Report from the Lotus Newsgroup on the Elise rolling road shoot-out

Topic: FWD: rolling road tuning options results..
Message: 1 of 19 Sent: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 11:01:36 +0200

For those not on the Lotus mailing list. Lorne Mason posted this. I was surprised about the VVC, but by far the best result was Bernard Scouse car, makes TT supercharger look like a rip off!


Hi All,
Last Saturday a number of us Elise owners decided to meet up to compare different tuning options. We went to Emerald Cams in Brixton. This is run by Dave Walker of Magazine fame. He currently contributes to 'Cars and Car Conversions' Magazine but has previously written for other magazines such as 'Fast Car'. He is assisted by Karl Paton. If anyone is interested I have a photo of Dave and Karl! Sorry Karl, I'm just trying to embarrass you! (He shies away from publicity).

Thanks go out to Dave Andrews, K Series Head guru who assisted on the day. He modified Bernard's Elise featured later. I have referred to his very interesting web site on the K Series engine before but if you need the address again then ask me. Dave Walker will be running an article on us in a future C&CC Magazine. He may also include one or two other K Series engine conversions as a further comparison.

He tells me that he has had a VHPD engine on the Rolling road today and I know he has or hopes to get Simon Scuffam's 220 BHP car and the Turbotechnics Supercharged Elise on the rolling road too.

The rolling road in question is a Bear Pace 400 which is an Eddy current Dyno which requires no water. (I hope this means something to you!!!). It measures run down losses to provide a flywheel figure directly. This has a good reputation for producing accurate figures. A full set of Excel graphs is available on request. This will be sent by separate cover to those who attended on the day. Anyone else interested, let me know.

So on to the results:

1. Bernard Scouse - 1st place!

Jenvey TB45 Throttle bodies with 90 mm air horns, Emerald M3DK ECU, Dave Andrews Head with 31.5 mm inlets and 26 mm exhausts, ported and gas flowed, solid lifters, 740 Cams with 276 deg, 11.1 lift, custom inlet manifold and air box, Motobuild big bore exhaust. (More or less).

Power = 194 BHP Torque = 142 lb/ft
Approximate cost - £3000,.

The parts cost £1600 and labour was voluntary so I believe this figure is an estimate including labour. Bernard may reply to the list to elaborate. However you look at it, this conversion is excellent VFM. (value for money).

2. Lorne Mason - 2nd Place

Motobuild Stage II (ICON, Exhaust, Cat replacement, Vernier timing and 260 Cams, K&N 57i filter) and LAD head mods including enlarged ports and gas flowing.

Power = 159 BHP Torque = 129 lb/ft

I have spent about £3000 on this. Had I known I would have gone for the above conversion. But the above does require a fair bit of DIY involvement. (No problem for me). Interestingly, Darren Cooper who has a LAD only conversion (LAD head, Exhaust and air filter) went to another rolling road and achieved exactly the same figures.

It is a shame that neither Darren nor Tony C could make it along for a comparison. If you fancy popping down in the future they can adjust for the climate to obtain a comparable reading. It cost us £20 each.

3. Niall Feldman - 3rd Place

VVC Elise with Lotus (Janspeed) exhaust and CAT replacement.

Power - 153 BHP Torque - 127 lb/ft

The exhaust and Cat replacement gave an impressive 10 BHP. However, going much further in the Power stakes may not be easy with a VVC engine. Cam changes are not possible due to the VVC (variable valve control).

4. Steve Butts

ICON ECU + K&N filter, 260 cams, Janspeed Exhaust.

Power - 146 BHP Torque - 133 lb/ft
Cost - probably about £2000.

Steve turned up late after the rest of us had gone. I was particularly impressed with the torque figure here. This shows that cylinder head mods do help as there is not much between our conversions other than my LAD mods.

5. Simon Poole

A standard Factory produced 135S

Power - 145 BHP Torque - 128 lb/ft

This car gave very impressive figures. As you will see there was some variation with the 135S's. It is known that the power output was played down by Lotus so as not to undermine the VVC which at the time was on the way into production. Due to the differences in power outputs between the 135s we did a second power run later in the day. The second run gave 143 BHP. The temperature was 2 degrees higher (19.5 degrees instead of 17.5 degrees).

6. Chrisstian Jones

Another factory 135S, in fact I think that these two came off the production line one after the other. So the results are interesting and show the differences cause by engine variations.

Power - 140 BHP Torque - 127 lb/ft

7. Simon Kelly

Lotus (Janspeed) Exhaust, Cat replacement and K&N 57i filter.

Power - 138 BHP Torque - 130 lb/ft

This was the best value for money conversion. I don't know the exact figures but I would say the cost was about £500 plus fitting. (another £200). Well done Simon, where's my cheque?? Also where's my commission for launching your other half's modeling career?

8. Vivean Meazza

An aftermarket home fitted 135 S Conversion.

Power - 138 BHP Torque - 128 lb/ft

The first power run gave a disappointing 136 BHP. Then we discovered that the throttle was not opening fully (a simple cable adjustment). Everyone suddenly decided to check their own throttle opening at this point! A second run after correction generated 135 BHP but the weather was warmer. A further check revealed a dirty air filter. Removing it gave the final power figure. So it just goes to show that a few BHP can be found from cleaning your air filter now and then. Vivean was the most disappointed man of the day. He had spent over £3000 on the Lotus upgrade and achieved the same results as Simon K with his exhaust, cat and K&N costing 500 quid!!!

My brother went on with his 350 i Wedge TVR and managed 193 BHP but 212 lb/ft of torque!

The annoying thing was that after all those people who said, I'd love to come but I've only got a standard Elise, who I encouraged to come along anyway, bottled out, we didn't get a single standard benchmark Elise!! (You sods!). Dave, please come to the rescue again and send me that standard Elise power run so I can send it with the rest of the Excel power curves. I am hoping that Dave Walker will get the Turbo technics and Simon Scuffam cars on the road too. Karl, Dave A or Dave W, please let me have the VHPD figures on Excel if possible. We all really enjoyed the day and what gave me the most satisfaction was having to repeatedly stop on the way home as my brother's TVR persistently overheated in the heat and traffic of South London. (Torque - ppphhh!!).

Let me know if you want the Excel power figures. If you were there they will be sent. Hopefully Dave A can send a couple more? Chris please forward this to Mark McGee so he knows what he missed while suffering from his wimpy hangover! After all me and Simon Poole made it! Cheers Lorne PS I will have photos of the event which I can scan a selection of if anyone is interested.

From: Simon Scuffham <>

Topic: Re: FWD: rolling road tuning options results..

> Message: 2 of 19 (In response to wayne Sent: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 10:50:29 GMT

The £1500 total cost that Dave quoted seemed a bit light and did not include things that I already had on the car but that would be essential for the conversion (eg Emerald M3DK engine computer and Motobuild exhaust). So I have finally added up all the costs and added the dreaded VAT. It comes out to be just over £3000. A very good result considering the amount spent. All the costs are at list price, with a bit of arm twisting you can usually squeeze a bit of discount off. Note that Dave Andrews did all the headwork out of pure generosity (and some curiosity) Without his expert gas flowing the power output would be nowhere near what we actually achieved. Visit his Website for all the details on how to do it. If you are planning on using the car for track days then forged pistons would be a very wise investment. I am probably pushing my luck at the moment. And so to the next stage !

Lotus Elise project:
Fueling # off Cost each Sub total

TB Throttle Bodies 2 157.5 315.0
Trumpets 4 18.0 72.0
Linkage kit 1 69.0 69.0
Manifold 1 165.0 165.0
Engine computer 1 500.0 500.0
Mapping 1 160.0 160.0
Total = 1281.0 1505.2 with VAT

Engine # off Cost each Sub total
Inlet Valves 8 10.3 82.3
Exhaust valves 8 10.3 82.3
Valve springs 16 5.3 84.0
Solid lifters 16 1.5 24.0
Cams (pair) 1 310.0 310.0
Valve stem seals 16 1.5 24.6
Gaskets etc 1 40.0 40.0
Valve inserts 1 175.0 175.0
Oil change + filter 1 36.0 36.0
Motobuild exhaust 1 295.0 295.0
Intake plenum 1 70.0 70.0
Pipercross filter 1 55.0 55.0
Total = 1278.2 1501.9 with VAT

Grand total 3007.1 with VAT

If you add up the labour involved it would come to some 50+ hours so even at a reasonable £30/Hours thats another £1,500+vat (£1,763) so now we are getting close to the £5,000 mark.

Now, Personally I think that Bernard and Dave have showed what is possible without throwing money at it, but most of all, that there is no substitute for a complete package of mods, not just some bolt on parts. I am somewhat amazed at the figures bearing in mind that this was a standard head casting, the torque curve makes the VHPD look a little silly (although I have not seen a dyno-print from Dave's dyno for a VHPD). Also worth noting is that it's only above 5,500Rpm that it takes any real avantage over the 135 kits, (this is really down to better breathing with throttle bodies over the VVC type plenum manifold and bigger valves), but without the right gearing, this is not much help. I had evey intention of getting down to Dave's on Sat. unfortunatly, the Elise had other idears! I will make it at some point if only for comparison. Simon (S)