CLA Build Stories: TUFT’S Eleven May 2016

Lotus Eleven Engine Rebuild

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In this post, we fast forward six months from our last update on the TUFT’s Eleven and catch up with Ashton in May, 2016.

I have been very remiss in keeping this up to date, so here’s a quick recap on the past six months!

I’m pleased to say we are making progress, although it is of the terribly slow and steady fashion. One thing I have discovered about old cars, and those involved, is that you can either have a quick job done, or a good job done. There is no such thing as a quick good job! And, frankly, I am quite happy with that, as the results speak for themselves.

While I have your attention, the car will be in almost ready condition and in the company of seven other Elevens that I have managed to corral for the 60th anniversary of the Lotus Eleven at the upcoming Sydney Retro Racefest over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend this 11th and 12th of June. Please come along and say hello!

The last time I wrote was back in November, and, luckily for me, a reasonable amount of progress has been made.

Part of the reason for the silence is that I took a new and rather demanding job. The upside of that was that I quickly realised that I was not going to have time to run this project, much less actually do much of the work. So, I asked Geoff Wheeler, who was doing the chassis and bodywork elements, if he would be willing to finish that off. I also found, through a great recommendation from Syd, one of those perfectionist engineers that you really want on your side when there’s stuff to be done about which you have no idea – like building a sixty year old engine from scratch.

So, I persuaded Garth to take on the complete job of building the engine and transmission, and someday I will post the invoices, because they are a work of art in their own right, describing to the last decimal point the technical measures he has undertaken, and any correctional work he has had to do – brilliant!

Lotus Eleven Clutch & Flywheel

Since November, I have received a parcel of parts from Mike Brotherwood, which included the clutch and flywheel, thus enabling the assembly of that part to progress.

Lotus Eleven Monza Fuel Cap

Also in that package was the Monza cap for the fuel tank, which allowed the tank to be finished and fitted, and the hole cut in the bodywork for the cap to poke through.

Then the whole suspension and brake package had to come to pieces, be cleaned, repainted, fixed where necessary and rebuilt.

And while all that was happening, the engine was dry-built meticulously (several times according to the invoices!) before Garth was happy that the head could go off for flowing.
So that gets us almost up to date; I spoke to Garth earlier this week, and he asked whether, while the head was being flow-tested, I wanted to spend a little more (and it really is, in the scheme of things a little more) and get an extra 20% more power.

So of course I refused.

No I didn’t – I bit his arm off for it! That will give us around 100 horsepower from a 60 year old 1100cc engine. And a power to weight ratio of just a smidge under 300hp per tonne!

All things being equal, the engine will be finished next week and installed in the car in time for the Retro Racefest over the weekend of 11-12 June, so I look forward to seeing it there! I still need to sort out a lift, so Daniel, I might be calling you, since my license will be in suspension by then (don’t ask what it’s suspended in, I really don’t need to think too hard about that!

There we go, up to speed with six months hard work in a few strokes of the pen. Shows I’m not doing much of the work doesn’t it!

Catch up on previous episodes of this build journal in part 1 herepart 2 herepart 3 herepart 4 herepart 5 here, part 6 here and part 7 here.

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