Elite series 1 wheel colour?

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MetBlue
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Elite series 1 wheel colour?

Post by MetBlue »

Can anyone give guidance on what colour Lotus painted the alloys on early cars.
I have some pictures from publicity brochures, which look virtually black.
But with tyre off, there is a grey paint inside the rim where the sun don't shine. Interestingly, the series 1 Elite featured in Issue 6 of Absolute Lotus has a grey / silver finish, which looks close to the inside of my rims.
Is it possible they may have done two different colours?
Any thoughts appreciated.
Tony
What goes together.... Must come apart.

Pete Boole
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Re: Elite series 1 wheel colour?

Post by Pete Boole »

I was told recently that they were dark grey in the middle - around the stud holes, although some people painted that part body-coloured - mine are white, for instance. They were definitely grey under the tyre.

Pete

richardw
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Re: Elite series 1 wheel colour?

Post by richardw »

Pete's right - the wheel centres were originally a battleship grey colour. This was confirmed to me by Peter Lucas, who was the design engineer responsible for creating the wheels from Oliver Winterbottom's design.

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theelanman
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Re: Elite series 1 wheel colour?

Post by theelanman »

was the rest of the rim just very highly polished or did they have a paint of laquer finish?
the pics of the early ones seem to have a depth and a refraction to them in high sun.....a sort of rainbow effect
or am I just looking at it all through rose tinted glasses?....lol

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Lotus-e-Clan
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Re: Elite series 1 wheel colour?

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

IIRC my (unmodified OEM) 76 501 Elite had dark grey centres with the entire remainder of the rim in a satin 'fine-brush' finish - definitely not highly polished. I think mine must have been (satin) lacquered too 'cos they never corroded in the 12 years I owned the car (~1980 -1992).
Peter K

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MetBlue
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Re: Elite series 1 wheel colour?

Post by MetBlue »

Thanks all.
Battleship grey it is then. That's pretty much how I'd describe the colour inside the rim when tyre removed, so I'll see how close to that I can get.
Regards the unpainted Ali, I like the sound of fine brushed finish. The Ali was (is) so corroded that getting it back to a deep polish would be massive work, if even possible.
Tonyl
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Lotus-e-Clan
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Re: Elite series 1 wheel colour?

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

It sounds like a previous owner may have 'diy-refurbed' the wheels thus removing the original finish and any protective coating ...they might have also thought they would look better if highly polished .. but neglected to re-lacquer them. Personally, I reckon that highly polished wheels look naff if not OEM - but can look well-integrated if the car is obviously customised.
Peter K

Pete Boole
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Re: Elite series 1 wheel colour?

Post by Pete Boole »

I'm not sure if the wheels were lacquered originally. I've never seen any with that typical creeping-under-the-lacquer look. I'll defo not be lacquering mine - you just know you're going to have to do it again sometime.

Pete

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Lotus-e-Clan
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Re: Elite series 1 wheel colour?

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

I don't have any other explanation for the lack of corrosion having used the Elite as our only (family 8) ) car for more than 10 years (in the soft south and hard north - Winchester and North Yorkshire). Maybe regular cleaning - but I'm not that inclined to mess about cleaning cars on the drive during cold (salty) winters - and I'm too tight to use car washers.

As for the longevity of diy lacquered wheel rims my experience is contrary to others.

I diy lacquered brushed alloy Wolfrace wheels on the Clan which, along with the Excel and our Vw Camper, shared the commuting duties (50 mile round trips to Durham Uni) all year round over a 20 year period and the lacquer hasn't lifted -at all.

Methodologies vary and the devil is in the detail. FWIW, I sprayed thick coats of wheel lacquer onto tyre-less rims using Halford's rattle cans (on a warm day in summer) - nothing special. Always insisted on stick-on balance weights -never steel clip-ons - which helps preserve the integrity of the film. The Excel's wheels are good too (silver OEM finish -stick-on weights only) but the VW camper's steel wheels are now pretty rough (under the wheel trims) - which serves somewhat as a negative control.

The only time I had a lacquer failure was after applying lacquer (Halfords again) on top of gun metal wheel paint (Halfords) - thinking it would be a good 'belt and braces move' to preserve the finish. This time the lacquer did lift some time after it had fully hardened. The gloss gunmetal providing no key for the lacquer. It eventually all came off in sheets!

Happily, lacquer onto freshly brushed bare alloy works great though - after first cleaning the fresh alloy with white spirits (removes oil films) followed by cellulose thinners (removes white spirit residue - if you dare still use it!) - devil in the detail.
Peter K

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