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Elite 4.9

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About Elite 4.9

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  • Name
    Richard Norman
  • Car
    Lotus Elite 502, 1974
  • Modifications
    Only factory approved..really ! IF these were done when new the Elite would have sold way more cars. List of mods is in my photo section. check it out and tell me what you like.
  • Location
    United States, Seattle

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  1. The, GM for my car's air con added 135 lbs extra so a stiffer spring was needed. Doesn't sound like much but these cars are softly sprung with almost 8 inches in travel. I would guess it would be better to be a little stiffer than a too soft spring. I removed my air con but added a 4 gallon, 4 core copper radiator, to cool my V8 engine which by the way is almost the same weight as the original 4 cylinder. With the difference from removing the air con and adding some more weight in the front nose of the car, I didn't notice it being too stiff although I think I am lighter. Not sure what kind of driving you do but if you use these cars as they were designed to be driven, then a stiffer spring seems to me the way to go if you had a choice Cheers, Richard
  2. With a 16 inch rim, the widest tire that will fit in front is a 205-45 series. I have even tried a 215 and it rubbed the inner wheel well. Cheers, Richard
  3. I have the 110th built, a 1974 federal Elite, and I believe the side markers are just running lights and reflectors. I didn't like the look or the low quality of the markers so I removed them and fill in so as to look like the European version. Too cheesy for me. For side lights, I have been thinking of hiding some lights inside the wheel wells up high. You can probably see this in the factory manual's electrical wiring diagram to make sure. cheers, Richard
  4. Hey Michael, Working on these cars is challenging at times but this can be done if you can slide the seat back and reclined so then you can access it by standing on your head so to speak. That is, putting yourself in the seat upside down with your head just below the pedals and your feet and legs over the seat. You can then see and change out the end of the cable in it's holder. It is awkward but really not that difficult but it does make the blood run more to your head. If you are a big guy, it may be that you will need to take out the seat first. I wouldn't take out the dash. You may be easier if you get a small kid to do this as there isn't any extra space down there as you already know. cheers, Richard
  5. Elite 4.9

    Ardent Red

    Very Sexy. looks fast and awesome in the color red. (top picture) love the roadster. I would love to drive this one. Last pic...also very nice with the chrome wheels and black trim on red! lovely. I could easily see this as a daily driver where I live, Northwest coast USA. thanks for posting, Richard
  6. Love the look of the PPG paint I used. Looks even better in person. But the real addition is a high tech product for paint protection, in place of wax, is the "Dri-Wash n Guard" product I have used since the mid 80's which is far superior to wax for uv protection as well as ease of application. Not to mention it is very slick and water and dirt fly off in a rain storm. Also great for plastic, chrome and the best window cleaner I have ever found. Has to be seen to believe just how great this product is. Makes a fair paint job look good and a good paint looks almost wet. Great product if you are selling a vehicle.
  7. This is another view which I like very much. I remember when the Elite came out, some of the first photos taken where from this angle. Very aerodynamic with a low drag coefficient of .30..... almost as slick as the original Elite of .29 What is interesting is that the stance, wheel base and weight of this car is very close to the Ferrari F40 and the McLaren F1 which both follow shortly after the Elite was made and both were considered state of the art of high performance. Lotus got it right for fast motoring around corners were this car greatly excels. Lotus factory said it would out handle the Europa by 15%. Basic chassis design was very similar for all street cars Lotus made from the Elan through the Esprit. This chassis even dates back to the racing Lotus 30 which, in the day, broke the track record at Silverstone, even faster than the F1 cars!
  8. Elite 4.9

    Lotus Elite.jpg

    Not sure why the color looks orange but you at least get a view of the Elite in this color. lighting was obvious not the greatest. I think the car looks great from this angle.
  9. Painting all of the original polished aluminum trim around the doors and windshield IMHO greatly improve the lines and look of the Elite and the Lotus factory agreed with the last version of this car, the Excel having this improvement. I accidentally found this to be the answer to my problem of dented trim which was easily fixed when painted rather than the $2,000 dollar replacement cost.
  10. All Elem wood was finished with multiple coats of PPG clear automotive paint. Connolly leather interior is really what this car needed from the start. In 1974 with the fake news of the shortage, the oil companies made Lotus put a small 2.0 liter engine fearing expensive fuel prices would hurt their new line. Instead, they should have made a small V8 or even a V6 for such an expensive sports GT car. Expensive as the Elite was to make, the factory had to find ways to lower the cost and quality of fit and finish suffered a lot as did the choice of drive train components. Why else is the price of these cars so cheap? No other Lotus has the falling out that the second generation 4 seat Lotus has. A real shame as this car out handles all of the Lotus street cars to it's inception and even is much easier to drive at the limit than the mid engine cars to follow.
  11. Real Carpathian Elm burl wood on the dash, doors, and console both front and rear add a touch of luxury I think Lotus wanted from the inception of this up scale 4 seater GT. Later Lotus used this exact wood in the Esprit. Good choice in my opinion. LOL
  12. Hi Mike, Owning one of these cars for a long period of time and living with some of the after though ideas to make it easier to do so can call for and imagination like with the soleniod. Looks like a good idea to me. Under this subject, my Elite takes quite a pull on the cable lever to open the rear window, so I decided a fail safe system was needed. Take a look at the hole I drilled in the bottom of the boot, big enough for your hand and close enough to reach the rear hatch lever. This gives a fail safe way to make sure you have access no mater what. The original system, to me, looks like possible trouble. My fix is still secure because someone would have to drop the rear tire to access the wing nut to access the small safety door in the floor of the boot and above the spare tire. I am going to do the same thing with the bonnet latches. Drilling a hole in the fire wall behind and just below the latches with a small handle connected to another cable attached to the latch. One for each side so in the event of the normal lever that opens the bonnet doesn't work one still has access to the engine bay from under the dash. cheers Richard
  13. Hey Rob, As far as the paint is concerned, these cars didn't come with, what is now, top of the line acrylic urethane's which are a much better paint, so any top paint shop would know how to paint your car and it won't be as per original unless you want to put on the same enamel as the factory did. Most new cars use these urethane's which are shinny er and cost way more by the way. In 1990, I spent around $1,000 US dollars just for materials using top PPG urethane paints. probably double that by now or more. You say the paint is crazed. If you have stress cracks ( most all Lotus glass fiber cars with any miles on them will have) these cracks must be ground down and refilled and repaired other wise these same cracks will show up in short order after your expensive paint job in just a few miles on the road. Sounds like you may need to take all the paint off down to the gel coat to get the best job. And yeah, the polished aluminum windshield molding is not easy to take off and put back without damaging it. That is why I painted all of the my window moldings, body color, as they were damaged in the first place and cost way too much to replace. I think it looks much better and so did the Lotus factory which changed the same in the Excel and all the rest of the line after that. You can check out what that looks like on my car in my picture albums if you like. The wheels just take a lot effort even with a machine to make them look their best. Way too much effort and time if done by hand. And, there are no good high performance tires available for the original 14 wheels in a 60 series tire. No one makes any high rated tires required if you want to drive it as the car was designed. I updated to a 16 inch rim so I could put on some z rated high performance tires. You will need to go to a 45 series tire if you use a 16 inch rim especially in the front with a max of 205 mm wide tire. You need good tires for the heat that can be generated by high speed, fast cornering of these great handling cars. Jacking points that I use are the front cross member which is steel and the rear end which will easily handle the weight. But you can use a block of wood near the jacking spots too quite easily. You will need a really low profile floor jack to get under the front end to jack it. I drive up on a 2x6 piece of wood under the front tire to access my floor jack at the front. I also use a piece of wood on my floor jack for the rear end but it isn't necessary here. Just makes it so you don't scratch up the rear end so much. The jacking points on the car are all on glass fiber so some care must be taken here and I wouldn't use jack stands without some soft wood next to the car. Car ramps work well here as well but get in the way at times and of course won't work if you want to take off the wheels. These are just some of the concerns and ways that I have addressed them in my 35 years of owning and working on my '74 Elite. JMHO hope this helps, Richard
  14. Really nice to see all your progress Simon. An amazing amount of work for sure but then you have something really nice and a worthwhile project. I could almost smell the grey primer when I saw your pictures in that stage even though I painted mine many years ago. The Elite even looks good in primer. It is obvious you are having a good time here. Way cool and the color is also looking mighty nice! Getting back to changing out the vacuum powered headlamp pods: I changed mine out for the same reasons you mentioned and I used some electric lifts from a Triumph TR8. Worked for me and I had them on hand from a wreck TR8 I restored back to health. lol nice to see such loving care you are taking. keep it going. Thanks for all your pics and for posting your project here. enjoying it a lot from the other side of the pond. Richard
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