9) AMERICAN TAKE-AWAY
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.