I have always been a little unsure about the relationship between these Vauxhall and Lotus engines. The LV220 had its genesis as the Vauxhall motor used in such exotica as the Bedford CF van and the Viva GT. Did the LV use the Vauxhall crank and rods, even after replacing the iron block? I was told that these were really tough parts, good for a lot more power.
In parallel, there was the Vauxhall Chevette HS and HSR which used a similar DOHC 16 valve engine also based on the slant four base. There was a problem in rallying when DTV were found to be using the Vauxhall head in their Gp4 rally cars and had to change to a Vauxhall head. Presumably the road car (homologation special) used a Vauxhall head, but the rally team used the Lotus one to save time and effort developing it? What block did this engine use? The iron one or an alloy one, and if so was that the Lotus block?
Blydenstein never used an alloy Lotus block in any of their cars, as far as I know. The first car to use the Lotus head was Old Nail from the '72 season onwards.
That was by then a 2.2 litre from a 2 litre block in 8 valve configuration, after the 16 valve conversion it was gradually enlarged up to 2.6 litre capacity.
The car used a Tecalemit Jackson fuel injection system both before and after the the Lotus head conversion.
The debacle over the use of the Lotus head on the early Chevette HS was due to a rule change for '78. Before then alternative cylinder heads could be homologated
for use on the original type block in Gp.2/4, providing there were available at least 100 kits. Such did we get a 24-valve Stratos, 16 valve Corolla/Celica, BRM Avenger etc.
The Chevette was homologated with reference to the Vauxhall head (meant for the HP Firenza) but from the beginning it used the Lotus head on a Vauxhall cast iron block.
So when the '78 season started Vauxhall continued to us the Lotus head due to the non-availability of the base homologated head. This did slide a bit and they got away with
it on quite a few rallies, Sweden, Mintex, Circuit etc. Allegedly Ford with the help of Graham Robson in an article in Autocar drove this issue to the attention of the FIA.
He visited Shepreth before writing that article and was welcomed and shown around the workshops by Bill Blydenstein and Gerry Johnstone.
So at scrutineering in Portugal the proverbial hit the fan proper. A very few heads had been produced by Vauxhall before, but GM being the way it is/was it would take a long time
to get the correct heads in production, Jensen Healey did a few too. But after Portugal it was Cosworth who was chosen for the main batch, there wasn't much choice with the very limited amount of time available, and the quality required. Vauxhall/WBB could not put the whole rally programme on halt for a variety of reasons.
There might have been some privateer Firenza and Chevette specials for hillclimbs and sprints using the whole Lotus engine but there's no info of any official WBB built cars. (?)
Lotus had three different cars they used to test their prototype, (iron block first) 16 valve engine in, a Victor FD VX4/90, a Viva HB GT and eventually a Bedford CF!
The latter was the car they used to road test the first alloy block version, allegedly. There might be some more details in Tony Rudd's book, "It Was Fun"
Source : http://www.lotusespr...evelopment.html
Vauxhall never experienced the same problem as the Talbot team did with seized cranks etc. During certain times it was a big problem, it was not totally unknown for the engine to
seize over night in parc fermé even! Russell Brookes experienced this at least once and had to push the car out to where they could get a tow rope to a service van/chase car.
Then towing it down the road to see if they could free up the engine again.... When Russell first tried to let out the clutch the rear wheels locked up!
Not sure if they got that engine going again at all on that event. They (Phil Davidson) must have got over this problem somehow, the engine proved reliable (enough) eventually.