EJ20-Powered Lotus Elise? Yes Please!

Remember the Tommy Kaira ZZII?  When I first saw images of the concept, I literally lost it. Here was a nice looking, compact and quite light mid-engined car powered by one of the best engines to ever come out of Japan, the RB26DETT. Mounted in a central position, it boasted the same ATTESA-based AWD driveline out of a Skyline GT-R and packed more than 500hp. It’s a real pity that Tommy Kaira went bust and never got any further than the first prototype, as the production version was slated to have a price tag of less than $100,000.


So you can imagine why I instantly thought of the ZZII when I saw this crazy Elise S2 from BSK Performance at the recent Japan Lotus Day held at Fuji Speedway. With all the customer work that BSK has got going on, it’s very much a spare time project and as such has been in the build for the past few years. But it’s cool that the guys bring it out every year to show what progress has been made, and aside from the obvious lack of body on the thing, it’s actually now looking mechanically-ready.


So what is it that makes this lightweight sportscar project unique? Well, to start off with, check out the cockpit.


Through a centrally-mounted Kevlar seat and relocation of the pedal box, steering column, gear shifter and linkage, the driving position has been shifted to the middle of the bonded and riveted aluminium floorpan.


The best thing of all, however, is that BSK has dumped the Elise’s stock engine and swapped in something a little more… exciting. No scratch that – scary!


Yes, that’s a turbocharged Subaru EJ20 snuggly mounted within the frame. Due to its horizontally opposed layout, it also sits very low.


That’s thanks in part to being dry sumped as well – the big oil tank back there holding all the lubricant the engine will need. The capped-off Impreza 6-speed transmission was the perfect choice to send drive to the rear wheels and you can see the long linkage that allows the shifter to swap the cogs. That big aluminium box is the charge cooler, which in this instance is a much better solution to an intercooler due to the obvious lack of cooling and massive heat soak it would suffer from sitting on top of the mid-mounted boxer motor.


The packaging is tight but well-executed, with the scavenger pump being positioned right up against the firewall so that it can latch onto the crank pulley.


A MoTeC M600 is employed for engine management and it’s all neatly laid out around the compact chassis.

This is one project I can’t wait to see completed as it promises excellent weight distribution, a low center of gravity and the same power-to-weight ratio as a modern-day hypercar. Now, I wonder how BSK will address the body and aerodynamics?

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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The Tommy Kaira ZZII was my favourite car back in Gran Turismo 2, looked awesome and was easy to drive even with extra power due to the 4WD. The ZZ S was like a Japanese Elise, anyone ever seen any of them in real life?


Funny you mention the ZZII. I just popped in Gran Turismo 2 not too long ago for nostalgia's sake and took the ZZII for a spin. Its quite a shame it was never realized. You could even tell in the description that was put into the game how eager people were to see it become a reality.


Anything with a central driving position should be applauded! The rest is amazing too :)


Speedhunters_Bryn Anything that resembles a 60's F1 car from the rear should be applauded!


The rubber fuel hoses clamped to barb fittings immediately behind the driver with no firewall are a nice touch.


@mrsaturn7085 looks like that is actually the water pump for the charge cooler.


Been there, done that. Years ago!


zapsnyder think he means the units below the ECU, which are very likely fuel.  You can see the charge cooler 3/4" lines and tank above the ECU the other side of the glass.


@mrsaturn7085 my fav is the battery held in place with a zip tie


It is a pity the ZZll wasn't made, mid engined RB has to be good,


Time for a Speedhunters look / feature on the Factory Five Racing 818 (kg) kit.  The price and performance are pretty much a no brainer for even a regular Joe.


TimBurton1 zapsnyder Yep - Bosch 044 pump and 016 filter... definitely fuel.  Good setup with lousy lines... no clue as to why someone would do it like this.


A mate here in NZ has a Hillman IMP powered by a STI EJ20, mid mounted, Sti close ratio gearbox, 0 to 100km in 3.5 seconds, 800kg with him in it and full of fuel, took out NZGT class last season, giant killer. Has now been retired, being replaced with a Mercedes 190E with a 5.7litre AMG engine, power to weight will be close to the Imp, should go well.


Wires Yeah I've driven one, nice little cars


tunerguy21 Yep true pity


DanSPSAutomotive Care to share more?


MikeHawkins Pix?


<a href="http://s7.photobucket.com/user/equilibrio/media/IMG_61902_zpsce334992.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y256/equilibrio/IMG_61902_zpsce334992.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo IMG_61902_zpsce334992.jpg"/></a>


sorry, only picture i have on file, videos  of car in action available on youtube @ reeceracer16


Check out race 1 start at Manfield racetrack NZ, yes that was an evo, a batty and a gtr he blew past, closest rival was an ex NZV8 touring car that had been enhanced. Youtube @ reeceracer16


MikeHawkins That looks pretty nuts!


MikeHawkins Deserves a feature!


Nice one D! The Nitron (as in the shocks company) build is also worth a look if you haven't seen. N2 it's called.


There's a lot of cool potential here and a lot of what the fuck are they thinking ?


speedhunters_dino DanSPSAutomotive

Build thread here. :) http://www.scottishelises.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=31222

Chris Nuggets

Gotta followup with this when its completed!


@mrsaturn7085 TimBurton1 zapsnyder yeah use the 044 in my exige, but it's up over the passenger chassis leg, behind he firewall


It's not an Impreza 6 speed, it's a 5 speed. Please correct your text.


speedhunters_dino tunerguy21 just looked up pictures of it, and realized that it simply used the whole GTR drivetrain backwards, with its diffs inverted. It's like ... this could be done by someone in his shed, like those midengine kitcars cars running inverted G50 Porsche transaxles.


too bad its not 4wdthat would be nice


Hopefully it doesn't grenade gearboxes like that Fiesta that was featured a little bit ago, otherwise it's an interesting direction to take for an elise.


TimBurton1 Did you mean the Motec mounted with zipties? I couldn't find a battery mounted that way in the pictures. 

But this does remind me of the 11.5-second small-block Dodge I had, which ran a full season with a battery that was zip-tied in place.


DanSPSAutomotive haha, show off =D


Hi! How’s beautiful
selection of car and your every post so unique and every time give as well as
new ideas about your selected theme. 


I f!@#ing love this car. God I want this car so bad. Ughhhh....I hate you Dino.


made me start looking for salvage title lotus's to build one :P 

surprisingly there are quite a few around and at a good price too. though i suspect the frame is tweaked on some of the lower priced ones.....


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