Mitch, take a look at Chris' thread here...
16 years old = Europa
Chris and his dad are going to end up with a terrific car and a great experience together. I haven't looked through the whole thread yet as I just came across it today. Might be an option?
Thanks for the kind words. The Europa will be finished by February I hope!
We have come along way, can' t wait to drive it!
Mitch- I have a lot to say, so hope you are ready...
When I was in 4th grade going into 5th, my dad got a Lotus Elise. I loved it, and fell in love with LOTUS, and told him that I'm going to get a Lotus when I get the money, he said Alright! He thought I was kidding, but from 4th grade to Sophomore Year, I saved my own money and bought my 1974 Lotus Europa TCS #3675R.
When I first told my parents I wanted a Europa, they said no, especially my mom! My dad had one back in the 70's and loved it and when he showed me a picture of it for the first time, I thought it was really weird looking, until I read about them and people have said it handles better than the Elise in some ways. The fact that I kept looking at them and adored them, I actually fell in love with the design, because it was just so different, which all Loti are. I have read a lot about the Europa, have done many searches... You could say I was an expert on them before I even got one! I saved my money up for about 6 years, and once it came time to buy a car I told them I'm getting a Lotus, and it was final.
I was driving my moms 03 Mustang GT (Which we shared, and it wasn't really mine) when I was 15-16. Drove it for a little to get some driving under my belt. I was also driving the Elise!
Two different cars, I always hated the mustang... Heavy, big, doesn't handle on rails. haha However I stuck with it until I said I'm done, have to get a Lotus. So looked around for one that needed some work so I could fix up with my dad. He said a Lotus is a good secondary car, not a daily driver, especially the Europa because it is very small and has no A/C for the summer.
Finally found one that was cheap and had the engine rebuilt, chassis finished and well, that was about it... I was missing doors, hoods, almost everything, but I found every part for my car, even parts that you can't even buy on the shelf nor find on ebay, parts that are just so rare you wouldn't even imagine. Of course, we stilled had to talk to the mom... My mom is afraid every time I take the Elise out, so getting a Europa for my first official car was hard for her, but my dad and I told her I won't be driving it until I'm 18, that way I would have a Lotus, while having driving experience.
My dad and I have split the cost, he told me when it comes down to buy a car he would pay half of it, that was back in 5th grade and he kept his word. He never thought he would do this, damn I didn't think we would do it, my mom definitely didn't know! haha But we did it and we are so close to finishing the car! It is going to be worth a lot of money once finished, I will never sell the car though, and I will always remember that my dad and I built this car with our own hands, in our 2 car garage at our house without a lift and I will always remember my dad by just looking and driving my Europa!
Alright a couple more things... After I bought the Europa, I still had a slight problem, still driving that mustang, which was my moms. However my mom bought a MINI Cooper S the week after we bought the Europa, so the Mustang was kinda mine... After driving it all through my junior year, it was time to well get another car... Did I want a Lotus, of course! So What did I do, I talked to my parents again. My mom said no once again even my dad said no...
My list of cars I was looking at: S2000, MR2 Spyder (2zz Swap), Miata, M3 E46 and some others. MY dad wanted to get me a M3 E46, yes great cars and a great Daily driver, almost bought one but I couldn't do it. Told my self its not a Lotus, nor is a S2000. MR2 Spyder and miata close to it but nope. So What did I do, told them it has to be a Lotus. This time my dad said he would buy the car, my budget was under 20K. So I said Lotus Esprit (4cyl), Lotus Elise (High mileage). Insurance killed me on both of them, so my dad said get the M3. I said alright... after a week I thought to myself, its not a Lotus... Than I thought of the 1990's... The Lotus M100 of course! Found one on ebay, I loved it, my dad and my mom liked it, and it was only $8,500, so sold my mustang and bought it! Saved my parents some cash, and that cash might go to another Lotus project in the future, thinking about restoring a 67 Lotus Elan S3 next with my dad, but that is a ways away...
So I have a 1974 Lotus Europa Twin Cam Special and a 1991 Lotus Elan M100 of the age 18, did I work my a$$ to get them, you bet I did! I'm still working on the Europa, and I'm working on the M100 a little too, it needs a lot of TLC, but once both of them are in top notch condition, the value of the cars will never go down which is very good!
Convincing your parents will be hard, it took me all of freshmen year haha but if you have money to put in with the car, that is a huge deal, so definitely do that!!! Also get a Lotus that has A/C for the summer. Daily Drive Lotus can be possible, you just have to find the right one! Esprits have many maintenance issues so having one of those for a daily driver is not the best, but could work. Plus if you don't know how to work on them nor have a dealer near you, it could be bad. If you have any questions you may ask, I think I have said enough and I have said it the best way I could. You can go see my build on the Europa on the site given above, if you haven't already
Here are some pics of the M100, me, and the Elise... Enjoy!