Change of plans
A lot of you readers are aware that the GT is being restored, and as part of that restoration is an engine. The original engine was broken and not cost effective to repair, with that in mind the decision was made to obtain a lotus 912 engine as its replacement. This however comes with certain compromises and modification, its not a simple bolt in and off you go change.
Having spent a month or so thinking about this engine and the costs involved I am changing plans, mainly to save money. Here is my thought processes.
The Lotus unit is known for having a weak bottom end when compared to the vauxhall unit, and to balance this weakness they introduced the 912 engine which has a stronger bottom end, but its wider and would involve a very complex sump to fit the GT, which in itself may weaken the bottom end as the sump is part of the strength of the engine.
Secondly the steering would of needed to be moved to one side, as the sump width would of fowled the column, we did think about putting a tube through the sump to allow the steering to remain in its present position, but I wonder if the lower part of the block would still fowl the steering? I don’t know that for a fact, but if so then tubing the sump is a waste of time, and some serious moving of steering rack and column will be required.
Thirdly, the engine bell-housing would need to be modified to bolt up to the engine, as one of the holes is incorrectly spaced, or I could of purchased a Lotus Excel bell-housing, but again this would assume I was going to use the Toyota W58 gearbox as used by the Lotus Excel, which is yet more expense, add the cost of a prop-shaft and modification to cross-members, mounts and gear-leavers so it does not fowl the centre consul and we are into some serious money, on top of the cost of the engine. (oh and the Toyota box is hydraulic so the pedal box would need to be modified as well).
So lets put some positives into this, if I was to use the standard cast iron block, i would not need to change engine mounts gearboxes or prop-shafts, which I have all of those so its a zero cost. All I would need to get is a cast iron engine, the original one is scrapped but i have kept all the internals and brackets. I will therefore get a 2300 engine. I have one on the cards local to me, once thats stripped and reconditioned ready to re-assemble, I can then follow the very original idea of this GT, which is to fit to the Lotus twin cam head to the engine.
More should become apparent on this as time goes on, but the plan now is to limit the cash outlay on fancy engines and to rebuild a 2300 cast iron engine, which means apart from the outlay on the base engine and a few rebuild parts, all the money can go into the paint on the GT, which I don’t want to cut corners on.
So all change as you can see, but only in my mind, nothing physical to show just yet, apart form the screen shot of what my engine should look like once it fitted, in about a year at this rate.