Lotus Elan

Value of an incomplete project?

PostPost by: breezer » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:45 pm

elansprint71 wrote:Well, as I said before, ?8k plus for the body/paint. If you have some mech savvy the rest will come together, with a little help from your friends, given time; these cars are not exactly rocket-science
If you have all the bits, why do you describe this as an "incomplete project"?


Different perspective, I suppose! To me the project was getting it restored, which is incomplete because it's not. In terms of parts, it's complete (save for the broken stuff).

The ?8k there is scary, but doesn't surprise me. Fibreglass is a b**ch!
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:10 pm

breezer wrote:
elansprint71 wrote:Well, as I said before, ?8k plus for the body/paint. If you have some mech savvy the rest will come together, with a little help from your friends, given time; these cars are not exactly rocket-science
If you have all the bits, why do you describe this as an "incomplete project"?


Different perspective, I suppose! To me the project was getting it restored, which is incomplete because it's not. In terms of parts, it's complete (save for the broken stuff).

The ?8k there is scary, but doesn't surprise me. Fibreglass is a b**ch!


Incomplete vs incompleted?
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PostPost by: breezer » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:13 pm

elansprint71 wrote:
breezer wrote:
elansprint71 wrote:Well, as I said before, ?8k plus for the body/paint. If you have some mech savvy the rest will come together, with a little help from your friends, given time; these cars are not exactly rocket-science
If you have all the bits, why do you describe this as an "incomplete project"?


Different perspective, I suppose! To me the project was getting it restored, which is incomplete because it's not. In terms of parts, it's complete (save for the broken stuff).

The ?8k there is scary, but doesn't surprise me. Fibreglass is a b**ch!


Incomplete vs incompleted?


Bingo! :oops:
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PostPost by: richboyd » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:28 pm

All of the post have it right: you will spend a LOT of money perfecting the car.
What most (not all) don't appreciate is: the fun and satisfaction of the project.

As an investment, the restoration process will lose money.
As a hobby, you might gain a lot (depending on your outlook).

Some people like to gamble. They lose money but enjoy the process.
Think of an Elan restoration as gambling. Would you like the process?
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PostPost by: twincamman » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:15 am

26R- s2 -33 cost was 4500 cdn in 2002 , disassembled , neglected and forlorn. It has taken 7 years of dirty hands deep cuts language not allowed within 500 feet of a school or church and a close budget of 5000 cdn dollars total 9500 dollars . Since the original lack of quality in Lotus cars results in projects being finished far better than original and seeing as I did all the work myself the project came out ok in my opinion and thats the one that counts . These cars are a conglomerate of Triumph spitfire suspension parts assorted Ford motor and transmission parts and highly unreliable Lucas electrical bits and some iron mongered bits specific to the Elan . The cars look respectable because of their shape . They drive and handle well when they run . you will soon learn who to listen to and who to ignore --you will develop many new skills and a great knowledge about things that go up and down and round and round so just buy the thing and have at it because if you give up on the project you will recoup your money and then find a safer pastime like mountain climbing or sky diving --Chapman designed the cars to only last 5 years before a new car was required so you see what your up against . Im just gaining confidence in my Elan now and limit the distance driven to 100 miles from home . I would drive the super 7 any where and the Europa up to 500 miles from home ------ed ----
dont close your eyes --you will miss the crash
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:56 am

If you are going the total restoration route my advice is to buy the scabbiest but most complete car that you can at the lowest price possible. There is absolutely no point paying extra for a car that has reasonable bodywork, reasonable mechanics or a reasonable interior. None of this will be useful as you will be replacing, repairing or refurbishing all of the car anyway.

Some stalled restoration projects can be worth more than an untouched basket case in that they may include a lot of new parts often including a chassis/frame or a worked on/repaired body, but don't pay more than 25% of the new cost of the parts.

The single biggest cost will be the body preparation, followed by the Twincam engine rebuild. You mustn't skimp on either of these 2 items or you will be severely disappointed with the end result.

Without seeing your project car it's impossible to put a price on it other than a price range of between ?4000 - ?8000. Your rebuild cost can be kept low by doing your own labour where possible as you have mentioned, the most valuable item you can have will be patience: patience to wait for the right project to come along, patience to wait for the parts you need at a reasonable cost, patience to research the correct way to do things, check how at least twice and then do it right first time.

Notice that I don't mention paint above; painting an Elan is cheap, it's a small car and doesn't need much in the way of paint materials, the big BUT is that the preparation of the shell prior to painting is extremely expensive if you want your car to look right and be worth a large proportion of it's restoration cost at the end of the project.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing the start of your project on these pages.
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: breezer » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:20 am

Hmm, thanks for all the advice. If I do buy it, it'll be very slow work indeed - not least due to monetary constraints. Patience wouldn't be an issue.

Worst comes to worst, where can one source replica shells (or even a carbon fibre shell, if such a thing exists)?

And how much of the car can be replaced before I need a new registration? e.g. does a Spyder chassis + a new shell + the original engine = new car, or is that still counted as original by the DVLA? At my age (25) I would need it to be historic for insurance purposes...

What ballpark would an old (I think 1980s?) galvanised Spyder chassis on its own be worth?

Thanks again - if I do take it on, there'll be myriad pictures to annoy you all with!
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:07 am

Providing you are replacing like with like there will be no impact on the registration identity of the vehicle. You do not have to report a new chassis or change of chassis to the DVLA, the VIN / Unit number of the car is not the chassis number, the chassis in the case of all Lotus Elans is a replaceable sub frame assembly.

Unless you are going racing and want a lighter body there is little point buying a new shell, the amount of work required to fit and fettle your doors and boot and bonnet and the preparation to get the new body ready for paint will be at least equal or probably more than repairing the original unless it is very badly damaged. Tony thompson and others out there will sell you a new shell if you want one http://www.tonythompsonracing.co.uk/pricelist.pdf

A new Spyder chassis costs around ?2000 as does a Lotus original pattern, Spyder will refurbish an old one for you for less than ?1000. An old 1980's unused properly stored chassis will be worth ?700 I would have thought, a used chassis should be treated with suspicion and bought for no more than ?250..... these are my personal views on used chassis, others may differ.
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:36 am

Hey Breezer

Lots of great responses as always from those that have been there and done that. The value thing point is way off the mark, this really has nothing to do with cost/return. It's more of a total commitment to the idea of bringing back from the dead a vehicle that you can say that "you" personally had a hand in bringing it back to life. Whether you job out some or most of it there is a great satisfaction that one has from sitting in the car and driving it.
holywood3645, adigra, types26/36, prezoom, AHM, richboyd, twincamman, myself and many others have all done restorations I believe, Pete and Alan have extensive involvement with Elans over the years. We all have our own reasons to encourage others to enjoy the process but MONEY is the last thing on the list that you need to look at. There are a lot of failed projects out there and most are due to a lack of commitment of time. You will need plenty of it and if you don't have the time, then money can make up for some of that and then its a project management exercise which can require a lot of thought and time in it own right. Do you have a place to do this? A good deal of space may not be a requirement but it sure helps. Time is something that there is never enough of, if you are married do you have the support from her to do this? Without it, the project will be still born. Pockets that are deep and the support of she that matters to let loose of these funds is paramount too. In the end, if you were given the choice of major project Elan for free or buying a nice driver, the time you spend would be better off working at a minimum wage second job and buying the Elan that is done as you will earn more on the second job than when you go and sell the Elan for the amount of time that will be invested over the next several years. Think about it, you better enjoy the work because there will be a lot of it.

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PostPost by: casalunge » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:50 pm

So I take it nobody would be interested in genuine Type 45 DHC matching numbers Sprint project, bodyshell prepped for colour scheme of your choice, new TTR 26R Chassis, original Twin Cam rebuilt 4000miles, ago recon gearbox,diff, propshaft etc etc etc

It will be listed for sale in the coming months
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PostPost by: Bruce Crowthorne » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:19 pm

Hmmm, lots of people seem to be saying "well I wouldn't do it" while many of us actually have.... and enjoyed doing the project.

I paid ?6k for a mostly stripped "project".
Now I enjoy doing restoration and I did everything I possibly could myself.
The dearest bit was the paint - and you can spend a little or a lot - your choice.

I reckon I spent about ?8k total doing mine - still not complete - but they never are.
I probably have most of the costs in a spreadsheet somewhere if you are really interested - but failing that I have a couple of binders of receipts. That has just about every cost except for a couple that were done for "cash".

Someone else mentioned that the true value is the satisfaction of doing the job and doing it your way - and your result will be superb (at least in your eyes!).

Now, another key question "how far do you go"? I reckon you could just about build a car from scratch, you would have a brand new car, but not a bit would be original.
In my case I tried to keep as much as I could and "improve" where it wouldn't show (stainless bolts, electronic ignition) and replacing where it was just beyond repair (carpets, dash, tyres) but I repaired or refurbished as many of the original bits as I could. I didn't go for any performance type improvements - if anyone wants a higher performance car go and buy an Elise!

By the way, if you really want a new shell I am pretty sure Miles Wilkins at Fibreglass Services will make you one. Last time I was in he had what i think was an S4 Coupe shell on the go.

IMHO It's not about the money - if you think it is you will regret the project - it's a hobby with a nice end product that becomes a nice toy.
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PostPost by: gearbox » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:19 pm

Breezer, first of all, look at the evaluation from a qualitative point of view, not subjective. That means, take any emotion or passion out of the equation. Then give yourself a honest aprasial of what skills you have, tools, space, and other resources (buddies with tools and know how). Then the evaluation becomes very simple:

MV - P - OSW = PV

Whereas, MV is the Market Value of a car fully restored to your expectations that you can buy and drive today, P is the Parts you will have to replace, new or used, or cost of restoring the part, and OSW is any Out Sourced Work that you will need to pay someone else such as paint, engine/trans/diff rebuilding, etc. Needless the say, the more skills you have the lower this number. I do not include my time as I actually enjoy restoring cars and hunting for parts. So that is a wash. And you do not have to account for everything, just a ball park. So you found a very nice drivable Elan for $25K that you believe is market price. Then you found a project. Project needs a frame, so that's $4K, rebuilding the engine is about $5K, interior dash, dash pad, seat upholstrery, top, say another $5K. Mechanicals such as clutch, mounts, busings, another $1K. Paint if you job it out is $8K. So based on these ball parks, the car is worth $2K assuming you didn't miss anything, and I am sure you did. Now don't focus on the numbers I used, rather the philosophy and it is important you understand it is selective to you and your capibilities. Someone else that can do alot of the expensive OSW work themself has a much lower cost bases and could offer more.

Now, with that said, I also look at it from the other side. What is the project car worth in parts in a fast sale? The same project car has a shot frame, value zero. Seized motor and drive line, $2K, Body $1K, other bits and usable parts, say $1K. So now we have $4K, but it all has to be disassembled, cleaned, sold, and shipped, so deduct $1K. PITA job just to break even, but it gives you a gauge if you had to cut losses and dump it. So you are now between $2-3K would be the strike price.

I have learned a long time ago, you cannot buy a project car cheap enough. I have walked away from cars given to me free, as it wasn't worth the effort, and I'm one of those guys who has the capibilities to do everything. Check out my site at http://www.TheLolaRegistry.com under project cars and see some of the nonsense I get myself into. Restoring these cars has been a 40 year passion for me, and while I cannot honestly say I have not spent more than market value in restoring all my cars, sometimes, you just have to say No. Good luck Allan
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PostPost by: prezoom » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:23 pm

I worry less about what the finished product is worth, rather than how much enjoyment I will get from the work I put into the project, and being able to drive the car anywhere I want when I have finished.

I can compare the costs of the restorations to those of an elaborate vacation, which has no material value, once I get back home, other than the memories and a few fading photographs. With my restorations, I can take a short or long vacation driving trip, like Ross, and when I get back home, I can do it all over again. I would not hesitate to take either one of my recent restorations, the Elan or the Sabra GT, anywhere in the US. I restore them for reliability, rather than complete originality. The only downside to the Elan is the overall gearing, with the long stretches of straight road leading away from Southern California. The Sabra cruises effortlessly at 80mph, even with its tractor like engine.

When I exclude my labor from the cars, both would be profitable if sold. But my labor is part of the journey to the end destination. Being retired, gives me the time to spend as many hours a day as I wish working on the cars, or just ignoring them and doing something different to break the monotony of tedious work. Another plus is getting out of the house and down in the shop, which pleases the wife. As she says, "I married you for better or worse, but not for lunch.......every day".

By not doing a check book/credit card restoration, and spreading out the total costs over several years, there is very little pain to my limited annual budget. The best part of the whole process, is what I learn from the experience and the friends I make along the way.

Yesterday, I dropped by James, Hollywood 3645, to congratulate him on getting his car running and making his first drive around the neighborhood on Saturday. His car is stunning and his attention to detail is amazing. His journey has been a number of years in the making, and his effort was worth every minute of his time. The best news is, another Elan on the road, especially another one in the San Diego area.

Rob Walker
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1964 Elva Mk4T Coupe (awaiting restoration)
1965 Ford Falcon Ranchero, 302,AOD,9",rack and pinion,disc,etc,etc,etc
1954 Nash Healey LeMans Coupe

Owning a Lotus will get you off the couch
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PostPost by: Mark B » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:36 pm

Spyder fan wrote:Unless you are going racing and want a lighter body there is little point buying a new shell, the amount of work required to fit and fettle your doors and boot and bonnet and the preparation to get the new body ready for paint will be at least equal or probably more than repairing the original unless it is very badly damaged. Tony thompson and others out there will sell you a new shell if you want one http://www.tonythompsonracing.co.uk/pricelist.pdf


Hi Alan,
Actually Alan a TTR shell is apparently very good (I know he's not your favorite lotus specialist!)-someone I know bought one, flatted it with a d/a and painted it, he reckoned it needed nothing more. I ended up with a new shell by accident (which wasn't as good as a tt version), but I'm quite glad as I knew I had a good starting point & knew it's history & personally if I bought a restoration job with a really rough shell with extensive accident damage etc I'd probably stump up for a new shell to make it easier... depends on how many other tasks you have on your hands I guess!

To the original poster though, you could always learn the relevant skills to prep the body and just take a bit longer to complete the restoration- try and find a friendly local body repair man?
I paid 4.5k for one of my basket cases with bits missing, if you could buy the complete car for ~5k (ie all parts present)and do more of the work yourself you may actually enjoy it more in the long run, aswell as ending up with a car that's worth about what it owes you instead of owing you more than it's worth?


Worth a thought?
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Mark.
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