Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

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Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby ecc » Sat 04.08.2018, 13:10

...and if so, and if they're still alive and able to type, what was the outcome?

I ask because I see no contemporary convertibles without such an obvious safety device. Why was the Elan not suitably equipped from the start? Aesthetics? Regulations (or lack thereof)?

I'm somewhat interested in fitting something to protect my pretty (? debatable) noggin should the worst happen. But as a mathematician, I can understand the stats too. With its "wide stance" (and as an American, that phrase brings a smile to my face - look it up, Brits, if you enjoy "airport toilet humiliation for hypocritical Republican/Conservative politicians"), how prone is the Elan to rollover accidents?

By the way, I drive like an old lady on her way to Morrisons on a Saturday morning. With occasional foot-to-the-floor moments to hear that old school forced induction deliciousness that makes Elan ownership worth every penny.

So thoughts on:

1. Is it a safety issue, and if not, what is your reasoning for installing or avoiding?

2. Are aftermarket solutions effective, or would they crumple given their location on the frame? On my part, this is a genuine safety matter, so not particularly interested in anything installed to look cool.

3. In my wildest dreams, an Elan would make a killer hillclimb competitor. Are there any bars/cages that meet that spec?

Thanks!
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby John_W » Sat 04.08.2018, 13:36

Without dredging too deep into my memory, I know of three people who have rolled the Elan since I have owned mine (17 years). All are alive to tell the tale, but one was injured. I’m sure there must have been more incidents.
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby Elanlover » Sat 04.08.2018, 13:59

Waiting for someone to find and post the infamous "flipped pancake" pic of an Elan on its top on the side of the road. If flipped, there's nothing really to prevent this car from mating with the road like two pieces of paper on top of each other.
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby muley » Sat 04.08.2018, 14:28

I know of three people who failed to keep it shiny side up and I've met two of them.

The windscreen surround is apparently designed to deform and collapse gracefully. It certainly helped the two people I met.

Both the people I met went on to buy replacement Elans. Go figure.

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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby Saltire » Sat 04.08.2018, 16:51

Emma

You might fInd this thread of interest. There are several others also if you type “rollbar” in the search box.

Personally, I’m not that bothered. My Boxster RS had integral rollbars, and they did nothing for three-quarter rear visibility. In any case, I prefer to rely on the active safety features of the car: agility, balance, and responsiveness; and also drive to avoid situations which might give rise to the need for a roll bar (or perhaps I should say “post-roll” bar). I guess if I planned to use the car for competition, I might feel differently, but it’s road use only. And I can think of lots of arguably more satisfying things to use up that amount of cash than spending it on a roll bar! YMMV :D
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby dapinky » Sat 04.08.2018, 17:11

Hmmm......

... this *could* become a long-winded reply (but hopefully not!)...

I have the dubious experience/knowledge to answer both the question(s) and the next one you REALLY wanted to ask "Where can I get a roll bar?".

SInce getting my first Elan I have known (like John & Jim) a couple of people from this forum who have been shiny-side-down and gone on to tell the tale and buy another one! (admittedly, they ensured that they also fitted a roll bar to the new purchase)....

.... I was also called to attend the scene of a fatal collision involving an Elan which had flipped over and the driver wasn't able to ever say anything again :( . (I had never met the owner, but had an oportunity to spend time with the family during the following weeks, so much of my 'information' was third-hand, and likely to be accurately reported).

Firstly, the Elan was (supposedly) designed to comply with all regulations relevant at the time within the markets where it was originally sold (mainly UK/Europe/USA). The winscreen surround was deemed sufficient to comply with passenger safety rules in event of a roll. Now, I have no knowledge of the engineering involved, or even the test criteria - but it is obvious that a slow /controlled roll sideways of a static vehicle will put far less stress on the structure than a higher speed dynamic 'flip'. The car will sit upside down quite happily if placed in that position, and the screen will remain intact forever. The bonded nature of the screen to the frame makes a very solid structure.... however, if the car is flipped over and lands upside down the screen will possibly (probably?) crack/shatter/break and the frame will collapse.

If you are 5' tall and can duck down, you will be far less likely to suffer damage than if you are 6'1" and slightly less agile (that's me!).

When I'm seated in the car the top of my head still extends beyond the straight line between the base of the windscreen and the top of the roll hoops - but far less exposed than without them, so less ducking down is required.

There should be no likely situation whereby an Elan will flip during normal driving - only if mechanical failure of a major component ocurrs, or Newtons' Laws of physics are applied without considering the results.

The first can't be legislated against, but proper inspection/maintenance will make those chances very small (although there have been published pictures of nearly-broken wishbones just holding on).

The second is what catches you out - and is the reason for all cases I have known (for the Elan).

If you go too fast into a roundabout/bend etc and the car slides and hits a kerb/rock/debris/other road surface, 99.9& of the time you will deal with it and drive off a little slower, possibly looking for a public bathroom or trouser shop. However, in the other 0.1% there will be no time/space/oportunity to deal with it, and you will be at the mercy of the terrain/Gods/fate as you see fit.

2 cases (one being the fatal accident) were very similar in cause - car being driven along a good road surface when it becomes necessary to move over a bit due to oncoming traffic...... once the 2 nearside wheels are into gravel/grass they will be going at a different speed to the 2 on the tarmac, steering is compromised, and if you under/over react then the physics will dictate that the car will start to spin and could go anywhere.

Graham (G-UK) ended up upside down in a ditch for a while and suffered some nasty looking injuries, but nowt life changing. Steph just went backwards into a field and ended up with a broken car.....

..... but the lovely white Elan flipped over and the driver was killed instantly - the car hit nowt else, but the screen colapsed during the flip/landing & slide. he had reacted to an oncoming vehicle which was doing a silly overtake and was in his path (not the Elan drivers' fault at all), and instinctively steered to the left to avoid the Peugeot, going onto the grass verge, which wasn't hard/flat grass - a typical English A road verge - and ended up going over. He wasn't speeding, he knew the road, he had owned the car for a number of years, he was an experienced driver.... he was unlucky!

I was asked to do the vehicle examination as I had some knowledge of Elans - there was nothing contributory to the accident. In fact, it was one of the best maintained ones I had ever seen, a fact bourne out by speaking to the family - the owner used to show it at local events and took a pride in all of his cars.

At that time, I had a set of hoops for my elan, and fitted them the next rest days! I also bought a set for my next elan (current vehicle!) and will not have a car without them (but i do travel in cars without them, so it isn't total OCD).

There are arguements to suggest that they are not great in event of an accident, have never been tested, etc etc - but knowing the designers/builders of the 2 types which were made for group buys on this forum (LGM & Kutching), I have no doubt that they are far more solid than my flat hat!!!! Both types are designed to rigidly attach to various chassis points and are made of suitable material to a high quality..... no doubt others could be made, but these are ones I trust. Both types were designed/made by people highly skilled in such areas, and I have no doubt that either would easily pass BS/TUV crash testing if submitted.

I see it as like an insurance policy - something you have and hope to never have to find out exactly how good it is. Or you can see it as a total waste of money, because you will never use it (hopefully!). EVen if it only helps a little bit, it can only be a good thing - but I don't want to test it.

....and to answer the question of where to get one - they haven't been available for a long time (but the drawings still exist) - there have been a few attempts over the years to get enough purchasers to commit to make a run worthwile, but it has come to nothing. Admittedly, i have had little interest in the process, as I don't need one, but maybe it's time for a new list and to try and get some made.....

(The ones I have were made in USA so shipping and exchange rate could well be against it now, but it all depends how much you are preparted to pay...... alternatively, there are many suitably-skilled roll cage makers out there who can do the work, but a bespoke piece is not going to be cheap).
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby Rambo » Sat 04.08.2018, 19:41

I have a set of Simon Kuching's excellent roll hoops on my yellow one. I had nothing on old Collapso red Rambo and nothing currently on the Black Beast.

Guess which car I feel safer in as I buzz about the narrow Scottish border roads ;-)

PS Big Erch's neighbour rolled his lovely blue M100 (Big Al's/BoynamedSu's S2) at slow speeds down a country lane. He is still alive and kicking but the top of his head attempted to plough the black stuff and he required extensive skin grafts :?
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby ecc » Sat 04.08.2018, 22:48

Thanks for the responses, folks. I guess it's just a risk tolerance issue. While I'm confident that my normal sedate driving is unlikely to result in the car rolling, it's not my actions that I'm worried about; it's other drivers. As a motorcyclist, regardless of how carefully I ride, the one factor I can't control is someone else on the road doing something careless that results in me being in a situation I'd rather not be in. Above and beyond riding defensively, the bike has a few characteristics that help it get out of scrapes: small, maneuverable, etc. The Lotus has similar characteristics to some extent. And it's surely far safer than the motorcycle, so I ought not be too worried. Compared to anything on two wheels, the Lotus is less likely to lead to my untimely demise.

If there's not a simple and proven rollover bar solution, then I'll put this to bed and move on. Defensive driving will have to suffice. Or buying a Volvo.
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby MPx » Sat 04.08.2018, 23:13

Yes Emma...its a risk acceptance issue. It can happen and by its nature will need speed so will happen quickly, but its not at all likely. As a fellow biker (currently on a 10 year sabbatical!) its clear to me that the risks are much higher on two wheels. So if you're prepared to take on those risks then the priority on 4 wheels should change to the Lotus mantra of weight saving...and not adding anything heavy!

I was intrigued to see the classic racing at Silverstone in July - just magic. All those old racing cars with next to zero driver protection being given the full beans in a race situation. I'm amazed our nanny state/governing bodies allow it!
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby ElanBRG » Sun 05.08.2018, 05:11

Even with a roll bar, the Elan is a death trap compared to the large sized modern cars with hard tops. But people die every day in crashes in these modern cars that have 10 airbags and tons of other safety features.

So the roll bar may help with certain crashes, but it's kind of like wearing seat belts on a passenger jet that t-bones the ground.
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby clemo » Sun 05.08.2018, 11:05

Like many good "group buys" if you didn't get it at the time its a miss out situation. Simon AKA Kurching was one of those guys who put a lot of time and effort into making bits for the good of us lot. Unfortunately one person brought him down and he never made anything again.

Last year i tried to make enquiries about old group buy items .

The Hardtop and Roll over hoop is no longer a simon thing though he did pass on the designs to a guy far far north.
I did contact the new design owner but got no further.

Same conclusion of a dead end came to the full rear light conversion panel.

The unfortunate thing is that 10 years later and many new elan owners would love to have the option to take part in another group buy.

Not all group buys are an easy fit , nor are they backed by any governing body. They were however done for the good of us all . Next time you see a group buy and you think i like it but its a bit expensive , find the money as they may never come around again .

Sorry for a bit of a doom and gloom post but together we can make things happen BUT only if we all pull together and make the numbers work.

i will however try again to see if i can get any further with the roll over hoops ... Maybe if "we" can buy the design if they are no longer going to be used then "we" can try to get another run made else where.


(Also ... didn't someone try to convert a porsche boxer set of hoops ?)
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby rip » Mon 06.08.2018, 09:36

dapinky wrote:Graham (G-UK) ended up upside down in a ditch for a while and suffered some nasty looking injuries, but nowt life changing. Steph just went backwards into a field and ended up with a broken car.....


Stef spun off in heavy rain. Her accident caused no visible damage & the car did not roll, but in between her leaving the scene & arranging for a tow, a Porsche spun off at the same location & wrecked her Elan.

G UK's incident was a roll. He was driving along a dual carriageway when a tyre failed. This caused the car to hit a kerb at the side of the road which flipped it & rolled into a field. Graham is shorter than Dave or myself & his reaction was to crouch down toward the passenger side. He suffered a few cuts & bruises but nothing serious.
Graham had not owned his Elan very long & when I asked, he said he was driving within the limit but was unsure how old the tyres were (on a lesser used car like an Elan, they could be many years old See this thread on tyre age)
Graham replaced this with another Elan & when Kuching developed roll hoops, he had no hesitation on getting a set.

As for hill climbing, I am not so sure an Elan would be particularly good because when driving forward up an incline, the weight is distributed more towards the rear.
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby muley » Mon 06.08.2018, 09:41

clemo wrote:Like many good "group buys" if you didn't get it at the time its a miss out situation. Simon AKA Kurching was one of those guys who put a lot of time and effort into making bits for the good of us lot. Unfortunately one person brought him down and he never made anything again.

Last year i tried to make enquiries about old group buy items .

The Hardtop and Roll over hoop is no longer a simon thing though he did pass on the designs to a guy far far north.
I did contact the new design owner but got no further.

Same conclusion of a dead end came to the full rear light conversion panel.

The unfortunate thing is that 10 years later and many new elan owners would love to have the option to take part in another group buy.

Not all group buys are an easy fit , nor are they backed by any governing body. They were however done for the good of us all . Next time you see a group buy and you think i like it but its a bit expensive , find the money as they may never come around again .

Sorry for a bit of a doom and gloom post but together we can make things happen BUT only if we all pull together and make the numbers work.

i will however try again to see if i can get any further with the roll over hoops ... Maybe if "we" can buy the design if they are no longer going to be used then "we" can try to get another run made else where.


(Also ... didn't someone try to convert a porsche boxer set of hoops ?)



Well put.

Going slightly off topic, group buys can be problematical if someone takes money up front then buggers off with about £10K of our 'hard earned'

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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby Steve A » Mon 06.08.2018, 13:48

clemo wrote: Unfortunately one person brought him down and he never made anything again.



Who could be so stupid :bonk:
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby HJ2 » Mon 06.08.2018, 14:42

1.) HJ2 (looking for one since the beginning of time...)
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby Steve A » Mon 06.08.2018, 14:58

1.) HJ2 (looking for one since the beginning of time...)
2.) Missed the 1st boat hoping it may be coming back :cry:
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby rip » Mon 06.08.2018, 16:33

Steve A wrote:1.) HJ2 (looking for one since the beginning of time...)
2.) Missed the 1st boat hoping it may be coming back :cry:


Wouldn't a wish list be better off in the group buy section?
I am not sure how useful it would be without any proposal to make some though.
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby HJ2 » Mon 06.08.2018, 18:07

I’m getting a deja vu feeling here :-)
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby clemo » Mon 06.08.2018, 21:18

I have had a long decent conversation with the guy who holds the plans for the hoops. I may have just acquired the jig.
Watch this space ... or maybe even a space on the group buy section.
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Re: Roll Bars: Has anyone *ever* rolled this car?

Postby HJ2 » Mon 06.08.2018, 21:25

Will do! :cheers:
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