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 I am hoping that this will be a prosperous starting point on my mission to restore a 1986 Excel. It's a little more than a restoration inasmuch as, two owners back, somebody decided to remove the engine and box and fit a 3.9 EFi Rover V8 presumably with a gearbox from a Rover SD1.
They gave up after having fitted the engine/ gearbox and up-rating springs and shocks with Konis and rear coilovers.
The car must have been left outside for a wet winter or so as the (supposedly) replacement calipers are red rusty ( crusty). I have a suspicion that the car may have been around Slough, Marlow area before going to Norwich ( that's where I purchased)
The registration is D22 XEW , it's white and I think originally blue leatherinterior which has been changed for a cream leather. Perhaps the car was caught in a flood while it was without running gear.
It would help me enormously if any of your members know of this vehicle and maybe can put me in touch with the person responsible for the engine change.
I need to source some exhaust manifolds initially in order to run the engine up although I have a feeling that it will be a matter of removing the engine and stripping it to see if there's any water damage inside.
If you have members who own similarly engined Excels/Eclats it would be helpful to chat with them.
I am getting a bit too old for this stuff now and my health is not good BUT "it's a challenge!"
I noticed just now that your fellow member "JayEmm" is the chap from whom I purchased this project, obviously James' two mechanics didn't have the time to commit. James is unable to comment on the previous ownership as to who started fitting the V8 , apparently the chap before the one from whom James purchased.
The thlot pickens !
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It seems that fitting the V8 is a bit of a nasty job, meaning that you'd have to alter the bodywork in order to have enough space for the manifolds. This is an Eclat but much the same engine bay. That said, others have done it successfully, so maybe it's just necessary if it's non-standard headers. Ozzy did a conversion and documented it well (but I cannot recall where). I think his was white with a blue interior but not the same car. Maybe he was approached by somebody who wanted to copy, so may be finding Ozzy and asking.

Edited by andydclements
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  • 4 weeks later...

Happy discovery while clearing out the boot yesterday, I found an old invoice from a supplier for a fan blade assembly. On the bottom of the invoice was the customer's name and email address near Reading. I emailed the address and BINGO...found the guy who started a lot of the work on my car..he has been very helpful with various points of its history. I sent him some pics and thought that I should put some up on the forum here.

They're not very exciting but it's the first Lotus body I've removed since I did my 130 S 5 in 1976 !







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When I took delivery of the car from JayEmm, I removed the road-wheels and couldn't believe the amount of rust especially on braking system ; some of the bushes were obviously worn badly so I decided that I would start there and work my way up.

When I removed the two long bolts which locate the rear cross-member to the body I spotted a series of cracks in the fibreglass around the two holes which carry the battery cables on the driver's side and the only sure way of re-laminating that area is with the body off.  I lifted it off with two forklift trucks. Amazingly all the fixings were quite easy to undo  and the lift was very straightforward.

It seems futile to do all that work on brakes, suspension, steering and not check out the condition of the chassis for the sake of a couple of hours work.

I am pleased with the condition of the chassis, the galvanising ( from diff forwards ) is perfect. From the diff backwards it's a bit rusty but I have some iron phosphate which I can brush on to consolidate the surface corrosion and thereafter I'll use a 2 pack epoxy zinc rich primer to protect it....probably silver Smoothrite would be as useful.


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  • 5 months later...

I've had a busy summer and consequently have not kept up with recording work progress. The current state of play is that the body is now blue, refitted to a fully rebuilt chassis with brakes, tyres, bushings, bearings etc., etc.,

I have installed a 3.45 :1 LS diff from a Sierra Cosworth to handle the power from the 3.9efi Rover engine and LT77  manual gearbox. 

Fuel lines sorted out with return line and new pump. Alloy purpose built radiator, oil cooler, without any bodywork reshaping. I am now into mating up the Rover/Lucas wiring to the original Lotus loom and hopefully will have the engine ( which has been rebuilt, balanced, "warm" camshaft, ) running.  I have used the readily available MGB  V8 stainless steel manifolds , one of which was unbelievably difficult to fit, and will complete the exhaust system in st/st .

I have been advised by those in the know to upgrade the front brakes because of the extra power and extra weight so the new Akebono brakes will be coming off in January.

It has been an expensive hobby for me but my pension has just about kept up with costs ...still, that's what hobbies and retirement are all about? I think .

I will try to get some pictures posted soon. Is it alright to post them in this thread or should they go elsewhere?

Best wishes for the season to all.

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5 hours ago, bentleyboy said:

I have installed a 3.45 :1 LS diff from a Sierra Cosworth to handle the power from the 3.9efi Rover engine and LT77  manual gearbox.  

I have been advised by those in the know to upgrade the front brakes because of the extra power and extra weight so the new Akebono brakes will be coming off in January.


Sounds like you have been busy! 🙂

The standard lotus excel diff is from the toyota Supra 2.8 and is much more robust than the salisbury item fitted to my eclat - which is fed by a 4.6 Rover V8. I'm not sure you needed to touch this area for longevity,  but at least you've got a slightly more suitable final drive ratio for a V8 by swapping the ford unit in. (imho the standard toyota diff would take the power and torque of a 3.9 V8 without problem).

Extra weight? There really isn't any.... The rover V8 is a remarkably light unit. Even with 8 cylinders, it is within a couple of kilos of a Lotus 912. However, better brakes are always a good idea and I never really rated the braking performance on my standard excel, despite going over them. I believe the standard toyota brakes could be upgraded with calipers from an ABS spec Previa providing a bit more clamp area over the standard pad, but I never finalised my research in this area, selling the car before a suitable set of calieprs appeared on ebay.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Eyup, Ive posted a link to how I did the Rover v8 swapt on the forum but Im curious how you did the Sierra diff conversion. Ive had a 3.9, 3.7 and about to fit a 3.54 diff, all toyota derived units.

Its under RV8 on the forum




Edited by hedgehogjuggler
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  • 2 years later...

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