There is a lot of Lotus chatter in the motoring world right now, centred largely around the modern cars such as the Elise and Exige, which are soon to be culled. And while we do indeed have a lot of love for both of those models, we thought it would instead be a good time to celebrate a forgotten Lotus. Namely the mighty Excel, which was actually just an updated Eclat. Though having said that, the Eclat was just an updated Elite. But none of this is bad, as they were all good fun. And being the most modern, the Excel is perhaps the most reliable of the bunch – helped in no small part by the addition of various Toyota bits.
The Excel came about at an interesting, opportune time for Lotus. At the time, Lotus was working with Toyota to develop the chassis of the then planned Supra. Toyota seemingly liked what Lotus was up to, and as such, became a major shareholder in the company. This of course meant Lotus could have a rifle through the Toyota parts bin. As such, while the Excel was indeed based on a design from the ‘70s, it was fitted with the slick Toyota W58 five-speed manual transmission, driveshafts and rear differential. Though that was all, as the rest was still Lotus, including the DOHC 2.2 slat-four engine.
So what of the car we have here? It’s a 1984 model finished in stunning light metallic blue, and it looks to be in excellent condition. It sits on the correct alloys wheels, the blue interior is in excellent condition and it all seems very well looked after indeed. But then, it only has 87k on the clock. Furthermore, the seller notes that all the electrics work as they should, which is reason enough to buy it!
The Excel was special in its details, too. For example, if you look at the Lotus badges on the car, you’ll note that they are all black. This was a car in mourning – the black badges were fitted in response to the passing of Lotus founder, Colin Chapman, in 1982. The year the Excel came out.
The Excel was, by and large, forgotten by many. As such, few survive. It wasn’t a huge success for Lotus, thanks in part to it being a continuation of a much older design. However, as a classic car to look back on, it’s worthy of our attention. That outstanding chassis, the 50/50 weight distribution, the soulful engine (which, in this case, has freshly rebuilt carbs) and those wedge-tasic looks make it a very desirable car. And this one is loaded with functionality, with history and is in what appears to be exceptional condition. It is a lot of car for £9,250, that’s for sure.