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Addressing under-bonnet heat in a Lotus Elan

In the early 1970s, Lotus released the Sprint as the ultimate Elan, with an excellent spread of power through the rev range. It was recognised for being the big-valve version of the 1558c Ford-Lotus twin cam four, being able to boost power up to 126bhp! Recently, we have had the pleasure of ceramic coating our customers’ 1972 Lotus Elan Sprint exhaust manifold, still with its original engine.

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Louis purchased the car 6 months ago. He travelled to Durham to buy it from a gentleman called Mick who was in his 70’s who had owned the car since 1981, he had it in his ownership for over 40 years and was only selling it as he struggled getting in and out of it. He had restored the Elan over several years to a fanatical level of detail. The car however had barely been used in 10 years with less than 1000 miles being recorded. The body was however a little tired, so upon his purchase, he set about breathing some new modern life into this gorgeous classis.

Louis was aiming to keep the car looking as original as physically possible, but still introducing upgraded parts to improve its power and driving experience. The Elan Sprint is known for its tremendous performance, with only a 1.6, 4 cylinder engine churning with a whopping 126bhp. Very impressive for its era. It is also very light, at only 687kg, which gives it an extraordinary power to weight ratio for a car built back in early 70s. Louis says, ‘This lightness makes the handling and brakes simply incredible!’.

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Since purchasing, Louis had made a few upgrades on the Elan. He decided to install a modern high torque starter motor, new alternator to replace the dynamo and electronic ignition which would give the car good starting and road manners. He also upgraded the brakes with EBC drilled discs all round with green stuff pads. The hubs have been upgraded for magnesium parts for lightness. He had also purchased a new front-to-back exhaust system from Tony Thompson – Elan specialists. In an attempt to tame the Elan’s overheating issues, he also upgraded to a 3-core radiator with a new 10-inch fan. ‘This is also what led me to Zircotec,’ he added. As he had been looking to minimise and control the under-bonnet temperatures, he decided to ceramic coat his brand new 4-2-1 manifold ‘with the very best coating he could afford’.

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Louis came to us for a colour match as he was trying to keep its aesthetic as unchanged as possible. He chose our Performance Warm Grey™ finish, which he thought matched his Elan perfectly. Warm Grey is one of the 14 colours from our Performance Colours™ Range, which not only add to the aesthetics of the Elan but also helps reduce surface temperatures under the bonnet significantly. The coating can help reduce surface temperatures by up to 33% and is suitable for application up to 900°C. Our coating solutions also improves the car’s performance significantly, as the coating can lower ambient air intake temperatures within the engine bay. Also, by retaining the hot exhaust gases within the exhaust system, this in turn increases exhaust gas flow which can further increase engine power output! Our coating can also reduce heat soak through the footwells which can lead to a more comfortable and safer driving experience. Apart from performance and aesthetic improvement, our coating is only 0.3mm in thickness and is therefore in-keeping with the Elan’s lightweight nature.

The last job on the list for Louis’ Elan is to repaint its bodywork completely, in its original colours: Carnival red over Cirrus white with gold leaf decals. It has always been a dream of Louis to own a classic car and he feels extremely privileged that he gets to own a piece of British history, as well as carrying on Mick’s legacy. He hopes to enjoy and cherish the Elan for another 40+ years.

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We love to feature such a unique project, if you have an ongoing classic car project that might be suffering from heat/corrosion issues, feel free to get in touch to see how our coatings can be of use!