CLA BUILD STORIES: TUFT’S ELEVEN JANUARY 2015

Lotus Eleven Build

Club Lotus Australia is full of interesting people who are up to interesting things with interesting cars. We think that’s wonderful, so we’re going to share their stories with you here!

If you’d like to share your story on the club website, just send Seth a quick email at web@clublotus.com.au

In this post, we catch up with Ashton to find out more about his journey with the Tuft’s Eleven. You can enjoy part 1 here, part 2 here and part 3 here.

18th November

Sorry for the silence – as some of you might be aware, I have just spent the last six weeks immobile through a slipped disc, which has meant that nothing has happened with anything – the garden looks like a jungle, the house is falling to bits (apparently the front gate fell off its hinges but since I didn’t use it for six weeks, I knew nothing of it!) and worst of all the Eleven project has fallen behind!

The critical path is currently getting the bodywork finished. This involves seam welding a small tear in the front clam, fitting out the front clam with the hinge bracket and internal mudguards, and cutting and roll-edging the holes in the floor for the sump and radiator exhaust.

I had originally contacted Mark Natoli on Ed Holly’s recommendation, and so had been patiently waiting (six months now) for him to be ready to take the car. A combination of several non-productive phone calls and the general impatience caused by my being unbearably grumpy over the last few weeks has resulted in my going looking for other options. I considered Gil at Sydney Vintage Restorations, but he is all the way down in Goulburn, and can’t start until next year, then I was chatting to Bruce at the shed night the other day and mentioned O&S Sports Car Restorations in Cromer, and got the good oil on them from him.

So yesterday (while many of you were having far too much fun at Winton) I persuaded my long-suffering wife to drive me (I still can’t drive for more than twenty minutes at a  stretch) to Cromer, and had a great conversation with Ohannis and Ariel Akkirayian. I had a look around the workshop at the work they are doing, their attention to detail, and their breadth of experience, and after much consideration, I have arranged for them to pick up the car next Saturday and get started on it!

So some good has come out of my inaction – not much, but there we go!

The only other light in the tunnel is that I have spent some of my down time collecting an old amp, tuner and speakers off Freecycle to put into the garage, so I will have decent sounds too. And the Eleven leaving means I can get the Elise back for a while, and get the Elan up on the hoist and sort out the oil leak from the oil pump!

Can’t wait to be mobile again – lesson learned the hard way – don’t take your back for granted

8th January

Wow, nearly two more months have elapsed… however, slow progress is underway

The car is up at O&S, and they have mated up the spare block (kindly lent to me by Bruce) with the adpator plate (which appears to work just fine!) and one of the several bell-housings I have. Of course, it won’t just slip into place…

…so off I go this weekend to see what the problem is (like I am going to know!) – I have a horrible feeling another access panel will need cutting…..

In parallel, I have a brand new fuel tank coming down from Tony Galletly in Queensland, who accidentally had an S1 tank made up instead of an S2, so that suits me quite well! So O&S will have another hole to cut in the bodywork, to allow the filler cap to be accessible through the scuttle – you have no idea how nervous is makes me just talking about cutting into the bodywork!!

Meanwhile the engine build is underway with Bruce and Nick Mansell – the block is off for line boring, the crank and rods are going for crack testing, the pistons and liners are on order from Tony Mantle, and with a following breeze we should get it all coming together at about the same time as the bodywork is finished!

This whole exercise is proving a valuable lesson in patience, and a wonderful demonstration of the power of conversation!

14th January

Well, I finally got up to O&S for a look-see – and it all turned out to be relatively simple – the bell-housing hasn’t had enough ground off the rear nearside corner, and removing that (and a little more off the off-side cowel to match the template I have) and in she’ll go.

While they are in there, I have also asked them to design and build the bracket to mount the rear of the gearbox to the transmission tunnel, and also build a couple of straps into the tunnel to catch the flailing drive shaft in the event that either UJ should fail (one just behind the gearbox, one just in front of the diff, and both far too close to the driver and passenger for comfort).

In addition to that aspect being able to progress, they also have an appointment to see Andy Murray’s car on Friday (16th) which should enable them to get lots of photographs and measurements for the panelling inside the front clam. So with a bit of luck, we might see some forward progress now… but I’m not holding my breath!

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