So - Here's the deal .... anyone who know's anything about the history of the Lotus Esprit, knows that it has always had room for a V8 - some have gone the simpler route of using the Rover 3.5 unit - but a cross plane push rod american engine is just NOT what you need to compete with Italian exotics! Click here for some examples
I'd always planned to bring true multi-cylinder performance to the Esprit even before I owned one - but messy conversions upset the handling and weren't based on a Lotus designed engine, in the spirit of the original Project M71 - but now the new Lotus twin turbo type 918 V8 was around..... So, why not take this engine, which was specifically designed for the Esprit chassis.....
...... and fit it to a Giugiaro Turbo Esprit!
But while doing this, I'll just have to take the opportunity to carry out some extensive engine tuning, including higher boost pressures and the fitting of twin chargecoolers, which will endow the Giugiaro Esprit with 500+ bhp!! - Sounds like a plan to use my Esprit as the basis of the realisation of the goal of the original Lotus Project M71... and put a Giugiaro Esprit at the top of the performance list for the marque once again.
The problem normally here (and for current production Esprit V8's) is the Renault transaxle - the Renault gearbox is the reason the V8 only produces 350 bhp - it simply cannot accept any more than this, without stripping gears and generally destroying itself. There is an easy 500 bhp in the 918 engine ...... 3.5 litres normally aspirated would give you 350 bhp with a workman-like 100 bhp per litre output ...... with twin turbos much greater outputs are easily available ..... and with high boost and intercooling (chargecooling) probably double the Renault gearbox limit would be achievable (sounds nice for track days!).
So, now we are left with the fitting of the new Lotus V8 unit from 1996 onwards into my Giugiaro Esprit from 1984. Now although the Esprit has changed cosmetically somewhat over these years - the basic design of the GRP body mated over a galvanised steel backbone chassis has remained unchanged - infact the 80's Turbo Esprit chassis has an engine cradle almost identical to that of the current V8 car. So fitting the new engine on the old chassis would probably work - but what about taking advantage of all the other improvements that have been made to the suspension, brakes, wheels etc. by using a new V8 chassis.....
SO this IS the plan - to build a rolling chassis, using all current Lotus V8 parts, to tune the engine to 500 bhp+ and then mate it to the chassis (as in the picture below - not mine - for info at this stage!) and then transfer my restored Giugiaro shell onto, what will be, all completely new mechanical elements of the car!
Here's a borrowed photo, looking forward to fitting the completed V8 engine and transaxle to the rolling chassis:
Here's an early Peter Stevens Esprit shell, which should
have exactly the same dimensions as a Giugiaro shell:
Building the Esprit (wmv 1.2mb)