Gonna do it. Lotus Esprit SBF.

There must be some rednecks also here in Europe... Ford ? (well, at least a V8 with a ford labelled air filter !... and ZF gearbox.)
 

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Many years ago I was involved with a friend who was commissioned to add a turbo to a Lotus Esprit. As I recall it was originally carbureted (?) He fabricated manifolding and installed a good sized Turbo sucking through a 48 DCOE with big chokes. They were running upwards of 22 lbs of boost. It kept squirting the head gasket out because there weren't any sort of electronics, but damn was it quick.
 

Randy V

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I certainly hope there is more to that chassis than the Europa had!
 

Ron Earp

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Not a lot really.

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Link to a fellow with a 422hp Lotus four pot. Still think this would be the way to go - focus on the chassis, suspension, and making a bulletproof 2.2L Lotus engine.

Take an Esprit and make a few changes – Part II, Chassis/Suspension/Brakes | The Lotus Forums

Take an Esprit and make a few changes

The horsepower plot far exceeds my old Lotus 2.2 (but I never did anything much but turbo and crank boost but still got 300+ at the wheel). The motor responds well to a good blueprinting and attention to detail. Megasquirt that thing up.....I'm starting to get the itch to do one of these....

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Keith

Moderator
Wow - big numbers. Interesting that this is basically the Jensen Healey motor (914?)

Just read about this one, one of the last incarnations:

In 1996 the Esprit V8 used Lotus' self-developed all-aluminum, twin-turbocharged (Garrett T25/60 turbos) 90-degree V-8, Code-named Type 918, in front of the same Renault transmission as before with no Chargecooler. Derek Bell developed an uprated gearbox that overcame a lot of the gearbox problems with a much thicker single piece input shaft. The Type 918 engine was detuned from a potential 500 bhp (373 kW; 507 PS) to 350 bhp (261 kW; 355 PS) to prevent gearbox damage due to the fragility of the Renault UN-1 transmission. In period tests, zero to sixty miles per hour came in at 4.4 seconds and top speeds of over 175 mph (282 km/h) were achieved.

Too bad they only made 50 of them, but I wonder what happened to the motor?
 

Rick Muck- Mark IV

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Wow - big numbers. Interesting that this is basically the Jensen Healey motor (914?)

Just read about this one, one of the last incarnations:

In 1996 the Esprit V8 used Lotus' self-developed all-aluminum, twin-turbocharged (Garrett T25/60 turbos) 90-degree V-8, Code-named Type 918, in front of the same Renault transmission as before with no Chargecooler. Derek Bell developed an uprated gearbox that overcame a lot of the gearbox problems with a much thicker single piece input shaft. The Type 918 engine was detuned from a potential 500 bhp (373 kW; 507 PS) to 350 bhp (261 kW; 355 PS) to prevent gearbox damage due to the fragility of the Renault UN-1 transmission. In period tests, zero to sixty miles per hour came in at 4.4 seconds and top speeds of over 175 mph (282 km/h) were achieved.

Too bad they only made 50 of them, but I wonder what happened to the motor?


I drove an AC "Brooklands" Ace with the TT type 918.....very quick but not much low end. John Owen who was one of the Lotus engine had moved to AC as their Chief Engineer (are you a boss if you have no one to boss?).
 

Ron Earp

Admin
Back when I was active in the Lotus culture I don't remember much good about the 3.5L Lotus V8. No intercoolers severely limited what could be done with the engine, particularly when longevity was a concern. And despite being a V8, it is only 38% larger than the 2.2L engine, but running more than 50% less turbocharger boost.

The four banger can make some power, and it can be at lower RPMs if you want. When I was burning chips for them I could keep the wastegate closed early and the motor would develop 18 psi of boost before 3k, bringing on some serious low-end power.

Some of the bad aspects of the 2.2L engine, canted over head and valve covers that are hard to seal, and the shim & bucket valve adjustments, are a pain in the ass but with an engine out sort of deal can be sorted.
 

Rick Muck- Mark IV

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I have a 79 Esprit genuine "World Championship" black/gold in the shop right now for sale. Mario has committed to sign it (he sent the seller to us as he was not interested).

You could put a 2.3 Ecoboost in it...300+ HP!
 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
Keith, they made way more than 50 V8s. I think production ran from 96 to 2003 and several hundred at least were made. I'll check though.

Not much good was said about hat motor though. Like Ron said, no interncoolers so boost was limited. Had some issues iwth the crank and liners too if I recall correctly.
 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
Part of the character of the original car was certainly the whack in the back that an onrush of boost would give you.

For those who haven't driven a 2.2 Turbo Esprit, which was and still is a relatively fast car, the turbo lag was a big part of the experience. The car was kinda meh until 3k and the boost built and then WHACK.

On a cold morning, I'm not sure I've driven anything faster from 50ish to 110ish than Ron's tuned Esprit. I never went as radical as he did -- I just did an exhaust and a chip from Ron -- but I remember the last time I drove my car before I sold it to Fran. Cold morning, and it made me think twice about letting it go.

Then I pulled up to a stoplight, idle oil prssure went to about 2 psi ("normal" on an Esprit) and I realized I was very happy to move on.
 

Ron Earp

Admin
Then I pulled up to a stoplight, idle oil prssure went to about 2 psi ("normal" on an Esprit) and I realized I was very happy to move on.

Yeah, that was scary and common on Esprits. Mine always hovered around 5 psi when hot at idle, and while I know that was normal and in spec for the motor, it isn't confidence inspiring.

But knowing what we do now I think the various problems with the engine could be sorted. Oil pump would be clearances on the bearing plate and relief spring, plus galley checking. There are modern fixes for the valve covers. Megasquirt would more than handle the ECU side of things, custom forged pistons, plus some excellent block prep, and I bet it'd be a hell of a lot of fun. And then the shitty transaxle would need fixing. And the brakes upgraded. And...
 
My best mate has had 2 Esprit's over a 10 year period, the first was the 2.2 Turbo which I rode in many times and I always enjoyed it. He then sold it and bought a V8 and it was a beautiful car with plenty of grunt. In that time the only issue I remember him having was the plastic clutch fluid line burst as it ran quite close to the exhaust and it expanded with the heat and blew off the steel pipe when he put his foot on it at the lights one time. He replaced it with a full steel line, problem fixed. I also remember him saying the gearbox wasn't great but I know it never broke. Both cars saw track time with the Lotus Club and he was a pretty hard peddler. The V8 one he took when he went to live in Brisbane and is the Red car in the "Shanons Insurance" adds. I personally think an American V8 in anything is a good move.
As for the 2.2, it is the motor that Vauxhall used in the Rally Chevette although non turbo it had heaps of torque and produced 250hp the later version in the HSR got up to 275hp on Webers, to be fair Vauxhall used their iron block at 2.3litre and the latter used a redesigned head. I have used these engines in my own rally Chevette and loved them

Cheers Leon
 
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Hi guys,

I do get the logic of just getting more power out of the 4 banger...that makes sense and with current tech I would guess that 300-400hp is possible....with a bunch of work and $.

I have to be honest, I guess my motivations for doing this project are to have something a bit crazy and unique. Secondarily, I do like the grunt and sound of American V8 muscle...but I have to admit, I really, really like the simplicity of SBF V8 power and the fact that I can get big power pretty inexpensively. Something very cool about 400hp+ and $8 dollar dizzy caps from Napa. After spending many years (and dollars) for $500 ferrari dizzy caps and $250 rotors (2 each needed for a 308 for example) I'm worn thin with tolerance for such things. Lotus parts are less expensive but the idea is the same. And I hate turbo lag......just can't stand it.

It would be great is someone would build a jacked (technical term) Esprit turbo with mega hp in mind. Then we can line up with an SBF jacked Esprit and see how they compare. My feelings won't be hurt if I get left behind.
 
For some obscure reason I would prefer you called it an " SBF Cliffed Esprit" for now Cliff, My feelings would be hurt if you continue to refer to it as being "Jacked" :):)
 

Rick Muck- Mark IV

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Very cryptic sentence. Andretti? Mario was not interested in what exactly?

Yes, Andretti. It is after all a 1979 Championship edition. The seller contacted Andretti to see if he was interested but he wasn't and Mario them called my friend who he knows to refer the car.
 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
Hi guys,

I do get the logic of just getting more power out of the 4 banger...that makes sense and with current tech I would guess that 300-400hp is possible....with a bunch of work and $.

I have to be honest, I guess my motivations for doing this project are to have something a bit crazy and unique. Secondarily, I do like the grunt and sound of American V8 muscle...but I have to admit, I really, really like the simplicity of SBF V8 power and the fact that I can get big power pretty inexpensively. Something very cool about 400hp+ and $8 dollar dizzy caps from Napa. After spending many years (and dollars) for $500 ferrari dizzy caps and $250 rotors (2 each needed for a 308 for example) I'm worn thin with tolerance for such things. Lotus parts are less expensive but the idea is the same. And I hate turbo lag......just can't stand it.

It would be great is someone would build a jacked (technical term) Esprit turbo with mega hp in mind. Then we can line up with an SBF jacked Esprit and see how they compare. My feelings won't be hurt if I get left behind.

Well, you can't go wrong with an SBF and a bullet proof transaxle. Cool project and the chassis is capable -- should handle it with easy.

Have fun with it.
 
So I've got a good 016 lined up along with an LSD for it.

Now where to get a reasonable 331 stroker? This won't be a show-car....in fact, it'll be the opposite....somewhat of a sleeper...so the engine can be pretty basic. Good alloy heads and nice induction, yes. Good internals, yes. No need for anything too special beyond that.

Is there a 331 available through Ford Racing? I don't see one on the site there.

Just trying to figure out if I have enough brain power (and time) to start with a good short block and go from there. I'd like to end up with a complete engine (including induction/ignition) for under $10K. Any suggestions?
 
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