The Lotus Twin Cam is a famous engine. Lotus took a mundane Ford four-banger and made it a screamin' race engine. And it pushes a Europa down the road quite nicely, too. No, it was not designed or produced by Ford, but it did use some special Ford parts that were not used in any of Ford's production vehicles. Please do not refer to it as a "Ford engine" because that is incorrect. Thanks.
The Twin Cam engine is often thought of as fragile, but evidently that is and isn't the case. My TC had a leaky water pump from the get go, which meant that the entire engine had to come out and be disassembled to fix it. While apart, I discovered some bad new; it had been blown up. From what I can gather, rings broke in the first, second, and third cylinders, damaging the head. How this was fixed without fixing the head is beyond me. A rod was also replaced, but I don't know why. And it still ran when I got it - well, just barely, anyway. So, I made the decision to rebuild it.
Rebuilding a Twin Cam is not something that a novice like me does in his spare time. It is complicated and requires a lot of skill to put it together properly. I sent it off to S2 Motorsports, which is no longer around under that name. After about 5 months, I got the rebuilt engine back. I had it bored out 0.030" with new pistons installed, along with new bearings, valves, seats, guides, and a ton of repair work to the head. And it only cost $4500...
But I feel that was money well spent. I have not had any major problems with it, only a valve clearance that closed up during break-in, but I'm told that's not too uncommon. The engine is a screamer, too. Lots of power for 1600 cc. Throttle response is instant, and it revs like a motorcycle. Sounds good too!
I have done some modifications to it, though. ALL of the original emissions equipment has been removed; in its place is a stainless steel header and high-balance tube manifold. The carbs have been rebuilt and "tweaked" a little. The plug wires are Magnecor racing wires, and the coil is a Lucas Sport unit. It also has a K&N cone air filter hanging on to the back of the stock airbox.
I hope to record some sound clips of the engine soon, so watch this space (not too closely though, it will hurt your eyes!).