S1 Exige Conversion

Topics relating to the Lotus Exige S1 (series 1)
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jamesjeffery
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

Hi guys,

I've been persuaded to start a build thread of my Elise to Exige conversion.

Small bit of background about me and the project. I'm a 25 year old petrol head who grew up around cars and racing. Definitely not very mechanical or engineer-y, but I did study Car design at University and currently work as a superyacht designer, so have a base knowledge of things, but definitely specialise in making things look "pretty" rather than being an engineer.

I've had my current Elise for coming up to 3 years, buying it mainly for its spec, but I've always wanted an S1 Exige. After Dom at The Lotus Factory did some repair work on my front clam, he mentioned he was getting Exige moulds, once he got them I finally decided to take the plunge and do the conversion. I want to do the conversion as much on my own as I can, best way to learn and way to be most proud at the end of it. However, another thing to consider is the considerable lack of proper tools at my disposal, with Covid meaning I can't pop round my parent's to borrow Dad's tools! This means that perhaps one or two (definitely more!) things may not be done quite right or perfect, but I'll do my best.

I've never been a massive fan of the Motorsport Elise conversions and wanted my car to look as OEM as I could get it, with a few little changes to make the car personal to me, so I began months of searching for original bits, which you will see throughout the thread.

I do a lot of trackdays and was aware that Exiges are a bit heavier, so Dom made me up lightweight clams and I'm pretty sure my car will be the same if not lighter than my Elise was. I'll add more details in the thread about this.

Enough waffle, here's my lovely 1998 lightweight Elise before I began to ruin it and rip it all apart!

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Last edited by jamesjeffery on Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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andybond
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I am looking forward to following this thread!
jamesjeffery
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

I'll try and trickle through the progress I've already done, otherwise would be a big chunk to post all in one go. But keep following, there's plenty to come!
HOON
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:05 pm

I’m looking forward to following this thread. I would like to do what you’re doing but tbh probably never will 😄

Are you keeping the blue or going for a different colour?
jamesjeffery
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

First stage was to source some bits, easier said than done!
Managed to get a genuine but damaged roof. Wasn't to badly damaged but would require some dremel-ing and filling.

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Now don't hate me for this, but next was sourcing some VX220 window winders. My Elise ones had to go to eliminate all hints at what the car actually is, and I also think the triangle design works quite will with the rear spoiler support arms.

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They came in a matt finish, but I wanted shiny to match the door pull handle. It took some filing and sanding, but came out alright.
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Shiny and polished.
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Possibly the biggest OEM part I wanted for my conversion was the tailgate. I managed to source the hinge and also one spoiler support, the other was a nightmare, but more on that later!

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jamesjeffery
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

Colour will be revealed when it happens, but to really tease it is going to be the colour of my first Elise 😉
C8LGY
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:27 pm

What seal did you use for around the roof - the OEM one? I believe it’s obsolete?
jamesjeffery
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

Next up where wheels. My lovely 111s wheels were sold and I was able to get some Exige wheels in great condition. They came with ZZRs that I gave to my Dad as a thanks for the deal he done me for his Rotas I'll use as my track wheels.

When it came to tyres I really wanted the AD08R that I've been running since owning my Elises, not easy to get new now the AD08RS are out. I was able to find two 215/45/16 and two 255/40/17 AD08R, all brand new. I knew the widths were pushing it, but after a bit of research I found them to have pretty much identical circumference and diameter to the stock sizes, so took a punt.

I test fit the wheels on my Elise and they looked great. Rear tyres are close to the chassis but do not rub and don't need a spacer.

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Compared to the stock 225s the 255s look massive!
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The Exige will look pretty mean from behind!
jamesjeffery
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:37 am

Doesn't have a seal yet but will use a combination of a large P seal for the sides and a D seal for the front under the clamp
gonein60seconds
Posts: 653
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2004 11:51 am
Location: Oxfordshire

Great thread, look forward to seeing more..
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