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Historical Lotus Question

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Based on the following link is there anymore to the story on Lotus doing some styling exercises of an Elan +2 with the then upcoming Lotus 900 Series engine? Apparently some within Lotus (possibly within the context of the 1973 Oil Crisis) wanted an 1800cc version of the engine in an Elan +2 based car as a stop-gap to sort out engine issues prior to the launch of the Lotus Elite, only for Colin Chapman to insist on a 2-litre and nothing else. -


Previously sought to have a similar question answered a number of years back regarding Lotus investigating lower displacement versions of the Lotus 900 Series though did not get much of a response, partly because was then unable to find the relevant information on my end.




Edited by Lotus Rebel
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Interesting, looking forward to hearing more. Especially if it could have either potentially extended the life of the Elan +2 a bit more or prompted Lotus to develop a smaller more direct 1800-2000cc Elite / Eclat derived successor to the Elan, both of which could have perhaps even butterflied away the the M90 and M100 (along with the Evante).

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I've just got off the phone with MJK and he said there's no truth to this story. 

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As Lotus were trying to make cars that would comply with US crash legislation (bumpers, side impact) at this time, it seems unlikely that they would be trying to prolong the life of Elan +2. 

The 900 series engine was sold to Jensen and debuted in the 70s Healey, a year or so before the Elite hit the roads. I have read it had a rocky start in the Jensen. 

MJK has spoken...nobody does it better. 


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11 hours ago, Parramint said:

I have the ‘Top Secret’ info on the proposed 2 litre +2 and a 412 Elan....neither projects came to fruition. The files are 1969. 



Thanks. So based on the papers that were uploaded elsewhere the proposed 2-litre +2 was known as the "M60" and amongst other things entailed the +2 being slightly widened, slightly increased wheelbase and an extra 90 lbs / 40.8kgs over the existing Elan +2 along with a 5-speed gearbox and possible automatic, yet with a projected top-speed of 148 mph and 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds for a roughly 2-3 year production run from 1971 exclusively for the UK market. 


Am assuming hp figures for the proposed 2-litre engine would have been roughly the same as the Jensen-Healey though wonder where talk of the 1800cc came in? Maybe via my limited conjecture it originated from Jensen-Healey since a hypothetical 1800cc version would have still met Jensen-Healey's power target of 130 hp as opposed to the 144 hp production model, only for Chapman to likely insist on a 2-litre (for Jensen) and nothing else?


As for the 412 Elan,  was it limited to just using the 412 diff on a 126 hp Sprint or on another lower-powered version (possibly with a 5-speed gearbox)?


Is it known who was the individual on the marketing team at Lotus was with the initials GA that the link was citing a source?




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  • 1 month later...

Recently discovered in Oliver Winterbottom's book the existence of the Lotus M80 2-seater during the early/mid-1970s as a potential successor to the Lotus Elan (preceding the Harris Mann designed Lotus M80 aka Lotus Eminence by a decade), which apparently was to be based on a modified Elite M50 platform whilst its appearance was to be a development of the Eclat M52 with the proposal envisioning a 2-litre Lotus unit mated to a four or five speed gearbox. Despite being critical of certain aspects (and believing the M80 should have a less powerful engine) it seems Colin Chapman was very keen to develop the idea further until it was put to a stop due to lack of money.


Am assuming the 2-litre engine would have been closer to the Jensen-Healey's 140-144 hp figure had the M80 2-seater reached production (compared to the 155-160 hp Elite / Eclat spec engines) unless Colin Chapman meant less powerful engine for the M80 as needing a lower-displacement unit instead of being detuned, nevertheless it is good to know Lotus did indeed make an attempt to replace the original Elan with an Elite-based 2-seater even if it is a shame the company were not in a position to produce such a car.

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  • 2 months later...
4 hours ago, Parramint said:

Lotus Rebel, if you are still interested I just came across this file......


Am interested in the content of the file Parramind, from the September 1969 date am assuming it is regarding the background of the Lotus 900 Series engine and its planned usage at that point or are there other little known aspects it delves into?

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