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David85

A few Elise questions if I may

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Hello again, I'm positioning finances to start seriously planning an Elise purchase. 

However, I often work at the other end of the country and am likely to do around 250 motorway miles a couple of times a month. We have a family car but I'll be effectively using the Elise as a daily and for travelling. 

So... apart from noise/vibration/low position etc.... am I totally bonkers to get an Elise (I will have this pattern for the foreseeable future and dont want to wait until I retire to have a dream car). Basically this will be my driving pattern for at least the next 10 years on and off. 

 

Secondly... what is the realistic maximum mileage of a K series/Toyota 1.8 elise and a newer 1.6? Assuming all maintenance correct. Point being if i buy say a 40-50k mileage car, within say 5 years it will be on 100k. I'm not interested in the value, but will it be road worthy at say 120k, higher?

All advice appreciated. I'm looking at around 13 to 20k ish budget, hence not getting a more refined car (evora)  

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Hi David

I bought a 40,000 miler k series 111s in July 2000 (53 plate)

I drove it monthly from Hampshire to Norfolk for over 3 years and did not regret one mile of it. Even driving on a motorway was a pleasure and, sitting in traffic, it only took a glance at the logo in the middle of the steering wheel to bring that grin back onto my face.

I still have that car and am going to Club Lotus in it this morning. It now has 122,000 miles on the clock. There is no reason it cannot carry on. There are cars on here with more than 200,000.

The feeling that I get from driving it has not changed. It is a fantastic car! You will see from posts by Exiges and Evora owners that, no matter how good or fast their cars, they respect the ability and sheer fun of an Elise. 

The car has not been trouble free. You will have heard about head gaskets and radiators, but once these have been sorted, these cars are relatively low maintenence. But bear in mind that they are low volume, hand made, high performance sports cars and do need looking after.

In my opinion you seriously need to buy one. It is great fun on a motorway it is unbelievable fun on the twisty bits. And youe eyesight will improve looking out for speed cameras (sorry, safety cameras) and gentlemen (and women) wearing blue uniforms.

Buy one. Have fun. You will not regret it.

Kevin

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The Elise is an easy daily.
 
The Toyota engine has a simpler service schedule and is considered bullit proof if looked after and the 6200 rpm cam change seems very popular. It carries a price premium. I don't find the K any less reliable if looked after. The K head gasket might fail but it also might not. £500 and half a day by a specialist on your drive and it's good for life. Mileage seems indefinate for either car if looked after and respected. 
 
Having driven my K daily for three years I now know that I'd reach 6200 so rarely on public roads that the Toyota would be wasted on me. I'm not saying it's not possible, just that I'd feel like a dick driving it on cam on public roads. Others might find it easier. Motorways might be an exception but the K is plenty fast enough anyway.
 
It might be a false perception of mine but I feel that a daily driven Elise is more reliable than a summer only pride and joy.
 
The front of the Elise takes a bit of a bashing from stones and this is made worse on a daily so don't worry too much about front end condition when buying. If it's concourse when you buy then it won't be for long unless you fit protection film.
 
Regardless of engine type an aluminium radiator is good. The standard rad has plastic ends. The heater resistor pack will fail quicker on a daily. It controls the three heater fan speeds. If any of the speeds don't work it's on its way out. Simple to change for an upgraded unit but only once the front clam and heater has been removed. A stainless steel tow post is necessary. That's a clam off job too.
 
A later K and all Toyota cars will have air-con. Good for cooling the cabin but also, more importantly for a daily, clearing the winter condensation. The heater fan will need to be working for the air-con to work properly.
 
I had AD07 tyres for two winters which coped surprisingly well on snow, if I wasn't on a gradient, but I now have all-season tyres. They don't stop me doing anything I did with AD07s but then I'm more of a Jensen Button than a Max Verstappen. Some tyres can be a bit of a fashion statement on a car that won't see a track. 
 
In short, the Elise is a great daily for me. I can fit all my shopping in it as well as a passenger, the child seat gives my grandchildren a great view, DIY stuff fits in if I take a saw with me. What won't fit in I can get delivered. I can service it myself. If anything changes and I have to sell it the depreciation will be minimal and I might even be able to sell for slightly more than I paid.
Edited by S2111S
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Will still be roadworthy at 120k miles and will still have some value! With your budget I would be looking at a Toyota engined car, either a late S2 with the facelift interior (and the 134bhp 1ZR engine) or an even younger 1.6 S3

Not that noisy when cruising and certainly should be no vibration, a hardtop helps in the winter months. Your biggest problem will be on dark rainy motorways - you can feel very vulnerable indeed amongst all the lorries and SUVs.

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On 06/10/2019 at 20:39, duncx said:

Your biggest problem will be on dark rainy motorways - you can feel very vulnerable indeed amongst all the lorries and SUVs.

This is a very valid point. Especially as the steering feedback is so good and vivid, it can be a bit unnerving if you are not use to the Lotus way. There is nothing to actually worry about as the Elise is great in the wet but it is something to consider if it is your daily all year round. It would not stop me buying one to use 365 days. And if you buy and change your mind, you can get out with zip depreciation, so the risk is basically nil.

Justin 

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Not sure what the mileage record is but at least one Elise has done over 250,000 miles.

1.8 Toyota 1ZR engine would probably be my choice for racking up high miles but as Kevin and many others have shown a well maintained K-Series can run and run too.

Have you considered the modern Europa? They are very rare now but use the Elise chassis with a Vauxhall 2.0 turbo from the VX220 and were built for better long distance comfort. Great cars. Very quick with fantastic handling.

This one's over budget and probably nicer than you need but will give you some idea.

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/lotus/europa/lotus-europa-s/9968742

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I use mine daily as my only car, as others have said i'd recommend a late S2 onwards (one with aircon and a hardtop).

The only issue I have is excessive windscreen fogging for the first 5 - 10 mins of driving, but I've only owned my current car for a few months and haven't had a proper look at the fan/aircon to see if all is well. I also don't have a hardtop on yet so i'm hoping that will help a tad.

You will not regret it, especially throughout the summer months when you can take the roof off and throw the car into corners!

I even returned to an Elise (Toyota) after owning an Alfa Giulia "sensible car" for a year! (prior to that i owned a k-series Elise).

Happy hunting! 😁

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