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45bvtc… Answers Your Questions

Discussion in 'RS3 Forum' started by Ghost, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. Ghost
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    Ghost Boo!

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    [Jan 5, 2014]
    Hi to one and all, and welcome to the first questions and answers thread.

    I just like to take this opportunity to once again thank 45bvtc in taken the time to answer all your questions, and to Sandra for helping set this up, and to you the members for sending your questions in.

    Enjoy………
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  3. Sandra
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    Sandra MODERATOR Staff Member Moderator

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    [Jan 5, 2014]
    Questions from Veneeringman (Sean)

    1: I'd like to know what was johns first job?

    An Engineering draughtsman: after 3-years of Art College (60 to 63) followed with an Engineering Apprenticeship; I was gifted with a proper full-size drawing board and all: man I loved that job and the product, marine diesel engine applications, that led many years later to management buyout and a technical directorship. But that was oh so long ago


    2: And given the choice would he go back and change to any other profession

    A garage proprietor, maybe? Throughout my career employers have always said I should have been a salesman and more than once (and in many parts of the world) I've had to be just that, but I never wanted to be a salesman. Buying and selling cars professionally rather than in the casual manner I adopted would have proven more fruitful of that there is no doubt but money isn't everything.

    Or a technical illustrator/author: I've done a fair amount of that with a number of technical manuals here and there but without the hands-on knowledge learned along the way that would not have been so successful.

    So now I enjoy creating technical drawings and writing procedural stuff that some may recognise, applying the hands-on skills I have, and the ability of all those to help others.

    Questions from Daytona500 (Ben)

    1: What would John's ideal driving 2-day break be in Bluey details of stops en route and sights seen?

    I'm 100% a 1-day away man now, so anywhere that provides seriously good lunchtime food cooked by a chief who's wanting to demonstrate his or her skills in pleasant surroundings in the English/Welsh countryside but allows me to get back home to my own bed is where I want to be. I've done with hotels and the like in more than enough countries around the world to appreciate my own bed in my own home; and I've Blackbirds to feed every morning...

    So typically, a blast to 'The Stagg' at Titley, for example, on a nice day in a good car driving through great countryside and eating whatever the chief's recommendation is for the day is my idea of an 'ideal driving' day.

    Ok, so this is Sandy, but is was a sans roof day to the Stagg:
    P1000027.jpg


    Questions from Ghost

    It feels like you have had a love affair with cars and engineering most of your life, how did your interest in the two come about?

    1) As a 18-year old (1963) I was taken out in a 1147cc Triumph Spitfire by a guy named Barry Chackett (most were driving around in a Ford Popular/Anglia then of course) and have NEVER forgotten the experience; 65mph in the rain down the A5 without windscreen wipers (they weren't working) was the most exciting/frightening thing I'd ever experienced; I wanted a lot more of that.

    Several years later wanting but not being able to afford the 'dream' Lotus, I began tuning and maintaining cars for others and that provided the finance to afford the cars I wanted to own/drive myself. From then, the ability to draw and compose technical manuals developed into professional achievement and access to more interesting cars.

    2) You must have taken many road trips over the years, what's your most memorable journey or place you just love to drive?

    A number come to mind:

    1) A run back from North Wales in 1973 in a 1972 Lotus Europa Twin Cam - on competition Formula Ford cross-ply tyres that lasted all of 3000-miles but gave amazing wet and dry grip; faster and faster trying to get the Europa to break traction with little or no complaint from RS3copilot; that was an amazing run, especially from Shrewsbury to Cannock down the A5 being chased by another Europa.

    2) A run back form Leicester Square (London) to home again 1973 in the Europa in 1-hour 20-minutes: challenged by another Europa Twin Cam (you couldn't miss that rear window in your mirror, check it out) around Swiss Cottage, we ran full-chat all the way back to M6 Junction J11: I pulled off and he/she carried on…

    3) And a 100-mile/90-minute run in a Reliant 3-wheeler just to check out a new radiator, which was FUN! Never overtaken in the whole journey…

    4) Our first journey around France (Bordeaux, Monaco, St Tropez, Geneva, and the Alps) in a 1971 Lotus Elan Sprint. Would we get to the South of France? Would we get back? In St Malo, 1st day in France having disembarked from the overnight ferry, the drivers door window drops in it's frame; so an on-the-road repair was called for and was undertaken successfully for the holiday and remained so for the next 15-years.

    5) A professional driver demonstrating a Delta Integrale on the Worcestershire roads: we all think we're good drivers, don't we, but this guy was so smooth, so quick, and able to describe in detail his actions and observations at rapid speeds; still excites today.

    6) The run from Ruthin to Cerrigydrudion in March 2013; that still excites! Maybe the best ever in a 'modern' car, and I'm still learning its abilities.

    What in your opinion, is the best British car ever made and why?

    A 1971 Lotus Elan Sprint; you 'wear' an Elan like no other car I've drive. There's faster cars of course but you when you get to the twisty bits the Elan is as able as anything I've driven; to coin the 60's Lotus advertisement: "every home should have one".

    And the Audi RS3 has many of the Elan's characteristics, and I like that, lots.

    Questions from Mr Freeze (Neil)

    1: What is the car you always lusted/longed to drive but never got the chance to?

    I only ever truly wanted a Lotus Elan, though when the chance arrived, as a 26-year old, I/we chose a Europa Twin Cam instead:

    Europa image.jpg



    However, 3-years later I changed the Europa for a Lotus Elan Plus 2 and added an Elan Sprint to that, I kept the Plus 2 for 28-years and the Sprint for 37-years.

    2: Which of the cars that you always wanted to drive was the biggest let down once you got to drive it?


    TVRs in general (the 1600s and 1800s were ok as they'd good balance but all others were too nose heavy), the MGB (why) and Jaguar E-type (good looks but straight line only) the same. Oh, and a Ferrari Dino 246, what a bag of rubbish that was, a nice noise but so Fiat cheap.


    Questions from MBK (Mark)



    1: Who's the best Schumacher or Vettel?

    Schumacher, and Vettel knows: but Sebastian does have that same Schumacher dedication. You only have to look at the recent 2012 Race of Champions in Bangkok (that Romain Grosjean won) to see Sebastian's goal is to beat Michael in the same cars on the same track. Ask again in 10-years time however and more of us will be appreciating Sebastian's skills.


    2: Best drive? Tell us about your best ever drive, the car, the location and the experience please.

    I still think the Europa with a 1558cc Twin Cam driving back from Dolgellau to Shrewsbury late at night with zero traffic on the roads (as it was in those days): the Europa wearing 6.5 and 7.3 sticky Firestone Torino cross ply tyres, a pair of 7-inch Cibie Biodes (ALL of the then Ford Escort Twin Cam rally cars were using these) with 4x100watt H1's for illumination, and hammering every corner I could trying to get the car to slide/break traction: it was the only time my wife has ever asked me to slow down. But we were so much younger then.


    3: Ultimate drive? If you could drive any road or racecar at any location what car would you choose and where would you drive it?


    Classic Le Mans in a Lotus 47, or a Ferrari Daytona, or Lola T70


    4: Do you have a favourite car magazine road test or review?


    Lots, but favourites have to go back to the younger days when ambition remained high on the agenda: so Motor Sport 1969 and Denis Jenkinson's (DSJ) article 'Lotus Europa to Sicily'. Go read it on-line and imagine yourself as a 25-year old wanting a 'modern' car that could do this. Bear in mind that Colin Chapman, on seeing a Europa at the French Grand Prix in 1968 was heard to say "I never thought they could get this far." So a Lotus was always a challenge as well as a fabulous handling road car proving that BHP wasn't everything.

    I think if you read the first paragraph only of Jenkinson's 'Lotus Europa to Sicily' you'll learn much of my character, but don't stop there...

    Europa Sicily.jpg




    "OH MY GOODNESS! This has put the fun back into motoring. From the moment I slid into the reclining driving seat of the Lotus Europa I thought "This is going to be a riot". 5,871 kilometres (approx. 3,645 miles) and 14 days later, when I gave it back to Lotus I still thought it was a riot of fun, but I am jumping ahead. The Lotus Europa has been in production, for export only, for about two years now, but somehow I had never looked at it very closely as it seemed too remote with its "Export Only" label, but when I heard that it was to come on the home market as from this month, things took on a different complexion. Realising that the days of "vintage" - type cars like Jaguar, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Maserati, Iso Rivolta and so on, are numbered, I was looking to the future and looking at cars with the engine mounted behind the cockpit and in front of the rear axle. Lamborghini MiiIra, de Tomaso Mangusta, Ford GT40, Ferrari Dino 206 are all very well, but cost more money than is reasonable. The Lotus Europa was the right conception of car, but with its little Renault 16 engine seemed to be a toy car not really worth looking at. "Have you driven one?" said the Lotus man. Well I hadn't, so straight away it was agreed that I should have one to go to the Targa Florio in Sicily, a round trip of nearly 4,000 miles, which is my idea of a road test. Looking at this tiny little fibreglass two-seater with its weeny little engine I thought "It'll never get there, let alone back again". Somehow Lotus seem to see eye-to-eye with me and we have an understanding that when I borrow a Lotus, if it breaks down I leave it and send them a telegram telling them where it is, and that's their problem. They always laugh nervously and think I'm joking and their parting remark is usually "There is a box of odds and ends in the boot, and some wire and tape. You are a practical chap, you should be all right." Oddly enough, I always have been all right."


    5: The one that got away? Is there a car you bought then sold but wish you'd kept?

    None really: but if I had to chose one it would by my 1967 Triumph GT6 that looked like a mini-E-type complete with a 2-litre straight six engine, SAH exhaust, and 6-inch wire wheels shod with Pirelli Cinturatos.

    Judy and GT6 #10.jpg


    As for ones I should have bought but missed: an original 1967 Thames Ditton AC Cobra in Leighton Buzzard for £850, a lot of money in those days. And an original GT40 from Foley park Motors in 1972, ok it had a flat offside rear, but I was offered a genuine swap for it against the new Europa I'd just assembled and taken back to Foley Park for its first (and only) service (£1470, and again that was a lot of money in 1972). Oh, and a ex-**** Prothero light weight Jaguar E-type being sprinted by Herbert Shepherd, Herbert just couldn't make his mind up whether to sell or not, tsk.

    Asking £2000 in 1971/2, hate to think what it might be worth now
    Shepherd E #1.jpg

    6: What is your number one piece of motoring advice?

    OBSERVATION! Always be prepared, look as far ahead as you can to see: a) where the road is going, b) where you can slot into should you need before attacking, and c) never trust anyone else on or near the road.


    7: How would you explain torque, to a lady?

    Turning and twisting, Mark: it's all torque…

    Explanation: Torque is the combination of (a) force x (b) distance about any given pivot point: this combination of force x distance can also be called leverage, but torque is usually applied about a pivot in a turning (rotational) motion where leverage is linear.

    And to demonstrate to the Lady:


    1) Choose a typical household easy opening pivot door that is closed but unlatched. With one finger placed above the handle (typically 70cm from the pivot/hinge point) push open the door, easily achievable by any able-bodied lady.

    2) Now close the door and repeat the exercise but this time with the 'same' finger pushing on the 'same' door and at the 'same' level above the handle but now just 2cm away from the pivot/hinge point. Movement of the door now will prove very difficult.


    The door has the same mass, the finger is the same, but the distance over which the force has been applied about the pivot (hinge) of the mass has changed considerably and that is torque (yet also leverage).


    8: Smokey and the Bandit or The Cannonball Run?


    Cannonball Run in an abused Merc 500 SL: sans roof, goggles, leather helmet, flying jacket, the works…


    9: Like the Dukes of Hazard, have you ever been "in trouble with the law" in a motoring sense?


    4-speeding tickets in 48-years of motoring. The funniest was on a winters morning driving a deserted M6 in an MG Montego Turbo at 90mph plus (plus) and watching with interest the overnight snow accumulated on the roof of the car falling across the rear windscreen and the patterns being made by of the overhead motorway lights (art student remember) when I suddenly appreciated that that distant pair of headlights were now closing rather quickly: I lifted at exactly the same moment as a blue 'flashing' light was added to that closing pair of headlights adding to the 'colours' of the rear windscreen. A human PC (?), he'd waited until I'd left Staffordshire (an automatic ban in Staffordshire, so he said) and to enter the West Midlands area before suggesting, as they do, to pull over for a 'word': points nevertheless.



    Just a shame I was never caught by Daisy Duke, and here I mean the original Daisy Duke, Catherine Bach.



    Caught at 43 mph in a 30 mph zone: note the lengths of decking in the passenger space:

    Caught at 43mph in a 30.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
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  4. Mr_Freeze
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    Mr_Freeze Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 5, 2014]
    Legend.......
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  5. Sandra
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    Sandra MODERATOR Staff Member Moderator

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    [Jan 5, 2014]
    Fantastic answers John. A very interesting read. Thank you for agreeing to be the first candidate for the questions and answer thread. :) x
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  6. 45bvtc
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    45bvtc Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 5, 2014]
    Ref MBK's Question 4) You need to think in 1968 terms when petrol cost less per gallon than it does now per litre, motorways were scarce and traffic light; your 23-years of age and your mates have Mini's and 1100's and maybe the odd Ford Anglia: and then read the following article written by Dennis Jenkinson who'd driven them all (including co-piloting Stirling Moss around the Targa Florio, of course, so a man of no mean experience) - it explains it far better than I can, ENJOY:

    "Europa to Sicily - 1969

    A Step in the Right Direction

    OH MY GOODNESS! This has put the fun back into motoring. From the moment I slid into the reclining driving seat of the Lotus Europa I thought, "this is going to be a riot". Fourteen days and 5,871 kilometres (3,645 miles) later, when I gave it back to Lotus I still thought it was a riot of fun, but I am jumping ahead. The Lotus Europa has been in production, for export only, for about two years now, but somehow I had never looked at it very closely as it seemed too remote with its "Export Only" label, but when I heard that it was to come on the home market as from this month, things took on a different complexion. Realising that the days of "vintage" - type cars like Jaguar, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Maserati, Iso Rivolta and so on, are numbered, I was looking to the future and looking at cars with the engine mounted behind the cockpit and in front of the rear axle. Lamborghini Miura, De Tomaso Mangusta, Ford GT40, Ferrari Dino 206 are all very well, but cost more money than is reasonable. The Lotus Europa was the right conception of car, but with its little Renault 16 engine seemed to be a toy car not really worth looking at. "Have you driven one?" said the Lotus man. Well I hadn't, so straight away it was agreed that I should have one to go to the Targa Florio in Sicily, a round trip of nearly 4,000 miles, which is my idea of a road test. Looking at this tiny little fibreglass two-seater with its weeny little engine I thought, "it'll never get there, let alone back again". Somehow Lotus seem to see eye-to-eye with me and we have an understanding that when I borrow a Lotus, if it breaks down I leave it and send them a telegram telling them where it is, and that's their problem. They always laugh nervously and think I'm joking and their parting remark is usually, "there is a box of odds and ends in the boot, and some wire and tape. You are a practical chap, you should be all right." Oddly enough, I always have been all right.

    At Lotus there is an incredible air of optimism and confidence, obviously generated by the Chairman himself, and this "don't flap, we'll sort it out" attitude that Colin Chapman has always had, and which wins races and World Championships, has penetrated right through the factory. Consequently, when I heard that the Europa I was supposed to be borrowing was away on a caravan rally, actually towing a caravan, I began to service the E-type Jaguar. When it returned from the rally, having finished fourth, I believe, they said "um, err, well, we ought to look at it before you set off" and as I was nearly ready to go they decided they had better find me another Europa. For a while I kept getting messages like "we are running it in", or "we are fitting an extra fuel pump" and "the SU pumps are a bit weak, we are fitting Bendix pumps". These messages were followed by mutterings like "when does he want it?" and "how long will it be away" and "it should be all right, but a Europa hasn't been that far from home". My absolute zero hour was 7am on a Monday morning and for a couple of days there had been a nasty hush. On Sunday evening the phone rang and the man from Lotus said, "What time are you going to bed?" When I suggested about 11pm, he said "right, I'll be with you at 10.30 pm" And he was, with a white left-hand drive Europa all filled up and ready to go, so I stopped servicing my Jaguar: "here are the keys, have fun" he said as he got into a taxi and disappeared into the night. That was when I slid into the driving seat and thought, "this is going to be a riot".

    I have to add this illustration here if only to explain the close 'fit' of a Lotus Europa:

    [​IMG]

    Now we must get our sense of values right. I am not talking about an exotic rich man's toy that costs anywhere between £6,000 and £10,000, the Europa is something that you and I and the chap over there can buy for £1,666, all on and ready to go. For that money you do not expect real leather upholstery, matching veneer woodwork, cocktail cabinets and pile carpets, nor do you expect a 12-cylinder engine with lots of camshafts, and the sort of exhaust noise that makes you turn round with excitement. The Europa is a simple, unpretentious sporty car laid out in the conception that will become normal during the nineteen- seventies; In this sort of car we are only interested in reaching the ultimate in performance, control, handling, cornering, and safety at high speed (or low speed) and racing has proved beyond all doubt that this means a central engine position, a low centre of gravity, low overall height and minimum overhang back and front. The Europa is built around a backbone chassis frame that divides into two arms at the rear, the engine and gearbox being mounted in this fork. Driver and, passenger sit on each side of the backbone and a compact fibreglass coupe body covers everything. Needless to say in this day and age, suspension all round is independent, there are disc brakes on the front wheels, but drum brakes on the rear wheels. When you mention suspension you mean Lotus, for the two are synonymous, and the Europa lives up to the Chapman standards. The power unit is, basically the R16 four-cylinder 1470cc parallel valve push-rod unit and four-speed gearbox turned through 180-degrees so that the gearbox is behind the engine in Grand Prix style. The engine has been specially prepared by Renault for Lotus, to give the sort of power output and performance that the latest TS version of the RI6 engine has. It gives 82bhp at 6,000rpm. There is no question of the Europa being anything more than a two-seater, but in spite of its small size the cockpit is comfortable, in fact, the driving position is the most comfortable that I have experienced. You recline in what is in effect an armchair, for on one side is the padded centre backbone of the chassis, and on the other the door pocket and armrest. The seat back extends upwards into a headrest which is really practical because of the reclining position; there is absolutely no need whatsoever for seat belts, harnesses, braces or what have you, for once the door is shut, it is like being in a single-seater, and just as controllable. There is luggage accommodation under the front lid and under the rear lid, both compartments able to take a full-size suitcase, while, if you are short in the leg and have the seat forwards you can stuff all sorts of things behind the seat. With the lid shut the front luggage compartment is sealed, and forms a reservoir for fresh air that enters through a ducted fan. Outlets in the cockpit let driver and passenger have as much cold air as they wish, and cockpit air escapes through slots above the rear window, into the low-pressure area on the tail. Ahead of the front luggage compartment in the nose is the spare wheel, lying flat and low, and to the right is the small but thick water radiator, the pipes running along the backbone of the chassis, as does the gearlever linkage from the rear of the car.

    At last summer seemed to have come to Europe, and the Air Ferries were no longer fog-bound, so I was soon bowling along my favourite French routes, heading for Italy. Being a great believer in Lotus suspension, it goes without saying that 80mph cruising on by-ways was no problem, and the way the little Renault engine hummed round at anything up to 6,000rpm without any fuss was most impressive. The complete lack of road noise from the tyres, or the sound of any suspension movement was praiseworthy and in the category of the old "auntie" Rovers. I found I could bound along undulating and cambered French roads with complete abandon, and on a number of occasions my abandon was so complete that I arrived into comers going much too fast for mental comfort and yet the Europa whistled round the corners with no excitement at all. After four years of really high speed motoring in a Jaguar, but with "vintage" cornering, the Europa was a revelation and I kept finishing a corner without any panic whatsoever and saying to myself "this is ridiculous, it should have tied itself in knots". My usual complaint about small buzzy motorcars is that they are tiring to drive, but with the buzz behind me I was only conscious of the Renault engine by what the tachometer was indicating, and most of the time this seemed to be an effortless 5,500rpm (about 94mph). In the Elan +2, which I tried recently, I found a non-stop 400 miles across France quite enough, but in the Europa on the same sort of going 500 miles was no strain at all, and I only stopped because I was getting hungry!

    The following day I found another 500 miles no problem, and this included stopping in Modena for a couple of hours and picking up a friend and his luggage for the rest of the journey. Again we only stopped because it was time to eat and we had reached a point where we wanted to call on friends. A lot of this day had been on autostrada and I had felt that the Europa might prove tiresome on such roads, but it hummed along at 100mph without any strain. There was little more to come at that speed, but it was not flat out and certainly showed no signs of stress; At one point we got a bit involved with an Alfa Romeo Giulia and the Europa sat at 6,000 rpm in top for a very long while. This was 103 mph (corrected), and 6,100 rpm was absolute top whack, which did not seem enough, and was certainly not what the man had said it would do. On the third day a 1.6-litre Lancia Fulvia Sport showed that it was nothing like enough, for at our 6,000rpm in top he disappeared into the distance. Covering 500 miles in a day seemed a reasonable trip to us, as time was on our side and neither of us are keen on getting up early, nor do we enjoy motoring in the dark. This third day took us through the mountains south of Salerno, heading for Calabria and here the Europa really came into its own on handling and cornering; unfortunately there were no Alfas or Lancias around, but even so we had a memorable mountain dice. Lying back in the driving seat the steering is fingertip stuff and you flick the car through corners as fast as you like. One big drawback came to light, and that was the gearbox. This Europa had been assembled hurriedly which may have explained the very stiff gearchange, but the gap between third and top could not be explained. It was just too wide, with a rev. drop of 2,000rpm. However, the willing little engine made up to some extent, for you could leave it in second or third between comers and just let it rev.-its-head-off, without any signs of anguish.

    When I first saw a Europa, and the unusual tail-treatment I thought you just forgot about rearward vision, but I was so wrong. The view out of the back in the mirror is incredible, for the rear window is right behind your head, is vertical and the full width of the car, so the mirror gives you a panoramic view behind, and beautifully clear, for there is no sloping glass to distort the view. Through the mountains, some of the views across valleys that I saw in the mirror were remarkable. The blind spots across the corners behind the doors only present a problem when you are parking in a confined space. If somebody puts a bicycle by the kerb as you are reversing into a space, that's too bad for the bicycle. The Europa is a car for motoring, not for parking, and when you are motoring the rear vision is superb.

    On our fourth day we slipped into the Europa cockpit and decided that it was far more comfortable than being in bed, and somehow felt absolutely right for spending a pleasant day. We had only gone about 50 miles and were turning round after looking at a new road when round the corner came a red Europa on Austrian number-plates. With much light flashing and horn-blowing we stopped and it was like Stanley and Livingstone. By now we were really sold on the Europa and to meet another one at the foot of Calabria was too much. The red one was called a Europe, as it had been bought in a Teutonic country and someone like NSU already have a patent on the name Europa. Our Austrian friend was a truly happy Lotus owner, even though his starter switch was playing up and his wife was having to push-start him. He too was on his way to Sicily and the Targa Florio, so naturally we ran in convoy, and the two cars together caused much speculation among the Sicilians. The most popular remark was "is it Team Lotus going to the Targa Florio?" Over lunch we compared notes and cars, and his cruised all day at 6,000rpm with a maximum of 6,700rpm, and the tick-over sounded beautiful, whereas mine would only pull 6,100rpm and the tick-over sounded horrible. The day before, he had left northern Austria at 5.30am and covered 950 miles in the day without feeling tired! He and his wife were tough, for their previous car had been an MGB and they had toured in Greece and Israel in it, so the Europa was a revelation of ease and comfort.

    The Europa Renault engine gathers its air through a large efficient filter, having drawn it in through the opening at the back of the tail, and engine room heat exhausts through openings on the rear lid, which is a low-pressure area, judging by the dirt and dust that collects on it. Our Austrian owner found that the filter element got clogged up very easily and needed renewing far more frequently than was reasonable. He suggested that this might be the cause of my lack of 'rpm', and later when I got a new element from a Renault agent, this proved to be the answer. Straight away I got 6,500rpm in top (112mph) and, with a little encouragement, like an Alfa or Lancia, it would have climbed to 6,700rpm as expected. It screamed up to 7,500rpm in 3rd, which made the gap between 3rd and top less tiresome. An adjustment of the float level in the double-choke Solex carburetter made a vast difference to the tick-over and the fuel consumption, for at one point it had been down to 21mpg When I got everything right it did 35mpg, so that with its two 7-gallon tanks it had a range of nearly 500 miles, which is my idea of desirable. The twin tanks are fitted one on each side of the engine compartment, tucked away in the corners, and a small switch in the cockpit selects the right-hand one or the left-hand one. The Austrian owner was very envious of this as he had the standard single tank layout.

    There is nothing more satisfying than running fast in company with someone in an identical car, for you know that he can do everything you can do and you know that he is enjoying it as much as you are. As we twisted and turned along the Sicilian coast road I was thoroughly convinced that the Europa has put the fun back in motoring and when we stopped at a level crossing our Austrian friend was grinning with delight, and I knew why. At one point I finished a series of 50-60 mph swerves with a great flourish, only to come face to face with a large blue bus! With two inches of clearance on my side between the Europa and the bus I aimed the Lotus through the gap between the bus and the rock sea-wall, and even with the brakes on it never wavered (thank goodness). It went through the gap like a dart and we said "phew! in anything else there would have been a nasty noise of rending fibreglass". In such a situation I always aim to avoid the moving object, especially if it is moving my way. My passenger did not know this and was impressed at how close I had got to the rock-face. I explained that it was luck, my judgement was involved with getting as close to the bus as I could without actually touching it, and the other side of the car had to look after itself. "Anyway, the gap looked wide enough" I said, "it had to be" he replied, "there was nowhere else to go".

    Our 250-mile twin Europa dice ended up at Cefalu, the headquarters of the Targa Florio, and that story was told last month. The return trip to Modena, and up through Switzerland and Germany to Belgium and home was uneventful, apart from the pressure of the Bendix fuel pumps bending the nasty little float lever in the carburettor, so that everything got hopelessly rich again, but it was not a long job to put this right. On the Autostrada from Naples to Rome the heavens opened and the rain came down so heavily that visibility was down to 40 or 50mph We were quite prepared for the cockpit to become water-logged, but, hand-on-heart, I can truthfully say that not a drop of water came in, nor did the engine falter, or even show signs of faltering under the deluge. In 1969 I should hope these things would not happen, but to listen to some of the anti-Lotus talk bandied about by people who have never owned one or only borrowed a tatty one from some dodgy second-hand car dealer, you would expect awful things to happen. Due to the last minute rush to get this car ready for my trip some things got overlooked, and one was the tracking of the front wheels and their balancing. The excessive toe-in was completely unnoticeable until the front tyres were suddenly bald, and that only became apparent when the car started aquaplaning at 40mph! The out of balance caused a bit of vibration at around 75-80mph, but it was a simple matter to drive through this.

    When I finally gave the Europa back to the London Lotus agents with a request that they let the chaps in Norfolk know it was back safe and sound, I left a note saying "I've used this one up, can I have another one?" It is not often that I am reluctant to return a road-test car, but this was definitely one of the occasions. I feel that the Europa is at the threshold of a new era of motoring; the conception of the car is absolutely right and it is easy to visualise a car like this with another 50bhp, a close-ratio 5-speed gearbox, or better still a new form of automatic infinitely-variable transmission, with a constant-speed power unit. As an interim a nice compact, lightweight all-alloy V8 engine would pack nicely into the tail, but what I would really like would be a twin-rotor NSU ****el engine in the back. Since the Europa was first introduced, early in 1967, it has undergone continual development, and this work is continuing all the time. Already some of the minor points that I criticised to the Lotus engineers are changed and from the rather primitive first Europa, that was a bit of a "racer", it is now a very smooth and comfortable little car, with nice cockpit trim, the best seats that I know, electric windows, excellent ventilation, a character and charm that grows on you very rapidly and above all else, it is fun, To listen to some people you would think we were not supposed to have fun with our motoring. Lotus have never believed that, to them motoring is fun, and the Europa personifies this attitude. In spite of what the salesman will say, I think the Elan is now obsolete; the Europa is the big step forward in the right direction - D.S.J.

    Footnote. - Keen readers and Lotus enthusiasts may detect a change of mind over some of my comments, compared with those on the Elan or the Elan+2. The Europa has normal healthy headlamps that flash instantaneously and can suffer no mechanism faults and there is no comment. When reclining in a single-seater driving position there is no question of using a window winder even on the driver's side, let alone the passenger's, so electric operation is a must. For the courteous it would be nice to have remote control of the opening of the passenger door from the driving seat."



    Now you start saving the £1476 needed, and in 3-years time it arrives:


    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014
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  7. DAYTONA500
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    DAYTONA500 Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 5, 2014]
    Great questions and answers superbly written and illustrated {as you would expect from John}, the only thing missing was a smile on Johns face being captured on the speed camera photo.:busted_cop:
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  8. h n y +
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    h n y + Member

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    [Jan 5, 2014]
    you could of at least smiled when you got snapped . :busted_cop: a great read john and a great write up :applaus:
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  9. 45bvtc
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    45bvtc Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 6, 2014]
    Honestly guys, I still cannot see the camera or camera van.

    I was less than 1-mile from home happily 'pottering' back with 4-lengths of decking in the passenger side.

    Ok, I was running a 4.44 diff at the time so the speedometer was near useless (would have been accurate with a 3.77 diff) but I was not 'motoring'.

    And I know well where the camera van position is! Usually, when I see the van (ha ha) I'll drop my speed to 10-mph (still a rebel!).

    But I still can’t see it, never have, which is why we asked for the photo.

    43mph in a 30 I think it was, hey ho! Don't drive if you can't take the joke, I guess.

    Next time I'll smile, honest.

    AND THANKS for the appreciation; I could not have provided the answers without the GREAT questions. :hi:
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  10. Sandra
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    Sandra MODERATOR Staff Member Moderator

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    [Jan 6, 2014]
    John, you have been a true star for your participation on this. Will announce our new guest for the second question and answers thread either tonight or tomorrow. :) x
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  11. Veneeringman
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    Veneeringman Bazinga VCDS Map User

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    [Jan 6, 2014]
    As per usual John, a pleasure to read great answers and a little insight into what makes you Tick (so to speak).:applaus:
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  12. MBK
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    MBK Active Member

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    [Jan 6, 2014]
    Fabulous answers John, a great read after actually quite a good first day back in work.

    Love the answer for torque, I've seen evo magazine try to explain it and yet fail so many times.

    I'm not sure anyone can match this set of answers from a motoring life clearly well spent!
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  13. 45bvtc
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    45bvtc Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 6, 2014]
    1) Thank you :hi:

    2) BUT NOT YET 'spent' Mark, hello... :w00t:
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  14. MBK
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    MBK Active Member

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    [Jan 6, 2014]
    Ooops, indeed should have added 'so far'! Thing is we can all only spend time, makes me chuckle when people say they've saved time I always wonder if they have it in a little jar or something.
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  15. Ghost
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    Ghost Boo!

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    [Jan 6, 2014]
    Enjoyable read, fantastic answers. Thank you John :icon_thumright:

    Love to see a few more photos of the Triumph GT6 if you have any John?
    Stunning looking car.


    Fantastic questions as well, :hi:love the Dukes of Hazards one.
    :lmfao: :icon_thumright:
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  16. 45bvtc
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    45bvtc Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 7, 2014]
    No problem spooky, enjoy... :blush:

    [​IMG]
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  17. DAYTONA500
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    DAYTONA500 Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 7, 2014]
    As this thread was Ghost's original idea i think it would be only proper that he/she should be the next candidate.
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  18. Sandra
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    Sandra MODERATOR Staff Member Moderator

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    [Jan 7, 2014]
    Now now Ben, you not getting off that easily, lol. Ghost will set up your thread later, im already thinking of some questions for you and will look forward to your interesting replies. :) x
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  19. 45bvtc
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    45bvtc Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 7, 2014]
    I too am interested in Spooky Ghost, Sandra; I know where but not who; whoo whoo whoo-oo! :w00t:

    My suggestion that he/she adds his/her name to the forthcoming meet in his/her Welsh homeland has been met with a 'thank you, who who whooo' for asking but no acceptance; whoo whoo bl**dy whoo! :ermm:

    I've more than a few questions already for Spooky Ghost whoo, whoo, bl**dy whoo... Sandra! :yes:
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  20. elton121272
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    elton121272 Member

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    [Jan 7, 2014]
    Different class John.
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  21. 45bvtc
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    45bvtc Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 8, 2014]
    :blush:
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  22. Ghost
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    Ghost Boo!

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    [Jan 8, 2014]
    [​IMG]

    Do we get to guess what music you had playing when this photo was taken?

    Like a bat out of hell meatloaf

    Can we fix it, Bob the builder


    :lmfao:
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  23. DAYTONA500
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    DAYTONA500 Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 8, 2014]
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2014
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  24. stetheo
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    stetheo Active Member

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    [Jan 8, 2014]
    What a read! Best ten minutes I've spent in a long time...

    One reason I always check this area of the forum. Oh and the fact I'm highly jealous of all you lucky buggers driving round in the fantastic piece of engineering that is the RS3. One day.
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  25. Mr_Freeze
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    Mr_Freeze Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 8, 2014]
    Wait for it........wait.........boom, there ya go!

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2014
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  26. 45bvtc
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    45bvtc Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 8, 2014]

    The ONLY music I ever heard in a Lotus Elan came from a 1558cc Twin Cam being fed by a pair of 40DHLA Dellorto carburettors exhausting through a single-box exhaust silencer hanging off the bottom of the boot; plus, with all that electrical interference from a dizzy spinning away directly under the carb's, then no live radio or pre-recorded music could ever be heard.

    The sound of a 1558cc Lotus Twin Cam being exercised in anger was ALWAYS music enough for me…

    [​IMG]

    Taken at 150,000 miles or so, and it had NEVER let me down...
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
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  27. 45bvtc
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    45bvtc Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 9, 2014]
    [​IMG]
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