Lotus Elan

Newbie - sort of

PostPost by: barley1m » Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:21 pm

Hi all

I have a long standing past with Elans, growing up my dad had a couple of Sprints, and also raced one. They hold a very special place in my 29 year old heart! There's something about that wooden interior that reminds me of being young and dreaming of being able to drive one day!

I'm a complete car nut, and have just purchased a BMW 1M which is a car I've wanted for some time. My goal is to buy an Elan before I'm 30, but there's an issue, i don't have a garage! I have a drive. Is this a mad idea, who keeps their classic Elan on their drive, covered presumably?

Pic is of me and the old man, back in the early 90's!

Thanks all.
11146541_10206335634980147_4823149700280896881_n.jpg and
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:32 pm

Hello and welcome,
My first thought is that you may have difficulty obtaining satisfactory insurance.
Old cars are very easy to steal. Any bright 14 year old could start mine in 10 minutes. Well I know I could have done. A lift and tow doesn`t take long either.
My insurer insists that if at home overnight it must be garaged.
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PostPost by: 661 » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:09 pm

I was 22 when I bought my Elan. It was my daily drive and lived outside. Looking back I was mad, but did have a great time. Honestly, I'd hang on and get/borrow/lease a garage. I hadn't even thought of the insurance implications, but that is a valid point too.
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PostPost by: 512BB » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:07 pm

Hi Tom, welcome aboard,

No, not one of your better ideas that, keeping an Elan, or any Lotus, on your drive.

When I bought my first car, a DHC Sprint, I did not have a garage and it lived outside the house. Used it every day to go to work in, in Central London, until Christmas eve one year, circa 1982, when it was stolen. Not the best Christmas that one.

Police found it about 10 miles away, in Sarf Hara, numpties having whacked it into a curb, breaking the nearside rear A frame. Car was no doubt making its way to a well known Lotus breakers over that way........how are you Derrek?

I replaced the A frame at the roadside and drove it home. Fortunately said car is still in the stable to this day, or was, last time I looked..............brrrrrrr

As has been said, find yourself a garage first, then find the car. Lotus' don't do car covers.

Enjoy the forum.

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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:38 pm


I bought my Elan with a similar plan to have it on the road by the time I was 30, which became 40, and then I didn't start work on it until I retired. Family commitments got in the way. I built my garage first. Some of these cars exhibit terrible micro blistering of the paint if they are kept outside under a cover. The car really needs a dry garage, as you probably will also, as the work usually takes longer and costs more than expected.

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PostPost by: barley1m » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:58 pm

Thank you all so much for the replies. I'll start looking into the rental of a garage, which I think has to be an absolute no brainier.

Although I've had lots of nice cars, the day I find a nice B road in 'my' Elan will be right up there.

I'll keep watching the forum and get some pleasure from seeing you all enjoy such a fantastic machine. I hope in a years time I'll be able to post a pic ;-)

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PostPost by: AdrianSi » Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:05 pm


I purchased my first Elan (+2) last year at the age of 30. I garage/barn store mine and insurance as a classic second car is hideously cheap with an agreed value. Less than half of what I pay to insure my BMW 330d!

Have a look at Europa's, they are the next big thing in the Lotus market. I purchased my +2 as the market for then as on the increase!

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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:23 pm

AdrianSi wrote:Have a look at Europa's, they are the next big thing in the Lotus market.

Here's hoping -- there's a pretty nice Type 54 needing paint work sitting in my garage. At last check, the value of the car after painting was only slightly less than the original cost plus the cost of a good paint job... :(

Although the Europa is a hoot to drive, it isn't a happy highway car (try driving a few hours at 4000 rpm with a Weber DCOE less than a foot from your ears), and local speed limits are way too low for Europa limits on the twisties. I'm getting older and Matilda may want a new home soon.
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:01 pm

I bought my 1st Elan in 1974 from a fellow who had no garage. The top (hood) was in shreds and there was water sloshing around in the floor when I went for a test drive. The tach didn't work, neither window lift worked and many other things needed help, but I wanted an Elan so very badly.

I had to concentrate my efforts into getting it prepared for winter use and passing Indiana's version of MOT, but able to do it in my Garage.

Its still in my garage, just not in Indiana. It was fully restored on a new galvo chassis in 1985.Next problem you'll find is your garage is never large enough. Tools take up space and one Lotus will multiply to two, maybe 3 or even more.

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PostPost by: The Veg » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:07 pm

Hi Tom, and welcome from USA!

I can't speak to your local conditions but over here I had a Turbo Esprit for four years which lived outdoors, and now have a Plus 2 living outdoors. No soft-tops of course; I'd love to have one but not having a garage that's a line I draw. Sounds like getting a garage is what you need to do, and I hope to get one myself before long as it feels really limiting to be constrained to dry daylight to get my fettling done.

Is automobile theft really that bad over there? Over here you're more likely to have an Accord or Camry stolen than an antique of any type, as there are millions of Accords and Camrys so black-market parts can be a bustling business, plus a stolen one won't stick out in traffic. Most Americans still never will have to deal with a theft though.
An old Lotus (or even a new Lotus) is enough of an attention-magnet here to prevent being an attractive target for theft.
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PostPost by: SENC » Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:34 pm

In this day and age, in the US at least, a stick shift is likely all the theft protection one needs!
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PostPost by: billwill » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:04 pm

SENC wrote:In this day and age, in the US at least, a stick shift is likely all the theft protection one needs!

Here in the UK, I think that nowadays, you can get an "Automatic Gears" only driving licence and you have to do a new test and upgrade if you get a car with manual gear shift.
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PostPost by: Europatc » Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:02 pm

Welcome Tom
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