CLA Build Stories: TUFT’s Eleven September & November 2015

Lotus Eleven Rebuild

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!

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In this post, we catch up with Ashton beginning in September of 2015, to continue along his journey rebuilding the TUFT’s Lotus Eleven.

14th September, 2015

Ho hum, back on track.

The engine build is progressing two steps forward one back, as usual! The crank and conrods have been away for stress testing, the block has been cleaned, tested and Locktited (is that a verb?) and I’ve built up an even longer shopping list than I had before. Not only do I need to add a clutch and flywheel assembly to the list, but at some point a few weeks ago, my rib-cased gearbox went walkabout.

Lucky I have a few spares, but I don’t have a second set of the close ratio gears that was in the ribbed box. That’ll teach me to leave to door open for five minutes while I run the car round the corner.

I’ve picked up and delivered a few boxes of the moving parts for the engine, and so far Garth Selig, who is doing all the machining, seems to think that it should all fit together OK – so that’s a relief! It’s just that he keeps asking me for information I simply don’t have – clearances, tolerances, gaps, bolt ARP (?) numbers and all sorts of other mechanic-speak. Honestly, I could write a dictionary.

Otherwise, the bodywork is nearly there, the tank needs a bit of work to fit it, and then the hole needs cutting, and then the suspension all needs stripping and refitting..

21st November 2015

OK, so, slightly embarrassingly, it turns out that my missing rib-cased gearbox had not gone walkabout at all. I had actually dropped it off to Geoff the last time I went up there, but when I’d asked him he hadn’t initially been able to find it. I then managed to miss his message to say that he had! Long story short, I have the close ratio gear set – PHEW!

Good news is that the latest parcel of bits, including clutch, flywheel, starter ring, and a load of nuts, bolts and assorted fixings is en route from Mike Brotherwood, so that will allow Garth to put the finishing touches to the engine, and then it’s a simple matter of putting it together and popping it in the chassis. Surely?

Meanwhile said chassis is close to completion!

Fuel Tank Welded and Fitted

Fuel Tank Welded and Fitted

The fuel tank has been fabricated (the one I bought was for an S2, and Geoff couldn’t bring himself to butcher it so he built one, as you do).

Gearbox mounting to prevent flex in the drivetrain

Gearbox mounting to prevent flex in the drivetrain

The rear mount for the gearbox has been designed and fabricated (which is critical as it is the only fixing point for the back of the engine, and has the whole lateral force of engine and gearbox through it when cornering. The original design was typically flimsy and lasted one race if you were lucky before letting go and allowing the drive shaft to flail around in the cockpit – nice!

Adjustments to transmission tunnel for gearbox and a hatch to allow oil to be checked and changed

Adjustments to transmission tunnel for gearbox and a hatch to allow oil to be checked and changed

And – the transmission tunnel has been adjusted to accommodate the gearbox (and allow access in case of the need to, for example, change or top up the oil!)

Now I’m just waiting on the Monza cap to arrive in the parcel above, and that can then be welded up to the tank, and then the hole can be cut in the scuttle, et voila!

Windscreen surrounds and windscreens will need to be fitted, as will the doors, but both these need to wait until the tank is fitted with the filler, as the scuttle is the stressed member across the car so needs to be in place first.

And that’s that for November, stay tuned as I march towards a completed Eleven!

Catch up on previous episodes of this build journal in part 1 herepart 2 herepart 3 herepart 4 herepart 5 here and part 6 here.

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