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post #21 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 05:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thill, I think you've supplied your own solution. If you are not using the Lotus as a DD, have a 3-car garage, and are worried about damage, just get a 4-post lift. Put the Elise/Exige on the lift until you need it, on a battery tender, and it's up and out of the way at other times. Plus, you can put another car under it.
Starts Googling cost of a 4 post lift......
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post #22 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 08:07 AM
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Your situation parallels mine. 44. 11 year old twin boys and a 5 year old boy. Busy house with lots of kids running through it.

I'm on my 3rd Elise. Bought my first 5 years ago when my twins were 6 and newborn was newborn.

Key is to teach the kids to respect 'daddy's stuff'.

As far as repairs, it doesn't HAVE to be a Lotus shop. Look at the MN area forum to see who people there use. Hit Phil Lethier - he lives in your next of the woods and uses his Elise the way it is meant too.

Bottom line - if your wife is cool with it AND you have the money - go for it!
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post #23 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 10:42 AM
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It sounds like you are a great candidate to get an Elise.

I've put about 135,000 km on mine in 6 years and use mine every day.

Don't parallel park it. Don't park it in busy shopping areas. Move the kids' bikes to the other side of the garage. You should be OK.

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post #24 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 11:07 AM
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You mentioned body roll. I had a gen. 1 Miata with reinforced under-body bars and a double-hoop roll bar. I had both the Elise and the Miata about a month before I sold the latter and I had the opportunity then to drive them side-by-side several times. Honestly, I had never really noticed the body roll on the Miata until I had the Elise. The difference was remarkable.

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post #25 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 01:58 PM
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I think you understand the trade offs as well as any of us.

You are right, the fiberglass body and aluminum tub are worrysome. A minor fender bender for even a miata could total an elise. Cost of ownership isnt particularly hi in my experience however.

Seriously, my car is small
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post #26 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 02:39 PM
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Here is where I got my "thrill" (pun intended). Shipping was reasonable too.
No affiliation, just a great buying experience from a dealership with a solid rep.
This isn't my car. It's one that just came up for sale. Ron Gilchrist is the guy to talk to if your interested. He was good to me.

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post #27 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-07-2015, 03:20 PM
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I have owned Miatas, and I almost bought an s2000. I bought an elise in 2006. My 3 boys were 7, 5, and 5 then. 9 years later, the elise is still my daily driver - probably around 2000 commute days and >50k miles. Personally, I find it incredibly practical. OK - its very tight giving a kid a ride to school with a backpack and musical instrument. But Good milage. Very fast in traffic. Comfortable. In 9 years, I've done most maintenance myself, replaced tires, plugs, oil, pads, radiator, sound system - but nothing serious. My only body problems are NOT from my boys - they're from road rash, road debris bouncing on the hiway, and eggs thrown at the car during the night (which left impact fractures). The other cars at home are Mercedes (which works for my wife). Personally I love the simplicity & "raw" nature of the car to the MB's we have. Only concern I think you should check is your height. You may be pushing it.
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post #28 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-07-2015, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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I really appreciate all the feedback.. An interesting chain of events.. I am being offered a major promotion at work with the caveat that I have to pickup the family and move from Minnesota to Connecticut. Some mixed feelings. It might put a delay on getting the car, but ultimately it may allow me to get a nicer Elise. I also need to make sure we are able to buy another house with a three car garage

I do think the Elise is the right car for me. I will still drive the new Miata, but it would really have to blow me away.
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post #29 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-08-2015, 04:46 AM
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I'm in a little different situation than you are, but have been in a similar position and can offer some insight. I've owned several neat cars over the years and have mulled over the same issue: Do I get a practical sports car (Miata/S2000/BRZ) that won't break the bank or something that is more unique (Elise/911/etc.)?

I've owned two 911's over the years, old Datsuns (510 and 240Z), and a '69 Lotus Elan, among other cars. I restored the Elan over ten years while raising two kids, building a house, getting a promotion at work, and so forth. The Elan was special enough and had that unique feel that the Miata or other more practical cars couldn't touch. On the other hand, it was fragile and always had a steady stream of small things to look after. The 911's were great cars, but a giant repair bill for things I couldn't do myself was always a worry.

I sold my Elan and bought the Elise when I was in my late 40's and had two kids in college. Financially, it was an even swap (low 30's for both cars). Even though Elan values have risen, I don't regret the swap for a minute. The older I get, the less I want to do major work to my cars. Been there/done that. I've owned the Elise for several years and feel that it's just about a perfect compromise as a practical/exotic car. On one hand, offers a unique driving experience that you simply won't find in any other new car other than perhaps a new Alfa. On the other hand, it's relatively simple compared to most modern performance/sports cars and has a Toyota drivetrain. I'm very pleased with it after 8 1/2 years of ownership and can only imagine selling it once I get too old to get in/out of it.

It really is a modern classic and as others have said here you won't have a problem selling it when you're done. I say go for it if you can sell your wife on the idea. Some here don't consider that factor, but they do so at their peril.

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post #30 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-08-2015, 06:17 AM Thread Starter
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I'm in a little different situation than you are, but have been in a similar position and can offer some insight. I've owned several neat cars over the years and have mulled over the same issue: Do I get a practical sports car (Miata/S2000/BRZ) that won't break the bank or something that is more unique (Elise/911/etc.)?

I've owned two 911's over the years, old Datsuns (510 and 240Z), and a '69 Lotus Elan, among other cars. I restored the Elan over ten years while raising two kids, building a house, getting a promotion at work, and so forth. The Elan was special enough and had that unique feel that the Miata or other more practical cars couldn't touch. On the other hand, it was fragile and always had a steady stream of small things to look after. The 911's were great cars, but a giant repair bill for things I couldn't do myself was always a worry.

I sold my Elan and bought the Elise when I was in my late 40's and had two kids in college. Financially, it was an even swap (low 30's for both cars). Even though Elan values have risen, I don't regret the swap for a minute. The older I get, the less I want to do major work to my cars. Been there/done that. I've owned the Elise for several years and feel that it's just about a perfect compromise as a practical/exotic car. On one hand, offers a unique driving experience that you simply won't find in any other new car other than perhaps a new Alfa. On the other hand, it's relatively simple compared to most modern performance/sports cars and has a Toyota drivetrain. I'm very pleased with it after 8 1/2 years of ownership and can only imagine selling it once I get too old to get in/out of it.

It really is a modern classic and as others have said here you won't have a problem selling it when you're done. I say go for it if you can sell your wife on the idea. Some here don't consider that factor, but they do so at their peril.
I think you really summed up how I feel. The Lotus is just very unique and special, and with a Toyota engine and transmission and everything else being low tech, low frills, it really speaks to me. My wife is really coming around She was shocked when I told her I am finding these cars for $30K range. I think she thought it was double the price

It will just come down to timing now with a potential move and whether or not the new house will have a three car garage. Most likely will not be moving until the new school year is over, so sometime next year.
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post #31 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-08-2015, 07:13 AM
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Go drive the Evora anyway so you know the feel of it.

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post #32 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-08-2015, 10:39 PM
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I literally took delivery of my Elise today. I daily drive a 2011 WRX. One of my best friends has an S2000 (which in the right hands is faster, though less special). I cross shopped a lot: 5 yo 911s, Alfa Sprint GTVs from the 60s (random I know, but sweet cars - I will own one some day), older GT3s, and was close to putting a deposit down on a GT4 (which after mark-up and options costs more than a used 911 *plus* an Elise), but, like you, kept coming back to the Elise. My mind gravitated toward the other cars because I couldn't find the right Elise for me (or missed them when I did). I literally looked for 2-3 years, but I'm picky. There's a newer Matt Farah video that sums it up exactly how I was thinking about the purchase - you spend 30something grand and buy a car with fairly low running costs for what it is and if you want to sell it you get 30something grand out of it (assuming your kids don't catastrophically trash it, which is unlikely... but I have no kids). If your mind keeps coming back to the Elise, you're eventually going to regret not getting it when you're pushing a Miata or whatever around. Figure out exactly what you want and be patient (responses to one of my first posts may help you). Figure out what you can sacrifice, too (I got black with tan, both colors of which I really didn't want, but the car was so good otherwise, I couldn't pass). Btw, I highly recommend the Sector 111 car cover - especially for you (I got it because the color will show dirt). It's kind of spendy at $300, but I was blown away by the quality - amazing fit, easy to put on and will protect against minor kid damage. And for good measure, you can tell your kids a troll lives in the garage/under your car/whatever so they stay away from it. Also, think of it this way - you have a ton more freedom since there is a risk your kids ding it, so there is little point in looking for a perfect car with immaculate paint, clean clam, etc. And that will save you some $$$ in addition to time.
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post #33 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 07:59 PM
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to buy or not to buy? Hmmm

We are not alike but in a way we are. In my 20's I was autocrossing every weekend possible and was single. Won the the SCCA National Title in 73. Got my first Lotus, a 72 Europa. Got my 2nd Lotus, a 74 Europa. Best handling car in the world at that time. Go to an autocross, beat everything there, Ferrari, Pantera, Cobra's, Porsche..........it didn't matter. Sold it for the down payment on a house. Got another Lotus but stopped racing. Got married at 37. First child at 48. I had a good younger life. Now at 64, semi retired, had a quadruple bypass, had cancer, diabetic, and just had 3 stents installed. But I'm down 70 lbs and am now at the same weight I was at 17. Hmmm, time to get another Lotus, a car that makes you feel good as a driver, it makes you feel good on making a good decision, it just makes you feel great! Sure it's hell to get in and out. I'm trying to make it look like it doesn't hurt. Ha! It hurts. Some younger guys say they'll keep theirs until the can't get in or out an more. I say get one and force yourself to get in and out! It makes you feel younger and healthy! Life is short. Go for it!!!
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post #34 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 08:10 PM
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Sure it's hell to get in and out. I'm trying to make it look like it doesn't hurt. Ha! It hurts. Some younger guys say they'll keep theirs until the can't get in or out an more. I say get one and force yourself to get in and out! It makes you feel younger and healthy! Life is short. Go for it!!!

My good friend Tuffie is a shining example.

OP, good luck with the move and on your search for the Lotus.


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post #35 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 10:29 PM
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My good friend Tuffie is a shining example.

OP, good luck with the move and on your search for the Lotus.
damn, looks like he's 70.

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post #36 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 10:56 PM
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One word: YOLO

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post #37 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-18-2015, 05:45 AM
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Tuffie is truly an inspiration!!! This morning I just got back from Starbucks having a cup of Java with my friends. One is a retired Marine who is 88. He was admiring the Elise. Tomorrow when he's not wearing a suit and tie (as he is going to church function this morning) he and I are going for a ride.

What does YOLO mean?
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post #38 of 76 (permalink) Old 08-19-2015, 08:07 AM
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post #39 of 76 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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Bumping this thread. It's been a few years We have settled down in CT (Harford burbs) and since this post I went in a completely different direction. I picked up a barely used 2016 C7 Z51 (magnaride, 7 speed manual, PDR, etc) I got the car for a steal in Feb 2017 at a Massachusetts Chevy dealer. I then picked up a 2015 Honda Fit (manual) for my car when I couldn't or didn't want to drive the Vette (winter, bad weather, etc).

Well I did this for over a year and came to the realization that:
- As much as I loved the C7 the limits were just too high for the street. I was constantly speeding (didn't get a ticket) but coming from higher revving lesser powered cars I realized that I just didn't enjoy driving a fast car slow. And trust me I loved the car, but it always felt a little too big and more of a sledgehammer than a scalpel.
- I friggin hated driving the Fit. And I drove the Fit way too much. Between driving kids more than I thought and winter, etc, etc I put 3 times the mileage on the Fit than I did the C7.

Lucky for me I am a bargain shopper. When it was all said and done I lost $1200 on the C7 when I traded it in and made $500 on the Fit

After test driving a bunch of cars I ended up buying a leftover 2017 Ford Focus RS for a great deal. It's the perfect daily driver. A lot of fun on my daily commute (no freeway) and I can drive it all year long. This car will be the long term keeper.

But I am back to craving a RWD lightweight, lower COG, 2 door sports car again.

Enter the Elise. I have started researching again and was really leaning towards buying one in the next few months but I have come to a few concerns:
- I looked around the forum and Google and it appears the nearest capable Lotus mechanic is roughly 1.5 hours from me. And in talking to the place it sounds like for routine maintenance (oil change, etc) he can get you in and out in half a day but anything else can take weeks or months depending on parts and his schedule.
- I have some basic mechanic skills but in my research these cars are not the easiest to work on, and parts can sometimes take a while to get. It also seems like work also can often require removing the front and/or rear clam which is not a one person job. I just don't see my wife doing this with me and I have no family nearby to beg.

At this point I am looking at 30-50K+ mile 2005 Elises for $30-35K range and also also likely buying out of state and transporting.

I know this sounds negative because I have driven an Elise and really loved the car but there are some tradeoffs here.

I am going to test drive an ND Miata. I am finding used ones for $18-22K with low mileage (I don't believe in buying new I will let someone else take the depreciation hit). So I can't compare how the 2 cars drive but the thought getting a club Miata (LSD, billsteins) with almost a full warranty and some money for a few mods (suspension, exhaust, etc) sounds really appealing. I think my wife would also really enjoy driving the car but I don't see her driving the Elise so that is a plus too.

Just want to get some feedback from folks here. I know it will be biased, but some of the stories about working on these cars yourself and getting parts are a little scary. I was listening to Jason Camissa on a podcast (he owns a supercharged Elise) and he was talking about how much a pain it is to work on these cars yourself. For even the smallest thing, it can become a half day two man job.
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post #40 of 76 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 11:57 AM
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If you are just driving an elise recreationally and it already has a resistor pack and radiator replaced it is unlikely that you would ever have to remove a clam.

Most of the common maintenance items are easy to do. Oil change just takes an extra 20 ish minutes because you have to remove the undertray.

Parts are occasionally hard to get, but likely failure items on the 05 are 99% easily available. Newer models are worse.

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