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Lotus engines


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#1 HistoryFan

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 17:23

Hello,

Lotus will build an IndyCar engine together with Lotus for the 2012 IndyCar season.

I think Lotus didn't build much racing engines, can you list them up all with details in technical way and with which partnerships?
I think there was a F2 engine by Lotus in 1967

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#2 BRG

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 18:20

As far as I recall, Lotus only made two basic engines of their own. The four-cylinder 2 or 2.2 litre one was used in the Esprit/Ecalt/Elite ranges in n/a and turbo form and was raced in the 62 and in the Texaco Star F2, and then there was the V8 used in the Esprit and raced in GTs.

#3 kayemod

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 18:33

As far as I can remember from being there at the time, the 'Lotus' engines in the Texaco Star type 74s had iron Vauxhall blocks not the Lotus alloy ones, so they were as much Vauxhall as Lotus, and I think they were originally supplied by Novamotor in Italy. Power output was always a disappointment, and they were heavily revised mid-season by Norvic Racing Engines, though with no noticeable improvement.

#4 RA Historian

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 20:50

Actually, isn't the Lotus Indy engine essentially a Cosworth with Lotus badging?

As to the question at hand, if memory serves, and I'd appreciate a little help here, didn't Lotus supply or build or design the engine that was used in the Jensen-Healey?

Lotus, I seem to recall, also designed the dohc V-8 used in a very limited number of Corvettes around 1989-90. I believe that the engine itself was built by Mercury Marine.

Tom

Edited by RA Historian, 09 December 2010 - 01:19.


#5 elansprint72

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 20:54

I don't think that Lotus have made any pure racing engines. Of course I'm usually wrong. They have modified road car engines for racing and other folks' engines for racing too.

Of course the current proliferation of teams called Lotus have nothing to do with the real thing and , imho, have no place on this particular forum.

#6 HistoryFan

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 21:19

Thank you.

I know that Lotus not built an engine of theirselves, but there were engines calles Lotus: Ian Raby raced a Brabham Lotus in F2 in 1967.

#7 kayemod

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 21:33

As to the question at hand, if memory serves, and I'd appreciate a little help here, didn't Lotus supply or build or design the engine that was used in the Jensen-Healy?


The Jensen Healey was powered by the Lotus 907 engine, which was used in almost exactly the same form in the Lotus Elite. Actually this was at least the third power plant that Jensen tried after various problems with Vauxhall and (I think) German Ford V6 units. The Lotus 907 was a surprisingly good engine with low emissions, which was a large part of its appeal for sales in the US of course, reasonably powerful by the standards of the day, but always noticeably lacking in torque if you tried to hurry it along.


#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 21:36

That would undoubtedly been a twin-cam Lotus head on a Ford bottom end...

Yes, Lotus did supply (or design and have sub-contracted?) engines for Jensen-Healeys, again, a lot of Vauxhall influence if not Vauxhall parts.

And there was an involvement with Chevrolet which brought to fruition a 4-cam V8 in a limited number of Corvettes.

#9 D-Type

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 21:49

It's a question of interpretation.

Take the Ford Cortina Lotus or Lotus Cortina. Clearly the basis was Ford - a Mk1 Cortina. But Lotus felt it was enough of a Lotus to give it a Lotus type number. Its engine was obviously Ford-based but I think the whole top end - twin camshafts and cylinder head was a Lotus design. The early engines were certainly built by Lotus but when the car went into production it was by Ford. Now, take a Brabham chassis and an engine from a Cortina Lotus / Lotus Cortina and what do you call it - a Brabham-Ford or a Brabham-Lotus?

The engine that went into the Jensen Healey and the Lotus Elite etc was designed by Lotus and built by Lotus. Admittedly it did use a Vauxhall block, but that does not make the engine a Vauxhall. I disagree with Kayemod - it was not "as much Vauxhall as Lotus" it was a Lotus engine that just happened to have a Vauxhall block.

So, in answer to the original question: Yes there have been Lotus engines used for racing, but they were developments of road car engines and not an out-and-out recing engine, ie one whose primary purpose was to win races.

#10 elansprint72

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 21:56

That would undoubtedly been a twin-cam Lotus head on a Ford bottom end...

Yes, Lotus did supply (or design and have sub-contracted?) engines for Jensen-Healeys, again, a lot of Vauxhall influence if not Vauxhall parts.

And there was an involvement with Chevrolet which brought to fruition a 4-cam V8 in a limited number of Corvettes.


Is this a different beast from the engine which went into the Etna and iterated into the Esprit V8 motor? Again, not a racing engine.

I think that there might have been some Lotus personnel involvement with the Vauxhall 2.3 Firenza motor, which went around the loop and appeared with a new badge. Gosh, it's a long time ago.

#11 elansprint72

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 21:59

So, in answer to the original question: Yes there have been Lotus engines used for racing, but they were developments of road car engines and not an out-and-out recing engine, ie one whose primary purpose was to win races.



Exactly my take on things. However; another Lotus can of worms may be the consultancy work, although I would be surprised if that included a "complete" racing engine package; but as with all things Lotus- who knows?  ;)

#12 kayemod

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 22:26

The engine that went into the Jensen Healey and the Lotus Elite etc was designed by Lotus and built by Lotus. Admittedly it did use a Vauxhall block, but that does not make the engine a Vauxhall. I disagree with Kayemod - it was not "as much Vauxhall as Lotus" it was a Lotus engine that just happened to have a Vauxhall block.


I'm pretty sure that you're wrong there, as I understand it, nothing more than coincidence that the Lotus 907 and Vauxhall engines had the same cylinder spacing and basic dimensions, but they were quite different designs, no interchangeable parts, and all Jensen Healeys had alloy-blocked Lotus engines. I was told that when Lotus were having production problems with their alloy blocks, they sought Vauxhall's permission to build a few engines with cast iron Vauxhall blocks, but these were only ever numbered in single figures, there were two in Vivas which pounded around the Hethel test track for week after week to prove the design, clocking up huge mileages. I very nearly bought one of these, but they insisted that they'd only let me have it with the original engine put back, so no deal. There was also one in a Lotus liveried Vauxhall van which made a few drivers on the A11 gasp with its remarkable turn of speed, and one or two others, but not a single one ever went to a customer, every 907 sold in an Elite or its later derivatives was 100% Lotus, alloy blocks and all, not a single Vauxhall component. The engines in those Texaco Stars used iron Vauxhall blocks, but as far as I know, this was Novamotor's choice, not that of Lotus, and presumably they had perfectly good reasons for this.


#13 D-Type

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 22:37

I'm pretty sure I am too - call it this month's signature justification.

It's a combination of two misunderstandings. I read your earlier post as saying that the Jensen Healey / Lotus Elite engine should be called a Vauxhall engine. This came from my second misunderstanding as I thought they all used a Vauxhall block.

#14 Charles E Taylor

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 11:22

Lotus Engines

The engines in those Texaco Stars used iron Vauxhall blocks, but as far as I know, this was Novamotor's choice, not that of Lotus, and presumably they had perfectly good reasons for this.


For the sake of historical accuracy, all of the engines used in the Lotus 74 Texaco Stars were 3 Bearing Alloy blocks of Lotus manufacture. The Cylinder heads were a different casting to those used by the road cars.

At that time the regulations required F2 engines to be derived from very low volume series production engines. Lotus cast 200 special cylinder heads for Novamotor to develop.

The greatest problem with this endeavour was engine reliability. Perhaps this was a result of the Pedrazzani brothers being contracted on too tight a budget to develop the engine. It was not helped by the fact the engine block was a 3 bearing design and lacked the stiffness to be developed into a real “stressed member” engine design. In the Type 74 tubular frames were used to provide additional engine mountings.

Nevertheless, all of the engines used in the Type 74 were Novamoter developed alloy blocks of Lotus manufacture.

Steve Sanville, Colin Holt and others at Norvic Racing engines did additional work on these units during the season as the programme slowly progressed.

To provide some sense of scale Team Lotus at this time consisted of 28 people, it fielded 4 F1 cars and 2 F2 cars winning 7 F1 races and the WCC.


I hope this helps.


Charlie


#15 kayemod

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 13:15

Lotus Engines


Nevertheless, all of the engines used in the Type 74 were Novamoter developed alloy blocks of Lotus manufacture.


Well, it wasn't my department, and you clearly know an awful lot more about these engines than I do, but I was just going on what I was told at the time. Are you sure that there weren't any iron-blocked Type 74 engines, as it was definitely a Team bloke who told me all this, could iron blocks have been tried in an attempt to cure the flexing problem? With a couple of colleagues, he was manoeuvering a 74 into the reception area of the main Lotus office. The car was nearing the end of its short and undistinguished career, and I helped with a bit of furniture & pot plant re-arrangement to make room to walk around the thing. The car was carrying sponsorship from another Group Lotus company, Moonraker Power Yachts, and the Team guy said that they'd like to drop it into Oulton Broad next to the JCL Marine boatyard, he actually said something like "With that iron block it would sink like a stone".

After reading your post I did a bit of checking, Anthony Pritchard's Lotus the Competition Cars agrees on the alloy blocks, whereas William Taylor's The Lotus Book tells us that they were iron, so there does appear to be some doubt about this.


#16 brooster51

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 15:26

I believe that engine referred to as the 'Lotus Twin-Cam' had a cylinder head designed with assistance from Cosworth. It first came to prominence when Jim Clark used it and a Lotus 23 chassis to come close to winning the 1962 1000 km at Nurburgring. It became the staple engine in touring car racing in the 1.6 liter class in a Lotus modified Cortina until the BDA came along. In '65 the Alan Mann team used BRM tuned 'Twin-Cam' engines in it's Cortinas in the European Touring Car Championship. So at one point it was known as:

Lotus-Ford Cosworth BRM Type XV Phase II 'Twin-Cam'

Now if they'd had Cooper sub-contract something they'd have had virtually all the British F1 teams at the time involved.

#17 cs3tcr

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 16:41

Further on the Vauxhall/Lotus engine, there's a brochure on the Lotus 62 denoting the use of a cast iron block (modified Vauxhall) with alloy head. The engine type was listed as the LV240.

#18 kayemod

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 18:24

Further on the Vauxhall/Lotus engine, there's a brochure on the Lotus 62 denoting the use of a cast iron block (modified Vauxhall) with alloy head. The engine type was listed as the LV240.


That's right, but only two Type 62s were ever built, and I think they accounted for two of the original small batch of cast iron Vauxhall-blocked engines with what was to become the Lotus 907's alloy head. Useful lessons were learned from racing these two cars, and the later Lotus 907s with alloy blocks were in most respects an improved version of these early units. Although early iron block engines can reasonably be referred to as Lotus/Vauxhall, they were as quoted above named LV240, later all alloy 907 engines had no Vauxhall content at all other than some of the basic block shape, so it's incorrect to call them Lotus/Vauxhall units.

On the Lotus Twin-Cam engine, you could make the designation even longer, the original design came from Coventry Climax man Harry Mundy, and some gas flow work on the head was carried out by Harry Weslake who was later responsible for the Eagle-Weslake F1 engine. Also, the first seven thousand production engines were assembled for Lotus by J A Prestwich, better known as JAP, whose light and powerful motorbike engines won countless speedway championships all over the world. You could conjure a pretty lengthy title by working all those names into the designation, and I'm sure that there are a few more names that I've missed.


#19 malcolm6

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 18:50

That's right, but only two Type 62s were ever built, and I think they accounted for two of the original small batch of cast iron Vauxhall-blocked engines with what was to become the Lotus 907's alloy head. Useful lessons were learned from racing these two cars, and the later Lotus 907s with alloy blocks were in most respects an improved version of these early units. Although early iron block engines can reasonably be referred to as Lotus/Vauxhall, they were as quoted above named LV240, later all alloy 907 engines had no Vauxhall content at all other than some of the basic block shape, so it's incorrect to call them Lotus/Vauxhall units.


Think there were 25 LV240 or LV220 (meaning Lotus Vauxhall followed by the bhp figure) Lotus 904's built 2.0L circa 1969 - production engine was the 907 with 905 and 906 being further test designs
Jump to 1972 and Bill Blydenstein bought the remaining 12 Lotus 904's using some complete engines and some heads in variuos race / rally cars - Old Nail being the most famous.
An F2 2.3L version of the 904 (with correct engine numbers) is still a runner in a race car in Southern Ireland - the owner having a spare 2.0L 904 as well


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#20 Roger Clark

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 20:24

On the Lotus Twin-Cam engine, you could make the designation even longer, the original design came from Coventry Climax man Harry Mundy,

I don't think he was with Climax when he designed the twin-cam. He was technical editor of The Autocar at the time.

#21 kayemod

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 20:30

I don't think he was with Climax when he designed the twin-cam. He was technical editor of The Autocar at the time.


Of course but I left out the 'ex', and his pedigree speaks for itself. I bet he wished he'd accepted the "One pound per engine" deal Chapman is reputed to have offered instead of the flat fee he decided on, he'd have been well over £40,000 ahead, which was real money back in the early 70s, still a reasonable sum today of course.


#22 Charles E Taylor

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 20:48

Lotus 900 series engines.


These engines were designed by Ron Burr.

A good description of the various engine types can be found here.

In 1973 for F2 the Type 74 required homologated engine units. The Iron Vauxhall block could not have been used without it being homologated- none were. It was however used in the Type 62 - as mentioned in the article.

It was a long time ago - memories (sometimes unclear).






Charlie

#23 BRG

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 13:46

There was a lot of inter-relation between the Vauxhall 2.0/2.3 litre SC engine and the Lotus 900 series one. The V'hall Chevette HS engine was the 2.3 Bedford CF van motor with a 16 valve DOHC head. But when they rallied the Chevette, DTV used the Lotus cylinder head until the FIA caught up with them on non-homologation grounds and made them use their own heads. So clearly there was interchangeability still in the late 1970s. I had a feeling that the Bedford crank and rods might have been common to both?

#24 Terry Walker

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 04:10

The original Lotus twincam was a Lotus engine - Chapman commissioned Harry Mundy, then tech editor of Autocar (or Motor, I forget which), who was an engineer with Coventry Climax before that. For the Elan, Chapman needed a bigger, stronger engine than the single-cam 1200-odd cc Climax in the Elite, and got Harry to design a twin cam conversion which was to be simple to build, and use the strong Ford 1500 cc 5 bearing block. Lotus then built the engines from various suppliers - foundries and whatnot, for the Elan. A very small number were built using standard bore and stroke, 1499cc, for under 1500cc international racing - I think the Lotus 23b that Jim Clark raced had one of these; the rest were overbored to something like 1566cc for the road cars. When Chapman no longer needed the twincam for his own cars, the rights were sold to Ford, who kept building them, with Ford instead of Lotus on the camcovers.

Chapman used the same basic concept for the later Vauxhall based engine, again intended as a sporty road engine with potential for racing. Find a strong modern mass produced block the right size, then commission a better head. Of course, the Vauxhall based engine was later extensively developed, more so than the oiginal Lotus Twin Cam.

I think it's safe to call both of them Lotus engines. I had a guy arguing black and blue one day that the original Lotus Twin Cam was actually a Cosworth engine . . . not so.



#25 RA Historian

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 16:21

I find this thread very interesting and informative. I owned a Lotus 28 (Lotus Cortina) for four and one-half months way back when. Bought it in Washington DC in a moment of weakness in Jan, 1967. Drove it home to Wisconsin a couple days thereafter and painfully discovered that it was not in any way suited to a Wisconsin winter. Blasted thing never would start. Always had to get a jump. When it did run it was a terror on the streets. I enjoyed dusting off Pontiac GTOs and similar Detroit muscle with this "ugly little box". They never knew what hit them. In July I managed to trade almost even up for a Porsche 356. Had that six months until the Wisconsin winter did it in also. Traded it for a new Mustang, which had both a heater and would start! But that is another story.

At any rate, I have learned a lot about my little Lotus Twin Cam from this thread, stuff I did not know back then.

But I still wish that I had all the money I threw at cars back in those days!

Tom

#26 mariner

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 19:37

Lotus clearly did develop the quad cam corvette engine for the ZR-1 when they were owned by GM so I suppose you could call it a Lotus engine transferred by the group company to another dividion ( Chevrolet)!

Which raises an interesting question for the US members - did anybody actually RACE a ZR -1 Vette in any meaningful way?

As I understand it the Lotus quad cam engine had a lot of influence on the Cadillac Northstar engine which is still used and has ( I think) been raced.

#27 RA Historian

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 21:28

Which raises an interesting question for the US members - did anybody actually RACE a ZR -1 Vette in any meaningful way?

Good question. Off hand I cannot think of any that raced. They were very limited production, and I wonder if GM ever bothered applying for homologation. I do not believe that SCCA ever approved it either for pro or club racing. If someone knows of any racing, I would be interested in knowing about it.
Tom