Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Regrettably I sold it in 2005 to finance the purchase of my Elise in 2007 (with only 2k miles on it). I owned it since 1989, restored it over 10 (!) years, then drove it for 6 years. I became concerned about my safety, as everyone here in suburban metro Atlanta drives monster trucks/SUV's and the Elan would be no match for them in a crash.
The Elan was a great driver's car, with 50/50 weight distribution, fantastic steering, and a rifle-bolt feel to the shifter. The Elise is different due to the mid-engine layout and thus the shifter doesn't have that same direct connection to the gearbox. The steering is a wash, as both have the same telepathic feel that Lotus is famous for. I don't come back from a drive in the Elise smelling like petrol like I did in the Elan. If you ever wonder how well modern emissions control systems work, just get behind a car from the 50's/60's in traffic. Ugh.
The Elise has a much greater performance envelope, as it has a better power/weight ratio, better grip, brakes, tires, etc. It's also much easier to own, even though I could fix most anything on the Elan, there's just much more to do. It was a 40+ year old car that was not engineered to modern standards, so little things would go wrong even though I did a total nut/bolt restoration. All I do with the Elise is keep up with fluid/filter changes and wash it when needed.
Hopefully your Zetec and suspension mods will solve some of the problems I experienced with my Elan. The old T/C engine was advanced in some respects for its time, but it was a compromised design. The valve guides were rubbish and could last somewhere between 5k and 100k miles. The water pump issue has been somewhat solved by modern technology, but there are other issues.
Nonetheless, it's a great car, but just different than the Elise. Both have their charms and you're fortunate to be able to own them at the same time.
'05 Lotus Elise (Arctic Silver) Sport, HT, Stage II, Odyssey PC925, Cup 240r Wheels
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'87 Nissan Pickup (Burgandy) King Cab, used for hauling stuff
'17 Audi A4 Ultra (Monsoon Gray) Premium Plus - Wife's car - Delivery 2/17