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Would you lend your Pride & Joy to a complete stranger?


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I did once borrow my brother's Austin 1100 and turned it on its side.  I felt really awful about it until he said he thought there was something wrong with it as it had gone off the road without warning earlier in the week.

 

Haven't asked to borrow a car of his since although he did lend me his Jag once when I was over with the family staying at his house.  Luckily, I didn't damage that. (car or house)

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

 

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Couple of tales from me.

 

Firstly, as soon as I passed my test at 17 I bought an immaculate Hillman Imp, which I loved to bits. However, on the odd occasion, I had to switch to the Dark Side and drive my brother's Mini 1275GT: the complete antithesis of my own car. For that reason the Mini and I just didn't get on. On those few occasions when I did need to use it, something always went wrong. Clutch failure, shattered windscreen and, worst of all, was when I drove it to school one day and parked up near the common room. When I returned a few minutes later the Mini had vanished. Someone's nicked it! Oops, not so. I had forgotten to apply the handbrake, so it had rolled across the quadrangle and ended up resting against the steps by the dining hall, in full view of half the school. A raised corner paving slab had punctured the lower front valance. Fortunately this was a black undersealed area, so the damage was not immediately obvious. What to do: 'fess up, or keep schtumm and hope my brother doesn't notice? I took the second option. Of course I denied everything when he came to wash his Mini that weekend and noticed the damage. It was about 15 years before remorse finally got the better of me and I owned up to my misdemeanour.

 

Secondly when I provided my Lotus Omega for a group test in a classic car magazine I sat in with the journalist. I didn't really know what to expect, but assumed fireworks would be in order for a report on an iconic 377bhp super saloon. Not so. Even Miss Daisy's driver would have made faster progress. I don't think he exceeded 2500 rpm throughout the test: it was like being in a diesel. Also his gear changes were truly ham-fisted. I was amazed at how poorly he drove. Of course, when the story was finally published a few months later it bore no resemblance to what I actually experienced. I quote: "Stay with the gears up to about 6000 rpm, then flip through the gate and the ZR1 'box rewards with an unspoiled transition of power."

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Nobody has driven my Lotus except for me, since I got it in 1988ish. It's always possible for things to break...even if the other driver was totally blameless...and there would always be a faint suspicion in the back of the brain..... The only person I might allow to drive it is my brother; we were both brought up under the same regime, and we share the engineering appreciation that curtails overstress!!

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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I don't lend cars out but I do sit next to complete strangers often - on test drives.

 

I've had three accidents with customers driving like idiots and have applied the handbrake on numerous occasions. I've even invited a customer to get out and walk back on one occasion.

 

It's bad enough knowing how people treat the cars when you are sat next to them so, no, I wouldn't lend one of my cars out to a stranger under any circumstances.

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To answer the thread title: f**k no. Would I let a stranger test drive in my presence? Maybe; if they show the right kind of interest and appreciation as well as a modicum of modesty (not expecting to drive it flat out straight off, or shift gears forcefully etc). I'd have a lot easier time trusting another supercar owner than some dipshit with a chipped Audi S5 though, partially because those kinds of people are more likely to understand what they're in for. 

 

Non-strangers I'm pretty generous with. Friends and family get to drive (at least the indestructible Turbo SE) without me getting my pulse up too much.

Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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No way I would let a stranger have the keys to my S4s ! I have let my mates drive it with me s a passenger & all have driven it with respect unless I've told them to give it some beans ! I have one or two very good friends who I would lend her to without hesitation as I know they can drive, would look after her & treat her with respect but other than that, no.

My next door neighbours Son wanted to borrow her for his wedding which I was more than happy to do until I found out he meant he wanted to drive him & his best man to church in it. Thankfully he had a change of plan so I didn't  have to think of an excuse why I couldn't do it :-)

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Auch! It is quite astonishing that some people, seems many, would treat a  car, and not only their own, but also the car of another person or a rented one, or a demo one, to such driving style, lack of understanding and lack of respect of their own and others life and/or property. I know for sure my own brother is braindead when he gets behind a steering wheel in a car, so no.

 

Vanya: ha ha, that's the first time I've ever heard something like "indestructible" about an Esprit! Kudos for that!

And kudos to Bibs of course, for daring to lent out his car. Glad it all went good and all were happy about it.

It's not that I wouldn't ever do it by principle, but I wouldn't dare. I shall be happy to assist in driving a sweet bride to a wedding though, if she understands and accept the terms I am telling her, like the sills are not a doorstep, and the sidesupport of a seat is not to be climbed on, or that eating and drinking or smoking etc. is not taking place inside the car, or her eventual children are not to be near the car with their hands full of gravel. That sort of thing. That is with me behind the steering wheel. That is another matter.

 

Personally I don't see how a full Insurance for the specific purpose of that drive should ever bring my Esprit back to me in perfect condition. If a tosser hit it hard or the driver himself smashed it, how can a sum of Money bring me MY car back? It's never going to be the same. And think of all the countless hours you've spent on searching for it, working on it for only God knows how many days and nights, while your Family's been missing you. And then the driver (or someone else, but that is not the point here) throws all that away in a momentary lapse of insanity? No, thought so.

Think of all the upgrades and spares you have spent many many hours of searching for, and then some heartless economist in an Insurance company owned by the evil himself (as we all know they are), don't give any meaning to that, when deciding that your special Esprit is estimated to have the value of 100 Pounds? No, thought so.

I know well it's just another piece of Machinery, and it's not the end of the World, but honestly guys, I don't know about you, but personally, I have to work to earn money. Work a lot. Then comes the taxman (the cousin of the Insurance man), and takes 60% away. Then after lot's of  years I finally buy the Esprit and have to pay same amount in registration fee (in Denmark), just to lent it to a guy or girl, who have spent alll of those hours on the Beach partying or in the arms of his or her family? No, I think not.

 

I think there's also another reason not to, and that is the point that an Esprit is for many people a supercar from movies, posters and what not. The Little bird on one shoulder would maybe tell them to drive it wayyy over their ability, something that normally they would not do in say a Toyota aygo, but here comes fate and offers them a chance to be James Bond for 5 minutes, so why not act like it? No, thought so.

I know well, that I can only have the Esprit for a while, untill I pass or sell it or destroys it or whatever,  but I see no reason to tempt fate ;) Same reason I don't drive in the hardship of Winters. Likewise I also politely turn Down the offers I get myself, to drive someone elses car.

But by all Means, good on those who dare ;)

 

Cheers,

jacques

Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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