Lotus Elan

Plus 2 engines

PostPost by: kwhittle » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:36 pm

It has been said that Lotus considered other engines than the Twin Cam for the Plus 2.

Does anyone know if any alternative engines were ever experimentally fitted ?

Bearing in mind the date the Plus 2 was under development, what other period engines could have suited the Plus 2.

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PostPost by: USA64 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:31 pm

I have heard that the Ford Pinto engine is the same block as the Twincam except for the deck height. I'm not even sure what -deck height- means but Wiki has info on the Pinto engine with performance variants.
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PostPost by: jono » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:32 pm

Chapman originally intended to use the 2.5 litre Daimler V8 (as used in the Daimler Dart/SP250)

It's always intigied me how that might have worked out
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PostPost by: Matt Elan » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:54 pm

In Karl Ludvigsen's book, Inside the Innovator he does mention that Lotus looked at using the Daimler V8, Lancia V4, Triumph 2000 straight six, Ford V4 and V6 and even the Rover V8. However he also say that Chapman vetoed the use of a bought in engine saying "I don't think it would be in keeping with the Lotus image to use one of the relatively large mass produced engines which are available at the present time". So it looks like an alternative engine was considered but never got past the early planning stages. So they chose the Twin Cam, which as the Plus 2 was developed directly from the Elan made a lot of sense and kept costs inside the company.
Re the Daimler V8, the motor was actually pretty old by the late 60s when the Plus 2 was first made. Knowing the architecture and layout of the Daimler V8 (designed by Edward Turner of Triumph fame) there is no way it would fit easily into a Plus 2, being longer and significantly wider than the Twin Cam. The Rover V8 was in very short supply in the late 60s as well (which one of several reasons why Triumph put thier own V8 into the Stag).
Towards the end of production of the Plus 2 I believe one had a 900 series engine fitted, but by then production planning for the Elite/Eclat was well under way and I can't see Lotus having any serious need to make a production variant.
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PostPost by: SimonH » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:18 pm

A book I have somewhere shows a styling sketch with it badged as a 2.0l to show that they planned to put in the slant 4. No idea if they did or in it would fit though
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PostPost by: grassyknoll » Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:00 am

The Toyota 4age was put in the M90 prototype . It is such a close copy of the BDA, it even has the engine mounts in the same place.
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:38 pm

The 900 series was investigated as a short term gap when the wedge Elites were being delayed.

It was quickly discounted due to Engine length and weight.

I’ve just finished reading Oliver Winterbottom’s recent book, as he was there at the time. Very enjoyable !
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PostPost by: pharriso » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:51 pm

USA64 wrote:I have heard that the Ford Pinto engine is the same block as the Twincam except for the deck height. I'm not even sure what -deck height- means but Wiki has info on the Pinto engine with performance variants.


Totally different engines! The twin cam was based on the Kent engine, originally pre-crossflow, then cross-flow, designed in the UK with pushrods, capacity went from 1300 cc to 1600cc. The pinto engine is a larger US designed engine, 1600-2000cc SOHC & I was told when I worked at the Ford engine test labs in the UK that it started off as a diesel design so it was much heavier
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:05 am

pharriso wrote:
USA64 wrote:I have heard that the Ford Pinto engine is the same block as the Twincam except for the deck height. I'm not even sure what -deck height- means but Wiki has info on the Pinto engine with performance variants.


Totally different engines! The twin cam was based on the Kent engine, originally pre-crossflow, then cross-flow, designed in the UK with pushrods, capacity went from 1300 cc to 1600cc. The pinto engine is a larger US designed engine, 1600-2000cc SOHC & I was told when I worked at the Ford engine test labs in the UK that it started off as a diesel design so it was much heavier


MUCH heavier...and taller - I routinely hauled Twin Cams out of my Cortinas and Elans and did so using the classic Halfords nylon (?) pulley thing, expensive at 2/6 pence (old money) but did the trick.

The one Pinto engine I had felt like it weighed twice as much as the Kent...and there is no way it would fit in an Elan/Plus2.

187.jpg and
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:33 am

grassyknoll wrote:The Toyota 4age was put in the M90 prototype . It is such a close copy of the BDA, it even has the engine mounts in the same place.


There is a Plus 2 locally with the Toyota 4A-GE 4 valve TC and five speed combination. Fits very well. Mind you, I believe these are a much later engine. I did not know the motor mounts line up. The car here uses a specialty Spyder frame. It makes a really nice drivetrain, and is a very interesting ‘What might have been’.

The owner has two Toyota engines available; I believe they are around 130 and 160 hp, although I can’t recall the specific details. I actually purchased his Stromberg TC as it was surplus to his project.

There is an interesting story on BaT about the actual M90 / X100 Prototype. One of the commentators mentioned the Toyota output was pretty similar to the older TC. Another person pointed out that it was undoubtedly cleaner, so there is that.

https://bringatrailer.com/2018/04/23/ch ... s-m90x100/

What would have been great is a Tall Block TC, with the Crossflow Block and Lotus TC head. I imagine this never happened as they were working on the more modern engine for the Elite / Eclat /Esprit line?

Not a big deal if the whole Plus 2 drivetrain was being re-engineered, but I think the Pinto has the carb and exhaust sides reversed, As mentioned the engine is too tall anyway, but wasn’t the Pinto used with the T9 five speed? That would have been nice!

Cheers!

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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:23 am

richardcox_lotus wrote:The 900 series was investigated as a short term gap when the wedge Elites were being delayed.

It was quickly discounted due to Engine length and weight.


I believe it. The one in my former Esprit seemed rather stocky for a 2.2 and I can't imagine its 35-degree lean fitting very well into a Plus 2's compartment. The weight makes sense too, as the bottom-end is as stout as what you'd find in a diesel truck.
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:01 am

stugilmour wrote:
grassyknoll wrote:The Toyota 4age was put in the M90 prototype . It is such a close copy of the BDA, it even has the engine mounts in the same place.


There is a Plus 2 locally with the Toyota 4A-GE 4 valve TC and five speed combination. Fits very well. Mind you, I believe these are a much later engine. I did not know the motor mounts line up. The car here uses a specialty Spyder frame. It makes a really nice drivetrain, and is a very interesting ‘What might have been’.

The owner has two Toyota engines available; I believe they are around 130 and 160 hp, although I can’t recall the specific details. I actually purchased his Stromberg TC as it was surplus to his project.

There is an interesting story on BaT about the actual M90 / X100 Prototype. One of the commentators mentioned the Toyota output was pretty similar to the older TC. Another person pointed out that it was undoubtedly cleaner, so there is that.

https://bringatrailer.com/2018/04/23/ch ... s-m90x100/

What would have been great is a Tall Block TC, with the Crossflow Block and Lotus TC head. I imagine this never happened as they were working on the more modern engine for the Elite / Eclat /Esprit line?

Not a big deal if the whole Plus 2 drivetrain was being re-engineered, but I think the Pinto has the carb and exhaust sides reversed, As mentioned the engine is too tall anyway, but wasn’t the Pinto used with the T9 five speed? That would have been nice!

Cheers!

Stu


There are numerous ways of attaching a variety of 5 speeds to fit with the chassis, from Alfas, to T9s with Chev gears for the best ratios and/or using existing 'boxes and somehow inserting more whirly bits into them.

I just wish they had made the the Honda F20C a little less tall and a little less 'weighty' - could have been a decent swap, 4 cylinders, 9000rpm, 6 speed...and 240 hp with relatively measly torque which would suit the Elan(s) quite well.

Yes, I know is has been done already (Plus2) but even Frankenstein rose from repose and protested THAT one. :)
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PostPost by: USA64 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:29 pm

We are supposed to be having fun, are we not?
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PostPost by: USA64 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:56 pm

this is interesting. apparently the twincam is one of the lightest.
http://www.gomog.com/allmorgan/engineweights.html
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PostPost by: Chris » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:58 pm

Why the hell are people talking of fitting non standard engines into the poor old Elan? It is what it is, a 1960s classic
And should be cherished for what it is. I love mine just as it is, and have tried to Keep it as original as possible. If I wanted an MX5 or Honda In would buy one.
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