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How to survive a 2000 mile journey with a newly acquired Elite?

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So, I bought a 1975 Elite from eBay. I've never driven Elite before, not even seen one live. But it's my 40th birthday and I've always liked Lotus Elite. And this Elite was born the same year as I, so I decided I had to have it. :)
 
The seller said cautiously "due to the length of time it's not been used, I would recommend gradual use. Short journeys first, just to be on the safe side." But from Lydney, UK to Mikkeli, Finland it's almost 2000 miles and I'd like to try make the journey anyway  (https://www.google.fi/maps/dir/Lydney,+Gloucestershire,+UK/Mikkeli)
 
Three things come to my mind:
 
1) Has anyone seen the car? It was auctioned on eBay last week and you can see it here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lotus-Elite-503-/231458459123?orig_cvip=true
If anyone knows this car, do you think it was as advertised? I'll be paying them to get a new MOT, so it seems to be technically okay?
 
2) Generally, if one is about to have a long journey with an Elite, what are the things I should be concerned about? Any special tools I need etc. It seems to come with a workshop manual. :)
 
3) I think I should stop regularly to check the car. So I was wondering if there are Lotus enthusiasts who live nearby my route and wouldn't mind a visitor? It would be nice to have someone with experience to consult with, especially if there is something wrong. I think I'll collect the car on February 6th from Lydney, and slowly head to Dover, Calais and I'm not sure if I'll get a ferry from Germany to Finland, or drive through Denmark and Sweden too.
 
I will of course go through all the old forum posts to learn as much as I can...
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2000 miles in an Elite that had been standing a few years would be a journey best undertaken by Christopher Columbus!

 

Reading between the lines in the advert going on about emissions "just" being passed, and getting "an old retired engineer in to tune the carbs", is that the carbs need a rebuild from years of being gummed up with old fuel left in the rotten old tank. They have probably been  turned down so far to pass the MOT you will struggle up hills (that's what mine was like when anyway)

 

Not something I would attempt, but then a chap from Sweden drove an Excel home from Ireland none stop recently, with a few laps of a racing circuit along the way, so nothing is impossible!

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I did a similar thing, drove from Hobart to Sydney to pick up mine, about 1000 miles, and I insisted the cambelt was changed, and got new oils too. The alternator died on the way, so that was unscheduled, but otherwise a great trip. The fans were on manual switch override as the otter switch had previously failed, so kept a careful look at temperature, and we were travelling in a heatwave, up to 40degC during the day, and it was fine. Took a tool kit with me, basic spanners, screwdrivers, etc, and some really good supa glue with filler, which works on just about anything, and I needed it to glue the coolant tank back on, and it still hasn't failed. Try to do a basic check on suspension that things are not about to fall of, and that tyres are ok, and of course that brakes work. Pedal will probably go down further than you are used to, but that seems normal. If the engine sounds ok, and you can change gears, you will probably make it. But, do get that cambelt done if you don't know the history. It is really nice to drive on a trip, good luck.

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About emissions, I don't know how strict your emission tests are, but reading the ad I was just happy it has passed something. :) In Finland no emission tests are needed for cars older than 1978.

Clive: Thank you for your advice. Cambelt has been recently done and I had an impression that it's in a good running condition. But of course I haven't seen or driven it, so better to prepare for surprises...

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I would do it but assume you will need to get trailered home by a recovery service like our AA. You might just make it with a good bag full of tools though.

 

Buddsy

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Do it...... don't prepare, forget carrying tools.....all you need is faith.

 

The rest you can chalk down to experience and whatever happens..... you'll laugh about it one day.

 

I'd wish you good luck, but you don't need it.

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Well, if you make it back in one piece that will be amazing. So many things could go tits up, cambelt, electrics, carbs, things will fall off! If you decide to drive it home, please please make a video blog so we can all see your progress, that's one epic journey I think many of us would love to see, good luck!

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Good luck!   :thumbsup:

 

I bought my Esprit also on Ebay and had a wonderful trip (1400 km) from Wales to South Germany.

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Thanks everyone! I just bought a one way flight to UK, so let's see how it turns out. If it runs okay, I'll try to drive it all the way. And I'll consider creating a blog or at least report the progress here in the forum... I hope it becomes a boring blog with no problems to report. :)

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Be careful. I bought a Mazda that had "Stood for a couple of years" and as soon as I got it up to 60mph the oil pump failed due to inactivity and the whole engine seized.

 

I would reiterate what was said above and get it trailered or at least get it in a repair shop first, have all the belts and oils changed and a full check over.

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That is how a man buys his car! :thumbsup:

 

Been there, done it :)

 

In your case the trick should be, to use ferries on the longest way you will find. This gives you time for managing help if needed and keeps the stress on the car low. Further it is more holiday and adventure.

 

If the brakes are free and new plus the cambelt changed their could be only things go wrong, which will go wrong even on a trip to the grocer. So, don´t panic like the Hitchhiker´s guide to the galaxy advises :book:

 

The way through Belgium and Germany on your route could be tricky. There are deep snow areas on your journey. I would advise you, not to use these if you dont want start even with LEVEL 2 straight away: 40years old beauty on summer tires through the Ardennes and Vulcan-Eifel :w00t:

 

If you will start with Level 2 I have some "Service stations" (Lotus owners) for you. So give me sign just in case

 

All the best!

Don

Edited by Don.Hasi

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I'm jealous!  That sounds like a brilliant adventure, and as long as you recognise it could be 'eventful' then I'm sure you'll enjoy the journey.  Good luck!

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I am near Southampton if you need help.

Not directly on your route but if you need to bed down for the night or need any assistance on the way home let me know.

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Nice to see we have a diverse set of careful Christians and chancers........

 

A bit of advice from both sides will see you right........ 

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Thank you Paul! I was actually thinking if I should take the shortest route which is M4, pass the London from south by M25, and then M20 to Dover. These are big roads, so if the engine keeps running, it would be a gentle ride for the car at constant easy revs. But of course, if something goes wrong, it's not possible to stop by the road.

 

The other option is to take smaller roads which could lead me somewhere near Southampton... But maybe smaller roads are more demanding for the car. At least they take longer to drive and running the engine 5-6 hours is definitely more risky than 3 hours. So, I probably stick to the main roads, unless there's a real worry that somethings about to go wrong.

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If you're thinking that 5-6 hours is more risky than 3, then you might be taking a chance as it sounds like you've got a lot of driving to do once you hit Europe anyway.

 

Either way, good luck with it all and post lots of pictures/video.  We'll be here to offer help en route if you need it.  Got me excited about my own little European adventure this year :)

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Sounds like fun.  

 

I'd be most concerned about the water pump - they don't like standing for long periods.  When I bought mine, which had been standing for a v long time, it had a new cambelt and MOT.  But the water pump failed after about 50 miles, just as I was getting home.   The ad doesn't mention renewing it.  I'd ask about that, because it's not a standard unit.   

 

A recon pump is £90 from Sj Sportscars. and you can change it without removing the cambelt.  But it is tricky to get access.  I found a set of slim metric racket spanners from Halfords (a common UK shop) worked best.

 

Access is tricky on couple area of the Elite engine, and a 3/8" metric socket set is sometimes better than a 1/2" set.   

 

The car is a mix of A/F and Metric nuts, but you can get by on Metric for most things.   Engine is Metric, suspension etc A/F.

 

Good luck!

Herc

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Thanks for the advice Don! I think I need to buy winter tires at some point of the journey, because it's much snow here in Finland anyway. But I'll probably see if I can get to Sweden or Finland before buying them, because I believe studded tires are more common here and I might get a better deal. Tyre size for the Elite is R14 205/60, right? At least 185/65 is quite common tire size and maybe close enough, if I'll try to find me a set of cheap used wheel with tires?

I just went out and took a photo of my home street. Hopefully there will be a Lotus Elite there soon. :)   

 

selannekatu640.jpg

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If you get stuck in Kent, let me know! I'm just outside Maidstone close to the M20 :)

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Thanks for the advice Don! I think I need to buy winter tires at some point of the journey, because it's much snow here in Finland anyway. But I'll probably see if I can get to Sweden or Finland before buying them, because I believe studded tires are more common here and I might get a better deal. Tyre size for the Elite is R14 205/60, right? At least 185/65 is quite common tire size and maybe close enough, if I'll try to find me a set of cheap used wheel with tires?

I just went out and took a photo of my home street. Hopefully there will be a Lotus Elite there soon. :)   

 

selannekatu640.jpg

Perfect drifting weather ;)

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I love this topic. This 101% more challenging than the Top Gear challenges nowadays! ;) Top Gear can learn from this!
I guess you are driving throught then continent, should you run into trouble in the nort of France, Belgium or Holland, just send me pm!

Good Luck and God speed.

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Briiliant Picture :smoke:

 

yes Tires size is 205 60 14 but in V spec. There is only 1 summertire today which has this specification (Kenda Kaiser 20 in 205/60/14 88V) I fear there is no winter tire at all :(

 

There was a steel wheel as well with some narrower tires. Perhaps somebody could help us with the dimensions in this case?

 

 

In Germany are no studded tires allowed. I think in Belgium it is the same. But if you drive on a german Autobahn the tarmac should be salted, so should be snowfree. In Belgium could be some areas where on the motorways some places are icy. So take care :)

 

Considering the weather I would advise you to use only motorways.

Edited by Don.Hasi

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You can also get the Nexxen CP461.  It's a H spec but if you're going above those speeds then you're braver than me! ;)

 

Link: http://www.etyres.co.uk/car-tyres-uk/searchresultsnew/?postcodeText=ls1+4wd&tyreWidthId=6&tyreProfileId=5&tyreWheelId=3&tyreLoadRating=0&tyreSpeedId=0&orderBy=price&pcVar=wf2+6du&vn=none&asc=1&newmenu=YES&showmenu=YES&tyre4X4=F

Edited by soldave

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