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1966 Lotus Elan FHC Orig. BRG Fresh Restoration 26R-Tribute w/BDR Cosworth Motor

1966 Lotus Other

Make: Lotus
Model: Other
SubModel: Elan S3 FHC
Type: Coupe
Year: 1966
Mileage: 120
VIN: 36/5879
Color: Green
Cylinders: 4
Fuel: Gasoline
Transmission: Manual
Interior color: Black
Vehicle Title: Clear
Item location: Costa Mesa, California, United States
Power Locks

Description for Lotus Other 1966

1966 Lotus Elan S3 Fixed Head Coupe

26R Tribute / 1,350lbs & 170hp

Formula Atlantic Cosworth Engine

Stock #0789

VIN # 36/5879

Less than 200-Miles on Full Restoration

British Racing Green on Black Leatherette 4-speed semi-close ratio manual transmission

Clean and Clear California Title (Titled as 1965)

Mostly a California Car

Clean, straight, and dry example

By the early 1960’s the culmination of Colin Chapman’s success in racing and missteps in automobile manufacturing provided the foundation of one of his greatest contributions to sports cars: The Elan. These cars utilized a combination of a revolutionary backbone box frame underneath a beautiful GRP (glass reinforced plastic) body and powered by a new Ford motor. The results were a perfectly proportioned sports car that was light, fast, durable, and affordable.

Initially Chapman protested the idea of creating a racecar based on the Elan, but overwhelming consumer response encouraged him to develop the very successful 26R platform. The popularity of this model helped it endure 11-years of production and was one of their first big successes as an automotive manufacturer. Naturally, many of these examples migrated to the U.S. and quickly became favorites among SCCA and other amateur racers. However, by the 1980’s most examples just didn’t survive the test of time and ended up as projects relegated to boxes and storage under covers.

The cost and time involved in building one of these cars has resulted in very few restored examples and only a handful (in any condition) on the market at one time. That is what makes this Elan so unique. Not only is it a fresh restoration with tasteful performance and cosmetic cues taken from the coveted 26R, but also it is turnkey and registered for use on California streets.

This Lotus left the factory on June 9th, 1966 as a British Racing Green (BRG) Fixed Head Coupe (FHC). It was assembled at the factory and designated for export. Although not much is known about the car’s life, we can trace back its history at least 25-years as a California car. One of the early owners was a Lotus parts hoarder who had plans of reassembling the car but never got to it. So, in the 1990’s, he sold it to an enthusiast in Sacramento, California who planned to finish the project. He started the project in 1998 and a year later, fell ill and the project sat for another 15-years. The current owner is a long time Porsche restorer and racecar builder who was looking for a fun project. He came across this one in 2013, bought it, and trailered boxes of parts back to his garage in Southern California. Just like any project, there were more parts missing than he anticipated. And, what was initially more of a clean and reassemble project became a full-blown restoration. Over 800-hours was invested in this project.

Everything on this Elan is either new or restored. No nut or bolt went untouched. As you can see in our pictures, he brought the car down to a bare backbone chassis and started from there. The goal of this build was to create something in the spirit of the 26R that is fun and reliable for normal street use. Highlights include:

Freshly rebuilt BDR Cosworth Motor from an Ex-Formula Atlantic:

Bore 3.287 / 83.5 mm Stroke 3.060 = 1700cc

Compression ratio 10.1:1

Forge crankshaft

Rods shot-peen with 12-point bolts

Pistons JE Forged

Cams BD3 .340 lift Duration 288 Lobe Center 110

Carbs Weber Italian 44mm DCOE

Aluminum Flywheel with new clutch disc, pressure plate and bearing

Electronic Ignition

Complete balanced

170hp estimated


4-speed semi close ratio

New bearings and synchros

1st 2.97:1

2nd 2.01:1

3rd 1.39:1

4th 1.00:1

New U-joints

Rear End 3.77:1

Converted to CV joints (No rubber drive donuts)

Rebuilt/zinc plated disc brakes with stainless steel pistons

Lucas electrical system complete removed

New wiring harness

12v system with alternator

High torque starter

Custom aluminum fuel tank about 9 gallons

Chassis has the Lotus racing 26R stiffing/reinforcing additions

Koni shocks new

Front sway bar

Knock off wheels

Wheels are power coated

26R headlight covers

Back dated rear taillights.

The body was the first thing to get finished and repainted its original BRG. While that was being done, the owner began to assess the missing parts as well as begin work on the backbone chassis. It took nearly 3-years to finish and only a couple hundred miles have been driven on it since. The quality of the craftsmanship is excellent. It is clear that this owner was patient and very talented. The fit and finish of the body is quite good. The body has been finished for nearly 3-years now and is showing some typical very light fiberglass checking (see pics). You have to be extremely close and in bright light to notice it. There are no other cracks or significant blemishes. The glass is in excellent condition with a new windscreen. The 155/70 13” tires are new as well as the brakes. The interior is new and shows no signs of wear. There are no tears, rips, cracks, or any other issues in the cabin. All the Smith gauges are freshly restored and operate properly. All the other switches and lights function as they should including the electric windows.

This Elan drives amazing. It starts with ease and quickly idles smoothly. The shifting is extremely precise with no grinding or other issues. The acceleration is incredibly strong and it feels like the motor wants to rev forever. The brakes are nicely balanced with nice initial bite and very linear feel. Finally, the handling is scalpel precise with almost intuitive turn in and excellent balance. This Lotus just begs to turn every freeway transition into Eau-Rouge from the Spa F1 circuit.

California registration is current and paid through August of 2017.

This Lotus comes with a parts manual, wiring diagrams, other restoration guides, extra keys, and some parts receipts from the recent build.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Paul at 714-335-4911 or paul@autokennel.com

For tons of photos, go to: www.AutoKennel.com

This vehicle is sold “as-is” with no warranty, written or implied. In some cases, the vehicle does have the remaining factory warranty still in place and will be described above if that is the case. All taxes and fees are the responsibility of the buyer and are not included in the listed price. All vehicle sales will require a $65 document fee. The vehicle listed is described to the best of our ability. The information is based on our own research and statements made to us by the previous owner(s). To the best of our knowledge, the above information is accurate. We are not responsible for errors in our description of options or any other details. The above-mentioned vehicle is used and can be expected to show some wear and tear. It is not a brand new vehicle. We do welcome all local pre-purchase inspections on vehicles in order to verify condition.