A working odometer after decades?

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When I purchased my Lotus Europa last year the car odometer showed 20,266 miles and typical of so many Smiths odometers didn’t work. Needless to say, I have no idea how many miles are on the car and, as the engine is not the original, no idea about the engine mileage either.

The speedometer cable was also a bit iffy so I purchase a new one from R.D. Enterprises in Pennsylvania. The new cable definitely appears to be an improvement over the original.

Lotus Europa Speedometer
Lotus Europa Speedometer

I like taking things apart so why not… I took the complicated Smiths speedometer apart. It turns out there are a number of small gears that wear out causing the odometer and trip odometer to not register. I’ll cover my repair of the unit later, it’s not for the faint of heart but is interesting.

Smiths Lotus speedometer
Smiths Lotus speedometer

In the meantime I’ve been using a GPS to record my mileage and give me a reading of what speed I’m driving at. This actually works very well. As you can see, since starting to use the GPS in my Lotus I have covered 1,420.8 miles. I’m guessing I put about 500 miles on the car prior to this.

Lotus Europa GPS
Lotus Europa GPS

I test fit the fixed speedometer yesterday and it works beautifully. I had to guess at what mileage to put on the unit when I rebuilt it and guessed about 500 would be good. Well, I’ve far exceeded that! Here’s the deal. I’ll never be able to claim that I know the mileage of this Europa so I’m going to say that the mileage is the odometer reading + 1,500. That should give me rough distance since my ownership.

Now I just need to restore the instrument binnacle and permanently install the unit.

Rebuilt Lotus Europa Speedometer
Rebuilt Lotus Europa Speedometer

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