Buying an Exige

Me and my boyfriend are looking to buy an Exige. We was wondering if someone could help us with a few questions.

  1. What should we look for when buying?

  2. Running costs for one that gets used alot?

  3. Turning options and engine conversions?

  4. Does Rover 2.0i turbo engine fit (from Tomcat)?

  5. Build quality and commons faults?

  6. How long does the rover 1.8 last for?


i hope you have deep pockets.

We ae looking to buy an S1 and i think my boyfriend said we are looking to spend around �15,000.

We ae looking to buy an S1 and i think my boyfriend said we are looking to spend around �15,000.

Methinks you’ll need deeper pockets than that… The VHPD engine has rebuild intervals somewhere between 40-50,000 miles (if it’s survived that long already) and $15k will probably only uy you one that’s done 40,000 miles plus… running one of that mileage and condition as a daily driver will either require deep pockets (as has been said) or a second car to take up the slack while the Exige is being overhauled.

  1. Clean and straight chassis and an engine which is smooth, quiet and doesn’t use much oil (you better get an expert check the engine over).

  2. Not horrendous but beware the engine is expensive to rebuild.

  3. Tuning a K to any significantly higher level is expensive and shortens the already short life. Budget on �10K to switch to Audi (250PS turbo) or Honda (220PS nat asp) power.

  4. No its big fat and heavy, not a good match.

  5. Not bad overall but be prepared to have to tinker, worst probs are head gaskets failures on the K and ball joints. Neither are exotic parts but you need to know about them.

  6. Answered above.

In all honesty, for a daily driver have you considered a VX 220 Turbo or an Elise Sport 160?

Any alternative engine conversions and prices and how much would it cost to rebuilt the standard bottom end of a standard engine?

There is rumour of a Ford Duratec 2.0/2.3 conversion kit which may come onto the market. I think Eliseparts have some involvement. They already did a few kits (see the ex Nitron race car in the LOT series)

For a bottom end your looking at �500 worth of pistons, and couple of hundred for gaskets and bearings and a bit of labour depending on how much you can do yourself. I’m not a big fan of re-using the rods as the pins are pressed into them and need a hell of a lot of force to push out again. You could end up spending another �400-�750 on rods alone.

You should also rebuild the head. It should have new springs and oil seals and maybe valve stems too. Thats not too bad though.

My boyfriend wants to know apart from the obvious differences such as thottle bodies, cam profiles and engine management is there much difference between the exige engine and a standard rover 1.8 like the one found in a MGF?

BTW thanks for all the help

The Exige uses a high performance version of the 1.8K generally known as the VHPD (very high performance derivative). The engine spec was developed by PTP/Janspeed/Minister Power (depends who you talk to and what day of the week it is).

The Exige S1 as std came with 177PS as it was nobbled to make it a bit cleaner but a new ECU and inlet cam pulley can change it back to the full 190PS which is the quoted power output. This engine was originally developed for the MGF Cup but the engine was then adopted by Lotus (Motorsport Elise, then the 340R and then the S1 Exige), Caterham (SLR or R400), Westfield (FW400) it was never sold by (MG) Rover as a production engine.

Starting at the bottom. The block, liners, oil pump, water pump and ladder frame are all std. The crank is a nitrided/tuftrided std casting (I cant remember which applies to which type of steel). The rods are hand selected with only single tang cut outs on the big end shells which helps stop them turning but the shells are std. The pistons are forged and made by Omega.

At the top end the head is a bespoke casting. Basically they put the cores in the head for the VVC ports but left the exterior std and then machined the seats as if they were VVC and the rest as normal. The valves are std VVC bits which are larger than other 1.4/6/8 K series. The tappets are not hydraulic, instead they rely on graded shims underneath which sit in special spring retainers. The cam profiles are unique too and are made my Piper (who also make the tappets and retainers). The rest of the covers and fittings are fairly std. The Exige uses a special coil pack which doesn’t appear on any Rover and the throttles are unique too. They are simililar to the PTP Phantom throttles with detail changes to the crankcase breather pipes. What else…hmm, the wiring and ECU are also unique. I think the Exige uses an ECU made by EFi specifically for Lotus.

Nice post Bob

Nice post Bob


Seriously though, nice one Bob

People are always asking about the engine and I must confess that I’ve been in blissful ignorance of the precise mods. For most people who enquire it’s enough to says its an upgraded K but now I know. Thanks Bob.

With the various engine conversions can you buy the kits to do it yourserlf?

I dont think Auto Teknix will sell the bits to do a DIY job but someone on SELOC is doing a DIY Honda jobbie. The bottom line is about �6000 but the kit in question has a very chequered history and you should have a read about one chaps experiences with it here