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Alchemistoxford

Original Poster:

19 posts

110 months

[news] 
Monday 22nd August 2005 quote quote all
Are there any Lotus Elite kits available? I am looking for a complete kit for the original Lotus Elite introduced in 1957. The Lotus Elite is the Lotus Type 14, and it was originally offered in kit form by Colin Chapman. It launched Lotus into the realm of sportscar manufacturing, and it remains one of the most classical cars ever designed. Your assistance in identifying a source for a complete kit would be appreciated.

Mutant Rat

9,939 posts

131 months

[news] 
Monday 22nd August 2005 quote quote all
There used to be one called the Encore Super 95. This was visually a very accurate replica with a Spyder spaceframe backbone chassis (similar to their Elan replacement chassis) underneath and Ford CVH power.

It was developed by a chap called John Hoestler (sp?) IIRC, who was an automotive technical artist by trade. Unfortunately, the project was shelved when he took a job at Lotus, due to the potential conflict of interest.

You could, in theory, build a new Elite from scratch. Everything is fairly readily available with the exception of Climax FWE engines. You could certainly get full bodyshells the last time I checked, so it wouldn't be difficult to go down the same route as the Encore and graft one onto a Spyder Elan chassis. Problem would be cost...

alchemistoxford

Original Poster:

19 posts

110 months

[news] 
Monday 22nd August 2005 quote quote all
Thanks for this advice. I would love to hear more about the Encore Super 95. I know that bodyshells are available, and I am aware of the Spyder chassis. The project you propose would be fascinating, but who could engineer the grafting of the Spyder chassis onto the body? BTW - I have another idea for the engine.

Mutant Rat

9,939 posts

131 months

[news] 
Monday 22nd August 2005 quote quote all
Grafting a glassfibre Elite body onto a Spyder backbone needn't be difficult. Essentially, all you have to do is cut out the transmission tunnel and bond in a new tunnel, moulded to conform to the contours of the backbone chassis. Since the Spyder backbone is just made up of rectangular sections, this would be a fairly easy bit of mould-making, with nice, flat panels. The backbone chassis has enough structural stiffness of its own that you wouldn't need to worry too much about reducing the stiffness of the Elite monocoque a little. Having fitted a Spyder chassis to an Elan, I don't think there would be anything there to frighten me.

There is a guy in California called Mike Ostrov who has done the conversion on a couple of cars, I think. What this guy doesn't know about Elites isn't worth knowing, but he has a refreshingly practical attitude to originality and a reputation for being very friendly and helpful to anyone with an interest in Lotuses. You might try contacting him via the Golden Gate Lotus Club or the Lotus_14 discussion group on Yahoo! link...but you'll probably need to register and sign in.

I'm fairly sure I have a brochure for the Encore 95 somewhere in my archive, but it is at my other house, so I won't be able to look for it until the weekend...I'll dig it out, if I remember. Kind of academic, mind you, since the kit is so long out of production.

What engine did you have in mind?

>> Edited by Mutant Rat on Monday 22 August 20:08

alchemistoxford

Original Poster:

19 posts

110 months

[news] 
Tuesday 23rd August 2005 quote quote all
This is very helpful. From your earlier reply, I was actually in the process of contacting Spyder Engineering in Peterbro to ask them whether they had any information or would be interested in such a project. While I do know of a source for used Climax FWE components, I think that with a Spyder chassis and better tyres and wheels, the car would deserve a bit more power. That said, it will be complicated enough to engineer the body and wheel wells for larger tyres. I was thinking that 185-70-15 might be the largest possible and that might even be difficult to maintain the original wheel arches at the rear - not to mention the front. I would not want to use wheels with a smaller diameter than 15. On engines: I have thought of several engines from Zetec, to K-Series (possibly the single cam version) or even a four cylinder motorcycle engine. Any of these could threaten the original contour of the bonnet. One problem is the styling of the Elite. It is simply too close to perfect, and any deviation from the original configuration of the body would detract - almost certainly - from its appeal. What would you reckon about an engine?
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Mutant Rat

9,939 posts

131 months

[news] 
Tuesday 23rd August 2005 quote quote all
I've always thought that the K-series, ideally coupled to Caterham's 6-speed box, would be perfect, provided, it can be made to fit beneath the bonnet line - I agree with you that it would be sacriledge to ruin the lines with a bonnet bulge.

Just my personal opinion, you understand, but I've never been a big fan of wide wheels and low profile tyres on '60's sports cars.

I've had several Elans and Plus 2's over the years and the best thing about them is the ultra-progressive, perfectly balanced handling that original spec, skinny, tall profile tyres give at moderate road speeds. The suspension geometry on Elans (and therefore on the Spyder backbone chassis) was designed for a narrow tyre contact patch. For road use, I'd be happy to stick with 155 section tyres as a maximum.

>> Edited by Mutant Rat on Tuesday 23 August 21:43

alchemistoxford

Original Poster:

19 posts

110 months

[news] 
Wednesday 24th August 2005 quote quote all
I have now been in contact with Spyder Engineering, and they have worked out the installation of their chassises on Elites before. Essentially, it seems that they would take an Elan floorpan and graft it onto the Elite body sealing in their chassis. Concerning tyres, as stated earlier, I would want to use a different, more powerful and more modern engine - and that would seem to argue in favour of a more modern tyre. Of course, I would not wish to use extremely low profile tyres as that would not work aesthetically with the lines and proportions of the car. Since you recommend a width of no more than 155 - which tyre would you use? There are very few that I am aware of in that size that would offer HR or better ratings and all of them are of ancient origin, conception and design. I have been thinking about a K-Series engine with circa 160+ bhp which might work with the 185-70-15 Michelin XWX, but I could easily be convinced of another tyre if I knew of a better one. I seem to recall that Vredestein did offer a 175-70-15 at one time, but I do not know whether this size is still in production. This is the sort of development that Chapman would be doing today had he kept the Elite in production as long as Porsche has the 911 - but knowing him, he would probably have opted for extended wheel arches - which, in my judgement, might well ruin the car's lines as you, no doubt, appreciate.

Mutant Rat

9,939 posts

131 months

[news] 
Wednesday 24th August 2005 quote quote all
I wouldn't go so far as to say that I recommend 155 section as a maximum - that's just my personal preference. I know that Spyder do 14" minilite knock-ons for Elans and reckon that 185 section tyres work great...it's just that for road use I love the balanced, progressive 4-wheel drifts that you can set up using skinny, old fashioned rubber.

There are plenty of Elans running around with 'fast road' spec. 145 bhp engines (my own old S4 included), on standard tyres, which seem to cope fine. I used to just use Dunlops SP's on mine for road use.

The problem is, the Elan uses 13" wheels, whereas the Elite was 15". Maybe I'm being anal about authenticity of appearance, but I'd want to be running either wire wheels or wobbly-web alloys - maybe knock-off Minilites at a push. I'm not aware of a better tyre than the HR rated Michelin XAS in 155/15 size, but people like Vintage Tyre Services might know better. HR rating is safe to 130+ mph anyway, and I'm not sure I'd want to travel much faster than that in an Elite - better to gear it a bit shorter and make the most of the acceleration!

I'd be very careful of 'updating' the Elite's looks. Sounds a great idea in theory, but there was a guy at the Club Lotus show a couple of years ago who had done exactly that and although the changes were slight, the car looked awful to anyone who was familiar with the perfect lines of the original.

Do bear in mind the knock on effects of a 160 bhp engine, too - you will have to get the heat out, somehow. Probably not impossible, but I'd be inclined to start with a standard 118bhp K-series and make sure that you have that properly sorted and cooled before uprating it...you might as well work out the problems in bite-size stages!

alchemistoxford

Original Poster:

19 posts

110 months

[news] 
Thursday 25th August 2005 quote quote all
I am sure that all you say is excellent advice. I agree totally about the wheel size. The Elan's wheels are really too small in overall diameter, and the Elite's should not be reduced. And, it is well nigh impossible to contemplate increasing the OD. Problem is - there is no 165-16 tyre to my knowledge. The Michelin XAS may well be an ideal sort of tyre for this car - especially with the Coventry Climax FWE, but with a newer and more powerful engine, I wonder whether they can cope. Perhaps, they can. Concerning the engine, I hear you. You are right that one should start with a modest and standard spec engine, then work up from there. Finally, I can only imagine what an Elite with updated body modifications might look like. I did see one in some book or other that had been hacked about at the rear wheel arch in order to accomodate some larger tyre. This had taken place in the 1970s or 1980s, I think. The result was a disaster. That said, I have also seen some Porsche 356s with extended wheel arches that actually looked very good. As mentioned previously, I would only consider this extreme modification as a last resort in search of more grip. In the meantime, a set of 155s shod on a cast wheel would be the way to go. I do not know of any wobblies still in production. Do you? Wires seem so frail these days that I would prefer to avoid them. Minilites are probably acceptable, as well - especially with a beefier tyre. I do know of an excellent cast alloy replica of a D-Type wheel in 15 inch diameter. These might work well as a stopgap until someone replicates the wobbly. What would you think?

Mutant Rat

9,939 posts

131 months

[news] 
Thursday 25th August 2005 quote quote all
I think wire wheels would be the easy option, as they are still readily available in the right sizes for the Elite.

Tony Thompson does a range of 13" diameter Wobbly Webs and says that he can copy any mag alloy wheel, but the cost would be a bit scary!

I don't know if Minilite replicas would be available in a narrow enough rim at 15" diameter. IIRC the original Elite used 15" x 4.5" rims, so you may be into flared wheelarch territory with anything wider than 5".

I think the Michelins would cope alright with 150-160bhp. Unlike modern, low profile tyres, the breakaway is very gradual, so they give you plenty of warning if they aren't capable of putting any more power onto the tarmac. If they start sliding, you just need to ease up on the gas a little!

alchemistoxford

Original Poster:

19 posts

110 months

[news] 
Thursday 25th August 2005 quote quote all
Undoubtedly, your conclusion about the practicality of wire wheels is correct. I have just traced down a set of 5x15 wobbly webs available through Crosthwaite & Gardiner who manufacture them to order. The D-Type wheel is only available in 6x15 or 7x15. The cost of the C&G wobblies is breathtaking at circa 550 each ex VAT. They would look absolutely smashing though. That said, the wires look brilliant as well, and I believe that most of the show cars had them. From some of the early photos in Ortenburger's book I can not tell whether the wires on the show cars were chrome or not. I hope not for painted wires would (in my humble opinion) look a lot better. I am still pondering the tyre scenario. I wonder whether Pirelli make a Cinturato in that size (155 or 165-15).

Mutant Rat

9,939 posts

131 months

[news] 
Thursday 25th August 2005 quote quote all
alchemistoxford said:
I have just traced down a set of 5x15 wobbly webs available through Crosthwaite & Gardiner who manufacture them to order....The cost of the C&G wobblies is breathtaking at circa 550 each ex VAT.


That's nearly 2,600 for a set of four, after VAT!

You wouldn't want to kerb one, at that money, would you?

FWIIW, I've seen comments that wobbly webs can cause a bit of a problem with brakes on closed-wheel cars, too. Because they are effectively a solid wheel, they don't let the air circulate very well in the wheel wells, so they can get a bit hot. No persopnal experience, mind you - just hearsay - but it might be worth chatting to the guys who race historic Elevens, Elites or 15's.

33JOY

1 posts

110 months

[news] 
Sunday 28th August 2005 quote quote all
I've got an original Elite that is fitted with Wobbly Web mag wheels. From my experience, either 4.5"x15" or 5"x15" will fit OK. I use either 135x15 Michelin (2CV!) tyres or 155x15 Avon CR6 ZZ tyres. For road use my preference is for the 135 on the 4.5" rim. Before you dismiss this comment out of hand, don't forget that the car is light and relatively low powered. The bigger (heavier) tyres definitely detract from the ride quality. The pleasure is in the drift!

You WILL have clearance problems at both the front and back if you try to use a tyre larger than a 155x15.

In my experience you will have no brake cooling problems with the Wobblies fitted - probably just a bit if brake dust build up at the front with heavy use. The rear brakes are inboard so aren't (directly) affected by the wheels.

Hope that helps!

Peter

alchemistoxford

Original Poster:

19 posts

110 months

[news] 
Monday 29th August 2005 quote quote all
Thanks for this excellent advice. I am sure that you are right. After all of this excellent and considered advice, I am now convinced that the Elite is not the right car for me, and I have shifted my focus to the Elan. The Elan can be modernised and uprated in ways perfectly consistent with its original conception and design. David Lillywhite has written enthusiastically about the Spyder conversions to Zetec power. Their chassis development is excellent as well. That is why I am now pondering a modernised Elan.

mgtwincam1600

1 posts

109 months

[news] 
Wednesday 14th September 2005 quote quote all
There is a Lotus Elite kit being built it was in fact the prototype was on shown at Donnington at the Lotus show, it has a spyder Chassis and ford Zetec engine the car shown was a convertable but you can have the fixed head, it had alloy wheels which i thought did not siute the car, in fact the man developing the kit purchased my original lotus Elite

alchemistoxford

Original Poster:

19 posts

110 months

[news] 
Wednesday 14th September 2005 quote quote all
Tell me more. How can I contact this man offering this Elite kit? This sounds very interesting, as the Elite needs a backbone chassis and a more sophisticated tyre and wheel combination than the original.

mirach

144 posts

109 months

[news] 
Wednesday 28th September 2005 quote quote all
hi
we are just about to take moulds from a "63" elite with a view to making some very subtle alterations,(larger bonnet opening,grp side window frames,very small flares on wheel arches 1/2" maybe and possibly making the rear wheel arches round, we will then be productionising the car as a kit using a comprehensive chassis , and more than likely using the ford zetec or duratec engine.
we are planning to display the car at one of next years shows (hopefully stafford,in march)along with our new chevrolet powered mirach.

shirt

16,092 posts

87 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd July 2008 quote quote all
just googling for elite replicas/kits. does anyone have an update on this thread? did one ever make it to production?


minor5

84 posts

80 months

[news] 
Thursday 24th July 2008 quote quote all
mirach said:
hi
we are just about to take moulds from a "63" elite with a view to making some very subtle alterations,(larger bonnet opening,grp side window frames,very small flares on wheel arches 1/2" maybe and possibly making the rear wheel arches round, we will then be productionising the car as a kit using a comprehensive chassis , and more than likely using the ford zetec or duratec engine.
we are planning to display the car at one of next years shows (hopefully stafford,in march)along with our new chevrolet powered mirach.
do you want to save your self a lot of time and money and by the molds
that I have (t140 Elite) as seen on the spyder stand?

ChrisJ.

516 posts

126 months

[news] 
Saturday 9th March 2013 quote quote all
Where can you buy these Elite bodies, or kits?
http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.n...
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