“Patience of a saint” is a term that must be affixed to the owner of any Lotus manufactured prior to the 111 series. Even the very best cars require looking after and because of the low volume nature Lotus cars is unfortunately burdened with, specialists and suppliers are servicing the brand because they love it, not to make a living, and as such you are subject to their schedules. I actually think this is an advantage, because if they think enough of you to affix their reputation to your auto, the bits they manipulate tend to stay fixed.

Another cool thing you find out is that each of them is completely worth knowing.Take Paul Quiniff, proprietor of Fiberglass Solutions inc. in Addison Illinois (http://fiberglasssolutions.biz/)

I’ve known Paul for years and have been on the receiving end of exhaust smoke from his extremely mean looking, (sounding, running, etc) Élan a few times, and have socialized with him as a member of Lotus Corps (Chicago Lotus club completely worth joining). He is one of those Elan, Elite mafioso who systematically deconstruct the myth of horsepower for the rest of us on track days.

My friend Sanj suggested that I reach out to Paul about wheel arch-gate because fiberglass is what he does. I found the time to put the bits in the car and head over.

I walked into the shop and found Paul hammering pistons into a racing engine. To a car guy that is almost as cool as finding your dads porno stash. He was finishing spare number three (the season is a long one)…

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Among the presses, lathes, sanders and that type of stuff, you could see chassis, wheel sets, a couple of racing cars (one stacked on top of the sand blaster), his élan and just looking around makes you want to go to a race track. If you close your eyes, the shop even kind of SMELLS like a hot Esprit.

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Paul is the right kind of Lotus guy. He is a car guy first, a RACER second, and a Lotus guy third. I was there for an hour on my first visit. We spent 5 minutes looking at the arches, which he could fix with his eyes closed, and the rest of the time “bench racing” as he gave me the nickel tour of his operation ,(which by the way, is really impressive). He told me to come back in a week, two at the latest.

I forget who it was that told me that buying a Lotus changed his social life, but I find myself agreeing with him. Wen you get the keys to one of see magnificent cars, you inherit a network of pretty cool people who actually “get” Motorsport. Separate from the pleasure of driving the cars, it is almost as rewarding.

Anyway, Paul called yesterday and told me he was all set. He should have charged me triple what he did. We chatted for a few minutes about cosworth engines and dirt tracking a formula car and I was on the way home.

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Of course they fit perfectly. Wheel arch-gate resolved.

If you ever need a capable fiberglass fix, and you can find the majority of the parts, Paul is your man.

Now it’s time to go drive the thing.

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