Lotus Elan

Values increasing

PostPost by: mark030358 » Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:47 am

I did not wish to offend the S1,S2, S3 owners, all very very nice cars. But I think you will agree sales prices bear out my argument about desirability.

As for Dino's the V6 was not the best of engines, prone to dropping rods allegedly ....

I was out with a some of the Houston Lotus club owners the other day and was lucky enough to get a ride in a Big Valve low compression Stromberg equipped Twin Cam Europa.... Just brilliant, and with around 100 HP felt very quick....sorry to say this but Europas are my favourite of all Lotii :oops: Now I'll get flamed... :)

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:19 am

Mark, I doubt very much that anybody was offended by your remarks, but probably more impressed by your 99.9% certainty!!

I do agree that the Sprint has a premium over the S3 and S4, but the difference, when comparing like with like, is probably no more than 10% or so.

There are many more S3 / S4 projects and average condition cars seem to come up for sale than Sprints, and many of the Sprints for sale seem to have been the subject of a professional restoration. That picture skews the apparent worth of the cars.

I have a feeling that it's the S1 Elan, especially the early ones, that is on the top of the pile, with the S2 tucking in somewhere around the S3 / S4 and Sprint values. The S1 is now very rare in the UK, and the first (and last) of many cars has a bit of extra appeal.

A quick check on the Car and Classic website shows these asking prices for the different models:

S1 - ?59k, ?95k,

S2 - ?75k, ?32k,

S3 - ?21k, ?20k, ?15k, ?40k, ?30k, ?30k, ?30k, ?20k, ?67k, ?14k

S4 - ?37k, ?20k, ?25k, ?25k, ?37k, ?40k, ?35k, ?35k, ?32k, ?30k, ?25k, ?18k, ?23k

Sprint - ?30k, ?46k, ?35k, ?47k, ?29k, ?30k, ?40k

One of the S1s and one of the S2s had GTS / 26R mods, which pushes the prices up.

One of the S3s is a BRM

For the S3 and S4, anything under ?20k looks like a project...some major, some minor. Between ?20k and ?30k look like excellent usable cars, perhaps with some cosmetic defects.

Anything over ?30k looks like mint / restored. There are quite a lot of S3 / S4 cars for sale under ?30k.

The Sprints do look to be a higher average price than the S3 / S4, but it also looks like the stock is of a higher quality, with more recent / professional restorations having been completed.

Not too many project Sprints seem to come on the market, and many S1 / S2 cars are well known in the clubs and change hands privately, so the prices for those are much less visible.

Its a very complicated picture due to he varying condition and provenance of the cars for sale. The model comes into it, but I'd bet that if you lined up an S1, S2, S3, S4 and a Sprint, all restored to the same factory-condition standard, there wouldn't be a huge difference in price.

It's certainly not like the E Type for example, where a perfect S1 coupe or convertible would be around ?150k, and the same condition S2 2+2 around ?35k. But that vast difference narrows with a project S1 being around ?20k, and a project S2 2+2 around ?10k.

All good fun pontificating, though. Since Jim started this topic, I've been looking closely at Elans for sale, and it suddenly hit me that there are a hell of a lot on the market currently. Two or three years ago, it was hard to find any Elan, and now, on that Car and Classic website alone there are around 40 2 seat Elans for sale....is this a sign of change??

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PostPost by: au-yt » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:04 am

Interesting debate about collectable classic cars and one I have been following for some time.

If you have been reading my ramblings on here you know I recently bought an Elan Sprint DHC for exactly the reason mentioned here model and type and I just happened to be in right place at the right time.

I also think they are undervalue.

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PostPost by: groucho » Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:38 am

I had an older (~10 years old?) classic value valuation guide which put the S2 and Sprint on equal footing, and IIRC the S1 behind and finally the S3/S4, with the +2s being approximate half the value.

What is an interesting question is, where would the values lie if it weren't for those cursed window frames on the S3s and later? :) Surely they drive down the value of the S3/S4 DHCs and perhaps the Sprint would have a more commanding lead if it didn't have them. Not an issue for the FHCs of course!
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:25 pm

Two points.

Firstly, as Mark points out, his table of prices are 'asking' not 'selling'. There is a lot of difference between the two when accurately discussing true values. In addition, there is a the dealer's percentage to take into account when valuing trade against private sales.

Secondly, there is an abundant supply of cars at the moment. The classic car market, like any other, is subject to the laws of supply and demand. When supply is high and demand low, prices will drop. I suspect we are about to see that happen.

Second secondly, because I did say two points. I believe it is all too easy for us to say our cars are undervalued, since we are enthusiastic about them. But what are they undervalued against? TVR, Marcos, Reliant, Austin Healey, Triumph? Or Porsche, Jaguar, BMW, AC, Alfa Romeo? Or Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Aston Martin? Our cars are in the first, lower end segment value wise, though we know there are circumstances where we can knock spots off most of the rest in driving experience. Elans have their own value and whether you perceive them as being under or over valued depends on whether you are a buyer or seller - and the supply and demand of each.

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PostPost by: Elanconvert » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:26 pm

groucho wrote:What is an interesting question is, where would the values lie if it weren't for those cursed window frames on the S3s and later? :) Surely they drive down the value of the S3/S4 DHCs and perhaps the Sprint would have a more commanding lead if it didn't have them. Not an issue for the FHCs of course!


well I'm new to elanworld, and I am intrigued by the reference to 'cursed window frames'?????
why would they have any effect on values?

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PostPost by: groucho » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:52 pm

trw99 wrote:Second secondly, because I did say two points. I believe it is all too easy for us to say our cars are undervalued, since we are enthusiastic about them. But what are they undervalued against? TVR, Marcos, Reliant, Austin Healey, Triumph? Or Porsche, Jaguar, BMW, AC, Alfa Romeo? Or Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Aston Martin?

IMHO they are tremendously undervalued when you would pay about the same for a nicely restored VW Beetle as you do for an Elan! :)

Elanconvert wrote:well I'm new to elanworld, and I am intrigued by the reference to 'cursed window frames'?????
why would they have any effect on values?

:D fred

The S1s and S2s have no frames around the windows; when you take the top off, you completely disassemble all the pieces (including the window frames) and stow them in your trunk or garage. In the S3s and later, the top stays attached behind the seats like on a "normal" convertible, but the window frames remain. So, when the top is down, the earlier cars have only the windshield above the body, the later cars have window frames all the time. I'm sure you can easily find photos that show what I'm describing.

Personally, this would be the biggest "annoyance" I would have with the later cars, and I have heard of some folks sawing them off... I certainly would be surprised if anyone prefers the look of the window frames.
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:46 pm

groucho wrote:... I certainly would be surprised if anyone prefers the look of the window frames.


I prefer them :wink: :D

Whats not to like about proper solid functional (electrically operated) windows which are pretty much draught proof, wobble proof and water proof. The attractive fixed frames are a very small price to pay IMO. In fact the Type36/45 Elan is better in pretty much every respect. :)

As for values; classic car prices are completely bonkers at the moment. You have the crazy situation where early Minis (for example) are making as much as many much more rare and interesting cars including Elans.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if we see a crash in the market again soon with many values dropping back to more realistic levels.

If you watch the Elan market, there is very little movement and only the cheaper cars seem to be selling. Most of the sellers asking ?30k plus are in for a very long wait .......

Other comparable classics seem to be doing better and I do think Elans have an image problem and IMO it is not helped by the irresistible urge many owners seem to have to "improve" and modify a car which as originally designed is probably one of the best sports cars ever built.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but if the car has different engine, transmission, final drive, suspension and brakes and merely looks like an Elan is it an Elan? or even a Lotus? Other marques do not seem to suffer such indignity to the same extent and as a result do not have the bitsa/kit car image.......... Just an opinion on what I think may be a factor :wink: :twisted:
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PostPost by: au-yt » Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:34 am

In Some way the Elan is a parallel to the 911.
There are plenty of them and lots of spares, but some models are worth more than other primarily because they had a specialty. The 26R for example could be said to be a 911 2.7 RS, others have their own following.

Like the Porsche there isn't anything you can't buy for either, except providence.

Yes the Elan is at the lower end of the scale collect ability wise but that's to the enthusiasts benefit which means they are still relatively affordable.

As the values of collectable cars go up they tend to drag the lower end up with them.

When the Classic car bubble stops expanding, it like a balloon may deflate a little and soften, but this price escalation has so much energy in it that wont be much. Not until the world economies pick up will it happen but not back to pre 2008 price, like it did in 1990
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PostPost by: groucho » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:34 am

nebogipfel wrote:
groucho wrote:... I certainly would be surprised if anyone prefers the look of the window frames.


I prefer them :wink: :D

Well, color me surprised. :)

I won't take up the type 26-baiting that you followed up that surprising statement with. ;)
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:01 am

groucho wrote:
I won't take up the type 26-baiting that you followed up that surprising statement with. ;)


Bugger!
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PostPost by: Elanconvert » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:05 am

re; WINDOW FRAMES

ah!! so it's the APPEARANCE of the window frames that is 'cursed'.......in my ignorance, I thought it might be something to do with the availability of replacements...............

well, my elan has them, and from [I hope] an unbiased viewpoint, I think they suit the overall appearance of the car. It might also be that their absence suits what I've heard called the 'purer [ :wink: ] type 26 version.

IMHO, the types 36/45 are no less 'pure' in their design/appearance, just developments in line with general updating, e.g. KO wheels as opposed to bolt-ons, rocker switches, electric windows, water repellant boot, etc., etc.

as for an effect on values, I can't see what effect they would have........unless........would someone pay more for a sprint because it had its window frames removed????

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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:43 am

[quote="au-yt"]In Some way the Elan is a parallel to the 911. There are plenty of them and lots of spares, [/quote]

Sorry but I don't agree. Overall numbers of Elans and Plus 2s does not come anywhere near to overall production of 911s. Someone mentioned VW Beetles in comparison to Elans. Again, they were made in vastly different numbers.

I think it's important we compare apples with apples. The Elan was a small production speciality sports car. If anything one could argue that the supply of all Elans is so limited that their value should be enormously greater than it currently is. But they are not for a variety of complex reasons. I suspect it boils down to this. If the Elan had been really, really popular in it's day and produced in far greater numbers, it would still be really, really popular now, today. Instead, it's appeal is particular and restricted. Demand is therefore limited.

Elan values are what they are. Are they increasing, as Jim originally asked? Or are they at the top of this crazy classic car market (did you see the sort of money that the very rusty E Type and Dino made last week?) - its a matter of opinion. It still comes back to supply and demand!

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PostPost by: elanner » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:17 pm

As far as I can tell, not liking the window frames seems to be a peculiarly USA-centric opinion. I've definitely had casual passers-by over here mention them to me, while I don't remember that ever happening in the UK.

Of course it all hinges on whether the hood/roof is up or down. In the UK the hood is up more often than not (still, I assume), so the presence or absence of window frames is mostly irrelevant to the look of the car. In the US the hood can be down more often than not (at least for me - my hood has been up for less than a week since I purchased the car three years ago), so the presence or absence of window frames is a lot more apparent.

With the frames I think the car looks better balanced and has more heft, but without them the car looks purer and more delicate. So both have their aesthetic benefits.

A follow-on wild generalization is that in the UK people clearly value the later-is-better cachet of Sprints. In the US this preference seems far less pronounced, if it exists at all. There's plenty of earlier-is-better cachet to S2s.

If I'd been offered the choice of a Sprint or an S2 when I came over here back in the 80s I'd have chosen the Sprint without a second thought. Today I find that the choice would not be so obvious and might easily be the other way around. Sprints are great, but those S2s are light and damned cute, and a leaky boot/trunk don't matter when the hood's down and it ain't raining. ;-)

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PostPost by: lotocone » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:31 pm

elanner wrote:
With the frames I think the car looks better balanced and has more heft, but without them the car looks purer and more delicate. So both have their aesthetic benefits.

Nick
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Nick, I agree. That's a good way of putting it.

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