Lotus Elan

Quantum Mechanics/John Esposito's 5-speed Offering for Elans

PostPost by: msd1107 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:56 pm

Are Lotus Elan owners panty waists?

The T9 conversion for the Lotus Elite (which you wouldn't think needed a 5-speed) had a single production run of 20+ units, despite a pretty hefty price tag. Many owners afterward asked if they could order.

I talked to John Esposito this morning. Apparently, my order is only the 9th one! Based on the number of T9 Elite conversions compared to the number of existing Elites (700+) I would expect that there would be more than 150 orders. So for what are we waiting? At least John, Alan, and BGH are set up to continue production so a steady stream of orders is OK. The price of the aluminum gearcase is daunting, however. Quaife has raised the price considerably. A volume buy here could result in a reasonable discount.

And I know the subject of gear ratios has been beaten to death. Enclosed is a paper I prepared last year on the subject. For those of you who need something to put them to sleep at night, this is just the thing. It touches on production gear boxes, historic formula, F1, and a variety of other topics. Some interesting references to Lotuses.

1968 36/7988
20080906 optimum gear ratios.doc
Interesting paper on gear ratios
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PostPost by: elancoupe » Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:24 pm

Just a few random thoughts.... I for one would love to have this 5 speed. It seems well engineered, has plenty of gearing options, and (apparently) does not alter the car in a way that would not be reversible, should a return to stock be wanted.

But............... To get one set up to my needs, and have it shipped here (without a group discount) is going to cost $5K US. I like the close ratio gearing, and can't see digressing to Cortina ratios or whatever.

I am not saying that it isn't worth it. However, even if I had 5 grand to put in a transmission, I would seriously question investing that much into a model of car that apparently will never be worth more than $25K.

I didn't buy my car as an investment, as 29 years of ownership and self abuse will prove. I do think that most of us here are budget minded to some degree, else we would be on the Porshe or Ferrari boards instead :roll: .

This seems like a great product, I just think that the price will limit the market, unfortunately.
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:13 pm


A few random thoughts also.

Elan owners have been looking for a 5-speed since the '60s. The adventuresome and skillful have managed to adapt a variety of gearboxes.

Some years ago, I was encouraged to look into this issue. Starting from the concept the kit should be a gearbox replacement, I found a place to do a 5-speed gear kit with Lotus splines, a gear case with Cortina bolt pattern, and relocate the gear stick in a manner analogous to the T9 conversion in the Elite.

This would save the u-joint, tailpiece, sandwich plate, bellhousing, and clutch that is necessary in the T9/Voight/BGH combination, with a considerable price savings.

Buttt! Illness and company changes eventually brought a price quote I couldn't afford.

This is available now. I am buying. And I am going to thank my lucky stars every time I shift into 5th.

I am going to let my heirs worry about the "value" of the Lotus.

Look at the transmission as an early engine rebuild. The total cost of the car, even with upgrades, is less than owning a series of sedans. The cost of the transmission is less than one years of depreciation on a new car. So pay for the transmission by holding onto your existing cars for another year or so.

The price is several months of my Social Security. So I will probably be eating a lot of rice and beans. Any weight loss will be in the Chapman tradition.

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PostPost by: cabc26b » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:15 am

Hi Mike

While the cost of the gear box is not cheap by any one's standards for me it was negligible based on a few factors - 1st , My existing ( starting point) 2000e box is the standard lotus S1 box ( wide ratio all iron) I was looking at a new gear set ( quaife) new steel baulk rings and a mag bell-housing/alu tail shaft, seals , concentric slave cylinder etc etc. so I was committed to an outlay anyways - second, I am keeping the 3.9 rear-end , to me part of fun in elan ownership is that they are quick- lastly is that the with an overdrive 5th I finally have a tranist gear that will means more use out of the car - ( driving a 3.9 on interstate is miserable, and so avoided)

I would guess I am 4 or 5 on the list..

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PostPost by: john122S » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:44 am

"What's a panty waist?" asked my ex-wife, when I accused another driver of being such in a Texas traffic jam. She could have Googled it: Unisex underwear from the 1930s!
I just moved my '72 +2 S/130 from Virginia to Indiana, and I mailed my check today to Quantum Mechanics for a semi-close kit with alloy case. I think the car is worth it and deserves the 0/D 5th. Thank you to Alan Voight and John Esposito. The kit is cheaper than a T5 Tremec kit for a vintage Jag - a much higher volume market where adding lightness hardly matters.
Cheers, John
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:35 am

john122S wrote:The kit is cheaper than a T5 Tremec kit for a vintage Jag - a much higher volume market where adding lightness hardly matters.

Not to mention the markup some are willing to pay. Tremec T5s are still in production and sold (brand new) by official Tremec distributors (see Summit Racing) for about $1500 US, depending on the model.
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Elite S2 (1962)
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PostPost by: RotoFlexible » Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:58 am

I'm in. I put my deposit on a E7 CR box (2.66:1 1st, 0.82:1 5th) in the mail today. I spoke with John Esposito on the phone and he plans to keep close track of the early installations, which gives me confidence that he's committed to the success of this enterprise.

I passed up the chance to bid on a 3.77 diff a short while ago (it sold for more than I was willing to pay in any case). If I were starting from scratch, the 3.77 would be my choice to use with this box, but the difference from 3.9 isn't enough to warrant the expense, especially when I recently overhauled the 3.9 and it's sitting happily in the car.
Andrew Bodge
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I love the sound of a torque wrench in the morning. Sounds like... progress.
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