- The Big Valve amounts to a valve job with head skim. It was a marketing ploy in the U.S. to talk around the power loss emission-controlled Strombergs brought. The Intake valves were barely bigger and can be retrofitted. The real power came from higher compression at the cost of a shorter service life because the head came skimmed instead of letting you do that when you needed to. Any original cam can be reprofiled to a particular spec, just note that you might be making the car less usable for your intended purpose in the process, and you'll likely be making it less happy with what you feed it as well.
- If you want the most powerful engine, you want a Zetec (or maybe a V8 ). That takes you away from original into more serviceable.
- The body is plastic, you can do whatever you want with it. Some have done quite horrific things.
So if you must have a numbers-matching original, the model matters. But note that in the Lotus world this has so far only been really significant for the 26R, which is also easy to copy. Lotus afficionados don't seem to put a lot of value in that which is so important with typical collector cars. Perhaps because they drive them?
Get the car that makes your heart sing. And drive it without worrying about what it will sell to someone else for.
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