Lotus Elan

Do you really use your Elan?

PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:13 am

I was going through my +2's history in another failed attempt to get it all in order the other night. The thing that struck me most was that the PO's stack of MOT's from 1995 -2004 equalled less than 1000 miles covered and the car had been restored previously to 1995 so there was no excuse for not using it, 3 years the car covered 250 - 300 miles and the rest seemed to be just the annual run to the MOT centre.

This reminded me of an editorial I saw in one of the classics monthly magazines a few years back that basically slated enthusiasts for only using their cars on high days and holidays and worse still the fact that like my +2 many cars were only being driven to the test centre once a year and then put to bed again, this seemed crazy to the guy writing the editorial and I totally agree.

Unless your car is undergoing restoration or major work (in which case you are excused :wink: ) have a look at last years MOT and check the mileage against this years MOT, if it's less than 1000 miles perhaps you ought to think about whether you are wasting an opportunity to be regularly driving one of the most perfect cars available.

My MOT for 2008 says 59621
My MOT for 2009 says 63916
Thats 4285 miles covered in one year, which is not a lot really. It would be really nice if you could all look out your documents and mileage records and reply with your mileage for the year, we could then make suggestions on how to improve things so that we don't waste these brilliant cars.

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Kindest regards

Alan Thomas
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PostPost by: elj221c » Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:20 am

I DID use my Elan, as a daily driver from '77 to '86 commuting to and from London.
1977 52346
1978 67333
1979 77736
1980 88807
1981 96083
1982 Chassis and engine rebuild
1983 99265
1984 105562
1985 115133
1986 124331
Started riding motorcycle to work
1987 128721
1988 131209
Stolen and broken Jan '89 at 133092.

Still in bits now. :oops:

Roy,
'65 S2
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PostPost by: adigra » Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:30 pm

Mine is still with the dealer/restorer, but before I bought it it had done around 500 miles in twenty years. OK, it was stored (due apparently to illness of the PO) for the last 11-12 years, but it was comprehensively restored (new chassis, suspension, engine rebuild, respray, etc.) in '88-'89, and after a single year of proper use, it was down to less than 50 miles per year. In fact in one year it did exactly two miles...! Here's hoping I can do much better than that once I finally get my hands on it.

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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:06 pm

elj221c wrote:I DID use my Elan, as a daily driver from '77 to '86 commuting to and from London.
1977 52346
1978 67333
1979 77736
1980 88807
1981 96083
1982 Chassis and engine rebuild
1983 99265
1984 105562
1985 115133
1986 124331
Started riding motorcycle to work
1987 128721
1988 131209
Stolen and broken Jan '89 at 133092.

Still in bits now. :oops:

Roy,
'65 S2


Roy<
Thanks for that list of mileages, thats really great. You were doing about 12000 miles a year before the motorbike. 1988 doesn't seem that long ago to me either, although its over 20 years back, it still meant your S2 was 23 years old. There's a few road humps about these days that perhaps weren't about in the late 80's but the traffic in London was pretty grim back then and not much better than it is now. I'm sure you must have maintained your car well and it benefited from regular use.

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PostPost by: RotoFlexible » Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:30 pm

There are many answers in my case. Since 1967, when we bought the car used, it has covered about 104,000 miles. Since the car was off the road for perhaps seven of those years, call it 35 years for an average of almost 3,000 miles/year. During those years it's sometimes been a daily driver, sometimes an autocross / track car, sometimes a fair-weather, close-to-home change of pace from the "real" car. In recent years, I've often put more miles on my bicycle than I have on the Elan.

What keeps me from driving more? For one thing, I don't drive much for pleasure alone (although I take pleasure in driving). I'm going to and from work (pleasant but not exciting), going to the store, carrying more people and/or stuff than the Elan can handle, etc. I take the Elan when it is possible and convenient to do so, but I don't force the issue. There are few opportunities to drive it "the way it's supposed to be driven" unless I create them.

Rain (or winter weather) is also a deterrent. Putting up the hood is a nuisance, and anyone in New England knows how few completely rain-free days we've had this year. Until recently, I was reluctant to drive in the rain due to a long history of moisture-related electrical issues and concerns with visibility, but I have taken steps to address those problems. Something as simple as a working blower fan makes a difference. This summer, I used the car every day for a period of five weeks, rain or shine, and gained a lot of confidence that it won't let me down.

Reliability concerns also discouraged me from taking long trips (especially with my wife). Again, I've done a lot recently to improve reliability and I'm able to contemplate longer trips. (A fifth gear that yielded about 3,200 rpm on the highway would make a big difference in this regard.) I am looking forward to a trip to Gettysburg PA next year for the US Lotus club get-together, a round trip of 1,000 miles or more, and a week on the road if we also visit relatives.
Andrew Bodge
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:51 pm

A regularly used car will be more reliable than one only brought out for the odd sunny day. There are a variety of reasons for this including poor lubrication of moving parts, where they are allowed to settle for months (water pumps especially prone too this) fuel degradation leading to varnish in the carbs and worse; wheel vibration due to settlement & flat spotting of the tyres; Battery sulphation etc, corrosion on infrequently used switch contacts - it all adds up.

This can be overcome with real care on a low miler, but the amount of time spent in preparation compared to using the thing becomes onerous - who wants to spend an hour fettling the car in order to drive it for an hour? Quite a lot of people apparently..

I am basically lazy and prefer to spend that extra time driving the car - how often have you gone out to do some work on the car and thought "I'll just take it for a spin to see how it feels", then an hour later, when you get home think "Its not so bad after all, perhaps I'll leave it until next weekend." Carry on like that and you soon build up enough miles not to worry about anything except the essentials like oil and filters (and your trunnions - whatever you put in them).

Enjoy your car whatever you do with it....

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PostPost by: bcmc33 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:17 pm

I am a pathetic fine weather driver as far as the Elan is concerned because I don?t want to drive it with the hood up.

I did less than 500 miles in each of the last two bloody awful weather years.

I have plans this week to go out in it tomorrow, Friday and Saturday --- guess what??? Rain tomorrow and heavy rain forecast for Friday and Saturday.
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PostPost by: twincamman » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:35 pm

mine was an old racer so from 1964 to 1970 at 30 laps weekend =160 miles x6 events -906 miles per year x6 years is around 5436 miles abandoned from 1970 till 2003 I got it and reassembled it and so far have put 4000 miles on it from 2007 when it was back together and on the road --so its pretty a low mileage 1964 car -----ed
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:49 am

An interesting set of replies and an average sort of take up for the FREE PARKING discussion thread.

I assume that out of the 160+ views of the topic that everyone's too busy actually driving their cars to look up their mileage covered? hope so in any case.
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: terryp » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:23 am

I think I'm averaging about 1500 miles a year and regularly use it on a weekly basis , mainly trips out with the children BUT (and this is a constant wind up from my wife) we don't go out IF:-
Its raining
Its foggy
Its very cold
Its too hot (over 28degrees)
It has been cold and hasn't rained (potential salt)
Its dark(!!)

And then I don't drive where:-
Road to gritty
Road to bumpy
Road too small
Road too big
Traffic to busy
Start and finish of lunch time , especially the finish.

So 10am May 8th is always a busy driving day!
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:59 pm

terryp wrote:I think I'm averaging about 1500 miles a year and regularly use it on a weekly basis , mainly trips out with the children BUT (and this is a constant wind up from my wife) we don't go out IF:-
Its raining
Its foggy
Its very cold
Its too hot (over 28degrees)
It has been cold and hasn't rained (potential salt)
Its dark(!!)

And then I don't drive where:-
Road to gritty
Road to bumpy
Road too small
Road too big
Traffic to busy
Start and finish of lunch time , especially the finish.

So 10am May 8th is always a busy driving day!


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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:50 pm

My Elan averages around 1500 miles per year but its all at 8000 rpm on the track and around 40000 miles of racing clocked up so far. Its a little far gone down the competition route to turn back into a daily drive between events

My Plus 2 does around 3000 to 5000 miles a year since I put it on limited mileage club plates. Recently I have been thinking its time to turn the Plus 2 back into a daily driver as it was up to 15 years ago.

cheers
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:56 pm

Rohan,

I'm very jealous of your location, I think that I wouldn't be able to stop myself from jumping in the car and heading off for an adventure visiting all the major cities, those long roads through the outback look challenging.

regards
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PostPost by: dougweall » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:18 pm

Spyder fan wrote:An interesting set of replies and an average sort of take up for the FREE PARKING discussion thread.

I assume that out of the 160+ views of the topic that everyone's too busy actually driving their cars to look up their mileage covered? hope so in any case.


Considering myself suitably ticked off, I have had a look at my MOT's. Only had my Elan on the road for 4 years.
Year 1 2200 miles (Classic Le Mans) 8)
Year 2 500 miles :oops:
Year 3 1600 miles (Classic Le Mans) 8)
year 4 1000 + miles (nearly due for MOT) :shock: thought it was more than that.

Considering I can only drive it 6 months of the year ( I work away) then it is not too bad I suppose.
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PostPost by: Old English White » Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:34 pm

Spyder fan wrote:An interesting set of replies and an average sort of take up for the FREE PARKING discussion thread.

I assume that out of the 160+ views of the topic that everyone's too busy actually driving their cars to look up their mileage covered? hope so in any case.



I try to keep "OEW" allways on the button , just in case ...
I don't drive her when its raining or when it's has been cold or show at home ...
I prefer short quick tour than long distance on motorway , but from Paris area , you often have kilometers to do before reach the circuit or the event ... So no less than 4500-5000Km/year .
See you at Le Mans Classic 2010 , Doug .
Christian.
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