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5-speed conversion  Rate Topic 
 Posted: 04-17-2007 04:45 pm
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1st Post

Joined: 06-01-2005
Location: Gainesville, Georgia USA
Posts: 17
I was doing some reading on Toyota origins and it's kinda unclear how they were involved with lotus.  I see that Toyota used their transmissions with Lotus Excels in the mid 80, but the Elite of the mid and early 70's also had a 5-speed.  I wonder if this is a Toyota based unit for both cars.  Anybody have an idea?

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 Posted: 04-18-2007 01:52 am
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Judson Manning

Joined: 03-14-2005
Location: Atlanta, Georgia USA
Posts: 406
Lotus did a number of what I would call Joint-Ventures back in the 80s (anyone remember the Isuzu Impulse with Suspension by Lotus? how about a little Corvette named ZR1???).  Keep in mind that Lotus was/is primarily an Engineering company.

The story goes that Lotus did some engineering work for Toyota, and in exchange, they got to raid the Toyota parts bin (i.e. W58 trans and tail-lights for the Esprit).

The 5-speed you speak of went into the early Eclat/Elite and I'm attaching a pic of it.  Lotus built this box and my understanding is that it was fairly prototypical.  The extremely rare Elite 2.2 received the Getrag 265 5-speed used in the early BMW M3 (don't even think about it, the bellhousings are impossible to find).

The W58 was the most logical next step in 907/912 RWD applications.  Despite the M3 connection, the Getrag 265 is not a very good box.  For the complete story try http://www.metricmechanic.com; they build a much superior version of the 265 called "The Ultimate Transmission". 

If I had $5,000.00 to spend, an Elite 2.2 bellhousing and an ultimate 265 would be my choice for a 2.2 powered JH.  For less than 1/2 of that I've got a bullet-proof W58 that more than proved itself in competition.


Attachment: Elite.Eclat.5sp.jpg (Downloaded 157 times)

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 Posted: 04-19-2007 05:30 am
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Joined: 03-16-2005
Posts: 58
I seem to recall that besides their technical involvement, Toyota owned a rather substantial percentage of Lotus stock in the early eighties (later selling it off when GM acquired controlling interest).

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 Posted: 04-19-2007 07:42 am
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Joined: 09-14-2006
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 54
The early Elite etc ran the 5 speed from the Elan 2+2, which was also fitted to a few Elan Sprints (both cars using the 1558 Ford/Lotus Twin Cam with up to around 125 BHP). As i remember the case was made by lotus, but the gears and internal parts were from the BMC Maxi 5 speed.


The Maxi was a front wheel drive car and run the O series engine, at 1500cc and 1750 cc, configured like a mini so the box was the sump of the engine and the gears ran in the engine oil.


The box was Ok in the Maxi, and gave a good cruising car. It would cruise all day on the German Autobahn’s wiht the car fully loaded. It worked OK in the Elan 2.2,, but as we all know Torque is the big killer of gear boxes and differentials, and when it was mated with the 907/912 it proved unreliable.




Eventually I was abandoned and as is said above Lotus raided the Toyota parts bin for the latter box. In the Excel

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