Classic Sports Car

Transatlan­tic union


Your recent cover story on the Chevrolet Corvette (November) prompted a couple of thoughts. When I joined Lotus Cars in 1985, as a graduate engineer, the new LT5 engine for the C4 Corvette was just starting to come off the drawing board and the first prototypes were in build. I had joined the fledgling Design Analysis group, providing stress calculatio­ns for this and other programmes, and I was soon made responsibl­e for the torsional analysis on the LT5 crankshaft.

While the developmen­t activities on the Lotus V8 had effectivel­y ceased by that time, the prototype engines were used to develop the intake manifold and 16-injector fuelling strategies prior to LT5 engine hardware being available. Hence the attached photo of the Lotus V8 with the distinctiv­e LT5 intake system installed (below).

Because the installati­on of the engine had to follow the Bowling Green production requiremen­ts of the unit being ʻstuffed-upʼ between the chassis rails from below, convention­al cam pulleys would have made the motor too wide, so a central 2:1 reduction gear allowed the use of smaller camshaft pulleys. Originally these used a simplex chain drive, but this were soon swapped for a Duplex chain from Reynolds for improved durability.

Having access to developmen­t Corvettes in the evenings and at weekends was a pleasant privilege, and doing the ʻSouth Mimms Runʼ (Hethel to the M25 South Mimms

Services) on weekday evenings for oil-consumptio­n and calibratio­n activities was all part of the teamʼs camaraderi­e. Bragging rights were predominan­tly related not to speed, but to achieving the highest fuel consumptio­n!

This was an exciting time, and one of the many engine programmes Iʼve been involved with at Lotus over the years. Andy Green

Chief Engineer, Propulsion Systems, Lotus Cars

big, comfortabl­e, well appointed and the doors shut with authority. It was lovely. Benz gave us 20 minutes in a poverty-spec 300 and the salesman came with us; to this day weʼve never had a Mercedes.

Jaguar also gave us a car for the weekend and it was quicker than the 7 Series, but the door didnʼt shut properly, the windows were temperamen­tal and the paint was appalling. In short, it had trouble written all over it. Dad bought a 735i that he had for 10 years, then a 740i for eight, then an X5.

Back to 1990, and a family friend had a similar wish list, but heart ruled head and he bought the Jag. It was a disaster, was never out of the garage and was scrapped at six years old. Every time my parents went round it lay abandoned on the drive with the bonnet up.

I realise you need material for buyers to read, but itʼs a stretch to say the XJ6 was ʻso good it lasted from the 1970s to the 1990sʼ. Just take a look at the Trouble spots in the article: the list is endless. More than 30 years on, Jaguar still builds desirable but unreliable cars. Jim Ratter Via email

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