Lotus 211 Honda Conversion

Lotus 211 Honda Conversion

The 211, an updated version of the now classic 340R was an experiment that proved to be a very successful track day car, and with the MSC Honda Conversion, would prove to make it unstoppable. When driven hard and raced the original spec Toyota drivetrain had been found wanting, resulting in multiple engine and gearbox failures.

Maidstone Sports Cars were approached by a French client about the possibilities of carrying out a Honda conversion on a 211. We carried out a brief feasibility study and agreed to design and build the first Honda powered 211. We purchased the ex-Lotus factory demonstrator on behalf of our French client. In addition, set about the conversion. We removed all the exterior bodywork etc. to allow full access to all areas. The Toyota drive train was then removed and stored for resale later.

The hardware areas of the conversion i.e. engine/gearbox installation were very straight forward with just new engine and gearbox mounts needing fabrication along with new driveshaft's. The extra room in the engine bay allowed us to reposition the drivetrain so that the driveshafts were directly inline with the ideal position. A dummy engine and gearbox were trial fitted using our new mounts and fittings. The original Toyota gear cables were utilized with our own gate design. The car was then transported to Chris Tullet Exhausts for a new exhaust manifold system to be designed and built due to the extra space available a more efficient exhaust system was created.

If MSC could convert a 211 to Honda power we would also be able to also convert the Toyota powered S2 Exige and 111R as well. Therefore with this in mind the 211 kit was designed to fit these other applications.

Our customer also wanted a lot more power so we specified a fully supercharged, charge cooled and cammed Honda engine and 6-speed gearbox. With the correct mapping this unit would produce 380bhp.

The engine specification we have used at MSC in road, race and track cars and is well tried and tested.

The engine was duly built using our steel billet cams, M62 supercharger and charge cooler. We always fit a baffled sump as standard. A large lamonova oil/water cooler was also fitted to control the higher oil temperatures A lighter flywheel and an uprated clutch to deal with the increased power levels were also fitted. The 6-speed Honda gearbox was to be used in standard form. The built engine and gearbox were duly fitted along with the necessary ancillaries.

The cooling system was uprated with a three-way aluminum motorsport radiator and silicon hoses. The charge cooler radiator was fitted under the motorsport radiator and plumbed into the header tank and water pump. The original fuel tank was removed and replaced with a Pro Alloy aluminum baffled fuel tank. We utilized the original fuel pump but also fitted a secondary fuel pump to move the volume needed for the supercharged engine. The Honda E.C.U with a Hondata K100 board was used to run the engine but this would not run the dash so we used the SPA dash as used in the Arial Atom. This has a few extra features to monitor oil pressure/temperature and the needles glow as the engine approaches the red line! Nice. With the car's engine conversion completed we turned our attention to the suspension and brakes. Even though the donor 211 was only 9 months old the wishbones etc. had deteriated badly. The suspension was fully dismantled; shot blasted, and powder coated and rebuilt using Nylatron wishbone bushes. All nuts and bolts were zinc plated .The front brakes were upgraded to the lotus motorsport 4 pot front caliper brake kit along with braided stainless brake lines all round. Running Padget RS 42 pads. Dot 5.1 fluid was used throughout as this was to be track car after all. A quick rack and uprated front antiroll bar was fitted followed by a full geometry set up.

All fluids were added and the car was run up and all systems were tested. The car was then run up and mapped using a Dynapack Power as expected and all was set for final testing. A track day was duly completed at Brands Hatch where the car performed faultlessly. A final check over and oil and filter change were carried out before delivery to patient but lucky customer in the south of France!