31 October 2005
Jeremy Peirson 23 Market Place Hingham Norfolk NR9 4AF
Nice to hear from you and learn you are still "firing on all cylinders" as many of the old Lotus crowd have "dropped off the perch" since we last corresponded.
For my part, as Nic has probably mentioned, I am still active with my old (Alvis) cars and went down to Angouleme in my TF21 DHC in September, which was very pleasant. The current project is a '32 Speed 20 SA which will be at Nic's in the New Year for some bodywork mods. following fitment of an Alvis Silver Crest synchro box to replace the crash gearbox.
Regarding your query from Stateside you appear to have hit a "bullseye", as it was part of my job as quality standards engineer at that time to oversee the block selection for overboring at Villiers in Wolverhampton who machined and assembled the twin cam in the earlv davs.
The original 1500cc Kent block was 3 bearing and about half a dozen of these were fitted to verv earlv Elans in 1963. Jimmy's Elan was used as a "test bed" and, to my knowledge, he had two engine changes due to crank failures. Following introduction of the S bearing block and overboring by Lotus initially to fully machined blocks, the blocks were graded at Fords for "wall thickness" suitabilitv but not verv successfully and I had to contend with both the understandable moans from Villiers of high rejection rate which affected the build rate at Villiers and the moans from Cope-Lewis i/c of Elan Build..
Initially the blocks were supplied bored to 1500cc from the "I E" (industrial engines) section at Dagenham but, with the introduction of the Lotus Cortina, the bores were delivered with unmachined bores to Villiers. Following a revised form of measuring the wall thickness (with a special spring odd leg caliper gauge designed by Villiers) the blocks were graded reasonable successfully and despatched by Ford to Villiers. Presumably any that failed the "Lotus test" were automatically passed through for 1500 cc machining.
As to whether a 1500cc (five bearing!) block could be used for a twin cam rebuild, it certainly should be able to be used, but I would think safer to fit liners prior to machining the bore up to give 1558cc.
As to any general Lotus Cortina build queries, the definitive person to deal with these would be my travelling companion on various overseas jaunts (in his Talbot 105), Chris Rawlinson. You probably have his details but I have included them in case not. as follows: