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Recall my S2 not being the lightest car but this is definitely shot on wheel bearings or brakes, takes a lot of effort to pull it / push it back and forth a couple of metres for working on.....

Even needed assistance when it had gravity on its side...



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Been speaking to this project owner today about retrim options when his car cropped up on my eBay notifications:

(No connection but may be a good project for someone inspired by these threads?)

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Got on with a few jobs today over around 3 hours, in between some emergency house DIY.....

Unfastened the radiator which was fixed to to the body and disconnected the hoses.

Disconnected the heater matrix hoses, water still came out after draining the radiator so this must be the lowest drain point on the car I expect. Water was still showing a large concentration of anti freeze so that’s a good sign.

Should I reuse the aluminium elbows on the cooling system or replace them?

The car rolls a lot more easily now the seized brakes have been soaking in penetrating oil for a while, so it’s easier to shuttle back and forth in the limited space to get jobs done.

Pulled the rear light loom back through the body.

Disconnected the hand brake cables.

Disconnected the fuel lines and had about 250ml of fuel drain out of the pipes and lower banjos. One fuel tank in almost ready to lift but I’ll leave in situ until ready for recon.

Throttle cable disconnected.

A couple of cables on the partially disconnect loom just had basic splices and several of these just fell apart as I was gently moving the loom, raising  my concerns about getting the car back together electrically.

Disconnected the tachometer (speedo?) drive from the back of the gearbox.

The body can be hand lifted now slightly but I’m not sure I’ve all the items disconnected despite following the guide.

My thoughts are now to do a partial lift with 2 jacks either side of the body with the force spread using scaffold board to get 6 inch height and check for clearance before employing the services of a few stout chaps to do the lift?

I have to delay now as I don’t have a dolly to put the body on nor the space inside to the store the body at the moment, so may direct my attentions to removing the lower sills, fuel tanks and the heater matrix pre dolly.

Could anybody describe the lower dash removal procedure?

I’d started on this last week believing the space would be useful to free the pedal box up, but I couldn’t free up one bolt or see where / if there were other fixings in the end.

I removed 3 of the 4 cross bar bolts but not drilled the side rivets as I just went back to the pedal box to crack on.

It may be slow progress but if I hit the milestone of lifting the body soon, the rest I’m certain I can manage here. My concern was getting stuck at a critical point but I’m sure the body is now just resting on the chassis and ready for lifting...

The radiator surround is a real mess of  loose rivets and rot, I may have a new one made up.

I was really surprised that this was connected via the body and was so narrow.

One shot shows the underside of the nose looking up. I am tempted again to use the S1 lower repair panel to recreate an S1 front end now there is full access. I’ve a quote for the panel and it means adding around 6 inches of new material to the nose panel under the front area but I’ll be fitting a full piece across the underside front of the car if I proceed as this seems to be the established route.

Looking at the 2 body shapes, the S1 nose could be cut back to S2 style later if required and I’ll keep the bib + bits if I proceed with this. I expect a few S1’s were adapted to S2’s back in the day by cutting the GRP to make it flat to accept the S2 horizontal bib.E6EA528A-FC83-459B-A6D9-6684A596E0F0.jpeg.960dc5c285f42edacdb9d315dc136733.jpeg







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Jon my view is it’s your car so do what you wish, at the end of the day the S2 U.K. Sportscars sold with the S1 look went really quickly and at £35k was in the upper S2 price bracket. If you go that far I would buy a set of X19 rear lights and do the back as well, this is simple and SJ sell the three surrounds for the number plate and two lights. You will have to fill a section in the rear panel but very simple and cut for the number plate plinth.

I had to reverse the S2 rear end which was fitted on my last S1.

Do this conversion and you will have best of both worlds and have the car you really want.

Yes lots of S1’s were cut to make their cars look newer in the day including mine.

My S1 made to look turbo

86EC46DC-BDA4-4B09-9537-12424E36F34B.jpeg.b7def839728ee288381fc05a99e6d94c.jpegMy S1 made to look S2 from rear

Dave :) 


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Good progress Jonathan.

I'm surprised at the radiator depth. It looks the same as an S1, but I was lead to believe it was larger and therefore inclined. Get that and heater matrix off to be checked and the former replaced with a triple core.

Those cooling fans and horns look different to mine. Fit 3 7" Spals to a bracket, or buy the conversion from SJ Sportscars if you don't fancy making up your own. Those and a modern radiator core will make a huge difference.

I fitted Lucas horns, but the S2 may have been different.

S1s modified to look like S2s simply had a lookalike spoiler bolted on from what I've seen. Often just by cutting the ends off the S1 spoiler and leaving the air dam in place, and screwing the outer structure to the body shell. The S2 to S1 is a lot more work as previously discussed.

Good idea to test lift the body, though they tend to snag on the front upper wishbone fulcrum bars that protrude into the footwells.

Lastly, for such a small cost I'd replace all the aluminium cooling pipes. False economy otherwise, given the poor access once assembled.


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I believe the larger, inclined rad was introduced on the S2 when A/C began being offered and Lotus typically rationalised supplies by continuing to fit non-A/C cars with the remaining supply of short core rads for a time. 

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Thank you,

Lotusman, that S2 you refer to was actually my old black car that an owner or 2 after me pretty much did the same conversion on. They normally keep the images live for a few weeks on their website but they’ve gone this time. I have some further great details regarding that car if the owner ever tracks me down.

I’d produced a file of many of the previous owners during my time with it and hopefully that stayed with the car.

It was one of the motivations to start looking again when I spotted it as I called just after the car had been sold to discuss it but it had really gone out of the range I was prepared to pay for it at that time.

Will do Fridge on the radiator, it is badly shot and the fans will be upgraded. I’m looking for the “parp-parp” horn sound that I remember from my S2 so I’ll hot wire these to see what they are.

The S2 to S1 conversion front end requires a lower front body panel to be grafted on after removing the current structure at the front all the way up to the joint line.

It won’t be me doing this but I have a contact hopefully doing the GRP and I’ll check with them if they can do it, as I don’t want any issues down the line.

I saw a program the other day on the Submarine Esprit found in a salvage yard in bad shape owned now by the Dezer museum, and the body had dropped at one side on the front where this joint line had failed.

I’ll need convincing it can be done properly and may settle for grafts over the current front area if the exact line can be recreated, so as not to cut into any existing GRP.

The section is available whole from SJ for the job and it can be done according to them.

I’d love to make contact with the last owner of my old car to check on their experience of doing this.

I’ll switch all the elbows out if that’s recommended as the rolling chassis is effectively going to be all refurbished.

Bit of an impasse now until I build the dolly and lift the body, which means having a body shop ready. Next jobs will be the matrix of anyone can advise the lower dash removal process?

Had another hour or so and wiggled the N/S fuel tank free, the body is now so loose. Placed back in the slot for safe keeping but these are ready to go off for refurb now....

Wiring loom all freed up and laid gently over engine bay ready for teasing back into the cabin or securing for the lift.

The fuel pipe was badly split around the banjo at the tank mount. The foam was loose in the cavity and the tank is carrying a pressure test stamp so it may have been out already.

I’ll get these to a specialist to make them as good as new ahead of fitting them back in. Would have needed the engine dropping if the body had not been loose, have frustrating memories of taking one of my SE tanks out and needing to take off an engine mount and remove the cam covers etc, a real pain....

I’m pretty much at my technical capability limit, hope this all goes back together as I suppose any idiot can take it apart!




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Yes, you're right about taking them apart and putting them back together, which is arduously slow if you are time poor.

The Dezer minisub is a replica by the looks of their sales details last year. There are plenty around, and few are accurate, even to the original prop. Don't believe everything you see on TV! Though they were 2 full-sized ones in Florida. The other is now owned by Elon Musk, which was found in a container.

The lower dashboard just unbolts, but you'll need the binnacle and clocks out first.

BTW that white S2/S1-a-like in the photo isn't sitting correctly. It's at least 1" too high above the tyres, if not more.

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I wonder based on the rad if the car is quite close to the S1 end of production being circa mid 78? There seems to be a lot more space in the front than I recall and I really don’t like the way the radiator mounts with all its weight on 4X 10mm bolts through the boot floor!

It looks to my eyes like a lash up of S1 bits with the S2 valance etc, as I expected the body mod to require mods to this whole area. However it looks just like I need to modify the nose GRP and add the bib spoiler dam and the whole thing would go back together.

I know they used whatever was to hand, hope that is the case.... 

4 minutes ago, Fridge said:

BTW that white S2/S1-a-like in the photo isn't sitting correctly. It's at least 1" too high above the tyres, if not more.

That last image?

Another question in that case, are the Speedlines and Wolfrace wheels identical spec regards tyres but just look different when on the car? I always assumed the WR’s were much narrower track.

Reason I ask is in case I go the whole hog and buy some down the line, but would like to know if they would seat right for exactly this reason or will stay with SL’s.....

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@LOTUSMAN33is your best bet for S1/S2 comparisons.

The S1 air dam holds the radiator in a slot at the rear by the means of 2 bolts either side. So not a direct comparison. An S1 air dam would not fit directly, and would need to combine aspects of both series.

From the books I have the tyres are the same for both an S1 and an S2, apart from the spare, which was a space saver in the later series.

It should have this stance.

S2s were built in 1978 after the August factory shutdown. With very late S1s having S2s features, such as rear valances, exhausts, engine covers and front air dams.  Not the other way around, but being a Lotus anything is possible...








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You will be fine putting wolfrace on your car if you can find a set although they do pop up now and then. Another option which isn’t perfect is buy some with the wrong pcd and get them welded up and re-drilled. This has been done by a few owners and have them sprayed silver, not as nice as polished/diamond cut but still smart.

My S1 is very late being a March 78 so I will try and jack it up for you when I have time and do some photos, I should be jacking up the front of the JPS soon so can do the comparison.

The fibreglass work isn’t hard to do and as said had I’d been local I would have popped over to help.

Dave :) 

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Big set of castor wheels arrived off eBay today for £30 delivered, hefty items! I was concerned they wouldn’t be big enough even though they are rated to 150Kg each, but they seem immensely strong....

I’ve a little scrap wood and an old pallet I’ll bash together to make a dolly over the next few weeks.

Can anyone help with the question regards lower dash removal please?

That and the outer sills to do and then I can get the body booked in somewhere....


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Well done Jonathan. Those are a great purchase. I had to go with new at 3x the price. With some turning up at an Autojumble 2-3 years later.

As with the old adage, it's the size that matters 😄 and these look the business. They'll give you just enough height to work on the underside and not be too high to make a good job of the roof. Which in your case will be useful. Their diameter means that they'll also offer the least rolling resistance. The weight carrying ability isn't a major factory with an empty body shell.

From memory, the lower dash is fastened to the crash member beneath it by screws located through metal tabs mounted either side of the item. It may locate into the upper dash at either end also, though not sure. The main thing is to remove the binnacle and instrumentation first. That will help expose the lower dashboard better. The loom fits into the glove box for the fuse boxes. Obviously the glove box removes also if need be. Remove the lid too if that helps. The loom connects to the interior light switches in the door jam too. The centre console needs to come out first also of course. I don't think there's anything more complex about it. It's been a while since I removed mine.

The sills are attached by large rivets which need drilling out. Together with mastic (I refitted everything with Tiger seal, choosing black as the bring best colour - buy at least 3 for the whole car for cost effectiveness. More if resealing the quarter light windows. The rivets are located on the underside along the inner edge of the edge. Be careful as the sills here could be worn, and can be repaired prior to painting. Other rivets are in via the top of the inner sills (door jam), and also under the petrol tanks (2 or 3 from memory). Those are tricky to access.

If you haven't already you need to invest in a good quality paint scraper type tool. Strong and long, like Andrex. But also thin enough to wedge between the panels and cut the old mastic sealant. I also used a thin knife to do this, but mine had been refitted with enough mastic for the car to exceed Mach 1 without panels flying off.

For reference, I painted the body shell underside with black satin Raptor up to sills, not beyond (over them), which looks great. The underside of mine was looking a bit worn to leave original. It finishes off the car well. Though you'll need the painter to move the shell around on the dolly to access it without hinderance. I bolted the body shell onto the dolly via the seat mount holes, which were accessible for this purpose.

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Thanks Fridge that’s great advice.

The wheels are huge at 200mm but I might have to move the body over less than ideal terrain. They have brakes as well.

I reckon I’ve been unfastening the crash bar on the dash if that’s the case above, the two bolts each side near the A covers, and not the dash itself.

Had hoped to leave the binnacle and instruments in place and just remove the lower dash to access the heater matrix, reckon that’s not possible?

Centre console is out, I may end up going all the way and taking the full interior less upper dash out but wanted to avoid this. The only reason I’m taking the dash out anyway is to refurbish the matrix while the car is away other wise it would be staying put.

The wiring loom is 70% out, the rear section resting on the engine and the front section loosely laid in the front compartment. If the binnacle has to come off, I might remove the entire loom and get it to your mate to go over at his leisure to rebuild it back.

Thanks for info on the sills.

I can see most of the rivets but if there are a couple in the tank area these are going to be tough!

The sills would be staying put if it weren’t for the need to check the belt mounts buried under there. I may have a full long plate made up to take both the hand brake and and belt mount to allow more strength in that area as I can feel the sill area flex when the park brake is applied.

photos below of state of interior strip and amount of trim extracted already resting on engine cover....



I’m keeping the file sizes small to save data on the forum, should I boost the image size though to make them clearer?

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Yes, I'd agree with @LOTUSMAN33 regarding the images. As someone working in field of content creation I always work at full resolution, involving Terabytes :D

Take the dashboard out as I described. Why make a half job of it? Bite that bullet!!



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Noted on the image size, clicking back through and some are very grainy.

Will do on the dash, if I go that deep the loom will be coming out also, which is a bit scary, but reckon I can get it back approximately in place for an auto electrician to sort it properly.

Managed to get a set of Kangol belts from eBay over the weekend to reintroduce the ‘seatbelt’ circuit light back onto the dash. Seems a lot of these lights were physically missing behind the legends. Choke / brake etc. I’d like them all working properly when the car is going again. I expect the belts aren’t exact but they seem closer to what I remember than the ones in there at the moment.

Had a few chats today regards the front end and if to go S1 or stay S2.

Maybe some moulds available that enable a lower wing nose graft to be created more easily than I first thought and experience of doing this. 

Will weigh it up as I progress and I’m a bit earlier to get to this stage than I first thought (“ha, just wait.....”)

Gently placed one rear 3/4 glazing pane into the aperture for motivation and a high res engine shot as the last was grainy....014654E4-13E2-4D99-9872-E771C20E33B7.thumb.jpeg.dd25a91e58cf848fc255ae2940bc2df6.jpeg



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More of a research day (ie - sofa day).

Going to take the fuel tanks,  heater matrix and radiator to Northern Radiators in Leeds for assessment / work.

The tank in the SE to expand on the previous photo had started to weep from below. From memory I’d sorted the breather pipe which was much broader bore than the S2 type and fixed the rollover valve etc. Still smelled of fuel. Checking the void beneath tanks via the inspection hole  (should these have a large grommet in them btw?) and the area was damp with fuel (right next to the manifold area which could glow red hot after a good run on an SE!)

Hence the subsequent strip down you see captured in all its glory above.

NR took the tank and repaired it, apply the re-nu process after cutting out the rotten metal and welding new back in.

Really tough to get those tanks in and out of an SE, not the easiest on an S2 so don’t want to be going back in here ever again! The plasticisation process added a fair bit of thickness to the tank but it went back in eventually and seated well.

On an unrelated note, I’ve searched DVLA etc to see if I can get an age related Norwich registration for the car with PPW, but nothing available. Is this still possible to obtain an R / S / T era very run of the mill plate? Car had quite a nice V on it at the moment but would love a PPW reg if they were available......


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