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Lotus classic cars need to triple in value...

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..and why the hell not.. one should ask..


..with the current run on the prices of collector cars, we as a collective have to stop letting our cars be valued so dammed cheap..


.. in my opinion, a good example is indeed worthy of triple its current valuation. 


So, from now on, I am going place the value of any Lotus Car I own/ sell at at least three times its present valuation.


If we all follow suit, Classic Lotus' valuation will be where it belongs, and perhaps, finally, the marque will  develop recognition as worthy collector they indeed are.

If you set no goals you shall surely reach them..

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Good for the seller of course, bad for the buyers. For example old round case Ducatis are super expensive. Laverda's are not. ducs are crap, Laverda's are not.

I prefer to have them cheap and get the spares and get them running, no garagewueens, thanks.

High Price and lesser running cars, may lead to no spares.


On a secondary note, I think Lotus are far more interesting as a brand and old models, than say Porsche and some others. Never mind the value.




Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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I agree with you about the valuations.  I follow the big auctions in USA, and I was a former collector.  I've owned a 1991 Lotus Esprit Jim Clark edition since new.  


Problem in the USA, and probably same for Europe, as I see it:


   1.  The big money guys, who are "lifting" the Ferrari, Aston Martin, Mercedes, and etc. market, do not know the Lotus.  Not at all.  And their purchases are about ego and bragging rights, not driving the cars.  Consequently, at this time, there are no "big credentials" for having any generation Lotus in their garage.  Peer status is not boosted.


2.  The recent ramp-up in values for extremely mediocre cars is insane, spurred I believe, by "2nd tier" money guys who missed the earlier action and, therefore, are now priced out of the rare Ferrari, A-M, and Mercedes market.  These people, following badge/insignia only, are driving up values of 2nd tier cars.  How else can you explain the rocketing values of a MB 190SL, or a Ferrari Dino, which now fetches $200K in #3 condition?  A Dino is a rebadged Fiat, from any way you want to look at it.  Four years ago, one could not give them away.


3.  Many of the writers about USA auctions are owners of classic Ferrari, MB, and Porsche.  So it is gratifying, and self-serving, to keep the marketplace pumped up by their auction reviews.  And there are writers with Fiat, Morgan, Triumph, Volvo collections/history, for example, but I have yet to read any auction coverage by any Lotus collector.  So, there is little public voice for the marquee.   Unfortunately.   


4.  So, as I see it, the big issue about Lotus:  lack of wide-spread brand identity and respect.  If the collector can't "buy" the envy of other collectors by having a Lotus in his garage, then the auction appeal is not there.


I wish it were not so.  The biggest problem in collecting a Lotus is not mechanical, in my opinion, but the narrow market when attempting to sell it.  Selling to another aficionado can be very straightforward; selling to an "outsider", though, can be brutal.


Nonetheless, I love my 1991 Esprit.  One day, It will go to one of my sons, who probably won't drive it because their is no dual-cluch transmission or self-parking.   Who, under 25 years of age these days, wants to change gears or learn now to parallel park?  Just joking to all you under-25 gear heads.


Just my "two cents".  Thanks.






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Have you noticed how if a dealer tries to sell a car on say car and they ask 12k if its in good

condition no matter what the make? Vauxhalls, 4 door Cortinas, Austin 1100s if its nice condition stick

it up high and see what happens.


My Europa I'm reviving has been off the road for 30 years 9,000 miles from new a real barn find, its an S2 so about 30

left in UK with a Gordini engine and box which are hens teeth from the R17.

Europas were the prototype GT40, Lotus started the concept before Ford took over, they were

the 3rd mid engined production car, Matra /Muira, yet they are largely ignored-

the last two Lotus festivals I've been at there has been one S2! Mines probably worth 5k in its condition yet if it

was a Escort Mexico/Capri...

Edited by MarkBa
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I totally agree with this. Prices of other marque have gone through the roof in recent years. I recently saw a 1985 Capri fetch £14,000 and crappy old Escort Mk 1s are crazy prices now. It's about time we put our prices up!

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Further to my Europa post, I had a 1972 911 in 2001 and paid £5500 for it. It was immaculate

and I used it as my only car for 3 years. People didn't get it. I had comments of 'its only an old one though',

look at that horrible coloured old Porsche (Signal Orange) original seats people thought had come from a beetle etc.

The Porsche specialist I used thought it was a bit beneath them really. 

Now I hear about the early 911s as the purest shape, the very desirable period colour of signal orange,

those beautiful slim bumpers (why don't you update it mate with a 964 bodykit was what I heard). Are they really that nice now

or are people justifying the price they paid to themselves? I could have bought an RS then for 20k too (now 500k +) Doh!

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Its all about the brand image and rarity. For example, the Jaguar XK is far superior to an Aston Martin DB7 which has a terrible reputation for reliability and cost of servicing. However the XK is far cheaper because of its higher volumes and Jaguars 'golf club/old man image'. It seems Jaguars more successful racing pedigree means nothing.


Note that even Ferrari have placed a limit on their annual production to maintain exclusivity.


All the Lotus F1 victories in 1960's and 1970's are forgotten except by old timers like me. The Esprit is only in old James Bond movies. Perhaps  its the fibre glass bodies, the cheap looking interiors, the Citreon/Renault gearboxes.


My Esprit S3 is not a great investment but I love it and use it. I believe its a beautiful design and  I have had more expensive repairs on a BMW 328 with the same mileage!

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I agree that Lotus classics are being generally overlooked in this classic car boom. However, original Elites, Elans, Cortinas, S1 Esprits and Essex Turbos are considered pretty collectable now and seem to appeal beyond the hardcore Lotus enthusiast.


The very rare and desirable Esprit Sport 300 has held its money in recent years but not wildly appreciated. S4s appear to have slowly appreciated while the faster V8s haven't gone anywhere.


There's still a premium to pay for the best examples of any Lotus but there are so few really good examples around I'm surprised the premium isn't larger. The Esprits problem is that is was merely seen as a cheap way of getting into something that looked like a super car. Many have been run on shoestring budgets and there are a lot of ropey cars about which doesn't help with the image or values of older Lotus cars.


I think the Esprit was special though as it was the first 'super car' that really handled well. In the late 70s, 911s were ditch finders. Ferrari Boxers, Aston V8 Vantage, Countach, all were GT cars, none could be thrown into a bend with much hope of coming out the other side. Hugely heavy steering meant correcting slides was just not an option and thus was born the 'slow in, fast out' technique. The focus was on straight line speed which meant the Esprits handling was overlooked. Instead of 'the best handling super car' it was known as the 'four cylinder super car'. The Esprit changed game and remained the only really good handling super car until the NSX which dragged Ferrari and the rest into the 21st century.


I should add that I've never driven a Ferrari 308 and perhaps that also handled nicely at a time when no-one cared about such things. It was also glass fibre too initially and in this case the much lighter early cars are more desirable now. I hope to do a comparison test soon between my early Turbo Esprit and its contemporaries. If the Ferrari handles anything like the Turbo I will be well and truly amazed but plenty of brave pills will be required before jumping in a 1981 911!

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70's and 80's cars are very much in vogue at the moment and premiums are rising rapidly for all sorts of things.

Dino's are unbelievable for the price they are now going for. Not that they were cheap ten years ago but they have doubled if not more of late. And the knock on effect has hit the 308 GT4 - for so long unloved by the Ferrari club - they have also doubled in the last 24 months for a good one. Yes rarity  and condition obviously effect value but at the moment its these of the era cars that are the ones to have. In Lotus circles I would say any G Esprit especially but all seem to be on the up. I would snaffle up a good Elite/Eclat if I had the chance now as well. I would also prefer to have a 'used' car with Patina rather than a fully restored nut and bolt example. Many of those are better than they ever were new. My Bro-in-Law is high up as Aston and they have old cars in for full rebuilds that just look wrong IMO..... 

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Here's a plastic Ferrari 308 GTB for £150,000.  308s were £18k a few years ago and early fibre glass cars a few grand more.  What is going on?  We are being left behind :(.


And another for £75k

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The problem is if we see a Lotus advertised (like a G Esprit) that is higher than we've seen before there is an outcry of "that looks over[priced/it's not worth it etc etc".


We're not doing ourselves any favours.


Around a year ago somebody I know with 'Serious' money identified a 60's sportscar that has been left behind in the classic car bubble. So he decided to deliberately buy every one that came up for sale. This has seen a switch from (relative) over supply to a lack of supply and prices are moving up strongly for this type of car.

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What is going on?


Classic dealers are targetting the ill-informed non-enthusiast investor very successfully, in a fashion not seen since 1989.


GRP 308s were once derided by Farrari hardcore, now I see they have coined an appropriately sexy Italian name to make the dimwits go moist in the auction houses.


There is a well established dealer of "general" classics always advertises in the classic mags, his listings always makes me think......he always has at least one overpriced Esprit in, that would make eyebrows raise on here, but by that token every other classic in his listing must be over the mark by the same margin (if you asked a long term owner).

In the garage no-one can hear you scream 

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Great topic Gents. This is so timely for me because I have debated selling my '01 Esprit V8 and getting into a early to mid '90s 911. Big reasons: tired of the Esprit's clunky gearbox and the flat to no apperception of these Esprits in the foreseeable future.

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I hope they do lol.When I met my wifey back in 1986.i owned my yellow tartan trim was the cheapest way into Esprit ownership.RPP908R.Now they are worth good money.And rightly deserve to be as do all lotus cars.i have just bought a jensen healey. Found memories of owning them in my youth.Sorry to go off topic...Mike

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As always, it boils down to whether you purchased the car for enjoyment, monetary appreciation, or in some cases both. There will come a time, likely after I'm pushing up daisies, when Esprits will command truly serious money as a collector car. The cause will be a combination of things, some whimsically subtle, others of a more direct nature...such as increasing rarity due to natural attrition. Any "objet d'art" (even of the rolling variety) eventually appreciates, though often not in linear fashion. But short term attempts to artificially influence their value by means of arbitrary price increases are destined to produce dubious results at best. The mercurial world of automobile values is more akin to chaos theory than pragmatic control efforts.



By the way, Buddsy, my cousin once lent me her "frogeye" Sprite (when I was in college in the San Francisco Bay Area as a younger man), and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was a blast, if somewhat underpowered. :D 

Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.

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This is also a bit off topic, but I have sometimes had people approach me to see if I would be interested in selling a Lotus, particularly my Europa. Standard response is that they had best start with a significant multiple of current "market value" to get even a glimmer of interest.


Most of the numpties are confused by this as they don't seem to appreciate that the real notion of a market value is the price paid by a willing buyer to a willing seller. They seem to think that if the Hagerty valuation (purely as an example) says it is worth $X they should be able to buy it for that. But, as I don't want to sell, they have to do something to pique my interest and that likely ain't gonna happen.

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'97 V8

'73 Europa TC

'10 Elise SC

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Crazy eh? Last year £150k seemed insane for a Dino, I've just seen a 328 up for almost £100k, that really IS madness! I've no idea why Lotus values are so low, not all of them though, early Elans seem to reach serious money, especially the 'R' versions. 

Currently having an illicit affair with another marque, be back in the fold one day... B-)

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Peak for a 328 during the late 80's/early 90's boom was £197k - back then! So still room for a bit more madness yet! It was all about Ferrari back then, this time Porsche are also in on the act. So hopefully classic Lotuses will have their day, but who knows when?


But its very inconsistent at the moment, 997 4.0 GT3RS are now fetching more money than carbon tubbed V10 Carrera GT. OK so they are rarer, 1300 odd versus 600 made. But that doesn't account for the even rarer, much faster, also manual 997 GT2RS (500 made, only 19 UK cars) going for around £100k less!

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Guest Mutley00

Do tell Bazza! 


Come on Bazza - the suspense is killing me and a few others I suspect!


I am really glad that prices are low, as I would never have been able to afford either of the Esprits I've owned if they were priced at what I think they are really worth, when you consider performance & handling and compare them to Lambos etc. And as for looks - you find me a better looking supercar! 

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