Lotus Elan

Opinions

PostPost by: howardagency » Wed Oct 15, 2003 4:28 am

Old guy wants to meet old car in California. Object: AutoX and Sunday morning drives. Saw this on ebay, and would like to hear any opinions concerning value, suitability of car for my intended usage, problems I will probably have, etc.

Thanks,
Howard
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PostPost by: howardagency » Wed Oct 15, 2003 4:29 am

Oops. Forgot link. <a href='http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2436851815&category=6312' target='_blank'>http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAP...5&category=6312</a>
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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Thu Oct 16, 2003 8:33 am

Hi Howard

This looks like a nicely original Elan, i.e. unmodified. Which is good.
However, it is an unfinished restoration project and I very much doubt you can have it finished for 2.500 USD as stated in the ad. You know nothing about the condition of the body, which is all important. The engine compartment does not look nice in the picture. Has it a new chassis?
Original books and tools are nice to have but much more important on an Elan are body and chassis.
Have a close look at the car and be aware it is a restoration project. If you a have a specialist, who will finish the car for you, then why not? But do not think this is car that just needs bolting back together, because it probably isn't.
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PostPost by: lotusfan » Mon Oct 20, 2003 5:30 pm

Well Howard, I'm curious - was it you that bought the Elan?? Is the Old Guy going to get his Sunday drives?

lotusfan B)
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PostPost by: howardagency » Tue Oct 21, 2003 3:33 pm

Lotus Fan..

Things got a bit odd. Seller called me to say he did not have a phone (says he lost mobile ??) so missed chance to see the car. Auction appears to have ended without sale, and bid was so close to 'buy it now' price it seems odder yet.

It may be a good car, but deal didn't feel right. Jolly Jumper made a good point about the engine compartment. Why would someone spend $4k on an engine and not detail before reinstalling. Maybe it was just a nice paint job on the cam cover.

But still doing Sunday drives in my 73 914. Saw a lovely prepped BRG Elan on the canyon Monday. Sure looked good, so just may call seller again. More toys!

Assume you have one of these turkeys. My main concern is Lotus 'fragility' combined with 'prince of darkness' electrics. I would want a good degree of driveability, not a garage queen, if I sink some real money into a restoration.
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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Wed Oct 22, 2003 10:39 am

Howard

Lotus Fragility is a myth. As long as an Elan is mantained correctly and built to orginal specifications, it is a reliable car. Thing is, lots of Elan get modified beyond recognition, are serviced on DIY-Basis, used only twice a year and then owners complain about reliability... ;)

Anyway, a proper Elan needs a proper base to start with, that is a new chassis, rebuilt driveline, rebuilt electrics. Get yourself an original, unmessed with car (you can find them in the UK, some still with original paint on them), have chassis and electrics rebuilt and then have fun. Certainly more fun than with a Porsche 914, if you ask me.
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PostPost by: howardagency » Wed Oct 22, 2003 3:21 pm

Jolly, (Mr. Jumper?),

Thanks for the encouraging words. Have always loved the uncluttered looks of the Elan. The 914 is fun. Ready to race 'street improved' class, updated suspension, brakes, tires, nonessential parts removed, and still street legal, if you don't look too closely. Can stay with most anything on a tight course or SoCal canyon roads, but stock 95bhp motor has its fun limits.

Nothing that losing 500 lbs and adding 30hp wouldn't cure, and that leaves few choices. Checked out the Elise last time in UK, and while beautiful, it will be a bit pricey here for my 'fun' budget allocation.

I just returned to the sport after 30+ year hiatus. Forgot how much fun this really is. Here is a link to the 914. <a href='http://www.thehowardagency.com/willow.htm' target='_blank'>Link</a>. Have pictures of your collection?

My quest continues.

Howard
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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Wed Oct 22, 2003 3:59 pm

Ok Howard, I underrated your 914, sorry. Looks very good. Must be because here in Germany the 914 is not held in high esteem, but this may be a prejudice! :unsure:

The Elise is a perfect sportscar in my opinion, as good as the Elan. But I thought you can't get them registered in California.
A proper Elan is 15.000 GBP, for that sort of money you will be able to buy a nice S1 Elise as well. But the Elan is more practical of course and much more user friendly to drive. Do you want a car that is already in the US?
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PostPost by: howardagency » Wed Oct 22, 2003 8:13 pm

Same opinion here on the 914. The guys laugh and call them NARP's; not a real Porsche. But they do handle better than same vintage 911's, do not have the driving vices, and their values are increasing. And we can buy a nice one for $4 - 8k here. As everywhere, rust is the issue, and it is difficult to address with unit body construction.

The Elise just announced for US import 2004. Good news: it will be powered by the LEV 1800 Toyota twin cam teaked to produce about 200hp. Bad news is price, expected to be about $45 k, and I'm sure it will gain a few pounds when federalized.

There are a surprising number of 7's here, but they just a bit too harsh for street use. There is Beck, who builds a lovely Porsche 550 replica, all new parts for $22-28k depending on options. 1300 lbs and 130hp does have a nice ring, so will probably decide between that and the Elan.
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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Thu Oct 23, 2003 10:16 am

Well, a 550 Spyder by Beck is a good replica, but the Elan is a classic. That`s the difference. It's nice to know you are driving a genuine piece of Sports Car History. The Elan will hold its value much better, too.

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PostPost by: type36lotus » Sat Oct 25, 2003 12:44 am

Hmm 914, my sister had one a looong time ago, it was a blast to drive. If I had more space there would be one in my garage. I belive they were Volkswagen/Porsche in Europe. My choice and probably everyone elses is the six. But the four was fun, so nothing against it... and cheaper to hop up and repair.

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