By Alister Rees.
The Story so far —
As a follow-on from the article in the April edition regarding the Automotive Craftsmen Shed Tour and Ashton Roskill’s Eleven, we plan to give monthly progress reports detailing the repair journey of this classic piece of Lotus history.
The story started when we were contacted by Ashton in March 2019 and he sent some initial photos of the damaged car. We requested further photos from different angles and after studying a myriad of different shots, we were able to arrive at an initial estimate based on the information gleaned from these photos. From our understanding the damage was mostly isolated to the front end. The fabrication of a new front clam was the focus of this repair.
We then began a drawn-out procedure communicating with an assessor in Sydney who unfortunately appeared to have little knowledge of Lotus of any type, especially not a thoroughbred from the fifties.
After several months of challenging discussions and delays the Eleven finally arrived at our workshop in late October 2019. With the move to Queensland a new assessor was then appointed by Shannons, and we were able to move forward with a proper physical assessment of the damage.
Once we were able to get the vehicle in the air for a full inspection it became apparent there was other damage not able to be photographed while on the ground.
The final assessment included: Twisted chassis (front and rear), under-body skin damage, front and rear shocker damage, damaged wheel bearings, bent swing arm, buckled wheels and intake manifold gasket damage. All this adding significantly to the original estimate.
Ashton was able to recommend a parts supplier in the UK and we duly contacted Mike Brotherwood with a parts list. We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Tony Galletly who has been a great help in many areas and has a wealth of knowledge after his Eleven restoration.
Once we received the parts quote from Mike, we were able to submit our firm quotation to Shannons. Final approval was duly received on 28 November 2019. We commenced work on 2 December, placed the parts order and started stripping the car.
First task was to dismantle all the damaged components. After drilling out 680 rivets to remove the floor trays and sill panels, the bare bones of this iconic design were exposed. The simplicity of this car is an amazing sight. After the outer body had been removed, next up was the mechanical.
Documenting each part and its orientation, gave us the understanding we need to see the car through the eyes of its creators. Knowing how the designer intended the car to be, ensures Ashton’s Eleven will be repaired correctly and retain its originality. With the vehicle stripped down to the bare minimum for transport, it was time to re-align the chassis.
We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Nick Contarino at Exclusive Auto Centre for the use of his state-of-the-art Car Bench chassis alignment system, to restore the Eleven’s frame to the original dimensions and alignment.
Before founding Automotive Craftsmen, Adam served his apprenticeship at Exclusive Auto Centre, and was awarded Apprentice of the year for Queensland in 2014. He was also runner-up in the National World Skills Competition held in Perth the same year. Luke also spent approximately two years at Exclusive Auto Centre repairing Ferrari and Lotus, (including composite repairs), after completing a panel beating and spray-painting apprenticeship in Sydney.
NEXT MONTH — Building the new front clam