V8 Engine Power: 1978 Lotus Elite
The Lotus Elite had the distinct honor of being the world’s most expensive 4-cylinder powered vehicle when it was launched in 1974. The fiberglass body mounted on a steel backbone chassis was an evolution of the Europa…but it took a turn in the other direction by being front-engine. The end result is a car that isn’t quite as mid-engine tight as the Europa, but with engine bay room that makes it way easier to convert into a V8 powered beast. Find this 1978 Lotus Elite offered for $6,500 in Lexington, SC via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
From the seller:
1978 Chevrolet Lotus Elite
cylinders: 8 cylinders
paint color: black
title status: clean
1978 Lotus Elite right hand drive with 1995 corvette LT1 350 with fresh rebuild and 4L60E trans. with Lokar shifter. Car has been completely rewired, new gauges, new tilt column, new fuel lines, stainless steel fuel tank, new aluminum radiator, vacuum pop-up headlights converted to electric, brakes completely rebuilt, headliner, door panels and carpet replaced, power windows, new tires and factory wheels powder coated, new exhaust. NO AC Very fast. $6500. I will not respond to “is this still available” if it’s listed it is still available.
See a better way to Esprit your Elite? email@example.com
I approve of this green.
Too bad it’s automatic.
Bet it’s a ton of fun.
Given Colin Chapman’s philosophy of adding lightness until things start falling off from excessive lightness, sticking a SBC in there seems like the lightness might be spread a little thin.
The Lotus backbone chassis was originally designed for the front engine Elan because just bolting stuff to the fiberglass tended to pull apart. It was easy to turn it around for the Europa.
Sure looks like fun. Is it safer being on the oncoming traffic side of an Esprit or the miscellaneous trees and utility poles side? The “frame” is protected by the passengers in these.
These had a galvanized steel backbone frame of some sort by this point… no idea if the engine was actually mounted in said frame or simply bolted to GRP
Engine , trans, suspension etc. bolt to the frame. In the Series 1 Europa the the frame was embedded into the GRP body. The insurance companies apparently freaked out at the cost of repairs and from the series 2 Europa on, the body is attached to the frame with fasteners. I believe starting with the Elise Lotus went back to gluing everything into one piece since that was no longer unusual.
I don’t know when the factory started galvanizing the backbone. Lotus is the only road car that comes to mind where the frame is considered a wear item with aftermarket suppliers selling a more durable replacement.
I did a lot of research thinking of buying a Lotus until I tried one on for size.
Heh. I probably live in the wrong neck of the woods to give any real consideration to adding a Lotus to the fleet, so I keep my focus on things more nordic. That said, I’ve finally matured enough for these (and realistically, any vintage Lotus) to grow on me.
Dee-lighted you drove before buying.
Lotusi were designed for Willy Wonka’s Munchkins.
Well, no, that’s pushing it. Munchkins were WAY too hippy for a Lotus.
-Stan (who is *not* Munchkin sized, and would love to drive a Lotus, but would need to lose an arm and a leg…)