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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:35 am 
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EDITED, unfugged the huge bassakwards.

This can serve as my intro thread I guess. I've had a 1971 Lotus 69 chassis (always mixing those two up) for about 2 years now. It's time to start the build.

I've done my fair share of building things... built my mustang (03 GT, www.54stags.com) so I'm not a real n00b. That said, I know very little of the mid/rear engine specifics I'll need to finish this project.

My chassis has some hill climb wins in its past so I'm going to preserve the body style and paint scheme and try and make a retro/commemorative build from the zero information I have.

The first order of business is power/trans. What to use? I know a Cortina engine is traditional and that VW motors are also popular but I want something a little cooler since it sits behind a cover and this will be made street legal (reliability). I had thought about setting up a gas turbine from a couple hx35 turbos or even doing a 'Busa motor or a Miata, Pinto, Focus, Geo Metro, VW, etc....

So, spit some suggestions. I need really to figure out the tranny issue I think before anything else. Once that's decided then my motor combo will be selected for compatibility. I had originally thought of finding myself a used Hewland 4 speed but they're kinda spendy and I'm hoping for a more economical solution than a 4K-20K 4 speed that is street/track worthy.

(Only the Title edited/updated by Admin)


Last edited by r3dn3ck on Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:39 pm 
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Lumbering Giant
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Welcome!

I searched 'Lotus 71' and all I could find was a note about it being an 'undisclosed design study'. Do you have bodywork for it? Any pictures?

From another thread, I gleaned that this is about the best web source for information on transaxles:

http://www.gt40s.com/forum/gt40-tech-powertrain-transaxles/

Good luck!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:48 pm 
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The voice of reason
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How much of a chassis do you have? Can you move it around and see if there is any water in it? DId it use the frame tubes to run the coolant?

That's a cool car, but I would think twice before actually driving it on the street. Actually I would think a lot about driving it on the street because it would be fun, but I'm not sure I would actually do it. :D They only have 2" of ground clearance and I don't think you can really jack it up much....

The next thing is I don't think you can easily fit another engine in there. The Ford xflow (Cortina / Uprated) is a very small and also light engine. So expect problems trying to use anything else.

Moderbeat had a Hewland for sale for $2000, I think, but don't remember exactly. I don't know if he still has it, you could try a PM. You can get a VW tranny for it, check the Dunebuggy folks and let them know you want to flip it upside down.

Since this car already wins races, you might want to reconsider anything like a larger or heavier or more powerful engine...

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:03 pm 
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Oh, I see a 71 is a Europa, thought it was something like a Formula Ford, because you are going for an open wheel build. Forget everything I said! :D

You need to provide a lot more info, not really sure on where you are trying to go with this. A Europa chassis is a good think to make a Europa from, not sure it's much of a headstart for many other things... I would feel a litle more comfortable with something closer to a Locost chassis with something metal around the outside of the cockpit...

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:15 am 
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Go to my build site and ponder this engine combo. I had the lotus in my yard and this was one of the ideas we floated around for this drivetrain. Lots of power for a light car.
http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtop ... =36&t=7995

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:13 am 
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Fixed my original post. I haven't messed much with these and I'm always mixing up the 69 and 71 and 61's: Reason being, I got the chassis for free with the body work and all the molds to make more body panels (I'll try and remember to get pics when I get home) free from some dude that didn't want it anymore. The guy I got it from actually raced it at one point and was erupting lotus terminology faster than I could take it in. He mentioned that the chassis had a mix of elements from at least 2 other chassis that were popular back in the day. He made mention of several two digit numbers when referring to the thing. Hell, it might even be a 61... In any case it's about 12ft long and big enough for a 4 banger.

I found a pic of what looks like the same chassis with similar body work:
http://www.historiclotusclub.org/images ... ars/1b.jpg

The body work is very distinctive. There's a couple different lotus chassis that were built (from what I can tell) for Formula Ford in the late 60's and early 70's that are very similar but almost all that I can find have the open mouth front. Mine has a really long wedge shaped front end like the one above.

In any case, what I'm looking for is a pointer toward a transaxle that's not cost prohibitive.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:08 pm 
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What's cost prohibitive?

It just isn't easy to take a car like that and then muck around with it. It was pretty carefully made to be exactly what it is. Are you thinking of welding up a new frame?

The engine and the transaxle have to bolt onto things. If you don't use the original stuff, none of those things are in the right place.

Do you think the chassis tubes have rusted in side? I think that car runs the fluid thru the frame, that was made illegal not that much later. If it was run relatively recently, I suppose it was converted to exterior aluminum tubing.

Even if you use a VW or Porche 914 transaxle, you will likely need the Hewland side plates for mounting. They are not that cheap, but sometimes you can find them.

The solution you find needs to weigh the same amount as the original, unless you feel pretty brave. It would be easy to add 50 lbs. to the back of that car. Look at your picture and imagine driving that with a 50 lb. bag of cement strapped over the engine. Would that affect the handling? :shock:

Nice picture!

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:18 pm 
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You already gave me what I needed. The 914 transaxle. I don't want to spend more than about 2500 on the tranny. Side plates could be probably a few hundred so I'm not worried about that.

I'm not worried about the level of fabrication involved, this whole project is supposed to keep me busy for a couple years. I didn't want to build the whole frame myself so having the base frame and a few things that are known to fit well enough is fine.

Now then, what bolts nicely to a 914 trans besides a boxer motor?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:54 pm 
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So basically you have this...
Image
....and your want to build this....
Image
Gratuitous Flying car image.....
Image
... and you want to put a running gear in it......


Here's what you need to do.....Measure the chassis you have and find out the engine bay dimensions. Guys here can be very helpful with their answers if you help them "phrase the question". How big is your engine bay? Dimensions? What is your budget?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:26 pm 
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That's basically it. I have a chassis and a body and not a bloody thing else except time and tools. I'd like to end up with something akin to a single seat At-om with a neato skin job on it. It should end up something fast but not brutally so and that can corner and stop exceptionally well. My wife will be the primary consumer but she has no interest in doing anything but driving it.

Will do on the exactitude of questions. Trying to figure out what y'all want in a question is the fun part. Gimme a couple posts to figure out how y'all roll and I'll get it.

I'll pull some measurements when I get home.

Budget is.. well that's flexible. I know this is going to cost probably 15K or better to get completed. Apart from that, I didn't assign a budget. My hobby cars never get one that covers the whole car project. Each sub project (fuel system, brakes, electrical, engine, trans, suspension, etc...) in the build will get a budget assigned to it once the low-mid-retarded price points are researched and I have an idea of what realistic is on this platform. On my mustang I have a good bit more than that tied up in it so cost isn't a strange thing to me. Hell my engine cost 10 grand in the mustang. I'm thinking probably 2500 for the motor for the Lotus.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:51 am 
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r3dn3ck wrote:
Fixed my original post. I haven't messed much with these and I'm always mixing up the 69 and 71 and 61's: Reason being, I got the chassis for free with the body work and all the molds to make more body panels (I'll try and remember to get pics when I get home) free from some dude that didn't want it anymore. The guy I got it from actually raced it at one point and was erupting lotus terminology faster than I could take it in. He mentioned that the chassis had a mix of elements from at least 2 other chassis that were popular back in the day. He made mention of several two digit numbers when referring to the thing. Hell, it might even be a 61... In any case it's about 12ft long and big enough for a 4 banger.

I found a pic of what looks like the same chassis with similar body work:
http://www.historiclotusclub.org/images ... ars/1b.jpg

The body work is very distinctive. There's a couple different lotus chassis that were built (from what I can tell) for Formula Ford in the late 60's and early 70's that are very similar but almost all that I can find have the open mouth front. Mine has a really long wedge shaped front end like the one above.

In any case, what I'm looking for is a pointer toward a transaxle that's not cost prohibitive.

Given what you have here, it might actually make more sense to sell it off and just build what you want (perhaps after taking a bunch of careful measurements). There's quite a market for vintage & historic race cars and there's a good chance that you might be able to sell the entire package for enough to make a decent dent in the cost of a new build. Being a real Lotus, I'm sure there's a market for the car, although it may take a bit of time & digging to find a buyer who's willing to pay what the car might be worth.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:15 am 
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I used to have a lotus 69 back in the 80's that I used for solo racing.
Sold it as a roller to a guy for $1500.
He restored it to original and sold it for $75,000.

Yours could be worth more than what it would cost to start from scratch.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:18 am 
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I'm not really wanting to sell it. I want to resto-mod it.

On a side note, the parts accumulation begins. I'm about to pick up a 914/12 tranny as a freebie along with a bunch of other parts.

Now for the engine, I guess I might as well just go traditional and use a Ford 4 banger. It's going to be the easiest fit between the rails and I can probably find one for free and just build the thing. I did some really rough measuring (got home and it was dark already), looks like I have about 20" width and almost 3ft length at the top rail in the engine bay such as it is. It narrows the width a bit at the bottom rail but nothing untenable. Any of you ever experimented with something like a 2.0L Zetec from a Ford Focus?

What kind of power do you guys consider appropriate in this sort of frame? I was thinking of building for 200whp/tq. I figure 200rwhp in a 1500lb package would be about like a 450rwhp mustang which is a fun but not scary fast ride.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:57 am 
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r3dn3ck wrote:
...What kind of power do you guys consider appropriate in this sort of frame? I was thinking of building for 200whp/tq. I figure 200rwhp in a 1500lb package would be about like a 450rwhp mustang which is a fun but not scary fast ride.

Asking what power you should want is like asking what color to paint it, or who you should marry... That said, I had 200ish hp in a 1600 lb mid-engine Mini and ended up wanting more, but there will always be people who say that's plenty. It's all up to you and in large part depends what the car's designed for.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:09 pm 
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There comes a point when the power is harder to manage than it is fun to use. At around 650rwhp in a mustang they start to become a real PITA to deal with. There's just too much power available and it's easier to get in trouble than to get out of it.


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