Lakeside Engineering

Run by Enthusiasts for Enthusiasts

Tel: 01932 340003






Press Releases

  • Our latest press coverage was with The Club Lotus, they ran a article following some very interesting work we carried out on a 1962 Lotus Elite, the car had spent the last twenty years on display at Beaulieu National Motor Museum and apart from being cleaned regularly it had had no maintenance and had not run for all that time, quite a challenge!


To read the article click the link below


press/images/Pages 20-21 Lakeside Elite1.pdf


1962 Lotus Elite1962 Lotus Elite1962 Elite


Elite Kit Arives 1962

This great picture is of the Elite arriving with the current owner in 1962.

Many Lotus were sold in kit form during the period, this was so owner could avoid paying a car tax which was at the time chargeable on all new cars, but cars assembled by their owners were exempt. Providing the manufacturer did not assist in the assembly. The factory was not even allowed to provide instructions, to get around this the clever Mr Chapman provided a section in the workshop manual on how to replace the body in the event of a accident which was effectively the same job.



  • Another recent work featured in the motoring press was an article by Nigel Fryatt in Performance Tuner magazine
  •  In a feature called "Our Cars"


WHO: Nigel Fryatt

WHAT: Lotus Elise S1

YEAR: 1999

MILEAGE: 51,300

CURRENT MODS: Elise S2 suspension (Bilstein shocks, Eibach springs), plus full suspension set-up



As a former Caterham Seven owner, I was quite used to changing suspension set-ups. Indeed if you compete with a Caterham, as I did in sprints, hillclimbs and the odd circuit race, you get used to changing most things on a regular basis. However, when it came time to hang up the race boots, I did think that would all be behind me. That was one of the attractions of the Elise, it has a great deal of the same appeal – being a stripped, lightweight, dynamic, driver’s sports machine – but I did assume it would be much more of a ‘park and drive’ beast. Regular yearly servicing, perhaps the odd new set of tyres but with nothing more technical than the odd wash and polish.


There is, however, only so much banging and crashing one man can take. The original Lotus Elise S1 design was a fundamental step forward, a car in true Colin Chapman-like tradition in many respects, with its glued together boxed-section chassis, mid-engine format and with poise and balance higher up the ‘must have’ list than outright power. That it was clothed in a stunning, curvaceous body was merely a bonus.


As with all cars, it was built by the manufacturer to a specification that would meet the intended list price and, as such, there were areas where suppliers built components to a price first and a specification second. In the case of the S1 Elise, that means that even after moderate mileage (and in my car’s case, none of it on a track) the OE spring and damper combination was well passed its sell-by date and couldn’t actually cope with the odd discarded cigarette packet, let alone man-hole covers, drains and the normal inundations and minor craters that litter our roads. On anything other than smooth surfaces, my 50k mileage Elise would crash and scream, there being little if any compliance. It was spoiling what was otherwise a great car.


The problem was then exacerbated when it came to replacing the odd mix tyres the car had arrived with; Pirelli upfront and Toyos for the rear, or was it the other way around? Whatever. The answer, from experience, was a set of the Yokohama Advan Neova tyres, specifically produced for Lotus, for the Elise. These tyres are handed, so you need four different tyres for the S1, and they look superb (yea, OK, but be honest, that does matter even if it shouldn’t). Of course it now meant that the Elise had more grip, could be pushed harder but on sweeping fast corners it also produced a particularly unpleasant squirming rear end. Further investigation revealed that one of the rear OE Konis was now weeping oil, presumably realising that it wasn’t part of my plans anymore.


A call to Lakeside Engineering soon had the answer. Lakeside had been servicing the car before I bought it, and since they came recommended by my former colleague on Cars and Car Conversions magazine, Art Markus, that was good enough for me. For fast road, occasional but not extreme track use, the answer was to upgrade to the Elise S2 suspension, which involves Bilstein struts with Eibach springs. Now where had I heard of that combination before? Ah yes, on my Caterham Seven!Bilstein Spring & Dampers


It’s not quite a straight swop as you also need S2 brackets for the rear, available from any Lotus outlet, but if you have the right equipment, you could do this yourself. Needless to say, that was not my plan and I left it to Lakeside to fit while I stood back and watched. The S2 strut and spring combination actually lowers the car 10mm, although it looks to me as though the rather knackered original springs had sagged over time and so the ride height difference is imperceptible. But when you get behind the wheel…




Rear Suspension

Front SuspensionBefore that, however, the car was taken to have it’s suspension correctly set-up. For a car like the Elise, this is essential but to be honest it’s something that any car that has significant changes to its suspension should consider. Of course, having your geometry correctly adjusted is not something you can see, you don’t bolt it on, you can’t polish it and you can’t show your mates. But for some, and certainly for this Elise, it’s one of the best ‘performance products’ you can buy for your car.










I was taken over to  tyre specialists, Merritt’s of Woking. Now this is no ‘quick and cheap’ tyre outlet and their Hunter DSP600 suspension geometry rig has to be state of the art for road cars. The car sits, or almost floats, onGeometry Ramp four ‘pads’ linked to a computer. Each wheel then has a multi-adjustable clamp fitted to it, along with four frying pan-sized reflective plates, which point towards the two camera arms that are connected to the same computer. Now that’s as technical as I can get! The rest is some kind of strange high-tech magic. The computer’s camera sends a laser beam to the reflective plates, catches the multitude of reflections, analyses the results and registers the camber, caster, and toe-in on each individual wheel accurately and quickly and records the results on the computer screen so even the most inexperienced operator – or in this case, me – can see what is going on.



Geometry CompIt was pleasing to see immediately that my Elise is a straight car and the settings weren’t that far out, although the rear camber understandably needed adjustment. The rear on the Elise has a simply but effective suspension where there are a group of shims fitted to the top arm of the suspension. Add, or subtract, shims and you alter the camber. One shim equals around 15min and for the Elise the ideal range is between 1deg36’ – 2deg00’ negative. If you want more that 2deg negative, for serious track use, some people remove all the shims and machine the face further.




The sensitivity of the whole system was further emphasised when it was explained that the tolerance for toe-in at the front of the Elise is a mere 1min. Now I’m no expert, but I just cannot see how you can get that kind of accuracy without going to the trouble of a full computerised set-up.


Geometry Ramp

Off the ramp and onto the road and I cannot say that the result has merely improved the Elise. It’s not improved, it’s been transformed. And that’s transformed in an England rugby union team at the World Cup type of transformation. The car actually rides British roads in comfort, and while it’s not actually ‘softer’, it is certainly far more comfortable, much more compliant. The Bilstein/Eibach combination are now working for a living, the suspension copes. Add to that the fact that I now know that all the wheels are pointing in exactly the right direction and at exactly the right angle and the car feels sharper, but is actually easier to drive quickly. Keeping the four wheels connected to the tarmac, always a concern for a lightweight sports car, and not bouncing off manhole covers, means the Yokohamas can get to work, properly.


One gruesome thought is that I’ve been in motoring journalism for longer than a lot of PT readers will have actually been around, and while I’m not overtly cynical, I’m not easily impressed. But trust me, if you have an S1 Elise on original suspension, change it. Now. At around £500 for the struts and springs, plus the brackets, £120 for the suspension set-up by Lakeside and then throw in a further £480 for a set of Yokohamas fitted and balanced, this is not a cheap conversion, especially when you consider you can pick-up a tired Elise S1 for as little as £7,000/£8,000. However, trust me; your car will handle better, ride better, respond better to your driving and as a result, you’ll be much quicker. Maybe you can’t polish it or point at it, but this is one worthwhile modification.