New Excel owner in the US.

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JB455
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Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2021 04:58
Model: Excel
Colour: Calypso Red
Year: 1985
Location: Newtown, CT USA

New Excel owner in the US.

Post by JB455 »

Hello all- I picked up a 1985 Excel a few weeks ago. I've been having a blast driving it around the back roads of western Connecticut- in between all of the rain we've been having lately! Didn't take too long for me to get used to the RHD and shifting with my left hand. I'm really amazed at the reaction it gets everywhere I drive- and I'm in an area that has quite a few exotic and classic cars- not too far from Lime Rock Park.
I was very excited to see a whole board dedicated to the Excel- it seems like most Lotus forums are very heavy on the newer models and not so much on anything older, except the Esprit. I look forward to learning from you all here, that have experience with this model.

Here is the car getting her first bath after I brought it back from Long Island, NY and at a local car show- the yellow Trans Am is also mine.

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MetBlue
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Posts: 590
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 21:00
Model: Elite 74 & Excel 92 (SEish))
Colour: Metalic Blue
Year: 1974
Location: Northampton

Re: New Excel owner in the US.

Post by MetBlue »

Welcome to the forum. What a pair of cars to be taking to shows.
I know Trans Ams are large but doesn't that photo make the Excel look small!!

You're in the right place for pretty much anything you need to know. Timing might be awkward for you, but why not drop in on our bi weekly Zoom meets if you get half a chance.

I was going to be a bit more sarcastic about the size of American cars, (there's no shortage of light hearted banter here) but seeing as this is your early visits, chose to hold back 😁😁.

Tony
What goes together.... Must come apart.

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Ray-s
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Posts: 164
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 15:04
Model: Excel se
Colour: calypso red
Year: 1988
Location: Grantham (close to)

Re: New Excel owner in the US.

Post by Ray-s »

Welcome to the forum, love the Trans and the lotus looks good too, right colour :) .
Any lacquer peel on the Lotus ? common fault , should imagine it gets a bit warm over there mind you at the minute we are getting left overs from your heat wave 8) ...
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Ray...
Why is there always bits left over ?

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DavidOliver
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Posts: 542
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:18
Model: Excel
Colour: Calypso Red
Year: 1985
Location: Malaga Spain

Re: New Excel owner in the US.

Post by DavidOliver »

Hi there JB455, many welcomes to this board, how about a christian name.
I also have an 1985 Calypso Red Excel, previous UK registration C284 RSC and VIN SCC089912FHD11937 dated 21.08.1985
It is now registered in Spain and I have spent a lot of time recovering it from UK rust from salty roads.
You will see on this Forum postings from Tim Engel who is a Lotus Guru based somewhere in the States, a big place.
This Forum is very friendly and fortunately enjoys very useful comments. Also we are lucky to have very good spares suppliers in the UK and almost all parts you may need are available at relatively reasonable prices. Check up on SJSportscars and Lotusbits. Paul Matty has a wide range of parts, no comment on prices. Our cars are DIY friendly, no electronic wizadry, very satisfying to fix yourself, and one hell of a drive.

Again, welcome to the Forum.

Dave the cog

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Pete Boole
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Posts: 2604
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 21:28
Model: Elite
Colour: Monaco White
Year: 1974
Location: Nottingham

Re: New Excel owner in the US.

Post by Pete Boole »

Yep - welcome to the forum! Love the Trans Am! 8). You can just about fit a Chevy V8 in an Excel as well :D

Pete

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rbgosling
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Posts: 1151
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2010 22:55
Model: Lotus Excel SE
Colour: Midnight Blue
Year: 1990
Location: Northampton

Re: New Excel owner in the US.

Post by rbgosling »

Pete Boole wrote:
Mon Jul 19, 2021 14:06
Yep - welcome to the forum! Love the Trans Am! 8). You can just about fit a Chevy V8 in an Excel as well :D

Pete
^^^^ This man has proved it too!!! ^^^^
"Farmer" Richard

1990 Lotus Excel SE (Lilith)
2004 Jaguar X-Type Estate

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Tanz
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Posts: 1682
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 22:05
Model: SE
Colour: Calypso Red
Year: 1988
Location: Wolverhampton

Re: New Excel owner in the US.

Post by Tanz »

Welcome to the forum. If you have any good photos please post them in the link below to get them published in the 2022 calendar. I like the first picture you posted just needs the bucket and hose removing :)

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=11819&start=45
Cheers, Phil
Never take life seriously, nobody gets out alive anyway!

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TrevorK
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Posts: 188
Joined: Tue May 09, 2017 17:47
Model: Excel SE
Colour: White
Year: 1988

Re: New Excel owner in the US.

Post by TrevorK »

Welcome to the forum. I found JAE very helpful when I had my Esprit. The engine shares many parts with the Excel, particularly service parts. Gearbox, brakes and final drive are Toyota parts. The parts manual which you can buy through the forum is very useful for seeing how things go together so would make a good purchase.

We may not know all the answers but are always willing to help so never be afraid to ask.
What car is that?

JB455
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Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2021 04:58
Model: Excel
Colour: Calypso Red
Year: 1985
Location: Newtown, CT USA

Re: New Excel owner in the US.

Post by JB455 »

Thanks for the welcome! Been driving the new car quite a bit, getting more comfortable with it... and the RHD.
In response to some of your posts-
My name is Jeremy B.- my user name come from my initials and the 455 is a reference to the cubic inch displacement of the biggest Pontiac V8. I've been collecting vintage Pontiacs since I was 14... and I'm a lot older than that now. In addition to the Trans Am above, I currently have a 1969 Lemans convertible and a 1966 GTO. The Trans Am has a 6.6 liter (400 cu in) Pontiac V8- Pontiac purists frown on installing Chevy V8s, though it is a common practice.
An Excel with a small block Chevy must be quite a ride! My Excel weighs almost 1000 lbs. less than my Trans Am!
Dave, it would seem that my car was built 13 cars after yours! Mine was in the UK until 2010, when it was shipped over here. It seems to be in pretty good condition overall, but needs a little TLC here and there. I've already gone through the entire fuel system as the pump and carbs got fouled up with rust from the tank.

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And just for fun, a picture of my '69 Lemans at the drag strip. I race it in a series called "FAST" Factory Appearing Stock Tire. The cars need to look completely stock, even under the hood, but can have internal modifications, and must run on reproduction bias ply tires.

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Lotus-e-Clan
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Model: Excel SE - EWP/Waterless!
Colour: Not Blue or Green
Year: 1989
Location: Swaledale

Re: New Excel owner in the US.

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

Welcome Jeremy B.

Common drive train issuses may give you an excuse to mildly modify your SE to make it a bit faster and improve driveability.
Bear in mind the std 912 SE engine has to be revved well above 4k rpm to make decent progress (limiter cuts in at 7k rpm on mine). Deleting torque-sapping std-features from the stock engine with a few mods makes sub-4k rpm driving more satisfying.

Ignition system integrety can be flakey - and vacuum leaks - impact badly on the stock 180 BHP 912 SE high compression (HC) engine. As does unbalanced and poorly tuned DHLA carbs. - But impact of a weak irregular spark (and vacuum leaks!) is first thing to address if first disappointed with the engine. The HC engine also likes higher octane fuel....

Flywheel is a heavy flexiplate which accelerates clutch wear to around 50k miles - good excuse to fit a light steel flywheel thus releasing some torque.

Cooling issues like torn waterpump seals - good excuse to delete the stock pump and fit an EWP to release some torque (also radiator end tank leaks->vibration -good excuse to fit a lighter alloy rad with better rubber mounts).

Stock 215 /50 tyres (tires) are hard to find - good excuse to fit smaller diameter 205/50 tires to release some torque ....fit 225/50 and you will notice the opposite effect.

The cummulation of all of the above will at least allow you to spin the tires in the dry - which is not a standard feature with the factory stock Excel SE. That said, 'Fast n Loud' style burn-outs would still be impossible at this stage - so Richard Rawlings would be well-unimpressed!

Cracked manifold (header) - good excuse to push toward 200 BHP with a tubular header and gas flowed stainless exhaust system. Add a header-matched and ported gas-flowed head (stock valves) and you are up to 215+ BHP @ 6500+ rpm...and it still looks pretty stock under the hood.

Also if you remove the rear spoiler, acceleration above 90 mph increases too, leading to a higher Vmax (140+ mph)...that said, the gearbox doesn't like to run constantly at high Vmax and the rear end will be begin to feel 'light' in fast sweeping bends without the rear spoiler north of 100 mph so that's why the spoiler is there - Lotus wouldn't add it just to be fashionable at the time - it slows the car down to save the gear box (aimed at German autobarn drivers) and makes it more stable! :)

Talking about fast sweeping bends, the steering has no Akerman geometry - the lack of which, makes the Excel very stable in high speed bends. But you will notice the front wheels ploughing gravel at parking speeds on full lock due to the lack of Akerman geo - so don't worry about this it's a std feature and they all do it.

Happy days! :D

Bummer getting senile - just noticed yours is an '85 so it'll be a non-SE low compression (LC) 160 BHP engine (180 BHP SE introduced 1986) . Most of those tips/mods still apply to the LC engine though!
Peter K

Pete Boole
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Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 21:28
Model: Elite
Colour: Monaco White
Year: 1974
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Re: New Excel owner in the US.

Post by Pete Boole »

Love that photo at the track with the rear tyre deforming! :D

Pete

JB455
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Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2021 04:58
Model: Excel
Colour: Calypso Red
Year: 1985
Location: Newtown, CT USA

Re: New Excel owner in the US.

Post by JB455 »

Peter, thanks for the tips! I'll likely just keep up with the maintenance and keep mods to a minimum for now. I suspect it's had some work done to it before it left the UK, but have no records from before it came to the US. It runs well and sounds great as the revs climb. If I need to do a smoky burnout, I'll do it one of my Pontiacs- with well over 500 lbs of torque, burning tires is easy!
I know that the smaller tires have some benefit, but it came with 225s and the bigger tire just looks right to me.

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