My LOTUS Pages - The Plan

    "Kieth, I mostly buy neglected restoration projects that have sat for awhile until the guy finally throws in the towel. Sad but real common." - email from eBay Lotus parts buyer / seller Brent Jacobs.

So, wanting to have something more than the Neon to drive I had options:
1.  Buy something new, for example a Pontiac Solstice or Mazda Miata  OR
Buy someone else's restoration. OR
Do something with my Lotus.

I just could not take the first path, attractive as those cars are.  Path 2 just seemd too full of concerns.  
But I stared at the car and realized - this is such a huge job.  Every piece on this car needs attention; everything needs replaced or seriously refurbished and there are hundreds of pieces.  This is massive.

The options presented themselves.
a.  Restore it myself
b.  Send it to someone to restore
c.  Embark on a number of Spyder options myself
d.  Buy a Stage 3 Spyder Zetec and work with a professional do the job.  Chosen.

I'd heard of and inquired about Spyder the year before and felt that it was the best way to go.  Their full story is on their website - they have everything from a new chassis to (Stage 3) a fully built-up chassis with suspension, brakes, engine, clutch, differential and so on.  They build what is essentially a new car underneath; we take the body off the old one, fix it, and put it on the new chassis.  That's what I decided (though it's not quite as simple as it sounds).  Since making the decision I now realize how much Spyder is part of the Lotus scene and how well respected they are.

Some people get all purist when this approach comes up.  I don't go along with them.  A Lotus is a Lotus because of the driving experience.  And what better way to enjoy the driving experience than a "new" one?".  Trevor Sparrow has on his +2 site a  page that hits home: "What goes wrong".  It starts with the admonishment, before buying one, to ask "Am I fit enough to push this car a reasonable distance?".

far as I'm concerned, what's important is the combination (of chassis & suspension, engine, body) that creates the experience: handling, braking and acceleration with lovely looks.  The various original component parts - brakes, gearbox, etc - all came from UK mass-manufacturer parts bins.  Spyder takes the same approach - with modern components and I have a lot more trust in them to perform and to last.  Remember that schoolboy with his Lotus kit poster and the parts!  

It all comes out rather like this.

Riter Restorations
That decided, I needed to find  a place to do the work.  I visited a few custom / hot rod places locally and wasn't feeling too good about it.  Another Spyder customer in N. Carolina had done the same as I planned, but he had a relationship with a Vette restoration shop and they didn't seem to be in a hurry to do more Lotuses.

Fortunately  I learned through our SCCA Region of Barry Brown's Riter Restorations.  I visited one day and, on walking in, was greeted by the sight of a 50's Hot Rod, a racing Porsche 914, an E-Type, a few muscle cars.  All in spectacular condition.  Among the banners on the wall was "Palm Beach Winner" which is pretty good!  Barry seemed keen about my proposal and the project was on.

Crossley Associates
Christopher Neil Sportscars, in Cheshire, had all kinds of parts I needed including a replacement dash.  Unfortunately they were fresh out of '69 LHD Elan+2 dashes at the moment.  My brother Ian asked "why don't you let me do it" - and that's the plan.  Ian (Crossley Associates is his business) does museum-quality displays, as well as build furniture in his "spare time", so this should be special.

The Spyder building with Elans and an (Sean's?) Elise
Outside the Spyder works.
Inside the Riter Restorations shop
Inside Barry Brown's Riter Restorations

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