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S1 Transmission

Gear Change

The gear lever and linkage in the elise is taken straight from the MGF. It isn't the smoothest of gear changes and finding reverse can often be a problem.

Elise PartsRemote site offer a DIY kit to improve the quality of the gear change. The kits were produced with the help of Simon ScuffhamRemote site, an Elise enthusiast and racer. The first kit (50 + VAT) uses the existing cables but improves the linkages and bushers. This kit is aimed at normal road users of the Elise. The second kit includes improved cables (150 + VAT) as well and is aimed at track drivers. Also available is a quick shift (shortened gear lever).


The gearbox can make a huge difference to the performance of the Elise and this is reflected in the results of performance tests conducted by various magazines. If you do lots of long distance driving then it may not be for you. The standard car cruises quite nicely at 80mph with 3300rpm in 5th. If you are a B-road driver then the improved acceleration and closer ratios will definately be up your street. Combine it with the higher reving Sport 135 or 111S engine and you've got one very fast car. My ideal road going Elise would have a six speed gearbox with 6th gear being the same ratio as the 5th on the current standard car, and the lower five being used as performance gears. For track use you would probably want all six gears to be closer together.

The close-ratio gearbox on the standard car can make as much difference to the acceleration of the car as a 25bhp power increase, simply by increasing the torque available at the wheels. You could get the same effect by putting smaller wheels on the Elise but it would look silly.

The standard cars final drive is 3.938 and the Sport 135, the 111S and the Sport 190 is 4.2. The gear ratios and Mph/1000rpm are:

GearStandardSport 190
Gear RatioMph/1000rpmGear RatioMph/1000rpm

There is a useful gear/speed calculator on-line at Competition Transmission Services Do all sorts of gearbox work and modifications.


Your Lotus dealer can sell you the complete Lotus close-ratio gearbox for £1595 + VAT + fitting. This does not include a Limited Slip Differential (LSD). Also have a look at the Lotus 'Original Performance Products' catalogue.


Moto-Build Racing we have a limited number of close-ratio gearboxs for the Elise, available on a first come first served basis of £895 + VAT (and exchange). They also sell one with a LSD at £1595 + VAT (and exchange).

Power Train Projects

Sell a close ratio gearbox for 899.00. This is the genuine close ratio gearbox as supplied to Lotus. It is supplied in a wooden packing case which is ideal to store the original unit in. The old unit is not needed in exchange.


Have recently announced a six-speed sequential gerabox for the Elise, in either straight-cut or helical gear format. The helical gearbox is currently being fitted to an Elise 160 which Quaife is going to use as a demonstrator vehicle. Gearbox costs 7500 and gear linkage 900.


The Raceline gear kit utilises the standard crown wheel and pinion ratio and changes the 3rd, 4th and 5th gears. This gives exactly the same gearing as the Lotus close-ratio gearbox. It costs £595 + V.A.T and the price excludes fitting.

Simon Scuffham

Simon ScuffhamRemote site is looking into sourcing a six speed sequential box for the Elise but it will be expensive. Drop him an e-mail for more details.
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Copyright © Rob Collingridge 2009 - Last updated 12 Jan 2003