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I don't agree with the fact that it's costly to operate. Maybe after having 100k plus miles things may start to brake just like any other Honda or Toyota.
 

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2006 Lotus Elise
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1,109 Posts
I don't agree with the fact that it's costly to operate. Maybe after having 100k plus miles things may start to brake just like any other Honda or Toyota.
I don't know...I bought mine with 10k on the clock and the maintenance and service records from the previous owner who put on half of those miles totaled ~ 5k, so he was averaging about a dollar/mile after whatever he paid for it. In addition to a few oil changes, some additional starshield on the rocker panels, mirrors and rear bumper and some detailing, he had replaced the headliner, the central locking module and a few other things. I was pretty impressed my first few years of ownership. Oil changes, fluids, and that was pretty much it. Last season I did a baffled oil pan, toe links, new tires and a lightweight battery $2600 later the car was tucked away for winter. Now I need suspension bushings and while I'm at it, I guess I'll do an all-aluminum radiator with silicon hoses, stainless brake lines, maybe some coil overs, and while doing all that I should probably just go ahead and do an exhaust and the Inokinetic SHIFTR111 upgrade. Then the car would be truly sorted, but this is thousands of dollars in parts and if you pay someone to install them, there's thousands more. All this on a car with <25k miles on it. I guess my point is that yes, while they are reasonably reliable as-is, especially in terms of the drivetrain, they do take some work/money to get them properly set up and to optimize reliability/usability.

Before the Elise I had an S2000 that I bought with ~ 40k on it. I added another 30k or so and except for oil changes and tires, the car needed nothing.

Granted, the Lotus is a much more interesting and exciting car...
 

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craigyirush
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1,536 Posts
Beat me to it. Was just about to post this.

I too thought the article exaggerated the unreliability/cost of the car especially for one that’s done 200k miles (counting cost of upgrades is not really fair imho).

Mine has about 50k and the only major repair I’ve had to do is a new radiator. A/C isn’t working but haven’t opened the wallet on that yet ...
 

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Plural of Lotus is Lotus
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340 Posts
Much of my "repair" bills are self inflicted/self selected wounds. Sorry boys but the Nitron coil-overs, baffled oil pan and battery were NOT necessary.......until I started tracking in HPDE's. I'll concede on tires - Those don't last long, even less on the track - That goes with brake pads also but we can swap those out in half an hour.... I did do a rotor swap but it wasn't necessary. The originals were still within spec but since I was doing stainless steel brake lines (also not necessary), I figured I had all the corners apart anyway.....

Now, I did go through a few intake cams before doing the oil pan but all that was due to tracking AND not waiting 10 minutes after water was up to temp......I'll overlook the laser jammer, dash cam, radar detector, harness bar, belts, Inokinetic shift stabilization, rear toe link, Steibel horn, etc. All that stuff was again due to tracking and/or preference.

Imagine what would break on your Camry or Civic if it was thrashed around like these things around sometimes.......
 

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Premium Member
2005 Elise LSS Saffron Yellow
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756 Posts
Imagine what would break on your Camry or Civic if it was thrashed around like these things around sometimes.......
That was the first thing that ran through my mind when I read the R&T short. "Gee, what a shock, a high performance dedicated sports car uses up parts faster than a Camry." Then I thought, "Well, what about brand P?" And I remembered a couple of things...

1. You'll still need plenty of parts to put 200K miles of hard driving on a Brand P, but they'll cost twice as much. May your deity of choice help you if you are paying for the work as well.
2. Grocery Getter Brand P cars (specifically the Cayenne) have pretty depressing resale value ( because they're just as expensive to repair as any other Porsche, but at the end of the day it's still just a grocery getter). 50% at 40k miles and $10K at 200K (that's 66-90% depreciation) seem to be pretty common. Compare that with the Elise: a well-maintained 200k mile 2005 Elise with records will sell for the usual $30k (close to its new purchase price, more or less).

I didn't buy my Elise because it's practical, but I did buy it after carefully considering cost of ownership and driving - why buy a fun car I can't afford to drive? I can't name another car capable of track ratting as credibly off the showroom floor that a) cost so little new, b) is as easy to maintain, and c) is as inexpensive to support a track habit with.
 

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Premium Member
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823 Posts
I don't know...I bought mine with 10k on the clock and the maintenance and service records from the previous owner who put on half of those miles totaled ~ 5k, so he was averaging about a dollar/mile after whatever he paid for it. In addition to a few oil changes, some additional starshield on the rocker panels, mirrors and rear bumper and some detailing, he had replaced the headliner, the central locking module and a few other things. I was pretty impressed my first few years of ownership. Oil changes, fluids, and that was pretty much it. Last season I did a baffled oil pan, toe links, new tires and a lightweight battery $2600 later the car was tucked away for winter. Now I need suspension bushings and while I'm at it, I guess I'll do an all-aluminum radiator with silicon hoses, stainless brake lines, maybe some coil overs, and while doing all that I should probably just go ahead and do an exhaust and the Inokinetic SHIFTR111 upgrade. Then the car would be truly sorted, but this is thousands of dollars in parts and if you pay someone to install them, there's thousands more. All this on a car with <25k miles on it. I guess my point is that yes, while they are reasonably reliable as-is, especially in terms of the drivetrain, they do take some work/money to get them properly set up and to optimize reliability/usability.

Before the Elise I had an S2000 that I bought with ~ 40k on it. I added another 30k or so and except for oil changes and tires, the car needed nothing.

Granted, the Lotus is a much more interesting and exciting car...
Most of these expenses listed are elective upgrades. Our cars are very economical to maintain.
 

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3,108 Posts
My 2009 Elise has 270,000 km (167,00 miles) on it. I love using it every day and cannot imagine using it as a weekend only car. My ABS and A/C no longer work but it has been very reliable otherwise.
 

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178 Posts
I agree that, for a performance car, they are pretty reliable. I am averaging a cost of about $0.66 per mile in maintenance and repairs, but I don't put a ton of miles on the car so some things like fluids I change based on time not mileage. Interestingly, if I drove it a little more my per mile cost might drop (of course, I don't know how that would be balanced out by things that are mileage-dependent items, like tyres).
 
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