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Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
8/10/17 1:41 p.m.
NOHOME wrote:
Pete Gossett wrote: In reply to GameboyRMH: I think a Europa would be a much better Lotus for you: they're not worth much, and are nearly worthless in their most common(abandoned) condition, so there's little money to be lost. Most of them haven't run for ~40 years, so there's no worry about insurance or damage from use. And should you actually have the desire to get it running/driving, you have a great engine for it already in your Toyota.
But there are probably no Europas on the island of Barbados.

Eh, they're pretty light. I bet it would be fairly easy to get one down there with a bit of Flex-Seal. The frame is likely rotted out already so the saltwater won't do much harm to it on the voyage.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
8/10/17 2:43 p.m.
Pete Gossett wrote: Eh, they're pretty light. I bet it would be fairly easy to get one down there with a bit of Flex-Seal. The frame is likely rotted out already so the saltwater won't do much harm to it on the voyage.

Are you saying it could be possible to plug all the leaks in an old British sports car?

rslifkin
rslifkin SuperDork
8/10/17 3:05 p.m.
GameboyRMH wrote:
Pete Gossett wrote: Eh, they're pretty light. I bet it would be fairly easy to get one down there with a bit of Flex-Seal. The frame is likely rotted out already so the saltwater won't do much harm to it on the voyage.
Are you saying it could be possible to plug all the leaks in an old British sports car?

Well of course it is! It just might not be usable as a car once all the leaks are fixed.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
8/10/17 3:49 p.m.
GameboyRMH wrote:
Pete Gossett wrote: Eh, they're pretty light. I bet it would be fairly easy to get one down there with a bit of Flex-Seal. The frame is likely rotted out already so the saltwater won't do much harm to it on the voyage.
Are you saying it could be possible to plug all the leaks in an old British sports car?

Yes - except the ones in the engine...

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
8/10/17 6:16 p.m.

So I went and saw the car, mostly in great shape, but it has the Rover engine, not the 2ZZ, so that's a bit of a downer. Upper door handles are rotten, there's condensation in the headlights, and the driver's side (crank) window doesn't want to come back up from the fully down position. It's at a shop and the shop mechanic says an internal window stop is broken that he can fix. It has the base suspension. Only mechanical problem I found is that the shifter didn't center properly.

I fit in the car with about as much headroom as in my Corolla, maybe a little less. Putting the seat all the way back actually gives me too much legroom. Think I'd still go for some tallrails to get some more clearance with my helmet on. Entry and exit shouldn't be compared to any other production car, it's more like getting into or out of a caged car. You need driving shoes to avoid hitting multiple pedals at once unintentionally.

Seems that this shop owns it now, and it's been registered for road use from day one and has local plates now, the road tax has only just expired. Since this shop has had it they've driven on the street a couple times and they've warned me that it draws stupid, Lambo-esque levels of attention, with the crowds often becoming a practical problem. So if I were to own it, I'd have to plasti-dip it a less loud color. I often see a guy driving a black one near my office and he doesn't have any trouble.

The owner also thinks that I absolutely should have the unpowered brakes changed to power brakes, I'd have to drive it first and see how it is. Therefore it must also not have ABS, which I would've liked to have the option of using, but on the other hand a non-ABS brake system is much simpler, less stuff to break. Not good for the resale market though.

News of this car being for sale hasn't circulated too widely yet, but a few people have come to look at it, and they've all backed out because comprehensive insurance for it is about $3.5k/yr. One guy got a quote of $3.4k by getting a quote in his mother's name. So if I were to own it I'd have to go with liability only, which with those clamshells and that frame on the line, further raises the stakes. Road tax is actually less than on my Corolla, probably because weight is a factor.

Here are the pics, best I could get while it was packed in the back of a workshop:

Sanchinguy
Sanchinguy Reader
8/10/17 6:32 p.m.

I love these things, but my money pit alarm is going off big time. All of the nope....

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
8/10/17 7:08 p.m.

Something about this car in particular, or Elises in general?

I actually feel like I'm not as excited about this car as I should be. I guess the looming spectre of a E36 M3-ton of debt and risk will do that to you.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
8/10/17 7:55 p.m.

So, being an early model S2 with manual brakes, no ABS and no airbags, I'm thinking that reselling it isn't such a hot idea anyway. The only people who could easily afford to own it and would want to are hyper-wealthy race car drivers...who could just as easily afford to bring in exactly what they want anyway.

In trying to assess if it makes sense for myself, I've made a point-by-point comparison between the Elise and my Corolla:

Elise:

  1. 6 or more years of stifling debt required to own

  2. Mostly incapable of rusting

  3. Sub-Miata levels of practicality

  4. Almost unsportingly good at autocross

  5. Massive risk in case of damage, up to complete loss without recourse

  6. Attracts women

  7. Attracts crowds and cops

  8. Would make me look like a Hunger Games villain

  9. Most mods are extremely expensive

  10. Repair costs moderate to pants-soiling

  11. Lots of potential with more mods

Corolla:

  1. Paid in full on day one

  2. Fairly rusty and could get worse

  3. Can carry 3~4 people and lots of cargo, could go over speedbumps again with subframe brace removed

  4. No longer competitive with top autocross cars, may not have the potential to be again

  5. Low risk in case of damage, car is cheap and I have lots of spares

  6. Repels women

  7. Attracts gearheads and cops

  8. Makes me look like some kind of broke-ass amateur racer (oh wait)

  9. Most mods are cheap

  10. Repair costs cheap to moderate

  11. Fairly deep into diminishing returns on mods

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
8/10/17 8:36 p.m.
Sanchinguy wrote: I love these things, but my money pit alarm is going off big time. All of the nope....

Same here. It's an older & less desirable version, and a poorly kept exotic car. Nope nope nope...

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
8/10/17 8:42 p.m.

I wouldn't say poorly kept at all, it looks great from what I can see so far.

Mitchell
Mitchell UberDork
8/10/17 8:43 p.m.

If you're seriously considering the Elise, you need to read Vonnegut's "Powder Blue Dragon." If his cautionary tale doesn't strike a chord, then have at it.

oldtin
oldtin PowerDork
8/10/17 9:06 p.m.

Not sure about where you live, but here if you finance it, there's no way a bank/finance company would let you have liability only since they want to protect their interests - and thinking about your sammy experience would you want to go liability only? One non-insured/under-insured driver or you make an oopsie and you're paying on a broken lawn ornament for a few years. The potential for a devastating downside would keep me away. What's the reliability of the rover engine compared to the toyota? Isn't it also about 50hp down from the zz motor? Then again, I'm older, married and probably more risk averse than when I was 25.

jfryjfry
jfryjfry Reader
8/10/17 9:15 p.m.

Not car related and very personal (i.e. I am not trying to impose my philosophies on anyone) but I would never go into debt for a car. Unless you absolutely had to, maybe, but only borrow the least amount you need and pay it off asap.

Which means I'd suggest you pass :)

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
8/10/17 10:21 p.m.
Mitchell wrote: If you're seriously considering the Elise, you need to read Vonnegut's "Powder Blue Dragon." If his cautionary tale doesn't strike a chord, then have at it.

Some parts, but Kiah's an idiot

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
8/10/17 10:23 p.m.

Well, i was going to approach it as, if you can flip it for double then you can buy something else just as expensive as this was for near free.

But, now that i know the specs on it i really doubt you could flip it for double.

I don't know the details of your living situation but it occurs to me that it would probably cost much less than $24000 to move to where i live, where things are cheap.

Jay
Jay UltraDork
8/11/17 4:06 a.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: Elise: [...] 6. Attracts women 7. Attracts crowds and cops

My Elan attracts 10-year-old boys who lose interest when you tell them it's not a Lambo or a Ferrari, old British men who feel need to complain that it's not a "real" Lotus, and 30-40 year olds who played Lotus Turbo Challenge on the Amiga or Megadrive as a kid. (Yes, hello.)

Women do exist in that 3rd group, but I wouldn't say it "attracts" anyone in the way you're hoping. And you're not going to have any luck with that set in an Elise anyway. Maybe you can go for the Gran Turismo 2 fans.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
8/11/17 5:21 a.m.

It attracts womanz and it is going to tie up all your disposable cash for six years.

THAT is a tragic situation

This car seems to have bad JuJu to me. If you buy it, you are going to have a good camp-fire story to tell in later years, but I don't think the adventure will be profitable in a monetary sense.

Sanchinguy
Sanchinguy Reader
8/11/17 7:55 a.m.

In answer to the question, some of both. It's a less desirable version to start with. The guy that's telling you there's some stuff wrong with it is trying to sell it - in my experience that's code for there's a bunch of other stuff that's not right that he's not telling you...

The other part is just my sense that this is not a car worth going into significant debt for. It's the cost of ownership, not just purchase, that you have to think carefully about. I can buy all sorts of cool cars - Porsche, Lotus, BMW, others - but can't really afford to own them the way I want to. And that's why there's a Miata in my garage. I can drive the snot out of it, modify it to my hearts content, and still afford to maintain, repair, and insure it without skipping meals. Exotic? No. Satisfying? Absolutely!

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
8/11/17 8:17 a.m.
oldtin wrote: and thinking about your sammy experience would you want to go liability only? One non-insured/under-insured driver or you make an oopsie and you're paying on a broken lawn ornament for a few years.

And this is basically the reason I've decided to cut this fish loose...it's too much to gamble, regardless of the odds or payoff. Doesn't even take an uninsured or under-insured driver, even a properly insured driver can be practically just as bad, from my experience with the Samurai.

Passed the guy driving a black one on the way into work this morning and felt bad

calteg
calteg Dork
8/11/17 8:42 a.m.

Those rotted door pulls are a gigantic PITA to replace. They're glued to the fiberglass doors, which means a lot of quality time with a razor blade trying not to knick the rest of the door. I'm on my third attempt at regluing my driver's side, so far super glue, 3M 2-part epoxy, and gorilla glue have all failed to adhere for more than a week.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
8/11/17 9:14 a.m.

LOL my mom's disappointed at the news that I've given up on the Elise because she really really wants me to get a new car and top messing with these shabby old things I had to talk her out of buying a Freelander and some Mercedes SUV that got the Top Gear car owner's survey worst car ranking before I managed to steer her toward that 1-series...

Yavuz
Yavuz Reader
8/11/17 11:30 a.m.
calteg wrote: Those rotted door pulls are a gigantic PITA to replace. They're glued to the fiberglass doors, which means a lot of quality time with a razor blade trying not to knick the rest of the door.

You know what's funny... I've heard those things are pretty much permanently bonded to the doors, but within the course of two weeks, BOTH driver and passenger side have came off in my hand while going to close the door. I'm not sure if it was the original adhesive or if it was a crappy glue job somewhere along the way - but I got a kick out of it.

I RTV'd both into place and so far so good. I doubt it'll hold up to regular use for long though.

D2W
D2W Reader
8/11/17 11:39 a.m.

I think you made the right choice. That car has problems you can see and I'll bet a lot more that you can't. Since others have already looked and passed it likely is not a screaming deal.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
8/11/17 11:44 a.m.

Glad to hear you've come to reason. By what seem to be your local standards, I am a Hunger Games villain, and I wouldn't begin to touch that thing.

wake74
wake74 New Reader
8/11/17 1:20 p.m.

Barbados is a beautiful island, and one of my favorites. Haven't driven anything other than a Mini Moke in Barbados, but if it's like most of the other Caribbean islands I've driven on, a car with crazy expensive to replace body panels would be low on my list :-)

But I'm with you on wanting an Elise / Exige. It's risen to the top of my next car purchase list. I blame GRM due to their recent article (which was well written and informative).

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