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Buddsy

Never knew how few Elites & Eclats were made

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I was just reading my lotus book and compared with the 10,675 Esprits made only 2,535 Elites were made and only 1519 Eclats. Even the Excel only 1,327. I would never have guessed this? When I was a boy the Esprit was the one I wanted to see but it was always one of the others that you would see, which now seems strange given the low numbers made. Maybe it was since these car may have been better for every day use? In the last few months the Eclat has become more pretty to me than I ever thought it was. A chap who works for me has been offered one (in parts) for

Edited by Buddsy

 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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the actual figure for the excel is 2159... im an excel owner too, which book did thoes figures come from?

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Looking on ebay at Elites and Eclats, there seem to be more basket cases than running cars. A real shame they're so expensive to store, they'd think they'd be cheaper as many of the parts are from other manufacturers parts bins. When I was a kid they were the flashiest cars going, along with the Ferrari 400 and the Bitter SC.

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Those are amazingly low production figures, especially considering the Elite/Eclat was made for 8 years (1974-82).

I seem to recall the launch of the Elite unfortunately coincided with a big labor strike, and I think there were frequent power outages and other troubles as well. Despite being a great car, not everyone wanted to pay the hefty price tag, especially with the Elite's "unconventional" look.

I'm still blown away by the prices though. They're great fun to drive and are definitely one of the most under-appreciated classics out there. Even amongst Lotus it seems to be a black sheep, which is an unwarranted stigma for sure.

I still miss my Elite, and if I had space I'd maybe sell my Caddy project and buy a whole fleet of Elites to work on.

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the actual figure for the excel is 2159... im an excel owner too, which book did thoes figures come from?

Mark I got my figs from the bookLotus since the 70s Volume 1:Elite Excel and Elan by Graham Robinson. It gives the Excel running from 82 with the last Excel being made in the summer of 92. Production no givern are 71,214,315,362,249,337,244,183,113,56,15 in each year in order. Your figures are much higher could this include the Eclat no.s as I read the "the Excel which strictly speaking, was an Eclat Excel."?

All the same I thought the Esprits were low production No.s but these cars are almost one off especially as Clark said these No.s were over 8 years!


 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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Those are amazingly low production figures, especially considering the Elite/Eclat was made for 8 years (1974-82).

Very true. But don't forget it took Lotus 30 years to build 10,000 Esprits, which is only an average of.........ermm.........lets say 350 cars a year. So in the same 8 years that's roughly the same.

IMO there are three reasons Esprit survived when the others didn't,

2 doors

2 seats

Exotic styling.

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Eclats are very uncommon over here, but there's one for sale here on Long Island right now

http://www.cannillomotorsports.com/inventory/eclat/eclat.htm

Haven't looked at it myself, though I was tempted because the price sounded so reasonable. The same dealer has a nice looking S4 for $31K, which is higher than I've seen recently.

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That just prompted something in y memory about Eclat & Elite being exported to the USA, but the Excel not being sold there.

Is that my mind playing tricks on me? Could that go some way to explaining why the Excel production figures were so low?

Andy

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Could be booze playing the tricks on your mind Andy? :)

Thanks for the link Trevor good to see a few pics of an Eclat. I searched google images the other day and on the whole of the internet all over the world it came up with a grand total of 2 image both of which were small! Even wikapedia doent have much on either the Eclat or Elite...but maybe it was the people trying to put their stuff on and having taken off by the arse head mods on there!! lol


 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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That just prompted something in y memory about Eclat & Elite being exported to the USA, but the Excel not being sold there.

Is that my mind playing tricks on me? Could that go some way to explaining why the Excel production figures were so low?

Andy

Hi Andy,

Yes, I don't think any elites were imported. I have never seen an Eclat on the road here either, they seem to be much rarer than esprits.

Cheers,

T

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It gives the Excel running from 82 with the last Excel being made in the summer of 92. Production no givern are 71,214,315,362,249,337,244,183,113,56,15 in each year in order. Your figures are much higher could this include the Eclat no.s as I read the "the Excel which strictly speaking, was an Eclat Excel."?

thoes figures add up to 2159 dude... sure the figure you quoted wasnt for export or domestic?

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Haha Mark you are right. I was just getting those figs from a table in the book, I will scan in and show you, they must have just added it up wrong? lol


 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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Hi Andy,

Yes, I don't think any elites were imported. I have never seen an Eclat on the road here either, they seem to be much rarer than esprits.

Cheers,

T

Elites and Eclats were imported to the US, not in high numbers, but Excels were not.

And Mario: I don't think the engine was the problem (same as the early Esprits and decent 0-60) but rather the body that it was packaged in. I remember reading a quote from an unhappy dealer that the Elite looked like an AMC Gremlin that had been stepped on!

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Nothing wrong with the styling of the car. It was years ahead of the competition.

I have a road test report here that compere's it with it's closest competition (circa 1978) Ferrari, Porsche are both over


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When I was a boy the Esprit was the one I wanted to see but it was always one of the others that you would see, which now seems strange given the low numbers made.

I agree Scott, but if you think back, the Elite/Eclat were launched first and the Esprit was about a year or so late. I saw it at at least two motor shows before I saw one on the road. Up to 82, we're talking about the early G-Cars and there really weren't very many of them. As John (Lowtus) said it took 30 years to get 10000 and of course there's very many more post-Stevens than G-Cars in the total.


Loving Lionel and Eleanor......missing Charlie and Sonny

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Im not sure I think there were nearly 6000 G cars made out of a total of 10,600 That would mean more G cars.


 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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Not according to the production run tables on LEW here

TBH I was surprised it added up to as many as 4000 G-cars in total...and 2400 up to 1982


Loving Lionel and Eleanor......missing Charlie and Sonny

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The Elite quickly got a reputation for poor reliability and performance in the early road tests wasn't great. That sort of reputation is difficult to shake off no matter how good the later models were. If the early cars had not suffered from gearbox issues (thanks BL) and trim issues the story may well have been different.

The styling was, shall we say, individual. Some liked it, others thought it was not so nice.

The Excel, however, was generally regarded by the motoring press as a much-underrated car. Way better than the contemporary Porsche 944. I don't remember if it's someone on Lotusbuzz or on Elisetalk said their Eclat had fantastic, go-kart like handling, even better than his Esprit so there wasn't much wrong with the driving experience.

I think the problem was that when people think "Lotus" they do not also think "4 seater."


S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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Re the Excel Vs Esprit.

When I had the previous Excel My brother went for a run out in my S3 Esprit to see his Brother in law, and I followed in the Excel.I found 3/4 way through the journey I had a sticky calliper on the front right, so couldn't brake correctly, had to take it slow and was obviously loosing some power to the additional resistance.

He thought he was pushing the Esprit hard, and I was keeping up easily and though it was a nice gentle drive, just by easily the Excel was handling the roads.

Other than price when compared to the Esprits now, the Excel has another advantage, people don't recognise them as easily, so don't want to prove anything about how they can beat a Lotus.

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hi mark, 1327 does appear to be a properly researched figure, i have the book too. however it appears the author can't add!. what is an excel sei?, is it a model name made up by you to indicate that you have fitted petrol injection.

Edited by mistynes

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Regarding the Elite styling and the rather cruel US dealer Jibes about it looking like a "Gremlin that had been stood on" (me thinks Porsche 911.... souped up Beetle that has been stood on... but maybe thats just me...)

In 1975 there were three of us, aged 9, posing on our Raliegh Choppers, (Halstead Hill/Goffs Lane junction if any one knows the area), we were the coolest kids around... then we heard this roaring noise and all three of us turned towards the brow of the hill, where the noise was coming from, over the crest "flew" an apparition that took our collective breaths away, to us it looked like Captain Scarlets personal Spectum car just roared by!! It was,of course an Elite, to my mind a stunning design, then as now. Bear in mind what was the norm in 1975, my dad had a Triumph 2.5PI, Lee's dad had a Zodiac mkIV, Russels dad had a Morris Minor!!

for me, the dream has finally become a reality (nightmare for the bank manager?) :)

It's so easy to look at cars like ours and forget the impact they had when new..

regards

Mark

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Guest mkelite

hi Mark. its funny you put your thoughts about how you feel about the Elite remembering Captain Scarlet etc and design of general cars of that period. must be cos we're about the same age ish! but i feel the same too. at that time people were looking towards the future for new ideas, design, modernity. somehow thats expected today and trying to touch the future, today is not seen in such the same way perhaps? if that makes sense? i think Oliver Winterbottom was trying to latch on to modern Italian design at the time but now i think the design may be getting credit finally. the design angles of the back area that many say conflict with each other is actually what makes the design work.................. ooops im waffling again. regards . DC.

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