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Well it's out but despite my measurements it's not going to work. The gearbox is too long and the engine will sit too far forward. So 2 cars in bits. Not sure what to do. Will have a think over the weekend if I just scrap the entire project so excellent chassis maybe available. Good body.. but let me consider my options. The rx8 parts may pay enough to provide another donor that's more suitable. Shame really as the rx8 flew.

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That's a real shame. The gearbox looks very long - like there is some kind of extension? Would it be possible to mate the engine to the Lotus gearbox? I really like the concept of a rotary engine in the Lotus.

 

ATB Richard

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The engine is only 18 inches long but the box is 32 inches long. I didn't want to be messing around with the chassis or body on the Elite or messing around with the engine and box.

A custom built chassis is probably the way to do it.

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I am totally into modifying to make things better, but:

 

I didn't say so before out of politeness - but a mazda rotary isn't a great idea anyway. Why fit a rotary engine thats even more fragile than the engine thats in already?

 

RX8's are cheap because they are either A) about to self destruct - or B) have already self destructed and need a rebuild.

 

If you just need a source of cheap power - there are far better options available to you - ones that actually have some torque. Quite a few of my friends have had RX8's: nice car - not that fast, shame about the engine dying.

 

a big torquey multi-cylindered V engine completely changes the character of our cars and makes them into the muscular 70's GT cars Chapman always intended them to be (with the Lotus 909) - think Lambo espada..... Choose an engine thats light and you will keep the handling more or less the same, have a glorious throbbing soundtrack every time you press the throttle

 

Quite a few to chose from - Rover V8 the easiest/cheapest.

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I agree Dunc but I also think the rotary engines have a bad image - all engines die eventually yet each time a rotary dies it's another black mark against the technology!

 

The biggest barrier to Rover V8 is, in my opinion, finding a sufficiently high geared diff for comfortable and reasonably economical cruising.

 

ATB Richard

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I'll have to disagree on this one Richard - I love an underdog story, but it is a flawed technology.

 

An engine that refuses to start when it is hot quickly become a total PITA and results in the car getting sold, and they can get like this from fairly low mileage. It's not a matter of if, its a matter of when. I actually quite like the RX8 - just a shame the engine is made of chocloate. My boss owns one - it has a tiny mileage - I think he is probably scared to use it.

 

Do a quick search on ebay under RX8.... there are dozens of them needing a rebuild and new rotor tips. There are people transplanting Rover V8's and saab turbo's into RX8's, which then become quite nice cars.

 

My mate's one also wasn't particularly fast - my old HSV ripped it to shreds from traffic lights on a dual carriageway, and the Holden is a heavy car - my eclat is quicker than my Holden.

 

Getting long legs for economical cruising applies to any engine transplant - thats not a Rover V8 issue. Turbo Rotary Mazdas are ridiculously thirsty for what they are.

 

I'm not necessarily beating the drum for chosing a rover V8 - any light alloy V8 will be a better prospect for powering an elite than a chocolate Mazda rotary. You get the soundtrack as well with a V8... Half the fun is burbling around with the windows down.

 

some people have gone for interesting choices like the Toyota V8 and the alloy cheverolet.

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Jaguar V6/V8?

 

V6 been done before (in an excel). V8 is being done, but not sure if the guy will ever finish it.

 

Ultra cheap donors, but avoid pre-2002.

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Thanks guys. The rx8 bits are for sale so keeping an open mind. I've had v8s before and other sports cars. Love the v8s my Camaro was straight thru with meaty back boxes :-)

Budget is important as I don't have much. Just wanted something light and quick that went,sounds good, looks good and enjoy it.

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Fair enough Dunc - point taken but I have an acquaintance who ran an RX8 for about 4 years without a problem.

 

I came across someone who was planning to put an Alfa V6 in his Excel. Yum!

 

Is/was the Rover KV6 a good engine? It probably wasn't around long enough to have all the bugs ironed out. There aren't too many nice European alloy V6s around. The Jag one is essentially the Ford Duratec, I believe.

 

ATB Richard

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Is/was the Rover KV6 a good engine?

 

Sadly no.... never owned one but it seems they suffer from head gasket problems, particularly the early ones from the Rover 800 era..

 

I loved the big Rovers - had an 827 24V vitesse with the Honda engine - best car I ever owned, but sadly the big Rovers went downhill from that point onwards.

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I would have to disagree with the anti rotary engine bit Dunc... having had a twin turbo rotary it was a fantastic engine which would go to 9000 revs with no issues. it had to be rev'd but sound great and was very smooth. I did only get 13mpg but i hear the 907 engine only gets 18mpg! that 13mpg came with 350hp in the end with porting and new ecu blah blah blah. It was shit hot fast and the kick it gave was amazing.

The engine did fail it's true. The ring square seals that seal the rotors (effectively the head gasket) do start to leak after 10 years and it's a full engine strip down to replace, and yes when an apex tip fails it writes of the rotors. oh and did i mention that if you flood it, it will never start unless the wheel comes of and the spark plugs are removes to get the fuel from the chamber.

On the up side the engines are clearly cheap because of these fears so new rotor housings are cheap. The engine only has 40 or so moving parts and 3mm apex seals are a popular retro fit (from 2mm in the rx7 as is poping on another rotor or two.

It is perhaps one of the easiest engines to rebuild by virtue of it simplicity and is a marval of design innovation after all a reciprocating piston engine is, in effect, steam engine technology from the 18th century. The wankel engine came of age with ECU's

ps...

a high rev'ing engine adds lightness

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys. Just to let you know I'm abandoning the project. Work is picking up so I'm losing the time to do it, if it went well I know the chassis would of been built up by now. And after the set back on miscalculation for the motor I felt a bit off if you understand me. It could of went in the 240z where it was originally going to go but I actually sold it to fund this project. So I'm putting the chassis and body on the eBay.

I'll be back... I want a Esprit hopefully one day, the James Bond submarine one :-)

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 I did only get 13mpg but i hear the 907 engine only gets 18mpg!

 

you will get mid-high 20's unless you driving it round town or hamering it silly.

 

Motor got 28mpg on touring in their long term test on their eclat.

Does anybody remember the Rover 620 Vitesse?

I had a cousin that had one for a company car but i have never seen another!

 

There was a 216 Vitesse, and 820 Vitesse and an 827 Vitesse.

 

There was a 620ti which used the 2L turbo engine from the 820 Vitesse, but it wasn't badged as a vitesse. Nothing to stop someone putting a vitesse badge on the back I suppose.

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It was definitely a 600 Vitesse with Vitesse wheels, trim and badges, i am sure it had a V6 and not a turbo, it was a brand new company car and went like shit off a shovel with an amazing growl....never seen another and cant find anything on the internet saying Rover even made it!

Edited by pbharcourt
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  • 1 month later...

Well I'm still unsure of what to do with it. I now have the logbook. It's 1975. I have all the glass now but the important part (the winscreen) cracked in transit so I'm not pleased at all. Final delivery tomorrow of parts.

Problem was being car less and being who I am, I went out and bought myself a barn find 1992 jap import Mitsubishi 3000 GTO VR4 twin turbo and invested in that. Now on the road.

Do I rebuild the chassis with new parts, shot blasted and painted items and advertise it with the body to restore or restore the body along with the chassis and running gear and advertise it. I don't really have time now as I'm completely focused on my current restoration jobs at the moment. Don't really want to separate it. I'm still keen to do a race inspired track day type car..as the original plan but I have so much on now.

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Just speaking from a little experience having gone down the same road you have started so this is JMHO.

So if you want to maintain the Lotus handling, and even make it a track day type of car, they you best keep the weight of the engine close to what the 907 engine weighs in at which is around 300 lbs fully dressed.  Other wise, your handling will go to pot and you will have to change front springs and upset the perfectly balance expertly tuned chassis,/suspension these cars have. Remember when these cars came out, Colin Chapman still had his hand it the design of his road cars which emulated, to a degree, his formula 1 racing cars which dominated the scene so be careful how you mess with the parts that are correct and the weight of the new parts you put on. Different front springs where required when just adding a/c (135 lbs) back in "74 !

Why mess up a great handling car by putting in too heavy of an engine? The Mazda rotary is a very light engine although very thirsty but a friend had an RX7 and had no trouble with his.  The mention of an alloy v6 would be the way I would go, if you don't want to put in a V8. There would even be room for a turbo on a V6. Buick makes some really potentially powerful units and they are very reliable and light weight. A Ford Duratec is also a good candidate and much more modern which has it's advantages.

My Elite, with a 4.9L (punched out Al  Buick 215, father of the Rover al V8), can get over 30 mpg . I have .68 overdrive 5th and it will run very efficient on the primaries if the secondaries aren't brought in by a heavy foot. Never really tried to get maximum though but I know a guy who has a modern 350 Corvette that gets 30 mpg so I know I can beat that with 52 less cubic inches and lighter by a 1,000 lbs.

I think that a minimum of 225 hp/ 250 lb/ft of torque is what this car needs. Of course more is better and around 300 puts it very close to the AC Cobra but of course it handles much better and is also much faster being much more aerodynamic. Very fun with this much power making it a great car for road trips.

I would also bead blast your sheet metal frame with a media that is designed for aluminum (walnut shells / plastic beads )  so you don't over do it with the thin metal. I would use a good two part epoxy primer sealer and paint. Don't powder coat it as they don't totally seal the metal.

 

Good luck on your project. I have had a lot of enjoyment just working on mine but the real fun comes when you put it on the road as this car will do things other just can't like go around the corner the way they do. The original just has some major problems in the drive train area but they all can be fixed. 

 

Keep us informed. Love to see restorations of these cars. 

 

Richard

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Many thanks for your reply. The RX8 is long gone having sold everything.

I thought of ford v6 or saab 900 turbo.. 

Budget is severely limited now with the GTO taking up whatever funds I had to get it road legal. Unfortunately I know there is absolutely no way to put that engine in the Lotus...

Time frame is limited now as is the budget so I'm unsure what to do with it. I'm currently restoring a 1969 E Type, 1965 Mini Moke, 1971 Fiat 500, 1987 Mini, 1987 Wood and Pickett Mini, 1936 Austin 7 Ruby and about to start two Datsun 240's for my customers  (carried out all by myself)

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