Lotus Elan

Are we the lowest mileage drivers on the planet?

PostPost by: M.J.S » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:56 pm

I purchased my 130/5 early 2008 from a personal friend who'd bought it in 2004 from a chap who'd owned and used the car since 1977. It was showing 29,000 recorded miles and my friend was led to believe this was genuine. I'm more pessimistic and when I acquired the car didn't care whether it was 29k or 129k. It?s early history had been unfortunately lost when my friend moved chambers. All that bothered me was condition. It was low, long, yellow and sexy.

However, when an overheating dilemma a few years ago necessitated a rebuild, it was discovered the crankshaft was flawless and still at Std/Std ? not therefore 129k (unless it had had a brand new crank at some point, which seems unlikely). In the last few days I?ve been overhauling the brake calipers all round, they having become a bit sticky whilst the car?s been off the road. Once again, I was surprised the find 7 of the pistons looking as new, just one pitted at the edge where the dust seal had ripped. So maybe it is an unusually low mileage car? It still shows only 32k.

This got me to wondering ? those of you who keep an eye on vehicles coming onto the market, what is a ?typical? mileage of a 40-50 year old Lotus?

One would expect that within the first 10 years of life the cars would do mileages in line with normal motoring, which would then diminish to a few thousand a year, and then even less. But this doesn?t seem to tally up, with many, many cars showing very low mileages, suggesting that even when new they were hardly ever used.

Having spent 20 years in a barn and not on the road is probably the reason in some cases, but are we the lowest mileage drivers on the planet?
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PostPost by: trw99 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:29 pm

Back in the 60s and 70s we didn't do quite the mileages we tend to clock up now with our daily drivers.

Around 70k miles is probably an average mileage figure for an Elan these days.

It always surprised me how very low mileage Porsche 911s and Morgans were, as well as how quickly they came back on the second-hand market from new. Dreams clearly not living up to reality!

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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Aug 20, 2016 3:02 am

Mine has 82K, but has only gone about 300 miles in the last 6 years. Only 1/8 mile since I've owned it. Hoping to change that before too long!
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PostPost by: billwill » Sat Aug 20, 2016 8:45 am

Over 200,000 miles for my 1967 S3 Coupe.
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PostPost by: dunclentdr » Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:02 am

...my 1963 S1 has 29,000 miles from new but has also done 26,000 miles at sea (to Australia and back on a ship)...

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PostPost by: Allison » Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:49 am

There seem to be two groups of people who own classic cars - one likes to polish and look at them and the other wants to drive them!
see www.rallyelan.com The red elan is now showing 263,000 on the clock and after the Amazon in October (c. 6,000 miles) and Norway in June/July (4,500 miles) we are off to Turkey and Iran shortly for another 4,500 miles.

You can't take it with you. I am in the drive it group!

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PostPost by: nigelrbfurness » Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:57 am

118,000 on my S4SE but the only mechanical bit that's done that is the gearbox! On its third engine, third diff, fourth chassis and third radiator. Front suspension is original apart from bushes and shocks. Rear suspension - third set of A frames (Spyder uprated this time to see if they stay untwisted for more than a few months - so far so good). The body and trim is quite original and really needs restoration but I love driving it so I'm not going to take it off the road for years, the last one I did took me 18 months and that's too long. At Castle Combe this year, my friends voted it the second scruffiest Elan at the event. I tried hard to avoid parking it next to anything nice so parked it next a DB9. I chatted to one guy there, quite friendly and he said, and I quote, "if my interior looked like that I'd commit suicide!". It was at that point I decided I'm NEVER going to restore it. Sooo proud. :lol:

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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:14 am

Nigel

You shouldn't drive it,,,,,,it's worth thousands ????

John :lol:
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PostPost by: elj221c » Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:24 am

IF I ever get round to getting my S2 running again I will be vieing for your position, Nigel!

I was never a body man, just a nuts and bolts man.

133k on mine, up to '89 when it was pinched. Off the road since but next year.....

It was used to commute to London from '77 to '82ish and fortnightly racing trips around the country in the season until about '87.

We also used to go on holidays in it even when my daughter was born in '86. She had a child seat on top of the diff! Usually to my chum's pub near Bideford.

Good times.......
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PostPost by: nigelrbfurness » Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:17 pm

Hi John
I know you are only joking :D but I bought it to drive it 33 years ago and that's what I've done, virtually continuously since then. Others have come and gone and each time I've sold one the new owner has said the same thing - "you should do yours next!" - but there are still others in the queue first. But as I said before, it takes too long. Doesn't matter what its worth, does it? At least, not to me. If you can't drive a car, you can't enjoy it. I recently drove it 180 miles across country, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Beds and Herts, staying well clear of motorways and trunk roads. If I'd done that in my Alfa I'd have wanted to stop for a bit and have a cuppa every thirty minutes. But in the Elan I just wanted to keep going!

Nigel F.
1970 S4SE/1760cc big valve/SA-AX block, L2s, 45DCOEs, 1978 Jensen GT, 1962 AH Sprite, Alfa-Romeo 159, 1966 Bristol Bus, 1947 AEC Regal bus.
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:24 pm

Peter's rallyelan will soon have me for breakfast, as will Brian Buckland, but my early S2 has now passed 275,000 miles and is my daily car. Nearly all major mechanical parts, bar chassis, are original, as is most of the trim and it was last painted (poorly) just before I bought it in 1969.

By contrast, we have just bought a second 1996 Mazda Xedos with under 30,000 miles on the clock (bills to prove it) as the first has niggles after 147,000. :(
Meg

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PostPost by: M.J.S » Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:12 pm

Quite an asides; but love the Mazda Xedos's. About 16 years ago had use of a Xedos 6 for a short time then bought a Xedos 9 and kept it 2 years. Reluctantly sold it as (gasp, horror) it was a Friday afternoon job and everything that could go wrong did (and there is a lot to go wrong on a Xedos 9). But still rate them as one of the best luxury salons of the 90s by a huge margin; the 9 to drive the 6 to look at.
ZARDE the 130/5.
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:15 pm

Edit: Sorry folks, I'd meant this to be a PM but clicked the wrong button. :oops:
Last edited by Quart Meg Miles on Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:50 pm

Bought my first Elan, 1968 S4SE in 1976, it had just under 70k on the clock, many (like this one) were just used as "normal" cars back then.
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PostPost by: Routen Chaplin Lotus » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:19 pm

Lotus cars have never been cheap when you consider that an Elan was not that short of the price of the Jaguar E-type in the day and so many will have been used as weekend "toys" rather than the every day car as were E-types.

When the Elise came out it was more affordable and so a few of these are high mileage cars but again many were bought as weekend cars and still have low mileages. My year 2000 Elise has some 43K on the clock and now as part of the fleet of Loti takes its turn with the Elan and Europa waiting to be used so from here on in its mileage will be pretty low and will always remain so.

There are always exceptions to the rule and a friend has an Evora which is his daily car commuter and does about 40 miles a day, so 10K commuting +say another 3/4k pleasure. But he will sell it soon and so after two years we have a higher than average mileage car, but for the next owner it may be a weekend car so in another 3/4 years it will perhaps be a low mileage car again.
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