This lovely Lotus Elite first came to Tolman with its previous owner, who is a renowned collector and connoisseur of prestigious classics.
While in his care, we carried out quite a lot of sympathetic repairs and modernisation work, fitting an alternator-type Dynamo, five-speed gearbox conversion, twin weber carburettors and a new wiring loom before rebuilding the rear differential and its mounting and replacing the front “sled” and adding a silver roof to its yellow paintwork.
When we received a call from its new owner who had also purchased another Elite, we were only too happy to look after this car as well. It was decided that the five-speed transmission would be better off in the other car and we would rebuild this example to our high standards.
The whole car was stripped and the bodywork soda-blasted to find all of the inclusions and repairs of old, and we discovered a considerable amount of work was required to make the 60-year old fibreglass body strong.
The glass strands were in perfect order, but the bonding agent has broken down and become soft, weakening the shell. While soda-blasting is an expensive process, it maximises safety and ensures the paintwork remains intact for a very long time.
The brief was to make the car more reliable, handle better and look perfect, and as you can see from the photographs, it now sports a beautiful pale shade of blue that’s very similar to the original offered by Lotus Cars, while the interior is lined with custom dark blue leather – carried through to the door cards and spare wheel cover – and retains authentic Elite carpeting.
The engine had been overhauled only 3000 miles previously, so only cosmetic work was required during the car’s latest stay at Tolman HQ.
The dampers were replaced with our road specification units and adjustable rear wishbones were installed to ensure the wheels point in the right direction. All suspension components were stripped back, crack tested and plated/powder coated as required, while new bushes were fitted.
The original four-speed ZF gearbox was restored along with twin SU carburettors and an ATEC-manufactured fuel line kit and tank.
Overhauled brakes benefited from an ATEC brake line kit, while a Tolman electronic distributor, high flow fan kit, internal battery master cut off and USB charging point completed the modernisation, although all “mods” are completely reversible and “non-invasive”.