When you own a kit car or low volume sports car, keeping it going requires a fair bit of detective work, why? Because most of the important but expensive items, such as wing mirrors, door handles, interior and lights have to be sourced from somewhere.
A few years ago I accidentally caught and knocked off a wing mirror from my Elise and its smashed on the ground. Now given this is a fairly new car, I checked with Lotus and found that the originals were sourced from an Austin Metro! It seems obtaining crash approval for things like door mirrors are incredibly expensive.
The Morris Marina door handles were used on the Land Rover Defender, Lotus Esprit, TVR’s and Reliant Scimitars! Talking of Reliant, the Scimitar Sabre used SD1 door mirrors, Rover 200 instruments and Marina Door hinges. Range Rover again borrowed the Marina door handles when it moved from 2 door to 4 door as did Honda for its Defender look alike Crossroads.
So what of other secrets, well the last Land Rover Defender was built in 2016, but has inherited a few Austin Montego parts along the way, such as the column stalks, ignition barrel and even the central locking system. I only found this out when my own Defender had problems with the ignition barrel, which had to be changed along with the door locks!
Colin Chapman of Lotus fame was quick to raid everyone’s parts book, particularly on the Lotus Elan of ‘60s and 70s fame. Take the rear lights from a series 3 E type, interior door handles from an Austin Maxi and Triumph motorcycle petrol tank cap!
So what of the amazing Aston Martin Virage, Maclaren F1 and Jaguar XJ220, utterly amazing cars which all shared little Citroen CX door mirrors, possibly for similar reasons to the Lotus Elise and its Austin items. But what about the Lamborghini Diablo sharing the windscreen wipers and indicator stalks!