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    1976 Elite 503
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  1. Thanks! That’s much appreciated. That’s an excellent point.
  2. Happily I managed to fix the ignition problem last week, which I have tentatively put down to a combination of things leading to not enough spark, which in turn sooted up the plugs and caused the non-running. The rotor arm was a bit carbon-y as well, so I cleaned that up and all seems well. It's still possible that it's overfuelling as well - if I'm feeling brave I might try and work out how to lean off the carbs a little, but there's a loud voice in my head telling me not to mess with them as they seem pretty well balanced and it's running fine at the moment. I also traced the coolant leak while I had the airbox off, but actually fixing it will be a bigger job. There are two leaks, one in the short hose that goes aft from the thermostat and one at the solid pipe that runs across the top of the radiator just forward of the leading edge of the bonnet. These require removal of the inlet manifold and the bonnet respectively to replace the hoses and clean up the joins, so that job is taking its place somewhere on the to-do list that isn't the top. (I have a couple of non-Lotus cars that need more urgent pre-winter jobs first.) I made a video about fixing it and then a short trip to the seaside - link below in case anyone is interested. To be quite honest I've been rather surprised at the strongly negative reaction I've had online to these videos from some quarters. To summarise, I'm an attention-seeking idiot who should be ashamed of how badly I've neglected it, in spite of me having spent several thousand pounds getting LotusBits to make it driveable since I bought it as a barely-running project. I'm actually a lifelong enthusiast for these cars and the Lotus ethos, but the fanboy trolls have rather taken the shine off. As a result I don't currently plan to make any more videos about my Elite but I will post occasional updates on here if that's ok with people, and try to encourage others as they work on theirs.
  3. Sadly that rules mine out - unless you fancy featuring the UK's shabbiest road legal Elite. Hope you get something sorted though. I'm in two minds about going along to the show (the Restoration Show is more my thing) but will certainly drop by the stand if I do.
  4. Time for a rather overdue update on this - there's good news and bad news (which is a slice of 70s Lotus life right there). Good news: I've traced the coolant leak problem, and it's an easy fix: a poor seal on the hose that runs from the thermostat to (I think) the heater matrix. I'm just waiting for some 45mm ID flexible coolant hose to be delivered and it should be a straightforward fix, as long as the metal hasn't corroded too much underneath. Bad news: A couple of days after my last trip out in late June (see the video above), it wouldn't start. Well it sort of did at first, but kept stalling and dying and then stopped altogether. It seemed to be getting fuel (and I've just replaced the fuel pump, apparently successfully), so I'm blaming the ignition. A video about that story, and my frustrations with it, is here. Don't worry, I didn't really hit it with that plank. I did nearly blow it up, but.. well, it's all in the video. The update since is that I have a set of plugs, a distributor cap and a rotor arm here ready for fitting and am just waiting for that hose. We'll see if those help, and if not I'll do some more methodical diagnostics. Or just buy a new coil. Or hit it with a plank.
  5. That’s a great picture, and your car looks superb in that colour and finish. Just lovely.
  6. Thanks very much @BrianK - I’ll look into that. There certainly is a ticking from the binnacle, which I’d put down to a snapped speedo cable (the car eats speedo cables for breakfast and really needs a new speedo) - but it could easily be the brake booster check valve. Or both, of course 😊 Also - you know how I said the coolant leak was fixed? It had another little accident today. Sigh. Maybe I need to let it out last thing at night. That works with Keith the dog.
  7. Great that this is up and running again! It does look very saucy in JPS trim. I’m happy you’re keeping it, at least for a while.
  8. I mentioned last time that there was a mystery coolant leak. Since then, as promised, I’ve been braving successively longer trips — including one out on to a tidal salt marsh, as you do, to take pictures. Here’s my latest video that tells that story. Spoiler alert: I won’t be asking for my TLF subscription to be refunded 😉
  9. You and I have spent the last four years locked in the world’s slowest race to get our wedges up to where we want them, which is to say just on the louche side of respectable. I think I’m currently ahead by half a nose but I wouldn’t bet against you making a surge.
  10. It’s finally 1976 here in this corner of Wales. (The paint doesn’t look too shonky at this distance. With a filter on.)
  11. By way of an update on this, I’m still trying to work out whether it’s really leaking coolant or if I just forced some out using the pressure tester. The hose from the pressure cap on the header tank isn’t connected to anything - it just drains out somewhere around the front of the engine. On a normal - sorry, lesser - car, it would drain to an expansion tank and then drain back when the system pressure drops again. But my Elite doesn’t have an expansion tank - is this normal? ‘Added lightness’ at work? I’ll do some more driving over the next few days and throw up another video soon. So far all the footage is of me scratching my head, which makes for rubbish telly. Here’s a photo in the meantime.
  12. Well, at least the bodywork isn’t rusting 😊 Your Eclat is a very fine thing. One day we’ll get the two together, both shiny and working. One day.
  13. Thanks Tony, that’s extremely wise advice. I am very badly disciplined indeed with my time management, it’s almost certainly my greatest weakness. In fact, have we met? Were we married once?
  14. Nope, oil is nice and clean, thankfully. It’s just about possible that the coolant is escaping from a hose somewhere and just dripping on to that part of the engine - needs further investigation to be 100% sure of the source of the leak.
  15. I’m at something of a crossroads with this car now. It runs fine for the most part but has a pretty significant coolant leak. The radiator is well past its best, but it also seems to be leaking quite profusely from the join between the block and the main bearing panel, which is interesting. (Video on that coming up, probably next week.) It also needs repainting. Aside from being an unappealing colour, the paint finish is atrocious: it not only flakes off, it washes off. I really want to put it back to the original Lagoon Blue metallic, which is just lovely: (Photo shamelessly stolen from the internet — if it’s yours then I apologise unreservedly, and btw your car is stunning.) The interior is mostly not bad. It seems pretty original apart from some slightly eccentric modifications in the form of odd switches and a randomly relocated (and broken) choke knob. It was specced in vinyl throughout, which has a rather horrid texture, especially on the seats. I’m more of a velour man myself when it comes to seats, and the driver’s one needs re-stuffing. So what to do next? Dave at Lotusbits wisely said that before doing any serious restoration I should drive it around and make sure I like it: I have and I do. I have some money (not unlimited) and potentially some time; I can make indoor working space; I have an engine crane, a tilter and assorted tools. I don’t have a paint booth. I also have a queue of other cars needing my attention. I think my options are: 1. Send it off to Lotusbits (when they have a slot), say ‘send me the bill when it’s all done’, then bite on a towel; 2. Take the engine out and take it somewhere to have the bottom end sorted out (assuming it doesn’t just need the bolts torqued up a bit), and while I’m about it strip the car down for painting and rewiring; 3. As 1 or 2 but without the strip down, and live with the shonky look. It’s not as if it’s going to get rusty (the chassis is a good galvanised one, by the way). I’m open-minded and mulling it over. Any opinions welcome.
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