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Potential Elite owner

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Hi. Registered on here a week ago. Never owned a Lotus of any description, but always loved the Elite.

Half-thinking of buying one, though god knows the last thing I need is yet another temperamental money pit. Haven't even seen one for at least 20 years. I put that right on Saturday. In fact I went so far as to sit in one that's for sale... :getmecoat:

Spotted the yellow/green one on Ebay last week (KAU249N). Was passing by the area so went to seek it out. It was parked under a ramp in the gloomy workshop of the dealer who's got it up for sale. Popped the drivers door open and it sunk on the hinges by a couple of inches. Hmm. Thought I'd better sit in it to see if I fitted or not. I loved it. Brown leather seats, thin-rimmed wooden steering wheel, dash-mounted mirror, very-loud ticking clock. Lovely. The missus really liked it too, even if she thought it was an old prop from Thunderbirds...

Had a wander round it but it wasn't easy to check things out. Didn't really know what I should be looking at anyway. Bloke didn't know how to pop the bonnet so no idea what's under there. Spotted all manner of loose trim bits and general cosmetic shonkyness. Boot was full of Lotus magazines, workshop manual, supposed receipts for a restoration etc. Got there shortly before he shut so no chance to try moving it out into the sun or firing it up.

There was a NYLOC sticker in the back window so I just had a nosey on their forum and spotted someone who knows it (Link) - not particularly encouraging though. Reckon the "new MOT" it'd come with would be no guarantee of it getting home without the AA.

OK, so I thought I wanted one, now I know I do. :veryangry: Not that one necessarily. I know an Excel would make far more sense but it's not the same. I'm OK wielding spanners on bikes but not keen on working on cars, certainly can't handle a project myself. Any recommendations for people who know these cars and can sort them out ?

I'm not sure what kind of replies I want. Feel free to talk me out of the whole idea. Give me buying advice. Tell me about that specific car. Or sell me yours instead... :veryangry:

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There is an Elite buying guide in this very forum pinned to the top :getmecoat:

If you're not willing to get your hands particularly dirty I would buy the best you can afford rather than looking for a "geat deal" - problems may snowball and suddenly its not so rosey! Dave Ward is selling his Green Elite at auction soon - but its got Chapman history and may not be what you are after (whether you want a car of that provenance)

I'd say if you can wait, keep an eye out and look for one for sale from an owners club, or perhaps ask someone like to source one for you?

Hope that helps!

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I bought a '79 Elite a year ago and have had a lot of fun already. Not a lot of miles covered, but a lot of fun sorting it out. There is a buyer's guide in this section of the forum, so I suggest you have a look there for starters.

My 'sensible' comments are:

1. If you spend less than a couple of grand you risk a can of worms. Spending a bit more on something with an MOT, and an engine you can verify, is the safe route. Spend £3K and you get a reasonable on-the-road machine. £5K and you should get something fantastic.

2. The bodywork seduces people because it looks pretty good however long the car has sat in a field. Try to ignore that.

3. Series 1 Elites with original non-galvanised chassis are again a risk. Mine honestly seems OK, but there are a lot of horror stories, and the problem area is not inspect-able without lifting the bodywork.. S2 galvanised ones can be bought for a few hundred pounds, but are a lot of work to fit.

3. Engines are pretty expensive to rebuild, and a bit tricky for the average amateur. Make sure this is OK. They don't last terribly long, I'm told.

4. S1 Gearboxes are also weak. Check all the gears etc.

5. Ignoring the engine, the cars are really very simply constructed. It isn't hard to do all the basic stuff. In fact, it is pretty easy.

6. Parts are not Mini-cheap, but they aren't Rolls expensive either. Availability new and second hand generally very good. Trim is a problem, but there are a lot of cars being broken on eBay.

7. They are pretty expensive to get serviced professionally.

8. S1 Elites are not that good as daily drivers, and need to be garaged. The S2 and Excel are much better.

But being sensible is boring.....

I drove mine back from an MOT the other day, and 500 yards up the road a 8 year old school boy gave me a big thumbs up. He's probably never seen one of these, and yet the appeal is immediate. Various friends of mine who have no interest in cars are fascinated, and trying to climb in the back.

Common sense is to buy an Excel, but it doesn't have the charisma. An S2 makes a lot of sense, but it isn't so Gerry Anderson. Somewhere down the line, quality Elites will rise in value.

My opinion is JFDI. I did, and I don't regret it for a second.


PS The real problems seem to be with cars left out side for a long time. Have a look at the rustiness or otherwise of things like the fuel pump in the boot, and the steel door beams. If the car has been damp for a long time these are pretty rusty. Mine was in a dry shed for 20 years a both are fine.

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I was going to say drooping doors is normally knackered door beam or hinges, tricky to sort out.

These are old cars so you'll have to face the fact that things will and do wear out and need replacing. That's not necessarily the fault of the car, just old age.

I'd second the view that buy the absolute best you can afford. It will always cost you more to upgrade a crap car, than start with a relatively good one.

Funnily enough it's the interior/exterior trim and cosmetic parts such as wing mirrors that are hard to source. Underneath most mechanical bits are common to other period Lotus's or other cars.

I do think if you can't work on it yourself you will def need to have a fund to one side for ongoing work.




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Thanks fellas, lots of good advice there. :getmecoat:

I'm not totally against the idea of a project, in fact I honestly believe everyone should have something going on that starts to take over their every waking moment and bank account. I'm very lucky in that I have a wife who positively encourages such behaviour, and because of that I have a decent collection of stuff (bikes mainly) already awaiting my attention. I need to sort those out before I can acquire another mini-obsession otherwise nothing gets done. If I had some decent dry storage then I'd take the plunge anyway, but for now, I realise I need to pay proper money for an already-sorted one. Not a lottery win though is it ?

I will have an Elite one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, and I'll hang around on here in the meantime casting envious glances at your ongoing projects and lovely shiny cars. Please continue to promote them, show them off and take photos of them all lined up together. I'll try and get to a suitable event or two and meet you all.

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the color scheme of this green yellow elite is really "special". you may like it or hate it. i like it. but keep in mind that lotus never painted cars like that.

the dealer is advertizing the car as a 2200cc...but series1 cars always came with a 2L what is the truth? there is also a S2 front valance fitted.

the steering wheel is nice, but not original. does the original one come with the car?

its sold by a he wants to make he bought it maybe for 1400? sales from a dealer should include a kind of warranty. how is it about that?

car was "restored" with foto prove: what has been done to the chassis? when was this job done? 10.000miles are really could be 15years ago?

restoration quality can´t be on a high level when the door already drops during opening?

whats about the picture? is it tidy, does the color match with the car? airfilter box present, cambelt cover present? (you have viewed the car, so maybe you can tell us more)

waistband trim on body has been removed and body flattened.

the body-halfs are bonded together in this area. there is no real evidence, but some lotus specialists say that the waistband shouldnt been flattened under any circumstances, it weakens the body and drastic comments say: you can throw such a body away .

Edited by Elite7

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Couldn't open the bonnet to see the engine bay at all. S1 with an S2 engine I believe. I was only there about 20 minutes and the car was under a ramp in a dark workshop so couldn't see a lot. Didn't see another steering wheel in the boot where all the docs were.

Being sold by a dealer who just runs a small garage selling/servicing little hatchbacks etc. He took it in part-ex, no idea what he gave for it. He said it'd come with a new MOT but I'd question how much that's worth as he'd stamp the certificate himself. He didn't mention a warranty.

Heard a figure of £8K being spent on the car over the last few years. Can't remember if he told me that or I read it on one of the forums - the car is known by NYLOC. Fuel or ignition problem still to be sorted I think.

And I really like the two-tone paint. No point having a sexy car like that and hiding it under a sombre dark colour. :rolleyes:

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