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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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Silodrome Gasoline Culture - Article on the Lotus Excel

Does this look vaguely familiar?
It should. It's a Lotus Excel. It was never sold in North America.
Around the time the Mk II Celica Supra was being designed, Toyota hired Lotus to fine tune the handling on the Celica Supra. Before you know it, Toyota became a major shareholder in Lotus Cars and Engineering.
A lot of Toyota parts were used in the construction of the Excel. The door handles, the W58 transmission, the rear half shafts , differential, and the 14X7 wheels (not the ones in this picture, these came later)

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Excel exterior door handles

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Excel interior door handles

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1984 Excel with Supra wheels - factory supplied wheels

I would say that more than just mechanical bits were traded. The greenhouse is eerily similar, the nose is similar and has hide away headlights. I wonder which came first, the Excel or the Celica Supra?

The Excel came with a 160 DIN HP 2.2L 4 cylinder motor, but only weighed about 2,500 pounds. As a result, it is somewhat faster than the Mk II. 0-60 is listed as taking about 7 seconds whereas the Mk II takes about 8 seconds. The engine gained power over the years, eventually having 180.
Lotus is/was famed for light weight so for the same power, these would be faster. However, Lotus is/was famed for being fragile. Lotus' (Lotii?) typically have FABULOUS handling, the reason Toyota went to Lotus for design input.

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Silodrome rear seat photo link

I'm sure the Excel is lower and lighter, but I think that for a GT car, I'd rather be in a Celica Supra. The Excel interior seems a little claustrophobic.
The original Excel was also considered to be a sub-model, it was known as the Lotus Eclat Excel, just as the Supra was the Toyota Celica Supra! The body side flares were not add on's like the P Type, but they did not add wheel well clearance either.

The cars are NOT clones. The engine, chassis, and body are totally different designs, but to me, they sure were styled at the same time.

I just think that it's so cool to see a distant cousin.


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Yeah that's a cool looking car! I second the notion about the reliability (or lack thereof), and the cost is probably quite a bit higher than for our Supras with the parts availability certainly not better. And for everyday use, the MkII is much better suited; amazing what you can fit into it!

AFAIK the cylinder head of the 5M-GE was (co-) designed by Yamaha.


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Dale, having seen crush zones in MA60s I can say the chassis provides a superior level of protection to occupants, I cant imagine the "Lotii" has the same structural integrity based on their history of lightweight cars (F1 as well)

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I went down to Palo Alto 30 some years ago to attend a company training course. I arrived on the weekend and on the way to my hotel, drove by Stanford University where they were holding an 'All British Field Meet' with all brands of British Cars. I immediately stopped and attended as a spectator.

I will never forget listening to the master of ceremonies when he introduced the different car clubs and he said something to the effect 'And on the west side is the Lotus contingent, with 38 cars, everyone different, and NONE completed!' And you know, he was right.

Colin Chapman was an engineer who didn't just push the limits, he kicked them in the ass. He ran his Formula 1 team like that and all the Grand Prix drivers were somewhat wary of the cars. He favoured performance over reliability so lightness was the easiest way to improve acceleration, braking, and cornering performance. In 1970 Lotus won the world title with the earth shaking Type 72.
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Lotus 72

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Apparently at Monza with the high speed turns, wings caused too much aerodynamic drag. So Rindt took the off. Can you say a big set?

The driver, an Austrian Jochen Rindt, was extremely nervous about the safety and reliability issues of this car. He won the world driver's championship posthumously. At Monza, on a high speed turn, in practice he hit the brakes and the car had inboard disk brakes attached to the wheel hubs with hollow shafts. One shaft fractured and pitched the low nose of the car under the Armco barrier.

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Front brakes and shafts

He didn't like wearing anti-submarine crotch belts so he slid down and the windscreen cut his jugular.

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Rindt and Colin Chapman at Monza in 1970

Jochen Rindt

That was Lotus.

The street cars were always like kit cars, which they DID sell in earlier years.

The Mazda Miata was a 'reproduction' of the original Lotus Elan. The Mazda weighed 2,200 pounds. The Elan weighed 1,515 pounds.

If you like tinkering on cars, a Lotus is for you!

The Lotus Elite, Eclat, and Excel all used the poor man's carbon fiber, plywood. It was cheap and it was light.
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
And totally unrelated, except for being connected to Monza.
1997 World Driving Champion, Jacques Villeneuve went to Monza with actor James Garner to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the movie Grand Prix. The movie featured a thinly disguised Sochiro Honda led team. In the return, they had Garner and Villeneuve, who was driving for BAR Honda, go to the high banking of Monza. In the video Villeneuve, who is really quite the traditionalist, says that to do this right, you can't use seat belts.......
So he didn't. Until Honda and some highly excited insurance people had a sh*t fit and made him put them back in the car.

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I actually have a steering wheel from an Excel on my car. Got it from Aus on EBay ages ago.

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Nice post , I always compared the two years ago but I probably would have preferred the Lotus because of the fiber glass body, no rust💁🏻‍♂️…. And I also thought that the Mk4 Supra should have evolved in looks like a Lotus esprit , if they would have followed the MK2 lines … but that was my thinking years ago. 😄
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