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Lotus 503 Elite Pictures - and questions

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Been going thru this one basically cleaning all original items interior etc all electrics cleaned, /renewed ,Mazda popup headlights retro dab radio. Rebuilt carbs and Mot last year. Every thing works now , electric mirrors pin interior light , glove box light and rear windscreen wiper and wash Deciding whether to have made bonnet grill in mirror stainless as the rest of the finishing is excellent. Unusual double sunroof is excellent as its the roof covering. Have a new waist chrome sourced from America some years back. Fitted running light in spoiler (*phillips) for safety. Colour is lagoon blue and engine bay is fine therefore will be looking for respray of car from roof down. in original colour Not happy about removing bottom windscreen trim so hoping that can be taped. 

Have all parts to restore air conditioning and power steering is fine.

Interior I think fits the car so well in beige and brown velour, whilst most think leatherette/leather is better this seems so fitting for the cars style and age. Also easy to colour with dylon where faded and clean with patience

Car will never be restored to original as I like them to look like a well looked after road car.


1. Lotus workbook list complicated spraying technics and there is crazing particularly on the bonnet. I am near Exeter any recommendations on respray outfits should it be glass fibre specialised. Is modern methods better than lotus recommended

2. Similarly wheels are as I got the car again will they become shinier is professionally dealt with. Any recomendations what to ask for as a restoration process. Tyres are unusual and look original `I am sure I could not resourse. therefore Is there a close copy. Tread its okay but almost want to save them by not driving on them. Will put up a pic , they have hatchings  rather than lined tread.Goodyear eagle , whats the best alternative

3. Finally I have had access to a ramp occasionally  but would like to use a jack. I  remain concerned re jacking points. Is there a best method. I am thinking of small scissor jacks with wood spreading load then putting under wheels ramps Or if axle stands can be used . If any of these what points should they be under not to cause damage to the galvanised structure or glass fibres body.IMG_0523.thumb.jpg.2063f972156d0b4ec52afcfff4596e25.jpgbest position.




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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,



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  • 1 month later...

Thanks Richard been busy checking and renewing , once I understood the rear brakes they were quite easy to access and rebuild , thankfully the handbrake cable didn't require messing with. The front calipers are getting rare and I managed to snap off a bleed nipple but sourced a new caliper for $85 which was a one off miracle. Engine and geaboxx are running sweet, the tyre replacement is a bummer but mine are OK for now. Alls well and will be on road this week. Everything works and have all parts to get air conditioning restored. Paint is an issue and bonnet is so crazed may be better to source a cleaner one. Will investigate a simple respray as sourced a new chrome strip and as the roof is vinsyl covered with twin sunroofsarea to spray  is not too big. We have some boat restorers down here may speak with them they are much cheaper per hour.!! Not interested in concourse just 40 year old smart drivability.


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