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The Restoration: Lotus 51a chassis # 51A/FF/119

Paint Scheme ideas

so month
 is first)

"Pull-a-Part" Party- Invited my local car club, the Brazos Brits, over for a party where the theme was strip the chassis to ready it for blasting. 
Photos from the party available at :
in the PM
chassis after only ~3 hours of Brits work !!

6/17/2006 Its nice to have a 51 parts hanging wall, but those parts should be on the car!

Chemical stripped and blasted chassis
Found an ideal tube cleanout tool at the doctor to clean the rusted water chassis tubes.  Got out about 6 oz of rust - think of how fast this lightweight frame will be!
You really can lift the chassis!  ~ 100lbs.  How come the radiator weighs 20lbs?!
Suspension arms cleaned, sanded, and ready for "chroming".  Actually a lot of the bits like the driveshafts, front uprights and many smaller pieces were nickel plated so they polish up real nice.  This may not be the fastest car on the track, but it's going to start out as the cleanest!
First corner on the car!  Look at it shine!
Have the engine and gearbox apart. 

Engine looked good except for scores on the crank bearings so it is now 30/30 under.  Inside of block was deburred and painted by previous builder - looked nice!   Gearbox was leaking from the front and rear covers as well as one output shaft seal, so it is getting new gaskets and rubber (oh, to replace the shaft seal get the big c-clip out and the shaft and all will come out with it - shaft has a big nut on the inside end that is then removed once out of the car).  Apparently the gaskets are no longer made (it's the renault R8 / type 330 box) so I'll make up a set.  Front seal seemed to be something lotus had laying around (see tech for part number) as it wasnt  standard lotus elan/cortina/7 stuff nor renault,  but the local bearing place had it on the shelf. 

Throw out bearing has proven hard to find but only because it was masked with a bearing carrier from a 60ish era ford anglia, and a fabricated bobbin lotus made up to get the spacine right.  The bearing itself turned out to be the plain old round nose ford unit used in many lotus with ford blocks.  From the part numbers my local bearing place had no problems crossing it, but it kept coming up obsolete regardless of manufacturor.  The carrier is no longer made.  smallfordspares.co.uk have the carrier in a diagram for 105 gearboxes, but it was 105speed.com that had some used ones and sent me one for $30.  Photo of unit dissasemled.  More photos at tech section.

Engine is rebuilt!  Ready to be mated to the gearbox and put in the car soon to be connected up to its 6000rpm max heathkit homemade tach that came with the car.

(and yesterday, and last week, and last month, and tomorrow....)
Cleaning and polishing hardware - it never ends!  And yes, the "dust proof" laptop is up to look at photos to see where in the heck the bolts go!
Engine in! 
It runs! 
Got Brakes!  note to self- put aluminum side panels on before suspension! 
(3 masters, 1 slave, and 4 calipers is way to much to rebuild in a row - need a break!)

It Moves!

  Update: after some long engine trials, and a new crank after finding a crack, i've had it out for a couple practices and one race weekend.  The car ran competitivly, at the front of mid pack.  That will improve as i get used to driving a formula car.  Ran 1:56 as best time on a hot weekend at TWS, long course.  Not bad for first full race weekend.  This will probably be the last update, with future news on the main 51 page. 

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