Step 5: The Process Overview

The entire process from stripping all parts from the car, having them all repaired and brought back to new condition and then reassembling the car, followed the following general steps:

  • Configure workshop for rebuild process. Three bays, lift, air compressor with multiple outlets, adequate light, shelving for parts, assemble all documentation.
  • Acquire anticipated tools and equipment: Air tools, bead-blaster, engine lift, pullers, heavy duty press, fill out any missing wrenches, sockets, etc.
  • Remove all parts from the car. Continue photographic documentation and notation as parts are removed, bagged or boxed and shelved.
  • Engine goes to Brian Duffee Motorsports, one of the top engine builders in the Southwest. Not content with any Arizona firms to balance the crank shaft, he ships it to his most trusted resource in Colorado. While it adds nearly a month’s delay for this one step, Duffee assures us it’s worth it if we want it perfect.
  • The head and carbs go to Jim Unsworth, a master restoration mechanic and engineer. Unsworth has rebuilt Jaguars:  SS100, C-type, D-type, 120, 140, XKE and a lightweight E-type.  Austin Healeys: 100-4 and 3000.   An MG Midget, MGB and Triumph’s; TR2, 3, 4, 250 and 6.  He’s done a Lotus Elan before as well as an Espirit.  Ferraris: 212, 250, 330 and 328 as well as a Lamborghini Miura and Countach, among others.  While Unsworth is known as one of the top rebuilders in Arizona, his special skill and talent is heads.  He has a complete flow bench and testing systems which he combines with an uncannily deep instinct on how air flows.
  • The transmission is delivered to Cottman Transmission Repair where they have a 60 year old mechanic who specializes in rebuilding older transmissions. As it turns out, The Elan gearbox is one of his favorites. After a few days’ work he announces no gears need replacement.  While the synchromesh ring between first and second was “a tad worn,” he recommended not to change it.  “Gears are like a family, they grow up and learn to work together. If you bring in one new piece, sometimes the others become unhappy.  Best to leave well enough alone.”
  • The differential goes to Phoenix Differential. It is cleaned, all worn gears and seals replaced.
  • The brakes are sent to Phoenix Brake in Chicago, Illinois, the leading specialist in the US for this type of brake rebuild. They completely rebuilt the brakes with new calipers, master cylinder, wheel cylinders and all seals.
  • The clutch master cylinder looked like new, but the brake master cylinder was too pitted to fully seal properly. So it was sent to White Post Restorations in Virginia, where they’ve been rebuilding master cylinders on British cars since 1940. They rebuilt the brake cylinder better-than-new by adding a new brass sleeve that will never rust, pit or corrode.  They disassemble the cylinder, glass bead cleaned it, bored it oversize, pressed in the new brass sleeve and sized them to original specs.   This ensures that it will never go bad again and White Post provides a lifetime warranty on this repair.
  • The speedometer had stopped working years ago. The other gauges worked, but were dirty.  All gauges are removed and sent off to RS Gauge Works.  Their gauge work is featured in Hemmings Motor News and the Robb Report. While they have a 4-6 week backlog, their work is stunning.
  • The clear veneer on the dash was cracked in several places. We sent the dash to Madera Concepts in Goleta, CA.  They rebuilt the dash with new wood in a grain to match the original and painted in all the gauge indications precisely like the original.
  • The body goes to Avo Kullkoian, a highly respected Porsche restoration expert. Kullkoian painted cars have won national championships and been featured on the covers of numerous magazines.  Molds for the Elan back in the 1960’s were not precise and things did not always fit well, particularly around the doors.  We spent the extra time and effort to get the doors to fit perfectly in their frame while reinforcing some of the weak areas on the body, like around the windshield and in the trunk.
  • The frame work, where we start is a critical step. It begins at AZ Powder Coat where it is bead blasted, before moving to the chassis tuners, before making its way back to be powder coated.  See details below:

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