1 of 121: 1980 Lotus Eclat Project

The early ’80s were not good times for Lotus, the company was in financial trouble. 1980 was a particularly rough year and overall production was down, so any Lotus model in 1980 is bound to be low production. According to the seller of this car, just 121 Eclats were produced in ’80. This Eclat is listed as a parts car, at first glance it looks to good to be parted out but, upon closer inspection, we are probably looking at a parts car. If you’re in the Lotus parts business or very ambitious and looking for a project car, this may be for you. Find it here on eBay for $1,900 BIN in San Tan Valley, AZ.

The Eclat is an often overlooked or forgotten Lotus model produced from 1974 until 1982. Although not as popular as the Esprit, Elan, or Europa the Eclat was a handsome car that was similar in a lot of ways to the Lotus Elite. The fiberglass bodywork on this car appears to be in good shape and definitely could be of use on another project. Chassis rust could be a problem on these cars so that may be worth consideration although later cars were equipped with a galvanized chassis which this car may or may not have. I am not a Lotus expert but I do know that ’80 was a transition year between the Series 1 and Series 2 of the Eclat, I am not sure if this is a Series 1 or 2 but if it is a Series 2 it should have the galvanized chassis.

Under the hood is where things get a little worse, the engine is partially disassembled and missing the cam cover leaving the engine open to moisture and corrosion, but there are still some good parts there. This engine should be the 2.2-liter type 912 engine, but it may be the 2.0-liter type 907 that was found in the earlier cars. Hopefully, some of our Lotus expert readers can fill us in on some of the details.

Yikes! Open the door and things go from bad to worse, the interior is a complete basket case. There are probably a few usable parts in there, the interior is definitely a weak point of this car. The seller is including some extra parts like a steering column and some engine parts, the transmission is listed as a 5 speed and it is equipped with air conditioning. The car is rough but it seems like it could be a solid deal for someone in need of parts, there can’t be too many of these cars left, the seller is advertising this car as being #120 of 121 built. The serial number is 80/010120P, I believe that means this car was built in January 1980 and is 120 in the production order so if there were indeed 121 built, this car is next to last. There is no doubt this is a rare and unique car, what would you do with it, parts, restore or modify?


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  1. jdjonesdr

    Yikes is right

  2. Peter

    How about NO!

  3. Injuhneer

    Wow. Just wow.

  4. Ben T. Spanner

    It all depends on the chassis rust. If you want a Lotus to play with go for it. Clean out the interior and replace the front seats. make the rear into a package shelf. I don’t think it’s a restoration project unless these have value, I doubt it.
    But then I’m considering a GEM car (Street legal for low speed limit streets) as an alternative to a golf cart.

  5. Mike

    The seats look like they’re made for a zombie.

  6. XMA0891

    Did Lotus source their door handles from American Motors?

    • AMXBrian

      Probably copied from. They appear to be slightly different amc which were in use as far back as 1968 on at least the Javelins and many more as time went on. They survived on Jeeps, CJ’s-Wranglers into the 2000’s.

      • Derek

        No, they’re Austin Maxi ones.

  7. Wolfram

    sad that it’s in such a bad condition, but how can you consider to part out a car of which just 121 were built???? And it has such beautiful body lines. If i could i would buy it, just to safe it

  8. Bryan W Cohn

    Weld steel over the rust in the chassis as needed. Gut interior, engine bay of everything rubber or wire. Weld up some mounts(cause you already welded up the chassis, right?) to hold any small 4 cylinder modern era engine/trans. 2300 Ford, Miata, 22R, Variety of Nissan 4’s, etc. Anything with slight mods that can make 125-140 hp is enough. Weld up roll cage and add appropriate safety gear. Rebuild brakes. Enter LeMons, Champ, WRL, Lady Bird, AER, etc races. Enjoy. Other than parts car beater race car is this cars only chance at a new life, and its far better to go down fighting in a race and then get parted out then just get stripped and left to rot.

  9. Craig Walker

    Handles are Morris marina etc.as said gut it stick a blown miata eng/box in it & have some fun.

  10. John

    I have always been surprised that the twin cam Toyota from a mid 80’s Corolla has never found a way into one of these. I know that the gentleman who bought my last Europa S did exactly that.

    • Derek

      Sounds like a good idea. I bought a knackered (rusty chassis) Elite with the intention of transplanting its drivetrain into my Vauxhall Victor and in the week of MOT that it had left, it lunched the engine. I sold the gearbox and binned the rest.

  11. Jubjub

    Looks like a good place for a Range Rover V8 with whatever five speed will fit. Sourcing the exterior bits that are missing shouldn’t be the end of the world…and be your own interior decorator. But you’ve got to find the other three Speedline wheels…one of the coolest wheel designs ever.

    Anybody noticed the 4xFirebird from a while back?

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