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Buddsy

Never knew how few Elites & Eclats were made

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Being a child of the 80's (and therefore the Eclat/Elite are well before my time) I have never really thought much of the design of the Eclat or Elite.

It was funny that after reading this thread, I was driving down the freeway on sunday alongside... you guessed it... an Elite.

I recognised it immediately and, after telling my friend who was with me what it was, started to admire the shape. I can't say I've been a fan before, and I won't go as far as to call my self a fan now, but it's definately a unique car and one that I can see why people get so attached to. A nice looking example is definately something to behold.

I'll still stick to driving my Excel though. For me, one of the best looking Lotus cars on the road.

Cheers

Daryl

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Guest mkelite

hi Daryl. as ive got both its also very interesting to see them side by side in the garage and see how the Excel design evolved from the Elite. best regards. DC.

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Oli designed the Elite with an Italian flavour, but he always had in mind the wedge shape.

The Eclat was designed on a budget of Just £200,000. Try that today!!. Basically an Elite Coupe, the rear end design was also looked after by Oli.

The Excel was developed to modernise the Eclat and I'm sure you remember the original models that were tagged "Eclat Excel". Going through several "Upgrades" the Excel is called, by MJK, "The most sorted and driveable Lotus ever built". It was reliable, a great car to drive and practical.

I grew up in the Elite and then Excel, my old man having one till 1989 when he got his first Esprit (after the Engineers finally figured out how to fit his 6ft 7in frame in.


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Guest mkelite

hi Mr K. that must have been exciting times as the Elite was developed. uv obviously gathered im a bit smitten with its lines and i hope it will truely be appreciated as a piece of unique design / art very shortly. the Eclat / Elite favouritism has been on / off for years. i hope more Elite/Excel/Eclat will be saved. best regards DC.

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I can't believe how little they go for! Always suprised when I see a pristine Excel sell for £5000 or less!

I love the Elite and Excel too. Not been a fan of Eclat till recent years.


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Guest mkelite

i love the Elite as the pure design. no offence to Eclat owners but u can see that was the exercise to make the tail end appeal to US market initially and anyone who couldnt comprehend the Elites hatch styling. have had three Reliant Scimitar GTEs so that idea always appealed to me.......... the evolving Excel, some would argue just another Eclat, isnt really cos its lines have been freshly restyled. anyway i'll stop waffling again. regards all. DC.

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As far as I'm concerned it was almost a crime that the Elite was dropped and not developed with an Excel chassis, as for axing the Excel due to the cost of developing fuel injection for the emission regs again a crime...... the potential buyers of such cars that spent thier money elsewhere should be retrospectively fined to fund the development of such cars for us enthusiastic dreamers (Adnams is kicking in now :))

mark hic

Edited by lostcause

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freshly re-styled?

It takes a trained eye to quickly distinguish the early excel from the outgoing S2 eclat.

A lot of people seem to forget about the S2 eclat and the changes that were made while the car was still an eclat. Other than the excels chunky rear window pillar, it's pretty hard to tell the difference just from a glance.

A case in point being that convertible that we all discussed on the last forum that everyone assumed was an eclat, but was actually an early excel.

While we all love the elite's shape, it is fair to say it's always been thought of by others as being an ugly duckling. This is why the excel was the model carried forward.

Strangely, the elite shape seems to be looking better with every passing year. Like Eldorado and Jade Goody, it is perhaps something thats not truly appreciated until its gone....:)

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Guest mkelite

sadly, cos i study design in general and notice every little detail, thats why i made the comment freshly restyled etc. maybe others cant see that but i can............. yes when i bought the Elite, the Eclat was more accepted and the Elite was indeed the ugly duckling. they were even cheaper second hand cars at that point. hopefully the Elite will now be left alone and appreciated for what it really is. im sure this design debate thing will never go away tho............ regards. DC.

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I recall sometime in the mid to late 80's seeing a picture of an Excel outside the then headquarters of Lotus USA. I think the mag was Fast Lane. Underneath a caption suggested that the Excel was going to be sold in the US, but ofcause never did. I also understand that LHD Excels are rarer than rocking horse poo as most of the production remained in the UK or sold in RHD export markets.

Edited by GavinS1

Cheers, Gavin

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Hi all, just like to add that a mate of mine who works at lotus only ever saw 1 excel automatic (parked in front of the head office in Hethel) and he thought it was a protype for the U.S market,ans as they never exported the excel to th U.S.A he always thought that it was either the S or SE but as i own the SA i would really like to know how many of the very few (about 60-70 i hear) actually remain after the crashes smashes and conversions to manual gearboxes.

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Guest mkelite

we have the '87 SA and Lotus told me they only made a total of 25 SA Excel. DC.

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