* * * SOLD * * * Lotus Excel SE 1986 63,000 miles - complete restoration * * * SOLD * * *

Lotus Excel - restoration

The following is extracted from Lotus Divers Club Chicane magazine - Issue #89 Summer 2010:

Lotus Excel for sale, fully restoredLotus Excel 1986 for saleThe Lotus Excel is probably one of the best looking road cars Lotus have ever manufactured and at the time, one of the best looking cars on the road. And still to this day she turns heads when her sleek and distinctive line of this '8os design classic drives by.

It was these lines and beauty that caught the eye of a certain Mr Brian Swankie in 2007 while browsing that little auction site (eBay) for a kit car project. Most of the kits on offer were over priced or plane old crap (oops, sorry). And then, in Brian's own words "There it was. I saw it. I bid on it and oh s**t (oops, sorry again), I won it"

Lotus Excel for saleThis was a 1986 Lotus Excel SE and was to be the beginning of a new love affair for Mr Swankie.

Born in 1953, Brian has always had a great love affair with cars and in his younger days, raced karts at championship level from 1974-1984, finishing with several podium places and collecting a ton of silverware in his Class IV Villiers Kart.

But now came an even greater challenge, the restoration of his '86 Excel. Over the next 18 months, Brian was to transform this old, uncared for shell back into the head turning beauty that she was back in 1986. During the course of the restoration, he became more and more passionate about the project and made a number of new and invaluable contacts. One of which would later lead him to a find that 'Jewel in the Crown'.

Lotus Excel full restorationBrian stripped the Excel back and started to rebuild her from ground up; probably a bit more than he initially wanted to. But never the less, the project dictated how and what direction it would go. The shell was completely stripped, repaired and resprayed. The chassis, again, stripped and all suspension, brake pipes, brakes, hubs, struts and springs renewed or refurbished. The engine and transmission system were completely taken apart and rebuilt. Interior, refurbished and dash and trim manufactured and replaced. New glass (where required), door mirrors, external trim and livery renewed - finally a custom built stainless steel exhaust system was manufactured and fitted.

Eighteen months of blood sweat and tears, 18 months of new friendships and some new swear words. Eighteen months of searching, disappointments and triumphs. And 18 months of financial drain. It was now time to fire up the Excel. And when she came to life, Brian knew it was all worth it. "This example of the Lotus Excel is in my opinion one of the best on the road today".

Words by Chris Windras and photography by Brian Swankie
Lotus Excel, exclusive polished alloy gear knob and seat knobs