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alternatives to Lotus Elise / Caterham 21?

alternatives to Lotus Elise / Caterham 21?

Author
Discussion

Stylus RT

233 posts

138 months

Friday 1st August 2008
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Snapper7 said:
I saw an image of a Coupe/hard topped Stylus and it looked great. Looked into buying one and was told it is a one off that someone had custom built.
Do you mean the one top left on here, not a vey good picture, http://www.clubstylus.be/SSC/index.html

IIRC they had trouble with rear end lift due to the aerodynamics, it would also be a pig to get in and out of, mine's bad enough with the soft top on, although it's a bit easier with the removable steering wheel

cymtriks

4,502 posts

167 months

Sunday 3rd August 2008
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MGYoung said:
With the exception of the Caterham 21...
The C21 has AFAIK been out of production for some time. A great shame as it is a very pretty little car. The front of the car with that lovely bonnet has to be one the best looking at any price. The thing that really let the car down was Caterhams decision to put it on a modified 7 chassis which immediately imposed restrictions on the doors and side windows that should never have been considered.

Have Caterham started making it again? Or has someone else picked up the project?

Furyblade_Lee

3,819 posts

146 months

Sunday 3rd August 2008
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The problem with the c21 was that Lotus bought out the Elise...... totally practical whereas as you say things like wind up windows were absent on the Caterham. Nobody makes them now as far as I know, but a Stylus RT is probobly the closest to it, cheaper and a good one would probobly run rings around the Caterham.

Joe T

487 posts

146 months

Sunday 3rd August 2008
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Had a good look at a C21 for the first time at a Goodwood meeting a few months back nice car.
I think if Caterham had ditched the seven chassis and started with a new design or even moved the engine to the rear there would have been a real market for it.

The Elise as I have said in another thread I beleive is a hard car for any kit to beat for the money, engine in the right place, good chassis, good parts and tuning support.


cymtriks

4,502 posts

167 months

Sunday 3rd August 2008
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Joe T said:
I think if Caterham had ditched the seven chassis and started with a new design or even moved the engine to the rear there would have been a real market for it.

The Elise as I have said in another thread I beleive is a hard car for any kit to beat for the money, engine in the right place, good chassis, good parts and tuning support.
A backbone chassis, like the original Elan, would have worked well for the C21.

The Elise may be hard to beat for the money but the engine is only "in the right place" if you accept the cost compromise of using a front wheel drive set up at the rear to create a mid engined layout on the cheap. A high CoG is immediately forced on the design for example. No current mid engined cars that use a purpose designed driveline have a transverse engine.

Putting the engine in the front does have advantages from a packaging point of view. It is easier in a C21 sized car to fit an engine between the front wheels than two footwells with proper room for the pedals for example. A worthwhile boot is also feasable and the ultimate handling can be more friendly especially when your budget to get this right is Caterham sized.

In the smaller sportscar market there are now so many choices that the kitcar industry has two ways to go. Make small track day type cars or go for a Boxster sized car. Staying in their traditional segment is surely tough and getting tougher as all those MR2s, MGFs, Smart roadsters and Elises pile onto the second hand market.
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Furyblade_Lee

3,819 posts

146 months

Sunday 3rd August 2008
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The fact that you can now buy an Elise or Caterham is perfectly good condition for £8k has been an absolute killer for the second hand kitcar market. Especially for the Lotus 7 type kits, they have to be really good to choose one over a genuine Caterham 7.

Joe T

487 posts

146 months

Sunday 3rd August 2008
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cymtriks said:
The Elise may be hard to beat for the money but the engine is only "in the right place" if you accept the cost compromise of using a front wheel drive set up at the rear to create a mid engined layout on the cheap. A high CoG is immediately forced on the design for example. No current mid engined cars that use a purpose designed driveline have a transverse engine.
Engine in the the right place for me then...

Surely cost advantage if its cheaper, normally the main reason its done that way.

How does moving the same engine layout from the front to the rear keeping it at the same height for the driveline alter the height of the CoG.
It could only really alter the front to rear position of CoG
Maybe I am looking at it wrong but most FWD setups the driveline goes through behind the engine placing most of the weight over or slightly in front of the front wheels. When you move the engine to the rear you basically move that weight more towards the centre of the car by putting it over or in front of the rear wheels (still the same height though!).

Are you also saying that with a clean sheet of paper no designer would have come up with a unique tranverse mid engine layout if it didnt already exist?
AC had the AC 3000 which when launched was a complete new design rear transverse Essex V6.

I can see why current car manufacturers would not consider redesigning the whole drivetrain when its already got a suitable FWD setup sitting in the parts bin, who would?

I have noticed some new electric vehicles with a purpose designed driveline go with the rear transverse setup though.






rdodger

1,022 posts

125 months

Sunday 3rd August 2008
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My 2p

The 21 could never be a massive success as it wasn't extreme enough to attract the 7/ sylva crowd and not practical enough to get people out of an MX5 or MGF and the like. I think if you are going to build a fixed head coupe it needs to ache-ingly pretty, have wind up windows and reasonable storage space.

I have a Libra. It's fast enough, goes round a track at least as well as an Elise, looks better and is different. I can do all the servicing on it and change things quite easily. Insurance is cheap and I love it.

I guess people buy kit cars because they are a hobby and are different. You can build it yourself and no 2 are the same. Plus we have a great time when we meet up, drink beer and bh about the manufacturers not doing what we want them to do.

Long live plastic cars!

cymtriks

4,502 posts

167 months

Monday 4th August 2008
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Joe T said:
cymtriks said:
The Elise may be hard to beat for the money but the engine is only "in the right place" if you accept the cost compromise of using a front wheel drive set up at the rear to create a mid engined layout on the cheap. A high CoG is immediately forced on the design for example. No current mid engined cars that use a purpose designed driveline have a transverse engine.
Engine in the the right place for me then...

Surely cost advantage if its cheaper, normally the main reason its done that way.

How does moving the same engine layout from the front to the rear keeping it at the same height for the driveline alter the height of the CoG.
It could only really alter the front to rear position of CoG
Maybe I am looking at it wrong but most FWD setups the driveline goes through behind the engine placing most of the weight over or slightly in front of the front wheels. When you move the engine to the rear you basically move that weight more towards the centre of the car by putting it over or in front of the rear wheels (still the same height though!).

Are you also saying that with a clean sheet of paper no designer would have come up with a unique tranverse mid engine layout if it didnt already exist?
AC had the AC 3000 which when launched was a complete new design rear transverse Essex V6.

I can see why current car manufacturers would not consider redesigning the whole drivetrain when its already got a suitable FWD setup sitting in the parts bin, who would?

I have noticed some new electric vehicles with a purpose designed driveline go with the rear transverse setup though.
Front drive systems are designed to give more interior space for a given size of car but must also provide adequate crush distance infront of the engine. This forces a tall design because a taller design is narrower front to back. This doesn't change when you move the system to the back, you're stuck with it.

The AC3000ME is a very old design that never sold well. At the time Lamborghini had tried and dropped transverse layouts, Ferrari droped theirs a few years later.

The real reason for using a transverse layout at the back is to use a mass produced driveline to give the minimum cost. They don't have much choice. There aren't any front engined rear drive set ups available to small car makers anymore.

Interestingly Mazda did bother to design their own driveline for the MX5 whereas Toyota and MG used a transverse set up at the back. The Mazda was usually (but not always! ) said to be the best handling of the trio.

crofty1984

12,196 posts

126 months

Monday 4th August 2008
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Fisher fury?

tomTVR

6,909 posts

163 months

Monday 4th August 2008
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Stylus RT said:
tomTVR said:
X-man said:
Jack_and_MLE said:
The 21 would be very exclusive as only 48 were built.
I was also wondering what I could replace my 21 with and a there is nothing which is small, open top, as practical, fast, very pretty, economical to run and exclusive.

Jack
Ok i need to paint the bonnet and the wing is strictly for track use only, but there are a lot less than 48 of these and with 200 bhp and weighing 550kgs it's not slow and very pretty(imho)

[URL=http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2228779320101674338TFazsJ][/URL]

Edited by Stylus RT on Thursday 31st July 16:05
I read these arent currently available as kits. Does anyone know if it will be brought back? What do current owners do for spare body parts?
As the kit car industry is dead at the moment, the owner is off doing other things to pay the mortgage etc, bodies, parts etc are still readily available though, and i'm sure if enough interest was shown then they would be back in production, after all you can't survive selling the odd bonnet etc.

I can't understand why they aren't more popular, as it's a pretty little thing and being JP designed it handles well.
I really like the look of yours and a couple of others i have seen because they have more of a square grill and have those front splitter things where your indicators are. Was that a last of the line facelift or something as it is different to most? Really fancy one actually - perhaps with a V6.

Paul Drawmer

3,647 posts

189 months

Monday 4th August 2008
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Why a V6? what's special about the configuration?

Furyblade_Lee

3,819 posts

146 months

Monday 4th August 2008
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I know a Honda 2.7 V6 has been fitted into a Striker, so may be feasible, I think it is all alloy??

Ferg

15,242 posts

179 months

Monday 4th August 2008
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Furyblade_Lee said:
I know a Honda 2.7 V6 has been fitted into a Striker, so may be feasible, I think it is all alloy??
Have you seen that car, Lee??? I photographed it at Newark 4 or 5 years ago. Couldn't fit a fag paper under the bonnet.... smile

tomTVR

6,909 posts

163 months

Wednesday 6th August 2008
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Paul Drawmer said:
Why a V6? what's special about the configuration?
Because (as a TVR owner) i prefer the sound and torque you get from a larger cylindr engine. However given the Stylus is such a lightweight car i figure a heavier V8 would spoil the weight distribution more.

RT Phil

233 posts

138 months

Wednesday 6th August 2008
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I'm pretty sure this has a Duratec V6 http://www.clubstylus.be/SSC/images/galleryphotos/...

And there are a few Classic Stylus with RV8's in, i did consider an AJP out of a Cerbera but then the chassis will need to be made from thicker material(currently good for a shade over 300bhp) and transmission will need changing although it would be easy on a new build.

If you want the TVR look then there is this one http://www.postimage.org/gx2op3yi-b214d94412907c3c... complete with RV8, you would be better off sticking with a four cylinder engine, mine is not slow and will give a 5L Griff a V hard time but you have to drive it, which i love, rather than point and squirt.

Edited by RT Phil on Wednesday 6th August 19:20

Furyblade_Lee

3,819 posts

146 months

Wednesday 6th August 2008
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Have not seen it in the flesh Ferg, but a guy called Arthur Edwards owned it (if it is the same one) I went on a driving holiday with him to France but he was in his mate's Striker. Must have been around 2003 /4 as it was my first trip in my newly completed Furyblade. I asked about the weight / space and he said it fitted really well (but he would say that wouldn't he!) around 200 bhp for 500 quid. But i know a few V8 Fury's, while theoretically fantastic and sounding glorious, there MUST be handling issues with all that weight there, maybe ok on the road but must be a handful on track compared to a K-series / bike installation. And although they DO fit, as you say, space is a nightmare and so is heat, EVERYTHING has to be wrapped and shielded. There is not a bit of space left under the bonnet. The chassis needs strengthening as the torque tends to bend everything, and you cannot run the lightweight gauge chassis for the same reasons. Then the exhausts....you will lose what only storage space you have in the other side sill, and it needs to wrapped and the pod lined. Heavy, Heavy, Heavy. Cannot personally see the point if you want a fast lightweight sportscar going V8 or V6 over a lightweight 4-pot. If it was that good, Colin Chapman would have done it. I know the future... and it is Honda S2000 shaped...

Ferg

15,242 posts

179 months

Wednesday 6th August 2008
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The whole bonnet was bulge!!! There was about 2" all 'round that was original. I took photos, but that was so long ago that I have no clue where they are.....

kylemrushall

1,916 posts

126 months

Wednesday 6th August 2008
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If Lee W ever pulls his finger out of his arse and starts building we may know how good it could besmile

Ferg

15,242 posts

179 months

Wednesday 1st October 2008
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Ferg said:
The whole bonnet was bulge!!! There was about 2" all 'round that was original. I took photos, but that was so long ago that I have no clue where they are.....
Found it.



Edited by Ferg on Thursday 2nd October 17:50