Development M100s

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Development M100s

Postby ajax317 » Wed 31.05.2006, 23:27

I occasionally work with a guy who is a passionate Lotus man and who over his many years of experience has spent many of them driving / instructing at Hethel.

One of my questions to him was about the Hethel lap record regarding the M100. He replied that to the best of him knowledge it was true, but that it was a development M100 with a lot of bits that didn't make it into production.

This got me thinking on 2 scores. I've seen it often said that 'Lotus knew best with the M100, why change this or that'. Well, maybe the accountants ultimately knew best, so what parts never made it? (and how can we get them :twisted: )

Secondly, Lotus offer for sale some of their dev cars of all sorts of ages, what happened to the M100 mules?

I shall endeavor to try and find out some more next time I see him, but in the meantime given the knowledge base I've seen here I'm sure someone can shed some light on this...
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Postby Enright » Wed 31.05.2006, 23:32

From what I've read in Mark Hughes' book, many of the M100 mules came to rather sad ends in crash tests.

The M200 was for sale at Donny this year with a price tag of £19K, and it was sold during the show to the same guy who owns the GM Elan concept car.

My question to you is what do you know about the Hethel lap record? Do you mean it's still held by an Elan?
Striking fear into the hearts of duplicate posts everywhere...! :P

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Postby ajax317 » Wed 31.05.2006, 23:40

Regarding the Hethel fastest lap, I've heard both - current fastest and fastest as of the period. The latter seems most likely?

Shame about the mules, apparently Lotus have some interesting stuff come up for sale every once in a while.
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Postby F1 LOTUS » Thu 01.06.2006, 17:42

Apparently the test mules would be offered to Lotus employees by way of blind-bidding ie those interested would write the price they're willing to pay and put this in an envelope and the highest bidder got the toy :D I heard some guys got great deals on Esprits but I didn't know anyone who got an Elan? To identify one, often these cars had extra holes for sensors and test equipment, I don't know what they did about chassis numbers though? Ask the factory perhaps :smt102
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Postby muley » Thu 01.06.2006, 20:33

If I recall correctly, one of these 'mules' surfaced a while back - it was a botched together car with bits of early SE and S2 stuff; the guy who looked at it said it creaked like an old wooden ship in a gale. I'd stay well clear of them myself ....

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Postby F1 LOTUS » Thu 01.06.2006, 21:00

One owner :D ...




The Lotus Test Team :shock: :bananasex: :banghead: :bonk: :burnout:
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Postby Doug » Thu 01.06.2006, 21:23

Well, I clearly remember one was black and owned by David Schmid in SE USA and he converted it to his track car. Another was a yellow one used in the old "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" movie and then chucked into the Universal backlot . . .
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Postby Specky » Thu 01.06.2006, 22:19

Found this,look at lot 101 onwards???

http://www.practicalclassics.co.uk/auct ... 263955334/

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Postby ajax317 » Thu 01.06.2006, 23:07

Was just thinking along the lines of what trick bits they fitted during the development period that never made production. I suppose the mules that were released had most of these parts removed anyway.

Good link to the auction - shame there aren't any pics (that I could see) to go with those lots, some pretty cool stuff there.
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Postby F1 LOTUS » Fri 02.06.2006, 00:52

According to gglotus website: -
'Over a two year period 19 crash cars and 42 development vehicles were built and tested. '

To read the rest of this interesting article go to
http://www.gglotus.org/ggtech/m100-lcu-manual/m100lcu.htm
:)
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Postby cjay » Fri 02.06.2006, 07:50

ExFastcat where are you???
I wonder what color the next one will be?
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Where are they now? And why would you want one!!!!

Postby Ex Fastcat » Sat 03.06.2006, 02:30

Hmm,
No.1 I would love to know who the guy is that used to instruct during the SE years. That's when I did all my driver training at work.

No.2 I don't really ever remember people doing timed fast laps.
We used to go out and play but generally without the aid of a stop watch.
Fastest laps would have been more of a subjective opinion.
A Lotus Carlton would leave an Elan for dead on the straights but overall an Elan was always a lot quicker than you would give credit for.
I have to be honest here and say I was just a dogsbody dev't Engineer not a flyboy Ride and Handling guru. So I did a lot a driving some customer demos, etc but I was starting out and sure as hell did not want to wrap up a dev't car before I had any credibility!!! So fastest laps were not for me.
I would say though, that an Elan would keep you feeling safer than anything else when close to the limit and its predictability is phenomenal.

Also, the thing to remember is the Hethel circuit has changed alot, It was mostly straights back then. Millbrook on the other hand had a handling circuit where an Elan (even with someone as kak handed as me) could happily sit with Esprit SEs whilst you were reading the paper and having a morning shave.

I would stick with the label of fastest point to point car and leave it there.

As for the Mules and Dev't vehicles.
Many got scrapped. You would not want them. The testing done effectively created lifetime cars in a matter of a few days or weeks. Creaks, groans, bits falling off, blah blah. Maybe they did get to dealers???

We did a track car, for a visit by Bob Eaton, First hard top ever too on that one. Car was a ripper. But even it only had a head cleanup for more go. It was very light though. Not much interior and it had a mostly Federal suspension. (One I was allowed to do even if it was only coz I pissed off the R and H guy!!!) He got the hump and stomped off!!!!

That car did get sold to our junior engineer on the project.

We did have a trick Blue "training Elan" that had a number of mods and was made from a car destined for the crusher. Long P/Brake handle so that Mad Dave could do his signature 360 degree handbrake turn. It also was lightened. But it was a toy for the dept basically.

There was also a white one that we did a flat out 24 hrs at Snetterton in. Still have the burn mark from a glowing orange turbo cover to show for that one.
But the car was run flat out for 24 hours to see how it would fair. Only stopped for tyres, brakes, drivers and fuel.

I also only have memory of 1 Development Federal Elan in Yellow. Yellow was a late addition to the colour chart.
The first ones were not Norfolk mustard, but Camel Yellow as per the F1 team. We did some for the Federal launch fleet and we had one back at Hethel that was a general test vehicle. I did a trip round the UK in it that was ...memorable. We were testing a 6 CD stacker in the trunk and the Delco ABS. 1500 milwes in 1 weekend, roof down middle of winter to a test route chosen simply because we wanted to follow the route in the "Its Immaterial" track "Driving away from Home"!!!!

To the Elan!!!! It still brings a smile to my face. Cheers.

Disclaimer: (These are memories and I am old and would be grey, if I wern't balding!!!!)

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Postby F1 LOTUS » Sat 03.06.2006, 07:28

:goodposting:
Thanks for sharing your Lotus memories :D
I've often wondered if the dyno' boys pushed the Isuzu Turbo to see just how much power they could wring out of it? Also I like to believe the squashed exhaust pipe was done deliberately :? ... :poke:




PS: Were you ever at 'Team'?
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me? Team? Nah

Postby Ex Fastcat » Sat 03.06.2006, 07:43

Nah, unfortunately not.
The team stuff was all a bit of a downer by then.

However, I would guess if push came to shove, the outright lap record for Hethel would probably be held by one of the F1 cars. John Miles used to test the last ones so it could be a 102 or 107.

The development of the Elan was the best part of my working life. Nothing has subsequently compared to working with the guys that were on that car.

Been around the world since then prostituting myself in car design, but nothing has been as good.
The amazing thing is, When you bump into ex colleagues in far flung places they still have lotus etched through them like Hethel rock I suppose.
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Postby F1 LOTUS » Sat 03.06.2006, 08:12

Absolutely :clap:
I was fortunate enough to spend a few years at Team, sadly it was during the latter years, even so it was an experience without equal and I too have very fond memories :cry: For me 'Lotus' is a philosophy of elegant engineering that not everyone 'gets', those that do probably appreciate Ducatis too :)
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Postby Doug » Sat 03.06.2006, 08:14

thamks for your memories, Dave.

that drivers permit looks like a Lotus "license to kill" :-D
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Postby ajax317 » Sat 03.06.2006, 15:54

I'd also like to add my thanks for the memories. I think it gives another dimension to our cars to learn how they came to be the way they are.

BTW the guy's name is Graham, but unfortunately I don't know his surname.
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Postby bunglin » Thu 06.07.2006, 21:34

muley wrote:If I recall correctly, one of these 'mules' surfaced a while back - it was a botched together car with bits of early SE and S2 stuff; the guy who looked at it said it creaked like an old wooden ship in a gale. I'd stay well clear of them myself ....

Jim B


Yeh - I had one of these for a while (silver one) until we found out what it was (thanks to Paul Matty and his team - who were brilliant). After a bit of a fight - the dealer who mis-sold it to us agreed to take it back for a full refund and we ended up buying our current red S2 from PM.

It transpires that the car was put together from left over bits after the main run of S2`s had finished and was sold direct from the factory to a Lotus employee. It was a right mixture of UK and US SE`s and S2`s.
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Postby Dave M » Thu 20.07.2006, 15:56

Just caught up with this thread. Great stories...thanks Dave!

Doug wrote:Well, I clearly remember one was black and owned by David Schmid in SE USA and he converted it to his track car. Another was a yellow one used in the old "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" movie and then chucked into the Universal backlot . . .

As for the black one owned by Mr. Schmid, last I saw it was at the Birmingham LOG.

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/themeyers ... pg&.src=ph

It's still a road car (David's track car was a yellow RHD N/A - how about that Clemo!?) now driven by his son and has a binnacle cover signed by Doc Bundy. Very cool and a beautiful example.
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Postby ESM » Fri 21.07.2006, 21:35

I nearly bought a pre-production car back way back when. It was sold as having been driven on Top Gear by Tiff. It certainly wasn't the one originally on top gear, I recently downloaded the road test, it was the wrong colour. However, they said they had the video to prove it as well as some Lotus documentation. Anyway it was down in Shefield so I got an AA guy to go and look it over before I hiked down there myself. The inspection went fine until the road test - he got 200 feet and a driveshaft fell out! I went off it after that. Also people that know, on a certain forum, advised me to go for a late one...
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