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Excel chassis > Elite?

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Hey guys,

As some of you may know I have an Elite with a rather terminally rotten chassis (not just your usual bit of rot along the rear crossmember)

I have the chance to buy an Excel which should have the galvanised chassis (bonus) but wondered if any of you knowledgable guys know if there were any differences between the Elite and the Excel chassis'? Mainly, without major surgery, can it be made to fit the Elite?

I'm not afraid of doing a bit of GRP work, in fact I'm pretty game for anything as long as it's not going to be a world of pain.

Also, am I correct in thinking the Excel has different brakes and suspension to the Elite?

Many thanks for your time, pending your answers, I may well find myself the owner of another Lotus sometime tomorrow!

In the meantime, enjoy your weekend. I know I am! :D

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The Excel chassis swap is a logical change, there are supposed to be few changes required - some glassing above the rear crossmember I think - Lotusbits had a downloadable PDF about it Once upon a time

Having said that I haven't seen many cars that have actually done it which is a shame. If you do it could you provide one of your great pictorial records please!

In the garage no-one can hear you scream 

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If you can get an old whole Excel that'd the best way rather than just the chassis & running gear, so you are in luck with what you have available.

The reason for the whole car is that you can then cut the parts of the body that are required to attach the Elite body to the Excel mounting points, they are not exactly the same. As Mark states, Lotusbits do it and have published things about it. They can either do it for you or provide guidance as to which bits are required (I recall Mike showing me the engine bay area of one where the Excel bits had been glassed in.

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Thanks for the comments guys and Alan, many thanks for the offer of your Excel.

It would seem I've gone and bought myself an Excel now - I went to view it on Sunday and after pulling a few bits off to see how different it is to the Elite, and having a good nosey around it, the seller and I agreed the price, shook hands and I look forward to getting it sometime in the next month or so.

I need to strip the turbo Elite first and dispose of the shell & chassis (what's left of it) before I'll have the space to take on the Excel.

The main reason for initially considering buying it was it had the Toyota 5 speed which I reckon will handle the turbo engine a lot better than the current Maxi derived 'box that's in the car at the moment.

The basic plan has always been to put the engine from the turbo car into my black Elite which has a good chassis and when I realised the Toyota gearbox was a sturdier proposition than the Maxi one it seemed logical to look for one of those. The more I thought about it, the more the merits of the Excel chassis itself seemed to make's galvanised for a start. I also get the benefit of the Excel brake set-up (vented discs all round compared to solid discs and drums on the Elite). On top of that is the more conventional wishbone arrangement on the rear suspension with CV based driveshafts rather than the load bearing UJ driveshafts and radius arms of the Elite.

The Excel chassis also has ball joints rather than the trunion set-up on the Elite. All this starts adding up to be a no-brainer really.

Buying a complete car means I have the whole conversion package for the gearbox (pedal box, servo and hydraulic system) rather than sourcing a Toyota gearbox then having to cobble together all the parts to make it work on the Elite's cable operated set-up. I can also cut out the associated floorpan area around the diff and graft it into my car so that the chassis should fit.

Other benefits - robbing the electric headlight system so I don't have the hassle of the vac system and the unavoidable frog-eyed greeting every time I open the garage door. It was actually refreshing to see one of these cars in the flesh where the lights weren't up!

As well as the lights I also get to utilise some of the parts that are well beyond their sell-by date on both of my Elites....namely, but not exclusive to the bonnet hinge and door beams.

Basically I'll have the bodyshell of my black Elite with a turbo engine (if all goes to plan), Toyota 5 speed box and the more modern underpinnings of the Excel. Happy days! Between the three cars I'll have quite a lot of stuff to sell on once I've got all the bits I need, so expect to see some for sale posts appearing although this probably won't be for a while yet.

I am aware that the gearbox an diff in the Excel are Toyota Celica Supra derived, does anyone know if the rear hubs/brakes are from the MA61 Celica's too? That would really make my day if they are....I have a cunning plan!

Thanks again for your input guys.... :D

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I am aware that the gearbox an diff in the Excel are Toyota Celica Supra derived, does anyone know if the rear hubs/brakes are from the MA61 Celica's too? That would really make my day if they are....I have a cunning plan!

Yes front and rear brakes are MA 61. The ali rear hub carrier is different and the backing plate has a different hole but fundamentally the same. The front hubs are different but brakes are identical.

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  • 3 weeks later...


That's the same sort of thought process I went through on my eclat S1- it was a bit rubbish, the gearbox was horrible, brakes not good, no aircon etc. So I decided on an excel chassis swap. You get a better chassis which is galvanised, better brakes and suspension etc.

The clincher was when I found an excel minus an engine and interior but with a brembo front brakes and disk conversion for sale.

Then I decided to fit a toyota engine while i was at it. At the moment I'm moving house, hoping to finish it off after my house move - the new house has a double garage.

Good luck with your turbo engine excel chassis conversion! should be a good car when it's finished.

Cheers, Mat.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys,

I'm looking to do the same operation - swapping out my old Elite chassis for a galvanised chassis. But this one comes from an Eclat S2. Are these the exact same design as the S1 chassis? I know that S1 Eclats and Elites had the same chassis so I'm hoping that I can drop the body straight on this one. Any thoughts?


Regular restorer. Rather less reliable forum poster!

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It goes straight in.

I was told recently that the only physical difference in between S1 & S2 chassis are extra mounting holes and a difference in exhaust hanger to allow th euse of the more modern rubber hanging blocks. Also, eite S2 and Eclat S2 are exactly the same.

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