This is Lawrie’s dream car. Or rather, it could be one day. It
is should be a Lotus Elite from 1974.
Lawrie has wanted one of these since before he even knew what it was. Since learning it’s identity he kept and eye out, eventually stumbling across this, up for the third time on eBay – advertised as a non runner. He contacted the seller, offering a lower amount than it was up for, and was surprised to have his offer accepted. With his good friend Nigel, they made the journey down to London to collect the car and bring it back on a trailer.
The fault was that when the key was turned, nothing happened, and whilst inspecting the car, Lawrie was hugely excited to find a battery Isolation key, in the off position – which the owner seemed to believe opened the bonnet.
Lawrie said nothing, took the car home, put some fresh petrol in the tank, a new battery, and drove off the trailer.
The car has been extensively modified. Mucked about with. The body now sits upon a Lotus Excel galvanised chassis, which a relatively common thing to do, and more unusually has had the door handles removed, all the Chrome removed, and a set of Excel wheels added. Very strangely, it’s been converted to have the Rover 3.5 litre V8, making a whopping 20 horsepower more than the original 4-pot. It is also much heavier than the Lotus fitted power plant, and also considerably larger.
The interior too, was very different, carpet lined almost every surface, with the dash being replaced with one from the donor of the V8 – a Rover SD1. So has the gearbox, the rear diff, and it has custom driveshafts.
In all, it is a poor conversion, but Lawrie had the car on the road for around a year before the LMM team decided to investigate cracking in the fibreglass nose of the car. They got a little carried away and ended up stripping the entire thing. It transpires that with the larger engine the radiator, rather than being mounted on metal mounting points attached to the frame, was now mounted to the fibreglass, much further forward that it should be, due to the large V8.
Current Status – The car is now awaiting an engine swap, and restoration back to its former glory.