DescriptionHard-to-find Oxford Blue, this car still wears its original lacquer finish. Interior was restored to a very high standard in late 1990s. Working air conditioning. Engine rebuilt, suspension rebuilt with polyurethane bushings and adjustable dampers, all brake/clutch/oil lines replaced with SS braided, brake system rebuilt, AC system rebuilt and upgraded to R134a. A well-kept car that I lusted after for several years before finally having the opportunity to buy it. <img src="http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />
UPDATE, 11 August 2009:
Today was one of those sweet days in a car collector's life. Today, I spoke with 454H's original owner, Brad Berrong of Oklahoma. He was thrilled to hear from me that the car is well ("It's the only object I ever <i>loved</i>," were among his words), and likewise I was equally happy and thankful for the pleasure of speaking with such a nice person.
I have now spoken to all four previous owners of 454H, and have lots of great stories and anecdotes to accompany the car's paper history. Below are a few tidbits from Brad, being recorded here for posterity:
Brad bought 454H, a 1978 S1 (built Sept. 77), "new" from a reseller in Amarillo, Texas, in 1981. It was part of the inventory of a Rolls-Royce dealership in Denver that went bankrupt. The dealership's assets were therefore tied up in the courts for a couple of years. The reseller was desperate to sell the car -- he had no takers in Amarillo -- and Brad bought it for $17,000 USD in 1981, which he felt was a steal.
A friend of Brad and fellow car enthusiast was passing through Amarillo and picked up the local "trader" magazine and found the car in there and told Brad about it. Before long, Brand and his wife (who was six months pregnant) were driving from Weatherford, Oklahoma, to Amarillo to see the car. Brad test drove it, and they bought it.
This was, as Brad put it, in the "Jimmy Carter days, with the 55 mph speed limit." Jeanine (Mrs. Berrong, not sure of the spelling) was adhering to the speed limit; Brad insisted to her that a car such as this must NOT be driven at a mere 55mph . . .
Early service history included mostly just little things and oil changes; he had one valve adjustment done, although he admits it didn't really need it. As he bought the car from a reseller and not an official dealer, he did not receive with it the owner's manual, tool kit, or the usual documentation one receives when buying new from a dealer.
Brad and Jeanine had no incidents or accidents with 454H except one time when Jeanine broke the corner of the front spoiler pulling out of a driveway. It still bears the scar of the repair today.
There IS some paint work on 454H -- a portion of the nose and a small patch around the driver's door handle have been resprayed with nitrocellulose lacquer. We have concluded that this touching up was done at the factory or by the importer/original dealer, because none of the car's owners claim to have done any paint work.
454H never had overheating issues, ever, even with the A/C on. The rear defogger "did not work worth a darn," according to Brad. Both of these statements still hold true today at 48k miles. Brad sold it with somewhere around 12k-14k miles (have to check records).
Finally, on a long, straight stretch of highway (of which Oklahoma and Texas have many), Brad insists he reached an indicated 150mph on the speedometer. He said people over the years have told him that it can't do that, but allowing for gross speedometer error, one might suppose the car was in the upper 130s, perhaps? After all, I've heard plenty of stories of speeds in the 130s from various owners, and I myself clocked 133 mph in 260H (with an indicated 140mph). Well, regardless, Brad said "the trees and lines were sure flying by fast, like I'd never seen them before, and it felt like it had more to go!"
Today is a great day. <img src="http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> 454H's story is complete, from first owner to today. And it has been a pleasure to meet and talk to its owners.