here are some other videos of Jay's Elan build....
Jay Leno's garage has a bunch of other cool non Lotus related videos too
this video also leads me to another question, are there many Elans with motor swaps? Would the 2zz or k20/k24 fit in an Elan?
Great video! I had been following Jay's build, but had never seen this great overview of his 'original' car. It is an excellent overview of the car, particularly showing it on the hoist. I put 'original' in quotes as I really like the mods he has done to this car to make a modern driver. The CV joint conversion he shows is fantastic and transforms the car. I added adjustable rear wishbones, which are great as well.
His TC is seriously upgraded, but even in essentially stock form it is a great engine. He doesn't mention baffling of the oil pan, which is an excellent upgrade due to the high cornering loads the car is capable of. Updating the cooling with the swirl pot and/or a pressurized expansion tank and a three row radiator takes away all cooling worries. Electronic ignition is popular; the dizzy is a bit awkward for access so set and forget is great. He has added venting in the front of the cam cover which really helps. Bottom line is the Lotus TC is such a part of the car's character it really is great to retain it with judicious mods.
For engine swaps, the most popular is a Ford Zetec. Since the Zetec was superseded, some guys have used the more modern Ford Duratec. These engines are favored for the Ford heritage and the ability to fit a Ford five speed to the bell housing. The engine swaps are more common in Elan Plus 2's because with their extra weight (approx 2,000 lb. compared to the Élan's 1,550 lb.) the extra power is really nice. The engine & transmission swap is usually done with a Spyder space frame. Spyder has all the knowledge and parts available.
Classic Car Restoration, Chassis Replacement And Suspension Repairs - SpyderCars, Cambridgeshire UK
I have seen Toyota 1600 TC's installed in Plus 2's as well. Don't know my Toyota engines very well, but thinking they were in the hot Corolla from the seventies or eighties? Not sure if that is the one of the Toyota engines you mentioned?
The other swap I have seen pictures of (again Plus 2) is an Alfa TC.
There certainly are some Elan's using Ford Crossflows (similar to the Lotus Super Seven), but this is more an issue of cost and availability than an upgrade.
One chap on Lotuselan.net has a Plus 2 with a Ford BDA, but this required mods to the hood/bonnet to fit. For any engine swaps, the front of the bonnet is one of the biggest packaging issues.
For a quick look at the various generations of Ford engines, there is a lot of details and mod info here:
Really, I think the engine swaps are partially motivated around getting a five speed in the car, which really helps for Interstates. I used a Ford MT75 five speed from Spyder but retained the Lotus TC. They sell the MT75 as 'kit', but it was not without a few issues to get it all to work. The biggest drawback with the conversions is ground clearance with the engine oil pan and exhaust set-up coming around the bell housing.
Anyway, great video and fun to see interest in the Elan. The prices on these cars are definitely on the rise in the last couple of years. To give an idea of their appeal, I recently got an Esprit V8 but can not see parting with my Plus 2.