9) AMER­I­CAN TAKE-AWAY

Classics Monthly - - Interchangeable parts -

Now re­turn­ing to Lo­tus, the Hethel-based firm took a dif­fer­ent course in the 1980s, first with a part­ner­ship with Toy­ota lead­ing to the Ex­cel bor­row­ing a lot of its run­ning gear from the Supra, and then a buy-out by Gen­eral Mo­tors which brought the world’s largest parts bin into play. Un­der GM own­er­ship the M100 Elan came into be­ing, based around a fet­tled front-wheel drive pow­er­train cour­tesy of Isuzu, but some other equally sur­pris­ing parts found their way into what was de­signed and hailed as the best-han­dling front-wheel drive car of all time. The stan­dard front brakes for the new Elan came from the Pon­tiac LeMans GSE, which was ac­tu­ally a re­baged Dae­woo closely re­lated to the Mk1 Vaux­hall As­tra. The oxy­gen sen­sor for the tur­bocharged en­gine can cost over £200 via Lo­tus but get­ting the same part for the same en­gine in its orig­i­nal home in the Isuzu Im­pulse will find it for no more than £30. The trou­ble­some vac­uum-op­er­ated heater valve is also found on the Volvo 940.

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