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Thread: 65 Lotus Seven S2

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    SE NC
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    66

    Default 65 Lotus Seven S2

    My "new" Seven spent most of its life in Melbourne suburbs of Victoria, having been imported by the original owner when he emigrated from London back to Australia in 1966. Its first 35+ years saw two owners, a couple paint jobs (1 well done to full-body BRG, the second a very sloppy red over the green), and about 45k miles. It was apparently primarily a road car, though it was run in at least a couple club events and hillclimbs (with a broken piston to show for one of them). Since then, it has had 3 or 4 owners (still working to fill in the gaps) and been driven very lightly (less than 5k miles if the odometer is to be believed, and what I've learned so far leads me to believe it). The poor paint job was scraped off in the early 2010s and the car stayed aluminum and and green until it was exported to the UK in 2017, where the latest owner returned it to aluminum and red, as it left Cheshunt in 1965. To my knowledge, the bonnet, nose and one front wing are the only body parts that have been replaced.

    circa 2008
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    circa 2012ish
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    circa 2017
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    Last edited by SENC; 01-19-2020 at 08:54 PM.
    Henry
    1965 Seven S2
    1969 Elan S4

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    SE NC
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    66

    Default Current State

    The car has its original frame and engine, a Cosworth 1500 with twin Webers (whose numbers also match the records of how it left the factory). The Serck radiator and gas tank are correct, as are the Armstrong dampers, and lamiplate dash and door panels, so it seems unlikely the car has had major damage or a major renovation at any point, and that many of these parts may be original.

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    Henry
    1965 Seven S2
    1969 Elan S4

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    SE NC
    Posts
    66

    Default Initial work

    The car started remarkably easily given its overall lack of use, and when it came up to temp it idled very smoothly. I've only driven it onto and off of my trailer, then partially around the block from my street to alley to garage. One rear brake was dragging, and I didn't trust any of the hydraulics or other mechanicals enough to get out of 1st gear or give it any more gas than it needed to move.

    I've started on the rear, rebuilding the brakes (shoes, cylinders, springs, flexible line) and replacing the rubber bushings in the a-arm and trailing arms. I've also replaced the brake and clutch master cylinders. Next up will be the clutch slave cylinder and hydraulic line, front suspension bushings, trunnions, and inspection/testing the front brakes.

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    Henry
    1965 Seven S2
    1969 Elan S4

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Seattle-ish
    Posts
    1,338

    Default

    Sounds like a great project. Was it already in the US when you found it, or did you import it from the UK?

    Thanks,
    John
    '95 Westfield SEiW w/2.0L Duratec
    '68 Lotus Elan FHC
    '91 Miata w/Flyin Miata suspension & brakes
    '95 Porsche 993 C2
    '86 Porsche 944 turbo (neglected project car)
    Throttle Steer

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Arkansas and . . .
    Posts
    3,637

    Default

    What a great story! Looking forward to following the progress.
    Stalker V8, chassis #85

    Stalker Chassis #85 Build Gallery
    Stalker Chassis #85 Owner Thread

    Get up in the morning and give the day your very best. You donít get it back.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    4,878

    Default

    Excellent thread. Well done for bringing the car back to life!
    Mike
    2010 Caterham CSR with Cosworth 2.3 Duratec
    2018 Caterham 420R with 2L Duratec 210hp at Donington UK
    1975 BMW CSL Group 4 (restoration - engine and dry sump install time)
    1977 Holden Torana "A9X" (awaiting restoration)
    1985 Holden Commodore SS Group A
    1985 Holden Commodore Group A
    1982 Ferrari 400i
    1965 Ford Mustang Fastback "Holman Moody"
    1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth WRC (fettling after long period of storage)
    1990 Range Rover 2 door Classic
    and another project car coming....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    424

    Default

    Great stpry. We look forward to regular updates.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    SE NC
    Posts
    66

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnCh View Post
    Sounds like a great project. Was it already in the US when you found it, or did you import it from the UK?

    Thanks,
    John
    Thanks. No, I found it in the UK (or it found me) and imported it myself.
    Henry
    1965 Seven S2
    1969 Elan S4

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    SE NC
    Posts
    66

    Default

    With rear brakes back together, I started dismantling the front suspension and steering.

    It is in surprisingly good shape for a 55 year old car. Wishbones and ARB in excellent shape, really don't even need much cleaning and probably won't waste time putting paint on them right now. I'll clean and repaint the vertical links, caliper brackets, steering arms, and dust shields, but they are all solid. Vertical link threads show almost no wear at all!
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    The front brake calipers were visually ok but pistons seized. Not knowing the history, I'm taking the safe road and having them fully reconditioned and rebuilt (or more accurately exchanging them for a set already reconditioned). I debated doing it myself, but reconditioned type 12s are fairly inexpensive and it is worth it for piece of mind.

    Steering unit likewise looked pretty good on initial disassembly, just tired grease and muck of age but nothing a good cleaning and fresh grease won't handle. I suspect I'll find the same when I pull out the pinion assembly and rack.

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    The car does look a little funny, though, with no front end!

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    Henry
    1965 Seven S2
    1969 Elan S4

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    SE NC
    Posts
    66

    Default

    I'm still digging into the history on the car, and have an interesting possible twist (or alternatively nothing), I'll share here on the outside chance someone reading it may have a tip for further research.


    From Andy Graham at Lotus and John Watson, the HLR 7 Registrar, my car left Cheshunt in 1965 - and its unit number (SB2042) fits for mid-65. The frame number, engine number, and carb numbers on the car today all match the Lotus records for SB2042, and the pictures and records I have pieced together from over the years convince me this is the same car recorded in the logs.


    According to those logs, the car was sold to a Mr. Slatter. A couple of the Australian owners since have said that Slatter was an Australian national who lived in London and who worked at Lotus at the time he purchased the car, and who took the car to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia when he emigrated back in 1965 or 1966. (I've found an online record of a Slatter (John D) who was a metallurgist that relocated from London to Melbourne in late 1966, who may have been the same person.)


    Until now, an oddity in the history is that a registration document indicates the car is a 1964, and that is how its various Australian owners have referred to it. The running theory has been that it was either an error or that the owner claimed it a 1964 to avoid being taxed as a new car on import.


    Pursuant to an FOI request, I've received a copy of the original application for registration of the car in Victoria (unfortunately with name and address redacted, as is the custom). According to this application SB 2042 (with matching information to the Lotus logs referenced above) was registered in January 1967.


    An unexpected finding on the application is the previous registration number, which as it turns out is a registration number from England (picture below). Unfortunately the last 2 digits are unclear, but I've asked if vicRoads can identify a clearer copy.


    What I can read is the first five digits, KAR96. The last digit could be a C as one would expect from a 1965, but also looks a bit like a B as one would expect from a 1964.


    Attachment 16520


    I understand the AR in KAR indicates the car was originally registered in Hertfordshire County (Cheshunt?). Can anyone here confirm that is accurate?


    If that is the case, I wonder if the following is a possibility: could the car have been a factory or test car of some sort, registered originally by Lotus in 1964 (with a "B" suffix), known to Slatter and eventually sold to him in 1965, at which point it got its unit number and entered in the logs?


    That all seems highly unlikely to me, but enough pieces fit I thought it an interesting possibility/theory on why the car was eventually registered in Australia as a 1964.
    Henry
    1965 Seven S2
    1969 Elan S4

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