Lotus Elan

S4 Elan in California

PostPost by: jlr » Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:17 pm

I'm new to the site, though I've been lurking for a while (years) -- owned an Elise a few years ago, currently have air-cooled 911s. Nonetheless, I've considered an Elan for years, almost bought one a few years ago -- the only car that I feel I have to own before I'm pushing daisies.

Here is a example of an S4 from Cardiff Classics, but seems too good to be true.
http://cardiff-classics.ebizautos.com/d ... 26388.html

Anyone heard of this outfit? Also interested in those who would or would not buy these cars from a used car dealer.

Anyway, thanks in advance for feedback. I posted this topic in the "for sale" section, but someone suggested that it should go here, so here it is. I suppose the admin could delete from the other forum.

Take care,
John Roberts
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PostPost by: summerinmaine » Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:24 pm

Is this an auction site? There's no price that I could see, and the ToS talks about "high bidder" but I didn't see any bid function.

If you'd like me to inquire further, and swing by (assuming they have a B&M presence), I only live about six miles away.
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PostPost by: summerinmaine » Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:31 pm

I just checked on the web, and I actually have visited that place a few times when it was under another name. I notice from their site that certain vehicles have a "listing price" but most say "inquire." If you inquire and remain interested, I can be your boots on the ground.
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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:52 pm

John,

It's too bad they posted one picture only but as they say, a picture tells a thousand words. Based on this picture, I have made some observations.

They appear to be representing the car with only 7,800 miles which I find difficult to believe. I would guess it has 7,800 miles since the restoration. They claim it has and excellent headliner, but the DHC has no headliner. The tan interior, the Nardi steering wheel, and the Panasport wheels are not original, but in my opinion, they are desirable upgrades. FYI, all of these cars came with heaters, power windows, and tachometers. Why would they photograph it with the lights up and off? I suspect the vacuum headlight system has issues which is a common problem. Speaking of lights, I can't see it clearly, but it appears that someone glassed in the indentations that accomodate the white "parking" lights (next to the orange indicator/parking lights) that do not come on Federal cars. Personally, I consider this to be an improvement.

They claim it has no visible dents, but fiberglass doesn't dent, it cracks. They claim it has no known bodywork, but it is obvious that it has been painted. Lotus afficianados know that a sure sign of a respray is the lip at the very bottom of the car under the rocker panels. If it's not black, the car has been repainted. What really bothers me about this car is the fact that the front wheel arch has been altered, probably to accomodate wider tires. From the photo, it looks like the alteration was performed by an amateur. You'll want to find out what else he did to the car.

To me, it all boils down to price. A low enough price can make up for practically any deficiency you may find. The problem with this car is it is being sold by a dealer and dealers are not known for low prices.

Sorry to be such a downer, but if I were you, I'd take up Jim's offer to check it out for you. Good luck.
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PostPost by: jlr » Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:20 pm

Thanks Jim for the offer of help, and to Frank for the advice. No "downer" at all, actually. That's exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for. I'm just getting started looking for a car, and my sense is that so many of these cars have been restored and re-restored over the years that you really have to know what you are getting into, and I need to become more active and organized in my uptake on the history/information on these models. I've learned not to rush, and when the time comes, I would enlist the services of a mechanic knowledgeable in these. At this point, I do not know who these folks are, in what locales etc., etc. Older Porsches are comparatively common, so not hard to find a good mechanic in just about every major metro area.
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PostPost by: summerinmaine » Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:25 pm

Well, now my curiosity is piqued, and I will probably swing by there in the next few days and look it over. Anyone want me to view any specifics or take pics of anything?
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PostPost by: alohalotus » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:40 am

Aloha, folks. Well, I just called the dealership, and talked with Tom. He says they took the car in on trade from a Porsche shop about 25 miles away from their location in California. He says it's unfortunate that the miles are listed as so low in the ad, as he believes the car was restored several years ago, and you can probably add 100,000 miles to the mileage posted in the ad. Other than that minor detail, he says it's a nice car. He had no further information on provenance, but is expecting to get the whole story on the car soon, from the dealership they got the car from.

Bottom line, it's a restored Elan, likely with many more miles than 7,800, and if folks are interested they should call the dealership and ask for the history on the car. Tom says his asking price is $29,500. Best of luck in your search!

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PostPost by: jlr » Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:26 pm

I will probably swing by there in the next few days and look it over. Anyone want me to view any specifics or take pics of anything?


Sure, photos of interior and engine would be great, as well as other angled exterior shots. Also, interested in a British car mechanic in the San Diego area who could be relied upon for an inspection. I have not spoken to dealer, but would be interested in upgrades, departures from stock (i.e., chassis). Please do not inconvenience yourself in any way. I'm interested but am just getting started with this, plus wife (who often serves as my pragmatic conscience) wants a Porsche to go before I start really hunting in earnest.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:09 pm

Any update? What is the car like?
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PostPost by: summerinmaine » Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:59 pm

pharriso wrote:Any update? What is the car like?



Sorry, I got busy and couldn't spare the time. I'll try to swing by tomorrow and take plenty of pics.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:22 am

Is/was this the same car?

http://bringatrailer.com/2009/12/06/own ... s-elan-s2/

This is a S2 though, but how many tan interiors are there?
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PostPost by: summerinmaine » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:08 pm

pharriso wrote:Is/was this the same car?

http://bringatrailer.com/2009/12/06/own ... s-elan-s2/

This is a S2 though, but how many tan interiors are there?



The BaT car is an S2 (no window frames) and the subject car is not.
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PostPost by: summerinmaine » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:10 pm

I went over and took a look today, and snapped a bunch of pics. There are a few oddities, but over all the car appears to be in good shape, albeit not "restored" in the classic sense of the word.

Here are a few views; let me know if there's anything else in particular you wish to see.

Front wheel arch.jpg and



Rear Wheel Arch.jpg and



Rear.jpg and



Engine.jpg and
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PostPost by: summerinmaine » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:17 pm

And here are a few oddities.

The interior is not tan, only the seats. The remainder is black carpeting.

Dash.jpg and



The top of the windscreen frame has an aluminum plate pop-riveted across. On my S2, the slot of the leading edge of the hood is molded into the fiberglass. I'm no S4 expert, but this looks odd to me, almost like it was converted from a coupe.

Windscreen Frame.jpg and



Windscreen Frame 2.jpg and
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PostPost by: Frank Howard » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:40 pm

summerinmaine wrote:The top of the windscreen frame has an aluminum plate pop-riveted across. On my S2, the slot of the leading edge of the hood is molded into the fiberglass. I'm no S4 expert, but this looks odd to me, almost like it was converted from a coupe.
Jim,

The aluminum plate is standard for an S3 DHC or an S4 DHC as all of them were converted from coupes. Some conversions were performed at the factory as they were being built and some were done later on by owners.
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