Lotus Elan

Five Speed

PostPost by: jayrz » Thu Nov 27, 2003 1:33 am

Hello all,
New to the board. Dad and I own a reasonably nice, stock, 1969 Elan se s4. Has nice power, not too much not too little and handles wonderfully. The only thing I really would like to have in the car if it could be done without "altering" the car is to install a five speed transmission.

Any thoughts

thanks in advance

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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Thu Nov 27, 2003 10:07 am

it is possible to fit the 5-speed gearbox out of the Plus 2 130/5, and it has been done on a couple of very late cars by Lotus.
The box with the propshaft will set you back I would say 1000 GBP at least.
However, the box needs to be properly adjusted to achieve a nice shift. And, the main advantage it has is the long fifth gear, which makes cruising far nicer. The lower gears are more or less the same, I think.
As for shift quality, nothing beats the 4 speed box.

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PostPost by: jayrz » Tue Dec 09, 2003 2:55 pm


Thank you sir! Being here in the US I am sure availability to these gearboxes is very limited. Here there are several companies that have made conversions to install japanese Datsun gearboxs in the Midget/Sprite cars.

So I was hoping, fingers crossed, someone or some company had done something similar with this cortina based ford motor. Living in Denver you can't get anywhere without highway drives of at least 20 minutes and I feel like I am just punishing the motor spinning it that hard to do 80 mph.

Have opportunity to buy a 66 with a very built motor, was an autocross car, and I'd like to be able to drive her on the street more.



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PostPost by: marcfuller » Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:08 pm

I live a few miles south of Denver, soon to commence restoring my S3 FHC and share your concern about cruising rpm's. The best kit info for getting an affordable 5 in an Elan that I have able to find is from Conversion Components of NZ. They use a Toyota trans. Here is a link to the website-
<a href='http://www.conversioncomp.co.nz/products.html?sku=34' target='_blank'>http://www.conversioncomp.co.nz/products.html?sku=34</a>
-Marc '66 Elan DHC (36/6025)
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PostPost by: Ramsden » Tue Dec 09, 2003 5:02 pm

A little further from home this one but Spyder Engineering in the UK also do a conversion to the Ford MT 75 gearbox. Whether it is essential to use the Spyder replacement chassis as well I'm not sure.

<a href='http://www.spydercars.co.uk/new_page_5.htm' target='_blank'>http://www.spydercars.co.uk/new_page_5.htm</a>

I have the lotus 5 speed in my plus2. The effect of the overdrive 5th is to bring RPM to approx 50% of mph x 100. so 70 mph = 3500rpm, fairly comfortable. However, although the change is ok once you're used to it, there are certainly slicker boxes out there. Maintenance is also a concern given the relatively low numbers produced and the reputedly weak synchros.

Good luck.

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PostPost by: elj221c » Wed Dec 10, 2003 8:50 am

No worrys running the revs. Our little UK designed engines are used to it! On a 3.9 diff with tyres that run around 890 revs/mile I find cruising at 85 no problem, with around 5000 revs on the clock.
Probably bad for the hearing, tough! :lol:
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PostPost by: jayrz » Fri Dec 12, 2003 3:36 pm

Thanks for the link. This is absolutely EXACTLY what I was looking for. Hope to have the 66 home soon and as its dis-assembled anyway I can send everything that needs rebuilding out at the same time while the body is being repaired and fit this gearbox.

Once again thanks , the car has about 160 honest hp and if she all comes together as I hope I wont have to cower when confronted by WSX Subarus like I do now with the stock 69 s4.

Jay "RZ"

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