 BMW 428i

#2 OFFLINE   r.welfare

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:17 PM

Marvellous. And welcome back. Always wondered why they put the rear view mirror on the dash top though - can you enlighten me?
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#3 ONLINE   sierraman

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:17 PM

Seventiestastic!

Hope the wiper motor works for you though!
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#4 OFFLINE   Skizzer

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:20 PM

Seventiestastic!

Hope the wiper motor works for you though!

 

 

It does!  Well, it did:  BV took it out earlier and suffered a total electrical FTP.  But I don't think that's anything to do with the wiper motor.


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#5 OFFLINE   timolloyd

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:21 PM

That looks brilliant. However, is that an ICE Yo! remote control on the centre console?

#6 OFFLINE   RayMK

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:24 PM

Marvellous. And welcome back. Always wondered why they put the rear view mirror on the dash top though - can you enlighten me?

 

Falling roof line.  


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#7 OFFLINE   stripped fred

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:25 PM

That looks great fun, well bought! What an amazing shape. I know literally nothing about these. Does it have a twin can engine? I managed to find some interesting facts on the web, 'The Elite had a claimed drag co-efficient of 0.30 and at the time of launch it was the world's most expensive four-cylinder car'.
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#8 OFFLINE   Skizzer

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:26 PM

That looks brilliant. However, is that an ICE Yo! remote control on the centre console?

 

 

It certainly is.  There's a secret second stereo under the dash by the driver's right shin.  Haven't tried it myself but I had a text earlier about BANGIN CHOONZ, followed by another about a total absence of electricity;  the two may or may not be connected.

 

Being an early 503 it should have a Philips stereo cassette with a mono recording facility and a separate microphone mounted under the dash.  Sadly it doesn't.


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#9 OFFLINE   Six-cylinder

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:26 PM

Fantastic!


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#10 OFFLINE   The Reverend Bluejeans

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:27 PM

Terrible vehicle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good work!  :-D


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#11 OFFLINE   RoadworkUK

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:30 PM

Lovely, that. My favourite Lotus.


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#12 ONLINE   cort16

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:32 PM

Lovely car. Worth nothing for years but that seems to be changing .
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I estimate this car needs £3000 maybe £4000 spending on it to get it rite and when this is done it will be wotrth about £1500!!


#13 ONLINE   Mally

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:33 PM

Very nice trailer. Cars ok as well.

My son tried to get me to buy one for £400 years ago, but I was too sensible at the time.


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#14 ONLINE   sierraman

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:36 PM

From what I understand with these the wiper motor has the car built round it so replacement is a right twat.

I read in PC a few years back a lot of Lotus specialists wouldn't deal in them. Don't know why that is, an Esprit isn't exactly a paragon of reliability.

#15 OFFLINE   Skizzer

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:36 PM

That looks great fun, well bought! What an amazing shape. I know literally nothing about these. Does it have a twin can engine? I managed to find some interesting facts on the web, 'The Elite had a claimed drag co-efficient of 0.30 and at the time of launch it was the world's most expensive four-cylinder car'.

 

Yes, it's a DOHC 16-valver.  The series 1 Elites/Eclats were 1973cc;  later ones and Excels were bored out to 2.2.  Two twin-choke Dellorto 40 carbs and a lovely throaty exhaust note. 

 

The engine is Lotus's own, its first homegrown engine and pretty state-of-the-art for the time; it first appeared in the Jensen-Healey where it had cooling problems but was more sorted by the time the Elite came out.  The block is loosely based on the slant four in my Vauxhall VX2300, but in aluminium rather than cast iron.  


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#16 OFFLINE   Brodders

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:41 PM

I never knew these existed, but I am already in love with it. The combination of pop up headlamps, 70s styling and an interior that makes you feel like a vintage porn star whenever you see it makes it simply superb. Well bought, it looks like an excellent addition to the fleet.
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#17 OFFLINE   25v6turbo

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:46 PM

OMG I own one of these,mine is an early M reg and roadworthy although my Dad takes care of it,they can be a right pain to work on including rear wheel cylinders which involves a diff out job,or any gearbox/clutch work that means engine out,but that's easy enough,series 1 cars are getting pricey now and theres a lot of interest in them as they are so 70s...

Great work looking forward to see what you do with it.

Oh and I have the Phillips turnolock radio complete with original Dictaphone.


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#18 OFFLINE   dollywobbler

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:48 PM

Fantastic! These are the 1970s summed up in one car. I drove one about ten years ago and remember that it drove much, much better than I expected. 


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#19 OFFLINE   Asimo

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:49 PM

mmmmm, Maxi gears and Marina door handles in one fine package. Had the hots for one of these since 1974!

#20 OFFLINE   Skizzer

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:55 PM

From what I understand with these the wiper motor has the car built round it so replacement is a right twat.

I read in PC a few years back a lot of Lotus specialists wouldn't deal in them. Don't know why that is, an Esprit isn't exactly a paragon of reliability.

 

 

I've heard that about the wiper motor too so was pleased it works ok.  The rain was torrential on Saturday when I collected it, so it got a proper test.  There are two speeds, not-very-fast and barely-any-faster, but at least it's steady.

 

Some people talk about them as being 'Lotus's dog', but they've always been the only Lotus I'd actually own: there are others I admire like the Excel and Esprit S1-3, but this is definitely the shiter's Lotus. 

 

mmmmm, Maxi gears and Marina door handles in one fine package. Had the hots for one of these since 1974!

 

 

The actual cogs are indeed Maxi but the box and (importantly) selector are Lotus, I believe (not BL, anyway).  It doesn't feel like a 1970s Leyland Stirabout gear change...


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#21 ONLINE   sierraman

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 07:58 PM

The fact it's the underdog is where the appeal is for me.
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#22 OFFLINE   Skizzer

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 08:02 PM

OMG I own one of these,mine is an early M reg and roadworthy although my Dad takes care of it,they can be a right pain to work on including rear wheel cylinders which involves a diff out job,or any gearbox/clutch work that means engine out,but that's easy enough,series 1 cars are getting pricey now and theres a lot of interest in them as they are so 70s...

Great work looking forward to see what you do with it.

Oh and I have the Phillips turnolock radio complete with original Dictaphone.

 

NEED PHOTOS!  Have you sorted yourself out with photo hosting yet?  I've still got a bunch of your Safrane pics on my Flickr account  :-D

 

Rear brakes are a nightmare of inboard drums.  Luckily mine have been recently rebuilt.

 

 

Plan is to respray it at some point - the photos flatter the paint a lot and the original colour is a darker blue.  I like the idea of a darkish metallic blue, a bit like Colin Chapman's own Elite in Essex Petroleum blue (with a red stripe that I shan't bother with).  

 

Lotus_Elite_S2_Blue.jpg

 

Ford have a current colour called Deep Impact Blue, a really rich shade that I think would work.  I also like gold or purple but Mrs S says no.  


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#23 ONLINE   richardmorris

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 08:03 PM

Wonderful thing. Everyone should have a car with pop-up headlamps!
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#24 OFFLINE   Sigmund Fraud

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 08:08 PM

Amazing work !!!

 

I hope the recent mechanical work includes a cambelt - you really don't want to be looking for a Lotus 900 head !

 

And best of luck keeping those DHLAs in tune - twin Dellortos was one (of many) aspects of Alfa ownership I quickly learnt to hate !



#25 OFFLINE   25v6turbo

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 08:08 PM

No I haven,t managed to sort anything picture hosting I should but not very good at things like that,i do have pics of it on my PC but never posted them...

Its a nice car in Lotus lemon yellow with oatmeal interior on a factory NG plate aswell but has a special history...


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#26 OFFLINE   Skizzer

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 08:10 PM

Oh and I have the Phillips turnolock radio complete with original Dictaphone.

 

 

Massively jealous of your original Dictaphone by the way ("Can I use your Dictaphone?" "No, use a phonebox like everyone else")


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#27 OFFLINE   Skizzer

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 08:13 PM

Amazing work !!!

 

I hope the recent mechanical work includes a cambelt - you really don't want to be looking for a Lotus 900 head !

 

And best of luck keeping those DHLAs in tune - twin Dellortos was one (of many) aspects of Alfa ownership I quickly learnt to hate !

 

Cambelt was done about 800 miles ago - I checked - but I'll replace it anyway as that was a few years ago.  

 

Apparently regular use helps the carbs stay in tune.  Okey dokey :-)


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#28 OFFLINE   egg

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 08:21 PM

Excellent. Well done.

I've had one for donkey's years ;-)

IMG_20170804_211949.jpg
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#29 OFFLINE   danthecapriman

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 08:23 PM

That is cool! It looks so futuristic in a 70's sort of way and that interior looks lovely too.

Welcome back btw!
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#30 ONLINE   TripleRich

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 08:44 PM

One of these in orange drove past my house about 2 hours ago.  Fantastic shape and sound, they really look good. Loved the parts pinching from the smaller makes during this period.  The later elite has rear lights from an SD1 that are in upside down.

 

Elite.JPG


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