- Chassis # SCC089912JHS40417
- Engine # 24662
- Believed To Be Original Paint And Interior
- Showing Just 94,777 Kilometers From New
- Recently Serviced And Ready For Enjoyment
- Sale Includes Factory Tools, Spare, Owners Manual, Available Service Documents, And Service Manuals
The Lotus Excel is one of Lotus’s lesser-known cars, often overshadowed by the success of the marque’s other sports cars like the Esprit. The Excel was based on the Eclat, which was based on the Type 75 Elite. Due to the deal that Lotus had with Toyota at the time, the Excel used Toyota’s W58 five-speed transmission in the manual models alongside other mechanical components. Praise was given to the Excel’s 50:50 weight distribution, which gave it impressive cornering and handling. The car was never imported or sold in the US, likely due to the stringent emission regulations that would hamper the car’s performance. One Excel was imported stateside in 1987 for review purposes and was promptly returned to the UK six months later.
During its ten-year production period, the Excel received a number of both aesthetic and mechanical changes like differently-styled body panels, an automatic transmission model, and a high compression version of the DOHC 2.2 L Lotus 912 slant-four engine for the S.E. trim level. This upgraded engine put out 180 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque.
The 1988 model year received a few performance upgrades like a lighter crankshaft, a revised undertray, and a revised fuel system among others. Visually, the 1988 Excel was the same as every model year since 1984. 1989 was the last time the Excel received an update before Lotus stopped producing the cars in 1992. A successor to the Excel in the form of a Lotus Elan coupe was planned but ultimately scrapped due to low sales numbers. Only around 2000 examples of the Excel were made with just a few hundred being left-hand drive. According to the website “How Many Left”, only 126 of them were still registered for road use as of Q3 2021.
This particular example, Chassis # SCC089912JHS40417, is what we believe to be an all-original left-hand drive Excel S.E. finished in Metallic Silver with a red pinstripe adorning each side and a Black leather interior. It was acquired by LBI Limited in 2019 for a client of ours from Mirbach & Seemann in Hamburg, Germany where it was on consignment from a collector in the Netherlands. This Excel spent its life in many corners of Europe including Linköping in Sweden and Walkden in the UK before ending up in the Netherlands and ultimately in Germany.
Throughout its ownership history, the car was carefully and thoroughly maintained, which is evident by its current condition. In Sweden, it received a few gaskets, washers, and a new timing belt from AB Wendels Bil & Motor. In the UK, it received a new front bumper, a bonnet slam panel, a front arch, and some body trim clips from Autofive. Its most recent owner continued that tradition and replaced a few key components as well including the clutch master and slave cylinders, clutch disc and pressure plate, and numerous front suspension and steering bushings at Autotronics in Southampton, PA. It most recently received a new timing belt as well as a full detail, both inside and out, including an engine bay steam clean.
This Lotus Excel presents an excellent opportunity to own one of Lotus’s rare and uncommon sports cars. The fact that these cars were never officially sold here makes seeing one in this good condition in the US that much rarer. With an excellent maintenance record and just the right amount of Toyota reliability, this is one of the better examples available on the market.
Upon purchase, the new owner will receive all of the import and maintenance records as well as the original tool kit, spare tire, and a set of additional wheels.
body and paint
The factory silver metallic paint has an excellent and consistent shine, indicative of a car that was well cared for and kept out of the elements. We believe that the paint is original as there are no tape lines in any of the door, hood or trunk jams. There are no remnants of overspray anywhere to be found, and all the decals, stickers, and riveted tags are in place and untouched. There are imperfections in the paint, as one would expect from an original example of this vintage, though the overall quality of the paint is impressive. The panel gaps are consistent, though it is a fiberglass bodied car so they are larger than you would find on a steel bodied vehicle and the driver’s door gap is slightly out. There is nothing to indicate that the body was ever repaired, and everything is smooth and straight.
glass and trim
All the windows appear to be clean and scratch free and original to the car. There is some slight moisture buildup at the bottom of the windscreen where the gasket, windshield and body meet though it is minor and probably a product of the thorough detailing. The factory gaskets around the doors, windows, lights, and trunk are all pliable and fully intact. Again indicative of a well cared for and stored vehicle. The rear window gasket is complete and sealing property but upon close examination there is some cracking. The black trim around the vehicle is straight and secure with minimal fading. The front spoiler has some small scratches but is in excellent condition for such a low vehicle that was driven regularly. The lights and lenses look to be all factory and free of cracks or imperfections.
All the factory wheels are straight and free of any curb damage or scratches. They do all have some slight oxidation.
The driver’s door edge has some small chips, and there is also a small quarter size scratch on outside of the driver’s door. The trunk has some slight bubbling in the paint or clear coat, though this is only visible in direct sunlight at an angle. The wiper arm recess base appears to be discolored and showing the base coat. There are some very small other imperfections around the vehicle that can be seen in the detailed photos.
seats and surfaces
The interior presents itself well and is a very comfortable place to sit. It appears to be in excellent original condition, exemplary of the car’s lower mileage. It does not smell of mildew or smoke and has obviously always been clean and well cared for. The headliner is fully intact, clean and tight. And the same can be said for the carpets. The door panels, center console and seat backs do have some minur scuffs but nothing that distracts from the overall quality of the cockpit. There are no real squeaks, clunks are other sounds that one might expect in an older cottage built sports car. The front and rear seat’s leather is clean and stain free. The leather has the feel and smell of a higher quality grain. The seats show no signs of fatigue, though there is some webbing of the leather and some slight wear on the bolsters. Over all, it wears a fine patina commensurate with the mileage and age.
functionality and accessories
All the handles, locks, windows, stalks, lights and etc work properly. Most of these items are Toyota sourced. There does not seem to be anything that does not work other than the AC system. All the components for the air conditioning are there, and looks to be in excellent condition. It could be purely a matter of recharging the system.
engine bay and trunk
The engine bay is original and looks to be unaltered and well maintained. All the hardware is clean and free of rust or oxidation, indicative of the car’s dry and well kept history. The decals and stickers under the hood are complete and clear. All the hoses and clamps look correct and roadworthy. The intake hose has been repaired but looks to be done professionally and does not appear to need further attention.
The trunk is clean and dry and all the carpet pieces are secure and accounted for. There are no stains or missing clips or screws. The spare tire and wheel are present and in excellent shape, though the tire does look to be original. The riveted factory tag is secure in the spare tire well.
The underside is very clean and straight with no signs of damage or repairs. There are some minor scuffs and imperfections but nothing abnormal or concerning. The suspension, brakes and hardware are clean and tight. The exhaust is complete with normal surface rust.
The air intake hose has been repaired, and the engine bay could be further detailed. The tool kit is accounted for but we are still trying to locate the factory jack. The underside of the car has some wear and scuffs and the wheel wells are both factory silver and the bare black fiberglass.
The motor starts quickly and feels healthy with plenty of power and a real willingness to rev. There are no odd noises and anything to indicate an issue.
The Toyota supplied 5-speed shifts quickly through the gears and the clutch feels healthy. The shifts are a bit longer than expected, but nothing that a few miles of driving practice cant overcome.
brakes and suspension
The 4 wheel disc brakes have a firm pedal and provide straight and confident power.
The suspension is surprisingly compliant while still providing a very sporty and gratifying experience. The steering is precise and tactile.
The Pirelli tires are date coded from 2016, and were mounted on the car in 2019. There is no evidence of cracking or dry rot, and there is plenty of tread. It should be noted that they are technically at the age that they should be replaced for driving at higher speeds.
Dellorto Carburetors are notorious for not starting easily in cold weather, so on colder days it does take a few moments for these carburetors to smooth out.
This is an excellent road car, with great highway stability and very impressive when the road begins to twist. The car’s speed is still commendable with a 0-60 time in the low 7s, and more importantly it feels fast with the engine quickly and willingly revving to 7k rpm. There is a little roll through the corners but it does not distract from the experience. This is definitely a car you want to keep driving.