Go To Page:    2    3   4    5   6    7   8   
Published by the Golden Gate Lotus Club           www.gglotus.org September 2000
Track day inspections, see p6
fic. "The Automatic idea was born one Friday evening on the way to a GGLC meeting in the south bay. SF traffic was horrendous.  35 minutes to traverse the maze at the bridge".
Dubbed the "Elite-Elan MkII" since it is the second such creation to come from Mike's shop (EE MkI features the traditional Climax engine mated to a Datsun 5-spd.), this Elite (#1080) also has the distinction of being the first one Mike ever bought. Restored and then driven for many years, #1080 was largely written off in a front-end collision on New Years Day, 1996. (This fact should pacify the purists who were sharpening their poison pens). Despite the majority of the construction details being similar to EE1, EE MkII still required 30+ hours/week for over 2 years before she was ready for the road. 
Foregoing the original Coventry-Climax engine, Mike instead opted for more cubic inches in the form of a Lotus TwinCam.  Now producing 1725cc, the TC was relocated down 1" and back 1.75" in the Elan frame to clear the lower hoodline of the Elite. Mated  to a Ford C-4 automatic, which was chosen for its small size, the TC is fitted with a Stromberg head so as to produce a more stable vacuum pattern from which to operate the tranny's shift modulator. 
From the outside EE MkII appears to be just another well-done Elite. Sporting chrome wires and the 
same cranberry exterior that graces EE MkI, nothing seems amiss until you notice the outboard discs thru the spokes of the rear wheels. Then the stubby automatic shift handle, and lack of clutch pedal, either one a giveaway.

So what's it like to drive ? As compared to a stock Elite, quiet. Gone is the clattery song of the Climax, replaced by the sturdy, almost agricultural sound of the TC. In fact you hardly even notice the engine note, so dampened by the additional layers of fiberglass. The 1-2 upshift is a bit harsh, and so agrees Mike as he plans to work on smoothing this out with his transmission man. 2-3 is hardly noticeable however, and everything motors along quite happily and quietly. Encountering a long hill though, I expected a downshift and was surprised when we stayed in top gear and the engine began pinging. I gently notched the shifter back to "2", engaging second and the engine was in it's happy powerband once more. Cresting the hill I nicked it back into "D" and motored merrily along. I would later find that this is the proper technique as Mike has as of yet been unable to adjust the 3-2 downshift to any higher in the rpm range. Playing around on surface streets later in the drive I found I could get it to downshift from 3-2 at around 2500rpm, which may be good for shooting the traffic, but a bit too low 

(Continued on page 7)

Visitors to Mike Ostrov's shop in El Sobrante know of the casualness by which he will offer you the keys to one of his beloved Elites much as he'll offer you a stick of licorice from his candy jar. Mike's cars are very well kept but are never above being driven. And now we are again reminded that neither are they above being modified, as Mike's second Elan-chassied Elite (this one an automatic !) has recently hit the road. 
History buffs can counter that there was a precedent in the (David) Hobbs Mecha-Matic automatic transimissioned 1960 Elite, but Mike's intention was a purely practical response to Bay Area traf