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Elite 4.9

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  1. Yeah sure, I believe it and it didn't affect anyone else not even Lewis who was right behind Rosberg but the wind came just in time for Lewis to make the pass. lol

    I think it is quite funny to hear all of Nico's excuses after every race. He just doesn't get it that Lewis is a better racer, faster all around driver than he is. He is fast but a cheater and very immature. I used to like him but I have no place for people who cheat and are poor losers.

    It also seems funny, to me,  how he changed his nationality from Finnish to German. Must be some kind of benifit in there some where.




  2.   I would assume it either stops flexing or just gives the door a bit of support at a weak point.

    Hey Kimbers !

    On the door, there isn't need for support there as it is a one piece fiberglass panel so this is the only place inline with the body seam ( here it is seamless)  part that won't crack.  I know the body molding was used as a trim piece and it does look good but we are only talking 1/4 inch of body ( each half of the body seam that the tape sticks to is only 1/4 inch wide ) for it to grab ahold of so there can't be much help there. Maybe they thought it was or used it as an excuse but to not have one on your car will simply expose the crack along the seam. Again this is my take as I am not trying to cause trouble but I took my car apart as far as one could without taking it off the chassis and this is what I found.

    I remember Chapman arguing with officials about his aluminum coated paper fire wall that he insisted was fire proof on a GP F1 car. So maybe Colin said it was for strength. I don't know but it isn't very strong if it is.  

    Incidently, did I mention he won the Don Safety Trophy for his design work on the Elite? It was for innovative design and safety features :)

      Yeah, pretty cool alright.  I read that when the car came out and even a year before saw and read about it as it was on the cover of Road & Track. Still have that magazine. lol 

     Then I never imagined I would actually own one. I much prefer the design of the Esprit but I actually think I got the better car for the road with the Elite. I love the road manners. Great ride, and sticks to the road like glue even to the point of being kind of scary as it can go around corners so fast. Top shelf. Tell your dad he did an excellent job! Too bad they didn't use higher quality parts like in the rear wheel bearings which have a short life.  ( actually the bearings were from the Austin Maxi which was just too small ) This same rear suspension design was used by Jaguar and on the Corvette without any issues so we know it is good. 

    They finely got the body right with the Excel. Lovely example you posted ! Great color too !  nice find !!!!

     But the rear suspension design was changed somewhat and I don't think it was as good as the Elite where the inboard brakes were hung on the chassis and not outboard riding on the wheels, slowing the response down and requiring stiffer springs which hurt the ride and quickness of response to road irregularities. I also think the rear travel was just right at nearly 8 inches up and down. Almost as much as a dirt bike. lol  Great suspension which is why I never sold it in the first place as it cornered better than anything I had ever driven a the time. I only bought initially to fix and sell for a profit because it was broken with 16 bent valves. 

      I have never seen an Excel in person as I don't think there are any here in the US nor an Eclat but they did import the later to Canada our next door neighbor.. 

  3. When I re painted my '74 Elite, I took off all paint down to gel coat to see every crack and any damaged areas. I was amazed that one area was so thin ( behind the rear tires) that you could easily push in and move the body panel. Almost no resin was on the fiberglass mat. Very thin. 

    The Elite started out at 2,190 lbs. Sorry I don't relate  to kg. lol This was before any options like ps or ac which pushed them up near 2,400 lbs. 

     I can easily push my elite all around in my garage by hand. As I remember, the first Esprit was 1,980 lbs but they gained weight fast and were over 3,000 lbs before too long which was a mistake in my opinion. Luxury has it price and optional equipment adds up fast.

  4. Like Mark says, rub strip has been removed, a bad idea as it added strength to the doors


     Well I hate to make a stink here about something small, but there is absolutely no added strength by a half inch wide piece of tape. Think about it.

    The only real reason for the tape is to hide the body seam crack, the top half from the bottom which in time, will likely crack the entire length of the car including front and back, if the car is driven.

     If you take apart the car, on the inside, to view the body seam, you will see that is where there is a large 4 or 5 inch wide band-aid type fiber glass clothe running the whole length of the seam. This is where the body is joined together. And I must say, it is also inadequate to hold the body together without cracking the outside painted surface right at the seam. 


    If one thinks the bumper is too short it is an easy fix to find an oem factory replacement. I kind of like the look of it myself.

    This car, above, is in better shape than most Elites I have ever seen by far. Very nice paint job!

    This is the look that Lotus went to (shorter bumpers than the Elite) with the last version of the Elite, the Excel which they also painted the bumpers body color and the "A" pillars. I did this with my Elite as it makes the car look more modern and is an improvement that Lotus thought so as well. 

     Looks like the body panels match up quit nice which was not the case with my early '74 Elite. . To have my car this straight, it required me to skim the entire car (and block sand it all down by hand...over 400 hours) to fill in all the holes and valleys and make it straight and smooth. Rolls Royce and Aston Martin also do this on their cars for a perfect body.

    Not sure how long Lotus used a body mold or if they had many to make the Elite but it certainly wasn't very good early on, I assure you of that. 




    • Like 1
  5. It sounds to me like the wire cable has become frayed and one of the stands is getting caught unwinding. I have fixed a lot with this symptom. 

    Time to replace the regulator. Easy job and really quite reasonable as the parts are a small fraction of dealer cost. Hardest part is getting the door panel off.

    Dealer is a major rip off here in the states for such repairs.

    I am amazed at how cheaply made most cars are with electric windows and this design which is very common.

     Not all work this way with cables as my Elite has gears and an arm so this can't break down the same and is a better design as the motor has to let go for it to fail. Not as likely to fail in such a short time. 



  6. Hi Paul, the rear disc conversion involves fabricating calliper mounting brackets to replace drum back plates, the calipers I have used are a wilwood rear combination hand brake caliper. The discs I purchased I had to machine down in diameter and drill to fit the drive shafts, this was fabricated to have the pads accessible through access hatches I cut behind the rear seats, this is the same setup that Aston Martin has on the 1970s V8s.

    regards Dan

    So Dan, you used the original rear end . right? what diameter are your rotors? and do you have any pictures? 

    Great idea for sure as the drums are problematic for sure.




  7. Just speaking from a little experience having gone down the same road you have started so this is JMHO.

    So if you want to maintain the Lotus handling, and even make it a track day type of car, they you best keep the weight of the engine close to what the 907 engine weighs in at which is around 300 lbs fully dressed.  Other wise, your handling will go to pot and you will have to change front springs and upset the perfectly balance expertly tuned chassis,/suspension these cars have. Remember when these cars came out, Colin Chapman still had his hand it the design of his road cars which emulated, to a degree, his formula 1 racing cars which dominated the scene so be careful how you mess with the parts that are correct and the weight of the new parts you put on. Different front springs where required when just adding a/c (135 lbs) back in "74 !

    Why mess up a great handling car by putting in too heavy of an engine? The Mazda rotary is a very light engine although very thirsty but a friend had an RX7 and had no trouble with his.  The mention of an alloy v6 would be the way I would go, if you don't want to put in a V8. There would even be room for a turbo on a V6. Buick makes some really potentially powerful units and they are very reliable and light weight. A Ford Duratec is also a good candidate and much more modern which has it's advantages.

    My Elite, with a 4.9L (punched out Al  Buick 215, father of the Rover al V8), can get over 30 mpg . I have .68 overdrive 5th and it will run very efficient on the primaries if the secondaries aren't brought in by a heavy foot. Never really tried to get maximum though but I know a guy who has a modern 350 Corvette that gets 30 mpg so I know I can beat that with 52 less cubic inches and lighter by a 1,000 lbs.

    I think that a minimum of 225 hp/ 250 lb/ft of torque is what this car needs. Of course more is better and around 300 puts it very close to the AC Cobra but of course it handles much better and is also much faster being much more aerodynamic. Very fun with this much power making it a great car for road trips.

    I would also bead blast your sheet metal frame with a media that is designed for aluminum (walnut shells / plastic beads )  so you don't over do it with the thin metal. I would use a good two part epoxy primer sealer and paint. Don't powder coat it as they don't totally seal the metal.


    Good luck on your project. I have had a lot of enjoyment just working on mine but the real fun comes when you put it on the road as this car will do things other just can't like go around the corner the way they do. The original just has some major problems in the drive train area but they all can be fixed. 


    Keep us informed. Love to see restorations of these cars. 





    Newer tire designs should be more robust than those from the time are cars.

    The newer tires a light years ahead of the old especially when it comes to grip. I bought my Elite with the original Dunlaps and still have one on the spare. A good tire but nothing like my newer Dunlaps.


    Going up in wheel sizes will actually give better handling if the overall diameter and weight is the same, putting the ground in closer connection to the car. In other words, there is less sidewall so ride will suffer giving a slightly stiffer ride with more control especially at high speeds as there is less tire to squirm about. More direct.


    More important is diameter of the tire being the same as original in which case it is impossible to put a larger tire on the front of the Elite unless you space it out, away from the car as there is simply no room even for the next size up from original.


    The noticeable thing to watch out for is the weight of the tire/wheel combination. 


    If you don't have a high rated tire then cornering is going to eat up your tires faster and not give you the performance the car was designed for. Plus there is more risk of a tire blowing out and coming apart if pushed hard. 


     I see no value in keeping the Elite wheels stock. Why would you want retreads or an inferior tire on your ultra high performance Lotus sports car?


    Just doesn't make any sense to me.

    In 1974 the Elite had the lowest tire profile of most any car out there at 60 aspect ratio. Mine are now at 45 with the 16 inch rims.


     love them !

  9. One major thing, that made a huge difference I have also done, to keep things cool, is to cut out the behind front bumper center hole on the body. IMHO, this should have been done at the factory.


    This is the place where all you UK guys hand your license plate. I used an aluminum 1/4 inch plate for a reinforcement over the front of the body that would hide behind the bumper and enough on both sides of the cutout to be strong and keep the integrity of the front nose of the car. Then I cut the hole which is rather large and right in front of the radiator.


    This over doubles the air intake to the rad and ac condenser. I also put the series two front air-damn in place which also collects a good amount of air. 


    My 1974 Elite, 110th built, had only a small flap, from the factory, hanging down and picking up almost no air into the bottom of the engine. So these improvements contributed to a no heat issue, for me, which is vital in any aluminum engine. Especially a modified V8.


    Right now, I am rebuilding the air dam just in front the engine from the bottom of the radiator to the top of hood vent (bonnet) just in front of the engine. This is suppose to direct all hot air, from the radiator, out to the atmosphere and kept away from blowing around the engine compartment keeping things just that much hotter. Clever idea but it was only a partial air dam and not very pretty.


    I also coated my exhaust headers with a space age ceramic, metallic coating that keeps the heat inside the exhaust ( releases another 6 hp or so in my engine by helping to scavenge the exhaust ) and is reported to lower the engine bay temps by 70 F.



    All these help and of course there are more ways like Red Line's "water wetter:" which is advertised to lower temps by 20 F. Just add to your coolant.



    hope this helps some



  10. Your current rad is probably filled up with gunk (somewhat) and has diminished in capacity to cool as it did when new. They all go this way in time.


    I took the original out when I put in a much bigger engine that made a lot more heat (power) so I had a custom brass one made. Yeah, it is heavier but it will outlast an aluminum one and you can fix it if it starts to leak where an aluminum is much more difficult to repair.


    My new one is a 4 core, 4 gallon rad and cools just fine in my 4.9 L Buick aluminum V8 pumping out over 300 hp and 360 ft/lbs of torque so this large of one is over kill for the stock 907 lump for sure.


    So you may not need a enlarged one. 


    My new one was a tight fit just like the old one. It is just thicker and fits nicely through the same opening in front of the engine.

    I spend $500.00 US to have mine built.


    There are many ways to get extra cooling for your engine.


    I posted this the other day on cooling and some tricks that I have done, all helping to keep things at the right temps. 


    end of the page.....





    and its heavier, which makes it more stable in a cross wind..."


    is this what we have been missing out on?

    Exactly !! their design philosophy was to just add heaviness.





    Oh and they didn't have to hire any design engineers as they always copied the big 3 and subsequently, they were ALWAYS 10 years behind everyone else.

    This also caused them to change their name from Rambler to American Motors. Very cleaver idea don't you think?

  12. I once saw an Elite with the top of the car totally removed but the rear window was still in place. lol




    Has anyone seen an Elite with the interior 'rear window' removed.


    It's the boot. One needs a rear window to isolate all of the systems in the trunk, like the gas tank, fuel pump, the battery, along with the rear wiper motor all either make noise or can potentially be problematic and emit fumes. 


    I totally insulated and carpeted mine so there isn't any noise to cancel out but they can smell like fuel and you only need a small leak. Been there, not good. I finely put in braided ss lines with AN aircraft fittings to make sure no more gas line leaks from the tank to pump and filter.



    I also move both the fuel filter and fuel pump out of the trunk and under it next to the spare tire. I didn't feel it was a very safe place for them in the same completely enclosed compartment with potential sparks from the battery. It's the gas vapor that burns. 





  13. Well Duncan, I do have an extra complete 215 engine with the 300 heads and crank. And the 300 crank has already been installed,  and align honed to boot. Just needs the rest of the engine gone through. It is mostly aluminum so shipping shouldn't be that bad. lol


    And, you are correct in that, the later Rover blocks are more stout and will handle more ponies but are a tad heavier. Mine is about at the max for the power output as to what the block can take before it comes apart. I would have to strengthen the block if I was to extract more power and expect it to live very long.

    My engine Builder, Phil Baker, had built over 100 similar engines when he built mine. He puts full steel girdles on the bottom end, tying all the mains together (stronger than 4 bolt mains) and one on each of the valve trains which then makes it very tight, strong and stable. This enables the engine to rev to 8500 all day long, mainly for racing purposes or guys, like me, who just want to go to the max with a project. Maybe the next project? or not.


    These 300 heads do have large ports and I had mine cleaned up a bit and used over sized valves. It is now a very snappy revving engine with an 11 pound flywheel. It gives a nice throaty, somewhat deep mellow rumble at idle. I think the stainless steel exhaust pipes raise the pitch slightly but it is a very comforting sound. lol

    What's there not to love?? :D

    • Like 1


    No one will ever compare to Senna.

    You must NOT be unaware of the great Jimmy Clark and there is simply no comparison with the two. Clark won 54% of all the races he ever entered and a third of all the GPs he entered.

    Jimmy was in a class by himself. Even Juan Manuel Fangio said Jimmy was the best ever.


    Once, someone asked Dan Gurney if he was as fast as Jimmy and Gurney said, if you don't drive 10/10th on ever lap then Jimmy would beat you every time. He was the best and for those who weren't even born when he and Colin Chapman were at the top of the GP game everyone else was racing for second place missed something very special. 


    This was the golden years for Lotus in GP racing.


    AND, I am really surprised that Ferrari would make such a mistake but their (now) golden boy doesn't want any younger, much faster drivers on the team. Just look was happen to him when Red Bull signed Daniel Ricciardo who simply cleaned Vettel's clock and almost destroyed Vettel's ability to even drive a GP car. 


    Kimi is simply too old and too conservative of a driver. Over rated IMHO from the get go. 






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