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78Elite

Opinions please. . .

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I am based in Southern California and own a 78 Elite. It has been fully re-built from the ground up. It has an automatic transmission, Power Steering and Air Conditioning. It has 32K miles and a 2-owner history. There is slight wear on the drivers side seat (Left Hand drive) but otherwise the leather is in good shape. Obviously no rust. Of the 2500 or so Elites built I would be keen to know how may came over to the States and how many came along with the equipment package I mentioned, especially the AC. As ex-pat for the past 5 years (origianally from SE England) I have yet to see another example on the roads. I am not intent on selling her but am interested in anyones opinion as to its value. Thanks in advance for your input...

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Welcome to the forum. The only Elite I saw in SoCal was pulling onto the shoulder on the north side of the Grapevine some years ago. I think a very nice one was sold in LA using Ebay last summer so yours should not be alone.

It sounds like you have a 504 model. When the Elite was introduced the trim level was designated by a number on the B/C post with the 501 being the most basic, the 502 having more equipment, the 503 having air conditioning and leather and the 504 being the automatic.

Is yours roadworthy? If so, how well does the automatic transmission work with the 907 engine? I ask because the contemporary road tests said that the revvy engine was not a good match to a 3-speed auto. However, Lotus sold an Excel in Europe in the late 80's or early 90's with a different auto and a more rev-hungry engine and the road tests of it were very complimentary so I wondered if they were against the original Elite auto as they thought sports cars should have manual gearboxes (stick shift).

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Welcome to the forum :thumbsup:

About a year or so ago I came across a craigslist ad in the SF area for a silver with red leather 504 Elite. I think the mileage was in the 20s and overall condition was very nice but it did have a cracked windshield. It had always been a west coast region car. Originally he listed it for $15K, then down to $10K and finally he dropped it down to $7.5K and it sold. The car came with a bundle of spares incl a manual gearbox and associated stuff to do an auto to manual conversion. Seller said the box and parts came from Paul Matty. It was a great buy, I just didn't have the room for it. From what I've seen good examples of an Elite or an Eclat seem to sell for about $5K - $6K, never seen one sell for more than $7.5K.

Edited by GavinS1

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Guest mkelite

if you contact Andy Graham, Archivist at Lotus at Hethel, im sure he can give you the info you want. as for auto gearboxes........i know they are generally frowned upon in a sporting car but our Elite S2.2 has the Borg Warner autobox three speeder and i think thats fine really. our Excel SA has the later four speed autobox, (the German one!) , that was also used in larger cars of the period eg. the Jaguar saloons. yes thats a lot smoother 'cos of the four gears ratios etc. but neither seems an issue for us. i have been told by Lotus that they only made 25 Elites and 25 Excel as autos. if thats accurate or not i dont know. regards. DC.

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I bought my '75 503 in LA last June off ebay, so there are a few around anyway. It made the drive from LasVegas (where I had towed it, to tune up & safety check)all the way home to Detroit over 4th of July weekend with little problem - though the A/C condenser was removed by the previous owner to help cooling... and it was 112 deg. on July 2nd leaving LasVegas! I don't know if it's the one you were thinking of though, as mine was/is pretty rough. I stripped and repainted it before my wife flew out to ride in it's "maiden voyage", and the interior is still a work in progress! I can't comment o the 3spd auto box, as mine has the 5spd manual, but I've heard it's a pretty good match.

Best of luck with yours!!

Cliff

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Thanks for all the input guys - It's good to know someone is out there - and you all seem to know your stuff! Yes mine is the 504 model and as far as the match-up goes with the auto box I tend to agree that the engine is a bit revvy for it, though it does make for an easier ride especially in traffic. The car was originally purchased for a lady driver who wanted something sporty looking but I think the low-end performance takes a bit of a hit - once she's going though she goes pretty good! I'm currently getting her ready to get back on the road having had several years of R&R in my garage. Am a bit concerned about passing smog - does anyone have any advice as to de-tuning prior to the test. I am pretty mechanically inclined but I do not have much experience with Dellortos (other than having re-built them!) so any input on that front would be great. Once again, thanks for the warm welcome and I look forward to hearing from you again. Cheers!

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We were talking about this very thing with someone considering an Esprit S1 in CA. I'm pretty sure you still need to have the air injection rails and air pump in place plus the cat to pass smog. I have seen Dellortos on S1/S2 Esprits in CA so it is possible to get through smog testing. I'd just try leaning them out as much as possible and see what happens.

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