1980 Lotus Eclat: Euro Bits

1980 Lotus Eclat

Throw yellow paint on a wedge-shaped sports car and it’s bound to catch my eye. This 1980 Lotus Eclat here on eBay with a starting bid of $4,500 is the European-market version, which gives it more power thanks to a 2.2L engine featuring dual Dellorto carbs. Although the seller isn’t overly generous with details on how the car got here or what its history has been thus far, he is willing to part it out should an Eclat enthusiast want to enhance their personal vehicle with the Euro bits – however, the air dam, bumpers, and lights have already been removed, so that’s a bummer. That fact also likely affects the value somewhat, since anyone buying this car would ideally want a complete package. So, for our Lotus experts in the room: is this a sound investment, or has the seller already claimed all the good stuff?


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  1. Randy Forbes

    Yes, must be fitted with the really rare eBay-only “dellarato carbs”

    With so few pictures, and to state that not all parts in pictures are available, it’s hard to take this listing seriously…

  2. Tim

    The VIN number format is consistent with that of a 1980 Euro Eclat S2.2.

    The Eclat S2.2 used the 912LC (low compression engine with 160 Hp. The later Excel SE’s 912HC produced 180 Hp. So while this is the most powerful version of the engine used in the Eclat, it’s not the most powerful version ever produced.

    The Dellorto DHLA45E carbs and intake manifold will retro-fit onto any Federal 907 engine. Minor tweaks to the idle jetting may be required, but that’s minor.

    The Getrag 265 5-spd is more robust than the earlier, frail Lotus-Maxi 5-spd. However, it’s not as ideally geared for the Lotus engine, and it’s shift action is more stiff and notchie. But it’s a good box that was also used in some BMW models. Retrofitting it into a Federal Elite or Eclat would require some cut-n-weld to the Fed chassis… or buy the chassis from this parts car.

    Lotus started hot-dip galvanizing the chassis in the Spring of 1980. Depending upon when in 1980 this car was built, it may have a galvanized chassis that would be nice to use in a restoration project.

    Suspension, steering & brakes will fit a Federal Elite or Eclat. The Federal Sprint (a stripped down, light weight version of the Eclat) used a Ford 4-spd, different springs & shocks, and different front uprights/ spindles/ bearings/ brakes… this stuff won’t fit.

    The Speedline wheels use a 4×100 bolt pattern that is different from that used on Federal Elites & Eclats, and also different from the Sprint. The hubs would have to be purchased with the wheels, then installed prior to the wheels. On a Sprint, the front spindles, bearings, uprights and brakes would also be required. At which point, quickly switching back and forth between wheel styles would NOT be an easy bolt-on option.

    The Euro body not only had smaller front and rear bumpers, the body also lacked the internal structural reinforcement required to back-up the Federal crash bumpers. The Euro body is lighter, but it is not Federal compliant… if you care.

    The britework around the windows is unobtainium.

    The S2.2 interior isn’t significantly different from that in the Federal Elite & Eclat… except that this one is RHD. The headliner material is common foam-backed fabric (mouse fur) that can be purchased from better fabric stores and automotive upholstery shops. It’s glued in.

    IMHO, the US$4,500 opening bid is optimistic for the complete car… unless someone places a premium on the S2.2 rarity in North America. However, the Elite & Eclat were never popluar in North America, and complete Federal parts cars can be purchased for far less that $4,500. 912HC engines (180 Hp) and Getrag transmissions can be purchased from Lotusbits.com, a Lotus salvage yard in the UK. Since the car is no longer complete, I think US$4,500 for the full lump is optimistic. ‘Maybe’ part by part.

    • John

      Excellent synopsis Sir! I enjoyed the read.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Agreed, that was hugely insightful! I knew we had a Lotus expert around here…

    • mark

      well done i dont even care if its copy and paste great read thx

  3. Rancho Bella

    Thank you Tim for great review.

    Right hand drive cars (other than early MG’s) don’t do well in the States. This one needs to go home where it will be on the left side of the road.

  4. Jasper

    Seems kind of a shame they plucked the goodies off. Seems pretty optimistically priced. I’ve always liked these and appreciate their modest value, however, I’m not sure how or if I could live with one. Forever spoiled by a tough and reliable 911SC that I foolishly parted with.

    • Rancho Bella

      jasper…………..same for me on ’84 thru ’86 Carrera Coupes……………sold them three years ago and I now am an official idiot…………before I was just an apprentice.

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