The type 89 was first known as the Eclat 3, followed shortly after by the Eclat Excel before eventually becoming known as the Excel. The reason for this name play is simply that if Lotus retained the Eclat name it would avoid the expensive and time consuming process of type approval for the new car. For some reason this beautiful car gains little publicity when it scores so highly in all respects, The Excel is every bit a sports car with stunning performance and with the practicality of 2+2 configuration. The initial changes from the Eclat were more in the mechanical design than styling, the rear suspension was a weak area on the Eclat and Elite, The Excel benefited from true top links thus taking the load off the drive shafts. This was also the time Toyota had a large slice of Lotus and donated a wide selection of well engineered components to make the Excel the most reliable Lotus to date, Brakes, final drive, drive shafts, the superb Supra 5 speed gearbox and door handles and other bits and pieces were all good news for Excel owners. Further styling changes were made in 1984, 85 and 89. When the Excel finished production in 1992 it looked notably different from the car that was born in 1982.

Motiv power initially came from the 912 engine in much the same tune as it had been in the s2.2 Eclat. In 1986 the engine had quite significant changes which made it into the engine that everybody had always hoped for, the cam covers were completely re-designed and finally cured the oil leak problems that had effected all cars from the introduction of the 907 engine more than 12 years earlier, cam profiles were changed as were the pistons and the cylinder head, the cylinder liners got the nicosil treatment and the carbs got an extra jet to improve fuelling when wide open. The result was a 180 bhp engine that propelled the Excel to 135 mph and greatly improved acceleration in the higher gears. Only 2159 cars were built between 1982 - 1992, and only 15 were built in 1992 the last one was given to Hazel Chapman, I have read reports that this car has been sold by Paul Matty for mucho spondulies!.

Please see below for the Excel's statistics. Please note that the source of the performance data is sometimes official Lotus Cars data and sometimes independent magazine review data.

Name Production Years Max. Power bhp Max. Torque lb.ft Top Speed mph 0-60mph sec Comment
Excel 1982-1992 160@6500rpm 140@5000rpm 130 7.1s Lotus body & engine with Toyota running gear.
Excel SE 1985-1992 180@6500rpm 165@5000rpm 131 6.8s High compression engine.

Excel SA

1986-1992 180@6500rpm 165@5000rpm 124 8.2s 4 speed automatic gear box.

Author: Mike Reed