The Chapman Report
Published by the Golden Gate Lotus Club
PO Box 117303
Burlingame, CA 94011
Lotus Calendar 1999
13 Zender Rallye – Woodside Hills
13 Hayward Field Meet – Cal State University, Hayward
18 Meeting Hamai's - Palo Alto
16 meeting TBD
16-18 LOG 19 - Lotus Ltd Corning NY
8 Santa Cruz Mountain drive sponsored by the Dubberleys
20 Meeting TBD
27-29 Lotus corral at the Monterey
Historics (featuring Auto-Union)
11 GGLC AutoX (tentative)
11 All British Car Meet coastal drive
and lunch starts in Palo Alto
12 All British Car meet – Palo Alto
15 Meeting TBD -
19 Meeting TBD -
5 The Toddler Toy Rallye -Fremont
?? GGLC Holiday Party ,TBD
Rallye in the Woodside Hills
Sunday, June 13
Sponsored by John Zender
Ok gang, this is the event we’ve all been waiting for (right?) We’ll be driving some really tight and twisty,backroads with no Winnebegos. On a few of the roads you are likely to see no other cars at all.
This event will allow you to drive at your own pace while accumulating points for various tasks. No experience is necessary and non-Lotus cars will do just fine. You will be given a list of specific route instructions, and a legal speed average to maintain. Bonus points will be awarded for correct answers to questions regarding different landmarks.
The way this thing is scored, almost anything can happen. At last year’s event the winner lost a lot of points by driving half the course backwards, but made up for it with bonus points and a good speed average. The second place car missed most of the first half of the course, but did well on the checkpoints and bonus points.
The ralleye will end at a nice spot where we can buy lunch and add up the scores. The GGLC will be sponsoring some valuable prizes for first through third places, so there’s more at stake than just bragging rights., speeding tickets, and giant oak trees.
We’ll meet at my place in Menlo Park around 9 am for fresh orange juice and donuts. After a brief bit of verbal instructions the first car will go out at 10 am with other cars following at 5 minute intervals. The ralleye should last about 2 to 3 hours with a total of 50 to 80 miles. You should arrive with gas in your tank. Navigators are recommended but not required.
1. Take 101 to Marsh road in Menlo Park and exit West.
2. Go about 1/2 mile and turn right on Fair Oaks.
3. Go to the end of the street and don’t turn left.
4. Go about 150 feet to Lotus Central.
Phone (650) 368-9105
The President’s Column
It ‘s come and gone already! I said to myself back in February after we locked in the day for Thunderhill that May 16th would come around sooner than I thought, and it did. As the days grew nearer I wished there were more hours in the day because I was trying to get so many things done on the Europa AND take care of the track day stuff. As many of you know, I was on the phone to you guys trying to drum up support and coax you guys into going, even days before the event. To those whom I haven’t seen or talked to in a long time, I’d like to say that I really enjoyed talking to everyone and I hope you’ll come out to the other events we have planned for this year. For those of you that didn’t make it because you had poor excuses, and you know who you are, all I have to say is- YOU BLEW IT! We had a great time at Thunderhill!
Okay, I have to back up and tell you that for me it was a little stressful because I had several things going on in addition to the club activities, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way because it turned out great! I told you in an earlier CR that I had bagged preparing the Seven and concentrated on getting the Europa done. And, I also told everyone at the beginning of the year that they should work on their cars and prepare them for the upcoming events. Well, I should have listened to myself because I tried to do all that a few days before the event! I threw in a clutch cable, (what a difference that made, I waited too long to do that!), I had the wheels balanced, put a new heater valve in so that I could actually get cool air into the cockpit, and I replaced the shift lever bushing. Oh, and then there were the rear brakes. Well, my only comment regarding those awful things is- EVERYTHING can’t go right! That story is too long to tell in this month’s CR, but the outcome is that I’m boning-up on brakes and I’m going to throw those stupid drum brakes as far away as I can and put disks on the rear of the Europa. Look for a future article on my conversion and the turmoil which led to this decision.
All this last minute work on the car, in addition to the track day duties, had me pretty beat by Saturday the 15th. I arrived at the Golden Pheasant and felt like getting into bed rather than teching cars. But as soon as the cars started rolling in, I found some spare energy. Seeing all the Lotuses got me all charged up and it was nice to see a good selection of cars. Gary Marquis took everyone on a tour to the Sierra Nevada Brewery, but I stayed behind to help with registration and tech for those who arrived later. Except for one poor Europa that lost a freeze plug (in Chico, I believe?), I heard everyone had a great time and I’d like to thank Gary for making the tour possible, thanks Gary!
Before I knew it, it was getting dark and it was time to head inside for dinner. It was time to talk with some of the new people I had met earlier in the day and I had a great time enjoying the amusing Lotus anecdotes they had to tell. The dinner was very enjoyable and I think everyone was able have their fill, AND keep it on their stomachs, despite John Zender’s improvisational singing of "Strangers In The Night" during the announcements!
The morning of the track day I was ready to go, even though I had only had about five hours of sleep. This is the first track event in which I’ve been a participant, so for me the most important thing was to get used to the track and bring the car home in one piece, and still have fun! Well, I can honestly say that I met all those objectives. I could go on and on about how great it was to get out there in my Lotus and drive flat out without having to worry about Johnny Law, or how sweet it was to be waived past by a 911 that couldn’t keep up, but I won’t bore you all with the details of my day except to say that I had a great time and I think we need to make this an annual event!
I heard nothing but good words about the event afterwards (and questions about how soon until we have another one!) and I would like to thank the following people for their help in making it all happen:
Kiyoshi & Laura Hamai, Daren Stone, John Zender (despite singing "Strangers In The Night"- Volumes I&II at the dinner and track day respectively), Victor Holtorf, Pierre DeMartines, Mike Schlict, Lynn Greene, Joel Lipkin, Joel Farber, Tom Carney, and Gary Marquis.
This would not have happened if it weren’t for these people- thank you all!
Well, it’s done again. The Flamer is back on the road and more fun to drive than ever. I have so much more confidence driving it now that the electricals are straightened out. It’s very rewarding to work on your car making improvements, rather than just fixing it to keep it going. Look for a full report on the Ultimate Europa elsewhere in this issue.
The WCLM was a blast for all the great people who attended. For the losers with lame excuses, it was just another weekend of yard work, honey-do’s, or whatever. I, for one, would definitely like to see the GGLC get more involved in track events. When I first joined the club in ‘82, the group was heavily involved in autocross. About 10 years ago the focus changed to vintage racing and that continues ‘til today. Now there are quite a few people interested in track events since it doesn’t require a specialized car (like vintage), and is a lot more fun than autocrossing. With the present lack of venues for autocross, it’s also quite a bit easier to put on a track event.
Another benefit of having track events is that it forces us to work on our cars. Not to mention any names, but there’s one guy in the club who’s worked on his cars more in the last 2 months than he has in the last 10 years – Seeing him get his Seven to the ABCM and his Europa to Thunderhill were historical events that I thought I would never witness. A lot of other people in the club besides our President also put a bunch of work into their machines for Thunderhill. This is good!
Even during planning of WCLMlight, some of the gang were making tentative plans for a large Lotus event at a very special location in 2000. You should expect this to be a major topic of discussion at the June meeting. I don’t wanna give away any secrets, so show up and put in your three cents.
See ya, Zeeeeeeeeeeeeee
The 1999 West Coast Lotus Meet
By Kiyoshi Hamai
It was perhaps a hasty bit of planning… What started in November '98 as an idea about a GGLC Lotus track day turned into the first WCLM since 1996 (hosted by Club Lotus Northwest in Portland OR).
Finding a track in Northern California has become a challenge. Laguna Seca is virtually unobtainable. Sears Point can be had, but has become extremely expensive. The GGLC had never been to Thunderhill in Willows California and certainly Willows did not have the cache of Monterey or the world famous wine country of California.
So, the GGLC track day team found the SCCA San Francisco Region quite cooperative about getting a date for a track day in mid-May. By June we knew that the upper Sacramento Valley could easily get to 90 to 100° F. We also realized that it was a 3 hour drive from the Bay Area and that if there were an 8 AM driver's meeting we would have to be up and on the road by 4 AM! It was a simple decision to open tech inspection the day before. And, then tech grew into a dinner… and then a tour… and then a 12 Noon registration… and then a driver's seminar… and then we had the 1999 WCLM!!!
My weekend began by loading the Elan on my trailer and finding that it was much taller than the Lotus 41. So, what was a fully enclosed trailer had to be dismantled into an open flatbed. By 8:30 AM Laura and I were on the road headed to Willows with Elan in tow. We stopped to get gas in Vacaville and while refueling up drives John Zender with the flaming Europa in tow. We wait for John and continue our trek to Willows.
We arrive around 11:45 and theirs Lotus folks waiting… "Where's registration?" "In my car!" I yell. Bob Wells (of Seattle) has set up his Easy-Up canopy, so I find my Easy-Up redundant and leave it in the car. With the help of Lynn Greene registration is open for business by 12:05 - on time by GGLC standards!
I off load the Elan and then Gary Marquis arrives in this Seven with a Plus2 in procession. Gary has kindly put together a tour of the area and arranged for a private tour of the famous Sierra Nevada micro brewery in Chico. Laura & I dash off for a quick bite of lunch and fill-up the Elan with gas. We return about 1:20 to a line of Lotus cars prepared to go on Gary's tour. I didn't get an exact count, but it appeared to be about 20+ cars! Gary had brought 20 copies of directions, but with the response he's run out, so Laura and I get in line without directions - "We'll just follow 'em."
So, with Gary leading the group we head out of Willows heading east on Hwy 162. Gary has Jon Rosner in the passenger seat and Jon is snapping photos as we buzz down the road. Now, in a Esprit 80 mph is really not an issue. But, when trying to follow one of these Turbo jobs in a S2 Elan means that I'm buzzing the engine at 5000 rpm. Except I don't know it because my tach is on the fritz, it's not showing anything! There's a big crow in the middle of the road, I honk my horn and the tach begins to work. It stops again… I tap the horn… It works again!?! So, while I'm entertaining myself with the horn-tach thing the group is pulling away from me. Fortunately a couple of the leading cars are yellow and we can see them a mile away (literally!).
Gary's route puts us through the old volcanic buttes on a gently undulating and twisting fast stretch of roadway. Then he somehow gets us into the town of Paradise. There we get properly "greeted" by a chap in a silver Ford F150 PU. It's a four lane stretch of road. I'm in the left lane and this silver F150 pulls out of a parking area on the left, crosses the opposing lane and is not hesitating to come into my path. I swerve to the right lane just in time to avoid a collision and smack my horn. Of course, I'm looking way up at this full size PU and properly salute the chap. There's a slower car in the right lane and I execute a lane change back to the left lane. A couple of blocks later I'm stopped at a signal and the silver F150 pulls up to my right, the driver leans halfway out the driver's window and screams, "F*** YOU!!!" Okay?!?! Welcome to Paradise!!!
We continue on… Gary puts onto this marvelous tight little road that drops down through a delightful canyon. It's a bit bumpy and my tach finally bites it. No amount of horn blowing is getting running again.
We get to Chico and find the Sierra Nevada Brewery. They have two large tables waiting for us. Some of us are hungry and eat, others are thirsty and drink. We learn that Jerry Rude's Europa has popped a freeze plug up the road a bit. We worry. A few minutes later someone arrives and announces that they've found the freeze plug and have pounded it back in place, but the engine doesn't want to run. Jerry joins us a bit later. They'll go back to Willows grab a trailer and pick up the car.
The tour of the Sierra Nevada brewery is fascinating. I knew the basics of brewing beer, but the Sierra Nevada folks are doing it in a way that creates a superior beer.
We head back to Willows and arrive around 5:30. Things are winding down at tech inspection and cocktail hour is scheduled to start around 6-6:30. Laura and I head to our room to clean up. I head back to the banquet room around 6:30. All is ready, the hotel folks have been excellent!
Jerry Rude is not back from Chico with his Europa. There's little chance of damage… Here's Bob Wells' version of what happened… "Sitting at a stoplight just behind Jerry Rude's Europa and watching something fall from the engine area followed by an impressive spray of liquid was a new experience. Arm waving, horn tooting, and general shouting broke through the "we're almost at the brewery" focus and the group pulled over quickly. Our first thought had been oil but it indeed turned out to be coolant and the errant freeze plug had conveniently rolled to the gutter uncrushed by following cars."
By 7:35 the room was full and folks were sitting and we started the meal. Food was tasty and the conversations were good. About 8:45 the GGLC prez and WCLM Chair, Scott Hogben stood and greeted the throng. Scott was followed by a series of announcements from John Zender, Mike Schlicht and myself. We broke up around 9:00 and the Track Day Driver's seminar was to start in 30 minutes. The Track Day committee and coaches retired to the bar to iron out the last minute details. Mike Schlicht presented the Driver's Seminar answering questions and handing out tips for the best way around Thunderhill's 15 turns.
After the seminar I found Jerry with about 6 other folks celebrating. Jerry's Europa was up and running. Seems the Lucas rev-limiting distributor rotor had started acting up. Replacing it with a standard Lucas RA1 rotor fixed everything! It was a two beer job according to Jerry's helpers!
Up bright and early, joined by Tom Carney, Scott Hogben, Bob Wells and Mike Schlicht at breakfast we headed out to the track around 6:45AM. It had all the signs of a perfect valley day, still cool, a cloudless sky and just a slight breeze.
With most of the cars teched there was little to do until the 8:15 Driver's meeting. More words of caution, a description of the format, roll call and driver/coach assignments. The drivers were broken up by experience and car preparation. The Advanced Group was strictly for drivers with competition licenses and race prepared cars. The sessions were the simplest… Green flag, pass anywhere, have fun, checkered! The Intermediate group was for drivers with substantial on-track experience in cars that were no race prepared. This was the largest group with nearly 25 cars. And then the first group was the Novice group comprised of drivers with little or no on track experience. The Novice group was coached by Joel Farber, Joel Lipkin and myself. The Intermediate group was coached by Pierre DeMartines, Victor Holtorf and Mike Schlicht.
The first sessions for both the Novice and Intermediate groups were follow the leader format. Each driver had the opportunity to follow immediately behind the coach to learn the driving line and braking points. The second session for the Novices allowed the drivers to lead the coach and then have a brief critique post session. From then on the drivers were allowed on the track with the only restriction being that passing was allowed only on the straights.
In all drivers had the opportunity to be on the track over 100 minutes. By the late afternoon there were fewer cars on the track. Many of the drivers were tired and decided to shorten their day. The 5th session was combined with a mixture of drivers from all the groups. And the final checkered flag flew at 4:45PM.
Only 2 or 3 off road excursions, a safe day, a boring uneventful day for the course workers… a good thing! But, lots and lots of smiles! Bob Wells got his Europa running. I took the Explod(r)er for about 15 laps during the lunch break tour. Folks were warned that not to follow me if I went off the track! Rich Hairston brought his Elise S190, which was a total treat to see that marvelous car zipping around at speed. Gunther Hansele brought his Lotus 41… Which has inspired me to get off my fat *ss and get my car repaired! FUN! Let's do it again!!!
Thanks have to go to the 1999 WCLM staff - They did a wonderful job…
Chairman: Scott Hogben
Track Day Chairman: Victor Holtorf
Hotel & Dinner Chairman: John Zender
Tech Inspection Chairman: Mike Schlicht
WCLM Tour Host: Gary Marquis
Registration Chairman: Kiyoshi Hamai
WCLM Staff & Coaches: Lynn Greene, Tom Carney, Joel Lipkin, Joel Farber, Pierre DeMartines
And, thank you to all the Lotus owners and enthusiasts that attended! In the words of a track day guest who is a member of the Alfa club, "You guys are great! You're so laid back! I'm going to join your club!!!"
Vacuum Operated Headlight Pods
By Alan Dubberely
The headlight pod vacuum control solenoid valves on my 1974 Elite died several years ago. I thought I might tell the very long story about repairing them and at the same time explain a little about how the system works. If you have a car with vacuum operated headlight pods, you will sooner or later need to know where I found replacement valves and how to replace them.
Without these valves, the pods cannot open and close automatically as the headlights are turned on or off. Vacuum bellows, operated by engine vacuum, rotate the pods. When the headlights are off, the de-energized valves connect the pod bellows to the engine vacuum to pull the pods closed against a spring. When you turn on the lights, the valves are also energized and switch the pod-connected ports to an atmospheric vent. As air bleeds back into the bellows through the valve, the bellows relax and allow the spring to open the pods. The valves also seal off the connections to the engine intake manifold vacuum so excess air is not bled into the intake to mess up the fuel-air mixture.
Normally, two valves are used, each located close to one pod. This maximizes pod opening speed by minimizing the volume of bellows and hose to be recharged with air. Two valves also reduce the flow restriction through the valves and into the bellows. The main flow restriction is the small orifice inside each valve. If you want the pods to pop instantly open to flash your lights to pass, from the lights-off position, two valves are needed. But, if you only want functional day/night operation, a single valve works the pods quickly enough.
My response to the initial valve failures was to try to recondition one of the original valves and use it for both pods. The idea of slower opening and closing with a single valve worked OK, but the rebuild only lasts just so long. Finally, rust and wearing rubber parts render the old valve unusable at any reasonable level of rework. In addition, the valves were not designed for repair and it is necessary to bend the iron magnetic path parts to open the valve and rebuild the contact surfaces. The bend can not be fully undone and the solenoid armature then forever rubs on the body, making it highly unreliable. Most nights, I would have to get out and jiggle the solenoid to get it to move between on and off positions.
Dave Bean was unable to offer a low cost alternative, so I waited for instrument valves to grow into a major industry and then started inquiries into suitable valves. Many computer-controlled valves are used in medical and lab equipment, and most of these valves run on 12VDC. I thought I might just find a match, however, many of the instrument valves are for very low flow and have tiny passages - not good for moving the pods in a few seconds. Finally, I located a vendor who was willing to search a little for me and came up with a good replacement valve. I have installed the new valve, with outstanding performance. It will get a good life-test because I drive the car most days. The vendor believes it will have a good service life, better than most smaller instrument valves. It is a little larger than most instrument valves, but is quite compact and fits well inside the car next to the vacuum reservoir tank. Its weight is about equal to the weight of the two original valves since it has a solid brass body instead of the plastic used in the original Lotus part.
The valve is made by Burkert, part number 6014. The catalog only shows them in 24, 120 and 240 V AC and DC versions. However, the manufacturer will supply it in 12 VDC for $75, a lot less than a Lotus alternative, if one ever becomes available again. The vendor who made arrangements with Burkert for the 12V version is John Sencabaugh at E. Clark & Associates, Clinton, MA 01510 (800-253-2497). The valve comes with a nice plug matching the solenoid pins and having screw connections and a cover, which makes power hookup easy. The local hardware store supplies tubing connection nipples that screw into the pipe thread valve ports to connect the valve to the vacuum hoses. I use fuel line for the hoses, which makes connecting to the old plastic lines easy as well as connecting to the valve.
To use a single valve, a few vacuum line changes are required. I chose to place the new valve inside the passenger compartment so it sees cleaner air and lower temperatures than if it is located under the hood or inside the pods. Also, the vacuum reservoir tank feeding the pods is located next to the passenger’s feet, just in front of the door, so this is a good valve location. All the vacuum lines come here anyway.
To change to the single valve, re-plumb the vacuum lines as shown in the attached sketch. First, the original valves are removed from inside each pod and the bellows are connected to a single hose running back through the firewall and into the right-side compartment beside the footwell. This is where the vacuum tank is located, behind a trim panel in front of the passenger door. The pod hose connects to the valve common port, labelled "A" on the valve body. The normally-open valve port, "R" on the valve, connects to the vacuum tank and the normally-closed port, "P", just vents to the air. The vacuum tank has a second connection pipe that connects to a hose, a one-way valve (check valve) and then to the engine intake manifold, in that order. A tee in the engine vacuum line, also located in the footwell side compartment goes to a second check valve and then to a hose that passes under the dash to a second vacuum tank next to the driver’s side footwell. The second tank supplies vacuum for the A/C air control doors and hot water control valve.
A wiring change is also needed. In the same right-side footwell, all the wiring bundles are gathered into four large connectors and a few single-wire connectors. One wire passing through a large white plastic connector is blue with a brown stripe. It powers the pod valves at the front of the car. With the forward pod valves removed, it can be cut and spliced to reach the new valve, now located almost right next to the connector. A ground wire to the valve solenoid is also needed. It can be connected to the screw on the wiper motor located just above the footwell. A number of other black ground wires are connected there.
A word of caution is needed here. These connectors also have a special wire coming in through the firewall with the rest of the wires that is very fragile. It is made of iron. I think, and provides a high-resistance connection from the "run" ignition switch terminal to the ignition coil. It provides power for the spark during engine running, but is bypassed with a low-resistance copper wire during starting/cranking. The bypass gives a better spark when the battery voltage is being dragged down by the grinding starter motor. Roughly handling the wiring harness and connectors may break this brittle wire. I broke it, but detection is easy. You can see a loose wire, or the car will crank and start, but die as soon as the key is relaxed from the start to the run position. The wire is shown as "white with pink" in the wiring diagram, but is easy to identify because it has a braided fiber outer jacket on top of the red plastic insulation layer. It normally shares a connector pin with a solid white wire and can simply be reconnected to that wire near the connector.
I have found this change well worth the time, especially compared to manual "valve adjustments" in the dark. Now, my headlight pods simply move when they should and stay closed for days with the engine off.
Building the Ultimate Europa – Phase III, part 5 of ?
By John Zender
Well, it’s back. The latest installment of this continuing (and nearly completed) saga of Europa contortions. This latest conversion includes larger ventilated front disk brakes, all new electrical system, fuel cell, and a full roll cage. Along with Phase 3 comes a new overall direction with design of the car. The new plan is to make an SCCA certified Europa racecar that’s still streetable and very dependable. Before I get into the meaty details, I’ll review what’s been done up to this point.
The car is a 1969 Type 54 (low nose) Europa. I’ve owned the car since about ‘82, but began serious modifications in March of ‘96. Phase 1 consisted of replacing the original Renault powertrain with a 1730cc Cosworth BDR and 5 speed box from a Turbo Fuego. Also included in Phase 1 were the installation of a modified Twin Cam Chassis with an enlarged driver’s footwell (1" wider, 2" longer), Tilton pedal assembly with balance bar, flush glazed (non-leaking) windscreen, hydraulic clutch, 4-pot Willwood front calipers, and a somewhat controversial paint job.
After driving the car like this for a year I decided that it’s gonna have to get more rear brakes. I tried all sorts of different slave cylinders, drum widths and lining material, but the brakes continued to suck. I decided that the car would have to have rear disks, and I really wanted to go "all the way" and fit a 4-pot caliper that I was sure would be enough. After many hours of measuring and head scratching, I figured that there’s no way to fit an apposed piston caliper back there and retain the original box section trailing arm (unless you flare the fenders and move stuff outward). Anyway, all the head scratching evolved into Phase 2 which included Eagle Formula Ford rear uprights, 4-pot Wilwood calipers, 10" disks, and formula car suspension with CV’s and upper links.
During the track event at LOG 18 last year the rear brakes worked so good that it allowed me to bias-in a lot more front brake. Of course this immediately cooked the original 9" front rotors. Besides this, the wall at the bottom of the hill at Road Atlanta was frightening going by at 100 mph. I knew I needed to improve the front brakes and make the car safer. Additionally, I had always wanted to redo the dasboard and rewire the car…..and so begins Phase 3.
After being refused by 3 different race shops to build a roll cage for my car, I bought a tubing bender and started it myself in December 98. Within a week I figured out why none of those shops were interested in building my cage. What a huge job! I knew that building a full cage in a Europa that allowed the body to be removed was going to be a major pain, but figured I could do it in a month if I worked on it 10-20 hours a week. Well, 3 months later I finally finished after putting in 150+ hours (I’m glad I didn’t keep track - it’d be too discouraging). Before I started the cage I figured I could make a couple bends, then fit and mark it, then make some more bends and just fit as I go. -NOT- The main hoop, roof halo, and front downtubes had to be bent completely to shape before I could get them through the door and check the fit. If it wasn’t close enough, I had to start over. I ended up bending all of the main tubes 2 or 3 times each to get ‘em to my liking. To give you an idea of the learning curve here, I purchased at least 120' of tubing and probably used about 50 in the car.
Now that the cage is done, however, I guess I’m glad I did it myself. Anybody I know who’s had a cage built has always complained that it doesn’t fit quite as well as they planned, or interferes with this or that. Because I knew what I wanted and was willing to do it over a couple times, it came out pretty good. I figure that skill and practice will get your bends within about 1/8 to 1/4", and getting any closer is mostly luck. Another thing that I learned while building the cage is that symmetry of the original Lotus body is ‘outawack by ˝ to 1" through-out , which doesn’t make things any easier.
I followed the SCCA rule book and used 1-1/2" diameter seamless steel tube with .095" wall thickness for all of the required bars. This includes the main hoop (behind the seats) and diagonal, roof halo, front downtubes, rear braces, diagonal door bars, and removable horizontal door bars.
I stole some ideas from Mike Schlicht’s Europa racer and added a considerable amount of "extra" tubes that dramatically increased safety and stiffness of the cage. These extra bars probably added another 30 lbs, but after driving the car, I’m certain that the weight penalty is worth the increase in stiffness and stability of the car. The extra tubes allowed me to fully triangulate all four corners of the chassis and tie them into the cage, backbone, and body. Each front corner is triangulated by running a tube from the front lower wishbone pivot to the bottom of the front downtube, and another from the pivot to the downtube near the bottom of the dash. Another triangle is formed by bars running from the same wishbone pivot, diagonally rearward and inboard to a plate in welded in the backbone (directly under the dashboard). Another bar runs from this same plate, straight across the floor, and into the bottom of the front downtube.. Another pair of crossmembers run horizontally behind the seats between the backbone and lower end of the main hoop. A single tube is also welded in between the two front downtubes and supports the bottom edge of the dashboard. A diagonal brace connects this tube to the original dashboard/body mounts in the backbone. Two more horizontal bars triangulate the rear section by connecting between the main hoop near the door latch, and the chassis/rear diagonal brace junction. All of these "extra" tubes are thinwall (.065) seamless tubing.
The cage is permanently built-in to the body and is bolted into the chassis at 11 points. The connection to the lower front wishbone incorporates the orignal 1/2" pivot bolt. All of the other connections use a 1/8" steel plate welded into the chassis with grade 8 nuts attached to the backside. The mating plates on the cage are also 1/8" thick steel with three 5/16" bolts each. In the rear of the car, the body is bonded directly to the rear diagonal braces about 6" ahead of the shocks, and the braces bolt into the chassis forks a few inches further back. This design was necessary since the rear of the chassis was shortened by about 12" to accept the new formula type suspension, eliminating the original body mounts.
Along with the cage I added a pair of 5-point harnesses. The shoulder belts are connected to horizontal bars running behind the headrests between the two large diagonals. I had Tony’s Upholstery in Burlingame redo the original seats with slots in the cushions and headrests to allow passage of the anti-sub and shoulder belts.
After completing the cage I moved on to the electricals. For as long as I’ve owned the car, the entire Lucas mess was junk. Over the years I’ve replaced or redone most of the connections and at least 30% of the wires. I’ve also had quite a few minor smoke leaks and a couple of really major smoke leaks. Add to that my lack of budget, soldering ability, and quality assurance over the first 10 years of ownership, and you end up with a car where you can’t trust anything that uses electrons. I was fed-up with piecing the electrical system together, and finally wanted all my gauges and switches to work. A full re-wire was required. I had never attempted this before, but knew it would be difficult to trace all those strands and get the proper colors... so I decided not to. My first step was to rip out the entire harness - every single wire- cut it into little pieces, and throw it in the garbage. While I was at it, I took all the gauges and switches and handed ‘em off to some poor soul so I’d never have to look at ‘em again.
The first plan was to buy a new complete set of Smiths gauges to keep that "original" look, but hey, plans are meant to change. Instead, I opted for a set of Auto Meter Phantom gauges with black bezel, white face, and red needle. I purchased all electric gauges so I wouldn’t have to deal with capillary tubes running through the "quick release" dash. I replaced all the dash and column switches with nine high quality toggles. You know the type - you turn ‘em ofnand the go on, you turn ‘em off and they go off! (Very non-Lucas-like)
I took a lead from Daren Stone and bought individually labeled wire from Enos Custom Components in San Luis Obispo. This is pretty cool stuff. It’s printed every 4" with the component ie starter, headlights, wiper, etc. Daren previously installed a similar wire set in his monster truck, and we’re both very satisfied with the quality and functionality of this stuff. Part of the re-wire plan included making the entire dashboard quick release so that I can pop it out to change a bulb or work behind there. To achieve this, I mounted the new blade-type fuse block in the front luggage compartment, and used two large military style circular bulkhead connectors through the rear wall of the compartment. Two pigtails with mating plugs run off the back of the dashboard and plug into the sockets. Since the steering column is now mounted to the roll cage (instead of the dashboard) I can unplug the dash and remove it in about 10 minutes! The new dash board itself is fabricated out of 1/8" thick 5052 aluminum. I had the surface "grained" on a large belt sander, and then black anodized and silk screened with white lettering. The dash screws into the rollcage along its bottom edge with six 10-32 flatheads, and utilizes the original four mounts on the top edge (retrofitted with 10-32’s).
Another necessity for phase 3 was upgrading the front brakes. In phase 1, I installed the 4-pot Wilwood "Dynalite" calipers on the original 9" rotors. The first set of rotors I ran with these were cross-drilled and cracked badly within about 10 laps at Laguna Seca. The second set were a little thicker (.370) and not drilled, but they went into melt-down at Road Atlanta (LOG 18). I decided to go as large as possible with the new setup while still fitting into my 6x13 Revolution wheels with the original uprights. After a few more ferocious measuring and head scratching sessions, I ordered a set of 10.25 dia x .75 thick ventilated rotors and a new (wider) pair of Dynalites. The caliper mounts I constructed in Phase 1 were made by cutting the "ears" off the original forged steel bracket, and welding on and extended section in its place. The new section was then machined and drilled for the new caliper. For this conversion, however, I decided to make a billet aluminum bracket to offset weight gained by the larger rotors. I had recently added a mill to my shop and was strangely eager to build such a part. Well, I hope I learned a lot about machining by making those 2 brackets..........I started a total of 6!! Something I definitely learned when building the first bracket was that 10-1/4" rotors don’t fit in this wheel/caliper combo without moving the steering arm inboard a lot. Oh well, Frey Racing was nice and gave me no hassle on the exchange. I ordered a set of custom 10" disks that were due to arrive only 2 weeks before WCLM!
Another major safety component required for the Ultimate Europa is a certified fuel cell with flexible bladder and foam filling. The original aluminum fuel tanks that I built for Phase 1 no longer fit the body anyway (because of interference with the rear cage members). To get the maximum quantity of fuel to fit under the horizontal rear bar, the front of the fuel cell would have to be angled sharply forward to follow the rear bulkhead under the passenger’s seat. I built a welded aluminum can of 1/16" 5052 aluminum with an open bottom, and a separate 1/8" thick aluminum bottom plate that pop-rivets in. I cut the various holes where needed, and sent the whole thing off to Fuel Safe for a custom bladder. Frey Racing helped me out a lot and got a 5 week leadtime reduced to 1-1/2 weeks to make WCLM.
Besides all the major changes I also kept myself busy adding aluminum front hubs from Dave Bean Engineering to further offset the heavy rotors. I also disassembled the motor one more time and changed all the seals and bearings.
I stayed up all night before the WCLM and almost got the whole thing put together --- but all the important stuff was ready, and I did get it on the track and had a blast.
Now that I’ve driven the car a bit I’m thoroughly stoked! For the first time, in my own mind, it really does seam like the Ultimate Europa. I get an amazing rush each time I drive the car. Everything about it - from getting in - to the squeeze of the 5-point harness - to the sound of the cambelt behind me - and, of course, the way it drives, all feel like "racecar". After a track session I let about 15 psi out of the tires, crank the shock dampening to minimum, and it drives like a Cadillac. OK, maybe not like a brand new Caddy, but maybe like the lowrider down the street with busted shocks.
I never imagined the comfortable, confident feeling that I would get from not worrying about all the past smoke, flames, and faulty switches that always felt like they’re on their very last cycle. And what about gauges that bounce, flicker, and bob when they’re working, but just kind of lay there most of the time? It’s so nice to turn the headlights on without having to jiggle the switch just right, and be able to start the car without the ignition switch turning in the dash and flaming, and ...shall I go on?
The roll cage also inspires lots of confidence when passing monster trucks and pit walls, but most noticeable is the improvement in the feel and handling of the UR. The first thing I noticed is that the car is much easier to drive straight on fast roads. The UR has had a pronounced rear bump steer ever since completion of phase 1. The new rear suspension of Phase 2 reduced the symptom by about half, and the cage has virtually eliminated it. Both on the straights and through long sweepers, I notice that the steering requires less corrections to hold it on line. Although I never got totally up to speed at Thunderhill, I’m sure this trait is going to make it much easier to drive fast on the track.
So the car is finally very close to what I’ve imagined for the last 15 years. All the major conversions are complete and one more iteration might just finish it off. Hmmm.... a 2 liter motor and fuel injection might spruce up that engine compartment a bit. Watch for a debut of phase 4 next Spring, until then, watch your mirrors and stay out of the way!
Europa Parts Wantedfresh air vents that mount in the dashboard of Europa. Must be in very good or excellent condition. Also need a spring clip to hold the ashtray into the ashtray holder for Europa. John (650) 368-9105 Motofab@wenet.net
1960 Lotus 18 Formula Jr , restoration in 1996 with less than 20 hours, log book, VARA, HMSA, and SCCA, All sorts of new parts and spare magnesium wheels, includes custom trailer with tie downs and fuel bottles. E. Moles (408) 268-3239
74 Europa Special, 38k miles, original, tired, not running, 99% assembled, all smog equipment, too many cars, $7K. Tom Minnich (562) 697-0547
Europa Parts for Sale Adjustable lower links for TC, chrome, exlt cond - $125; aluminum fuel tanks for S2 - $300/pair with sender; 7 x 13 Monocoque 3-piece race wheels, very light, almost new - $400/pr; instrument binnacle, new, thick ABS - $25; header for Renault motor - $200; brake booster good cond. -$50; set of hubcaps and trim rings, beautiful new chrome -$200. Call John (650) 368-9105 email@example.com
1980-87 Esprit parts, turbo wastegate rebuild kit, new -$100, starter, new – $100; Goodyear NCT 195-60-15 tires, new, (2) - $150; (2) front rims with Goodyear NCT 195-60x15, tires in good condition -$250; rear bumper, minor damage, repairable – $75. All prices include shipping. David Condrack (707) 252-9298
Disclaimers & Credits
The Chapman Report is published monthly by the Golden Gate Lotus Club, PO Box 117303, Burlingame, CA 94011. The GGLC is a non-profit incorporated car club and is not affiliated with Group Lotus, Team Lotus, or Lotus Cars USA. The GGLC's annual membership dues are $20.00.
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