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Chinleyman

Strange Mod

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I have been looking at purchasing and renovating an Elite, and after reading some of the info on the Lotus Bits site i got thinking.

 

Should say i'm not a purist in respect of keeping everything 70s/80s but love the hatchback styling (strange but true) so was wondering whether it is possible to graft an Elite hatch (above the wasteline from B pillar back) on to an Excel body?

 

Thoughts?

 

Chinleyman

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Lotusbits offer a service of putting an excel chassis and running gear under an elite or eclat, some reworking of the glassfibre is required. It is possible, but expensive.

 

Personally I'd just buy a good elite. If it's an S2, it gives you most of the benefits already. (better box & galvanised chassis).

Edited by Dunc

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Hi Gary.

 

You must speak to our friend and all round knowledgable Elite saver and breaker from Europe. You can see him here and message him. He has about 10 cars at present I think in various states of repair... http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/user/10501-tocus/

 

 

Welcome to the forums BTW. Derbyshire....Surname...any relation to the Race driver and JCT600 family?

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I thought about this when I had an Excel body sat next to my Elite, the advantages are that you get a much better electrical and heating system as well as the better chassis, and if you mounted the fuel tank in the spare wheel well you could have a true sports estate!

The best way would be to split the body at the waist line along the rear wings and include the 'B' post then cut just behind the top windscreen rail, you may have to fiddle the rain gutter trims a bit where they join the top 'A' post but if you are any good with fibreglass it should be fairly straight forward.

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I too have had these strange dreams - I wondered about whether it would be possible to exchange just the back top bit on an Excel for the back top bit of an Elite - from the door pillar back and above the waistline.

 

I'd be tempted to have a go, but would want to experiment first with damaged bodies before cutting up good bodies and then finding it didn't work. so i'm going down the Elite body onto an Excel chassis to create an Elite Excel. I also have in mind installing an Excel interior / dash board, but have already been warned that surgery will be required because the heaters are different. I have kept the windscreen panel to see what can be done. I also intend to put in the spare wheel well from an excel as I hate the idea of underslung spares.

 

It had also crossed my mind to put petrol tanks in the rear seat footwells of an Elite to create a two seater sports estate - for bringing home spare parts for my next project - but I'm not sure this would be allowed ('elf 'n safety)

 

I am also going to look at converting the Elite bonnet to resemble the Excel. Why? Why not! I'm convinced that if the Elite hadn't failed (due to the timing of its release) Lotus may well have created an Elite Excel  

 

So much to do and so little time (and money and garage space and...........)

 

 

Brian

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the bonnets are slightly different at the front, but the airflow of hot air out from the rad is different (vents at the side on the excel). The excel bonnet shape is different at the front to the elite and eclat, as there is a crease at the headlights where it drops by an inch or two.

 

I purchased an excel bonnet, with a view to fitting it to an eclat to give a little bit more headroom for the induction system on my car. The excel bonnet is a touch higher in the middle.

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Hello Duncan,

 

Yes I know that they are not a direct replacement (Elite bonnet for Excel bonnet) but with a little cut and carve and imagination I reckon it could be done. I did consider airflow but as they basically the same cars with the same engines I did not think (famous last words) it would make a difference. Also looked at the last Elites produced (the ones with the fancy name I can't recall) and their bonnets are different if I recall - just something not right to my mind about the bid grill across the Elite bonnet.

 

Now can I recall where I've left my car in the car park today.......

 

Brian

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Its the riviera bonnet you are thinking of, which is fitted to my yellow car - (see pics in garage). In truth they are exactly the same as the other elite and eclat bonnets with a different grill section glassed in.

 

The excel bonnet is different altogether. The outside aperture shape is the same, but the elite and eclat body dips by about an inch in the middle section of the bonnet, while the excel bonnet maintains the same height all the way across. The bit that will need work is the front section of the excel bonnet, as the dip on the elite and eclat fits to the headlight section. The excel bonnet will sit too high. It is this bit that is my headscratcher - the rest of it is bolt in.

 

I plan to meld the riviera section of my eclat bonnet into an excel bonnet, which will give vents all the way across. I will also have to fit a bump if I fit the supercharger at the side.

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There was quite a bit on the old website from a guy in New Zealand I think who fitted a turbo charger to his Eclat. It was top mounted and by the time he had finished the bump as you call it was so big it obscured his vision. I was impressed with his work though, making templates from cardboard but I think he worked with fibreglass as there were suspicions, like boats in the background, that he worked in a boatyard on fibreglass hulls

 

which don't leak (unless you put a hole in them) - so why do all Lotus cars leak. I had an S2 Europa that I used to drive in waders - even more fun when the water froze in the footwell and your feet slipped all over the place. Made getting in easy, but no so getting out

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on my car it is the bonding of the windows into the glassfibre that lets in the water.

 

My intention is to fit the metal bits to the engine, cut the necessary hole in the bonnet, let it poke through when fitted, then devise some way of covering it the hole I have just made.

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Hi,

 

Interesting idea - I think the fitting an excel chassis to an excel is a good improvement, the running gear is all a lot better, no rear UJ problems etc, no salsbury diff, inboard drums etc.

 

I can confirm what Dunc says - the excel bonnet is higher in the middle, on my car (eclat with a V8) the excel bonnet clears the engine, i've had a temporary excel bonnet on it for ages, when I recently put the eclat one on i had to cut a few holes and it will need a low bulge. Defintely about 15 to 30mm lower in the middle

 

If you are good with fibreglass the body mods could be done, the old bodyshells are not worth a lot, i tried to give my excel body aeway, ended up chopping it up and taking it to the tip! Sounds like a lot of work though. But probably less work than the chassis swap which itself involves fibreglass work.

 

Mat.

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I suppose it depends on what you want to do - most of my fun so far has been dismantling an Elite and half an Excel I got for the rolling chassis bit - the Excel body also went to the tip in pieces

 

The next fun bit is trying to remember which bit came from which car and in what order to re-assemble and where everything goes

 

If I had a half decent running Excel I would consider body work to rebuild as it should take less time and on a sunny day you could take the Excel out and pass it off as a cabriolet

 

Brian

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see posting by matt grant (giving elite 502 new heart and lungs),elite body on excel chassis ,i have seen it best of both worlds

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Some interesting thoughts and direction, and glad I'm not as crazy as I thought.

 

Don't laugh but I was thinking the body mod of roof and back of elite above waste line on an excel would be easier than trying to fit a whole body on an excel chassis. 

 

Another reason for using the majority of the excel body is that I like the wider arches on the excel which look like the arches on the mid seventies elite racer I saw back in the dim and distant past.

 

rather than put fuel tank in wheel well id put it in original elite position, the challenge is the internal bulkhead and window of the elite.

 

As for the bonnet I've always felt the Riviera vented version is by far better looking than Elite/Eclats and Excels!



I too have had these strange dreams - I wondered about whether it would be possible to exchange just the back top bit on an Excel for the back top bit of an Elite - from the door pillar back and above the waistline.

 

I'd be tempted to have a go, but would want to experiment first with damaged bodies before cutting up good bodies and then finding it didn't work. so i'm going down the Elite body onto an Excel chassis to create an Elite Excel. I also have in mind installing an Excel interior / dash board, but have already been warned that surgery will be required because the heaters are different. I have kept the windscreen panel to see what can be done. I also intend to put in the spare wheel well from an excel as I hate the idea of underslung spares.

 

It had also crossed my mind to put petrol tanks in the rear seat footwells of an Elite to create a two seater sports estate - for bringing home spare parts for my next project - but I'm not sure this would be allowed ('elf 'n safety)

 

I am also going to look at converting the Elite bonnet to resemble the Excel. Why? Why not! I'm convinced that if the Elite hadn't failed (due to the timing of its release) Lotus may well have created an Elite Excel  

 

So much to do and so little time (and money and garage space and...........)

 

 

Brian

Brian

If you are proceeding with the Elite on Excel chassis I'd love to come and have a look I'm only 45 mins away.

GT

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I think this is lunacy.

 

I know the bodies were made in two halves and bonded together, but I would worry about seperation and rejoining and whether or not it would all line up.

 

If it was this easy.... why do Lotusbits modify the underside of elite and eclat bodiess to accept the excel running gear? They chose to fit complete eclat and elite bodies to excel chassis. If and alternative was a few hours with an angle grinder and some bonding agent, I'm sure they would have chose that route.

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Hi,

 

Re the dash change: I'm trying to change the dash on my eclat - the motivation behind this was when I was dring the car before starting all the mods - off a roundabout down a dual carriageway doing about 60 odd, the left indicator didn't cancel, the relay was too quiet to hear (or the car was too loud?) and the tally light was nt in my line of sight. but this resulted in someone pulling out thinking i was going to turn off - me standing on the brakes (not very good brakes) and having a near miss! 

 

I'm also fitting aircon, because car was unpleasantly hot in summer. After ages trying different approaches, I am keeping the eclat/elite heater aircon unit, although with more modern higher power fan motors. The aircon will use the Denso Toyota aircon pump from the toyota engine I've fitted, and a MG ZT radiator and drier). This means the bottom section of the dash also has to stay to fit the outlets from the heater. I'm also getting rid of the vacuum system for lights and heater, I've got a different heater control panel that has illumination on it. So I am planning initially using the eclat dash with an excel (pre SE type) pod when I find one, but long term I want to build a dash which is the base of an eclat/elite dash, but with the Excel SE curved binnacle section. I bought an elite dash for £10 and have started chopping it up for design purposes, I think it could work and look good, but will be a lot of effort to make it look nice, and vaguely "fitting" for the car.

 

Mat.

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Dunc,

Not as mad as you may think, my Elite shell was parting at the seam without any help at all !

The awkward bit inside behind the rear wheel arches had been missed out when they were bonding the two halves of the shell together, over time the seam had just started to split.

Might be worth checking if you have an Elite, I don't think the Eclat is the same as it doesn't have the bulkhead.

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I've not got it to hand, but I'm certain that my Elite / Eclat Workshop manual shows whole replacement body sections for use when a car has had a shunt. Sure, some thought has to be given to this as I'm not suggesting square edge cuts and superglue to fit the parts together. Advice would need to be sought and I have considered talking to boat manufacturers who make hulls out of fibreglass. The car must have had safety test to get it on the road - so would the sort of mods we are talking about need retesting - I bet some would, but perhaps not all

 

And as usual the devil is in the detail - dimensionally do the cars match up or are there millimetres of difference that could not be blended and we would end up with the pigs ear - don't suppose we'll know 'til somebody tries

 

I'm in if someone wants to sponsor a go

 

 

Brian

 

Brian

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