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Project HSCC eclat

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In another thread, I discussed the possibility of preparing a series 1 eclat for the HSCC 70's roadsports Class C - (glassfibre cars under 2L made up to 31/12/1979)


I have 2 children, and felt that a whole lot of paternal fun could be had by preparing a racing car together and going racing at weekends and camping at various circuits.


I was musing an eclat sprint, which is usually a base model eclat 520 with the stronger ford sourced 4 speed box and the lowest final drive.


Unfortunately, Eclat Sprints are rare. I enquired on a couple and found one to have a rotten chassis, and the other to be a very rare 521 sprint, which was of little use to me. Deciding a galvanised chassis was a pre-requisite for this project, I passed on purchasing either.


Careful reading of the HSCC rules showed that parts can be mixed and matched from models from the same range, so using a gearbox from a 520 was allowable in a 521. The field of potential purchases suddenly got a bit wider. I didn't want a 522- 524, as I didn't need the extra weight, but I did want the 3 pot calipers of the heavier 521-524 models.


I stumbled across a car for sale in Torphicen, West Lothian. It was a red 521 with a galvanised chassis, and described as being "scruffy inside and out". It had been parked unused on a driveway for 4 years. It was very cheap, and was about 10 miles away from where I grew up in Scotland. A call to dad secured some "temporary" space in his garage.


The vendor even offered to deliver it to my Dads Garage and a deal was done, unseen. The deal was done on the basis of it having a galv chassis, and being generally complete. At the price, I couldn't really grumble over anything.


I received a call from my dad saying it had arrived and was safely placed in his garage under a pile of spares. It had overheated en-route and had been towed by a 4x4 for the remaining 4 miles. The vendor mused that it wasn't charging so was probably the belt that had perished, but I instantly marked the water pump down as being suspect.


Fast forward 2 months.


A megabus overnighter return ticket to Edinburgh was booked, with the cover story (for my wife) of attending a football match - which was partially true - I had attended at least one home Motherwell match each season for 34 years, the final home game of the season was the opportunity to extend this for another season. The eclat project at this point remained a black op (i.e. no spousal approval or knowledge) as tbh if you know the answer to a question will be "No" why bother asking the question in the first place? It is easier to do it and ask for forgiveness, than to get pre-clearance then ignore it.


so, the car itself:




not too sure whats gone on at the back - looks like SD1 lights (S2) grafted into an S1 bumper (or maybe early excel) either way its not right and will be changed.


The plan was to fit a new battery, have a look at the cooling system, swap the timing belt, and get it starting on the key and have a look at any other obvious MOT items.


The previous owner mentioned there was a waterpump int he spares bundle, so I ordered a water pump fitting kit from Kemp, together with a themostat, a timing belt, 4 new plugs, an K&N oil filter from ebay, and had them delivered to my dads.


First inspection revealed the fan belt to be ridiculously slack, water pump impellor appeared free, although pulley had signs of extensive corrosion. A trip to Halfrauds purchased some 20W50 and some antifreeze.


Pouring coolant into the empty header tank revealed a constant flow from the water pump weep hole. The seal on the pump was goosed. Inspecting the spare pump in the pile of spares showed it to be very notchy. I wouldn't be happy fitting it, it needs a new water pump and I didn't have immediate access to one. No point in changing the timing belt if the water pump needs doing, so that job was shelved.


I concentrated on getting it to start. A battery from a breaker was acquired for 10 quid and fitted. It revealed that the starter motor turned very slowly and the solenoid was making a constant clicking noise. Startermotor goosed. I removed it, and fitted the one from the spares pile. It didn't even click. The previous owner popped round to see how I was doing, and mentioned there was a pole on the starter solenoid that hadn't been getting a good connection and causing it to click continually, which he had crimped a new connector to. I was getting the same symptom, so I soldered it and refitted it to see if it was going to work. No better, same issue.


Starter was then removed for reconditioning at MTH Autoservices in Falkirk. I've used them before (about 15 years ago) and was impressed.


I was now stuck with progress on the engine until I had a functional starter and had to content myself with other tasks.


Tyres were badly cracked on all 4 corners, but I had posted some serviceable 205 60 14's from my collection in Surrey. Took them to a fast fit place for fitting - £10 per corner!!!! utter robbery - I can get them done for £5 in London. It seems that all the fast fit places are charging the same so through gritted teeth I handed over 20 quid for two tyres to be fitted. Tyres are merely for MOT purposes as it will be getting Maxsport cut tarmac ralying tyres for competion use, but I won't buy these until it is caged and prepared.


I put the newer tyres on the front of the car, so it now has some old, but good Bridgestone RE71's.


I have some eagle NCT's to go on the back, but the tread is marginal, so if they want 10 quid a wheel for fitting, I thought I would add the nearly new champiro's from my shed in Surrey at a later date. 


It was missing its driver side wing mirror - an obvious MOT fail. There were 2 mirrors in the spares pile, so I fitted one and replaced the doorcard properly as it was loose. The job was every biot as fiddly as I remembered.




The door also failed my "wiggle test" which suggests the door beam is displaying allt he structural rigidity of cardboard. I will need to fit another (probably an entire door), but this an happen after the MOT.


Inspection of another hobby horse of mine (seatbelt mount) showed it to be utterly gubbed. I have some replacement mounting plates in Surrey, so they will be fitted before the MOT.


The cars stance appeared a bit odd at the front right and was sitting VERY low.... Inspection revealed a broken coil spring and a rather rusty top wishbone on the other side. I will need to source springs, but I already have a wishbone in the spares.


It has electrical issues. Indicators, interior fan, wiper, which a roll of the fuses didn't fix. I'd asked Dad if he had a voltmeter before leaving surrey, which he claimed he did, but on arrival it had morphed into a 240V mains tester, which was of no practical use. Electrical fun and games can wait for a day on which I am suitably armed with my DVM.


The rest of the car didn't appear all that bad! I have seen much much worse. There is some repaired damage to the front right of the fibreglass body which has now cracked. I suspect the requirement for a new chassis was prompted by a front turret collapse and this damage is historic. The chassis is definately galvanised and the tower is sound.


I didn't want a mint interior or exterior, because of what I intended to do with it. It will be painted with a brush, probably Andy Wharhol M1 art car style, so I was relaxed about the cosmetics. It has a glass sunroof, so will check with the scrutineer as to whether it needs a film, or removal.


here is the rest of it:






Spyder tubular rear trailing arms, made of pure unobtanium!




a small selection of spares.




the replacement windscreen




bonnet removed to provide easier access to belts




The interior isn't too horiffic, apart from the headlining. It is dirty, but serviceable. Front seats will have to be changed for competition items anyway probably from Sparco, however as seats have an FIA expiry date, I will purchase seats, belts and extinguisher when the rest of the car is ready.  Is that an Esprit S1 steering wheel?

Edited by Dunc
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Update : I have spoken to the HSCC scrutineer and he has confirmed that the Glass sunroof needs to be removed and fibreglassed over. A safety film over the glass section is not acceptable.


He also confirmed that I can mount the rollcage to the chassis on a fibreglass car, which was unclear int he rules.

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Hi dunc, I was just about to say that glass sunroofs are a no! And then saw you had answered your own question. Good luck with the build, let me know how you get on, p.s. with the three pot calipers I was running Hawk Ferro. Carbon pads, these were bought from Cambridge Motorsport, I had Greenstuff Ebcs and melted them in five laps of Mallory Park.

Regards Dan

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  • 3 weeks later...

What a story!! Great have good luck and we will hear it! how it works out!

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  • 2 months later...

Not much been happening on this as I was supposed to spend last week in Scotland, but was ill and had to cancel.


Starter motor is back looking fresh after its rebuild and is ready to go on.


I've decided to fit an electric water pump and have the impellor removed from the mechanical one by Kemp performance. This might offer a bhp or so of top end power.


On the braking front I purchased these:




Tar Ox full race pads. I was going to go for the Hawk Blue, but these ones popped up on ebay and for a tenner I figured I'd give them a shot. I'm also considering the auto-mec brake pipe kit off ebay. I should probably buy a flaring kit and make my own pipes, but I used an automec kit on my dolomite sprint years ago and it was super simple. The only plus point is buying the pipe tools means you can do it forever.


I've been looking at hydraulic pipe benders on ebay and prices seem to vary massively. I'm now thinking of designing my own cage and getting it scrutineered with a view to offering the design to others with Eclats or Excels as there are no commercially available cages. I have a design in mind that will make the most of what the shell already offers and will make mine as a prototype.


On the negative side - I missed out on a set of Omega high compression pistons on ebay that I should have bid more for. I've also missed out on two sets of vernier pulleys for cam timing. (second highest bidder twice)  :-(

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they certainly look light....


never seen them before.


I suspect they might be overly light duty.....


The spyder ones seem strong but not particularly light. I have a set of galvanised normal ones in my garage which were going to go onto my eclat S2 V8, but I will weigh the standard ones and the spyder ones against each other. Lightest ones go on the race car.

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  • 2 months later...

I had to be in Scotland yesterday, and arrived in the early evening giving me an hour or so to tinker. I had a go at fitting the replacement starter motor. I did a bit of headscratching about which wire went where as it has been about 6 months since I removed it, but with the help of a search of TLF and some logic, I figured it out in the end.


Turned the key and she turns over nicely. I took a plug out and had a look with the engine turning and it seems to have a good spark.


I wasn't that fussed about trying to start it, as it has no coolant in it and it was getting late and didn't want to annoy my parents neighbours, but I think a bit of fiddling with the fuel pump points and some perseverance will see it fire into life.


Going up for Christmas so will have a tinker, change the water pump and timing belt, change the oil and filters and see if I can get it starting off the key.

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Cheers Trev,


I'm pretty much fine now, apart from the odd twinge now and then, like I got when leaning over fitting the starter.


I will try and fit new ball joints to the eclat V8 this weekend and get it tested as its MOT ran out when I was first ill. Should have it back on the road shortly. :happy dance:

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been out to the garage for a Christmas Day tinker.

Fuel pump is not working. It is getting power, and goes "goop" once when I connect it, but that's all it does. I've taken the cap off and cleaned up the points and re soldered a couple of contacts, and cleaned up the other connections with sandpaper, but it doesn't want to play.

It needs a new pump. Probably not a bad item to replace given how long the car has stood for. Question now is to replace with stock us pump, or buy a solid state conversion for the faulty one from burden, or buy something else and be non standard...

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Oh, and you know that mirror that I mentioned I fitted earlier in the thread? My two year old unfitted it while I had my head in the boot playing with the fuel pump.


He wandered around the tail end of the car holding it in his hands looking sheepish....







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  • Gold FFM

Hi Dunc, nice to meet a fellow Scott at the Ace, now we know you are not a stalker but it was strange to meet you again the following day at three different locations, just a pity we didn't have the time or the weather to have a good look at your V8.

Have a great new year from all of us at home North of the border.

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Cheers John,

Was a bit strange that we kept bumping into each other in a city of 7m people!

Thanks for the new year wishes - hope you have a good one also.

Now back from Scotland after an all too brief visit. Washed the yellow one today and took it out for a short run. Taking it to long life exhausts on Monday for them to price me up a v8 balance pipe.

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  • 9 months later...

I flew up late on Wed evening, and began tinkering with the eclat 521 after breakfast.


After fitting a new fuel pump, it started on the key, but only for about 10 seconds as it had no coolant.


I had ordered a replacement water pump from Kemp High Performance (highly recommended service) on 24 hr courier service and it arrived just as I was finishing the fuel pump.


I was working with dads tools and no recourse to manuals, so had a few little headscratchers. Some technical observations which most people will already know, but worth writing them up for people searching the archives:


If your changing the water pump, make sure you replace the bolt behind the distributor drive pulley with a hex bolt (SJ sell the bolt if you can't find one locally). If you have the normal bolt, you need to slacken the timing belt and remove the distributor drive pulley to get at it with a socket. It may be possible to get a 10mm ratchet spanner at it from above but only with 10 degrees of swing. I had no such ratchet spanner and even less patience so removed the timing belt and pulley.


If you are stupid like me, and forget to mark/check the position of the distributor timing pulley, there is some confusing information on the net: I saw a diagram which said woodruff key and casting dimple towards 7-8pm with the timing mark on the side of the pulley at due south on the crankshaft line. My pulley showed the timing mark at due north with the woodruff key and dimple in the position shown on the diagram. I figured this is still in the crank line as per the diagram, so was probably right. Putting it back together revealed it wouldn't fire. I put it to tdc again, then removed the distributor cap and noted that the rotor arm was pointing at cylinder 4. It should obviously be cylinder 1 (which is the one nearest the timing belt) so i was 180 degrees out on my distributor timing pulley.


It is JUST possible to slacken the timing belt and slip the belt off the distributor drive pulley with the V belt for the waterpump still in place. I then rotated the pulley 180 degrees and put it all back together. The timing mark on the edge fo the pulley must be at due south. Obviously the ones on the sides of the cam pulley point directly at each other, and the notch in the v belt points to the tooth on the far left of the ignition scale.


I intended to change the timing belt, but realised I hadn't bought a replacement tensioner pulley (I thought there was one inside the car) and that my dads 19mm socket was missing from his set (I had been cranking the engine to tdc with a ring spanner).


I decided to leave the timing belt for a different day as I didn't fancy cracking the crank pulley bolt with only a spanner. The replacement water pump and thermostat gaskets had been fitted with new stainless steel bolts, and a light smear of loctite flange gasket sealer as well as the paper gaskets. I found it easiest to put a light smear around the water pump, then stick the paper gasket to the pump, before placing it against the pre-smeared engine flange then tightening up the opposite bolts to ensure uniform adhesion. Left it overnight to cure.


Filled it up with antifreeze and water as it's likely to get cold in that garage before I return. I then took the newly re-tensioned belt through 360 degrees cranking the pulley with the spanner - all seemed well. While cranking it, I had cause to wind it back slightly, and the pulley bolt immediately moved on the spanner - which meant I could have changed the belt after all, but by this time I had already refilled the coolant (which needs to be drained to remove the belt as there are water pump pipes that need to be slackened to remove the belt.


turned the key and it fired up. No horrific noises - first time I have heard this engine run, and it seems ok, but has an ignition problem on cylinder 1. My brother arrived and changed the plug whilst I was tidying up, and it was no better, so it's obviously a lead/cap issue. You can pull the plug wire off with no audible change to how the engine runs.


Anyway - success. It runs. It moves. Clutch works - brakes work. will put a new timing belt/tensioner, give it an oil change and a set of leads/plugs next time I'm up.


Project HSCC eclat is a bit of a sleeper, but there is definate, albeit slow progress.

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I dont think so in HSCC given the cars are essentially road standard with extra points been awarded if you drive it to the race meet.


Maybe in other series it might be the case - Dan will probably know more.

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  • 10 months later...

THE KING IS DEAD! - (and he wasn't a very good king either...) LONG LIVE THE NEW KING!


There has been very little in the way of progress on the red 521. I was spending less and less time in Scotland, and when I was working on it, the wretched car fought me every step of the way. It was one step forward then two back. I got it running and starting on the key, but it became obvious that the car needed rewiring and almost every ancilliary component neededdd replacing.


On top of it all, Dad was mentioning that Mum's new car probably shouldn't be outside this winter whilst my heap eclat occupies its space.


A freind was visiting Mike up at Lotus bits and spotted a 520 eclat, with no sunroof, the big brakes and the right hubs which had been an abandoned resto. Lack of space meant the car was probably a breaker.


so this happened:








I hired a transporter, drove through the night to Edinbugh, arrived a 4:30am. Loaded up, went to the football, then left at 7:30 am the next day, drove to Melton Mowbray where I collected a Lotus Sunbeam engine, then on to Lotusbits.


Mike needed a car to break - preferably one with a glav chassis, running engine, decent 5 speed box and a leather interior (albeit dirty..) -so I gave him my 521, + some cash and took this one away:











It is now in my garage outside my house, so i can work on it when I feel like it.

I'm pretty happy with this deal, This one has the bits I need on a new chassis, and is sprinkled with newness. The best part of this deal is not having to work on that soddin 521 ever again!!!!






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   Fair play Duncan, job well done, I think sometimes in restoration projects our hearts take over our common sense,

   Given your situation with your mums car outside etc, I think you made a pretty good decision and the new car looks

   a good project base, is it silver or white? cant tell from the photos.


    And the old king has not gone to waist as the bits will keep other cars on the road.


   Win, win all round :thumbsup: hope this one does not fight you all the way like the red one :D

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