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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently acquired a low mileage, 10,500, '05 Elise in Bordeaux. It came with the soft top only. I am looking for feedback on how useful the addition of a hard top is, and specifically the Elise-Shop unit. I am in the northeast. The unit will cost about $1200 shipped and then it will need paint. So does one get $1500 of value, in terms of usability in the colder seasons with the addition of the top and does it add equivalent resale value?
 

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2005 Elise #3935, Chrome Orange, BOE tune, Exige wheels, splitter
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I've got both tops and the first year I had the car I put the hard top on when the weather precluded driving without the soft top and left it on all fall/winter. In subsequent years I haven't bothered putting it on. I don't know that the hard top will keep you warmer but it will be a little quieter inside the car. Lately I only put it on for track days.

But most of all the car just looks so much better with the hard top on. The lines flow better. For me that's it's value.

Noel
 

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I would think it would be pretty hard to put a dollar amount on a hard top. Some would say it's crazy to spend that kind of cash on a part that doesn't add to the capabilities of the car. Others would say that it adds to the aesthetic of the car.

In the end, I think you will be the only one who can say if it's worth 1500 or not.
 

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I had the opposite situation when I bought my Elise. The prior owner sold the soft top as he never used it. I put the car away for the winter just before the first snow and get it out in the spring once the roads are clear of sand/salt. I use the hard top the first six weeks of spring and last six weeks of fall as it's too cold to go topless, and I think the Elise looks the best with a hard top. It's not a matter of which is warmer as the heater in the car is quite adequate. When it's cold, it's a matter of looks, not warmth for me. When it's warm out, I want to take the top off wherever I am. You can't do that with the hard top. As for value, you will recover only some of your cost with resale.
In short, don't buy a hard top to stay warmer in the winter. Buy it because you like how the car looks with the hard-top.
 

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V EQLS IR
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I'd say wait until you have a full year under your belt to make the decision.

As others have said, no one will be better at making the decision than you :)

Personally, When i bought mine i was dead set on getting a hardtop, and now after two seasons I realize i would almost never use it...I drive topless down to about 45F, and after that it goes right into storage. Soft top only goes on if i get caught in rain or during the day when it's parked in the sun.

Congrats on your purchase BTW!
 

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Relapsing Honda fan
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I went with a used hard top, ironically in Bordeaux Red, for around $1,100 shipped a few years ago, then painted it Starlight Black myself. I'd suggest keeping an eye on the for sale thread for a while before paying that much, you never know what might turn up.
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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the hard top helps at resale. Folks love to see a matching hard top when they buy their car. I know I did. But as it turns out, my top only gets used for winter storage in the heated shop.

I am more of a soft top/no top guy. No top whenever possible. But really happy to have the hardtop. I think i would have bought one if the ht had not come with the car.
 

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It's completely up to what you like. I have a hard top on mine and leave it on pretty much all the time. I love the way the car looks with the hard top and, to me, there's not too much difference in having the hard top on and windows down and having the hard top off.
 

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Closer than you think
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I also have a 2005 BRP Elise with a hardtop. Here in Wisconsin it adds two months of usable driving time to the car. For me it's worth every penny.

I also think the car looks best with the hard top on... Certainly it looks better than the soft top.
 

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The hard-top makes the car look the way it's supposed to IMO but driving topless is more fun.

If you're buying an aftermarket/newly made hard-top it's not a concern but if you end up buying used to avoid needing a respray be aware that the factory hardtop tends to warp up over time. There's an added bracket starting in '07 that can be retrofitted to the pre-07 hardtops to counteract the warp, but since it's a factory part it's $$$ (~250 for the silly bracket + a few bucks for a dealer or someone confident to drill holes and install it). Just something to check for.
 

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Here's your Bordeaux hard top Lotus 2005 Elise Roadster 6-speed manual w/OD I love how it says "come in for a test drive today"

I'm sure you can make a deal with these guys, it's been on CL for weeks

To answer your question, the Elise looks a LOT better with the hardtop. It's a pain to put on, and there isn't much difference in terms of sound/temperature difference from the insulated soft top. Supposedly it's better in rain, but i don't have it in the rain.

You may also want to think about resale. Much easier to sell with matching hard top. It's like renovating your kitchen on your house. It adds value so I think it's worth it.
 

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Have you GYLO'd?
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Like Having 3 Cars!

I love the looks of the Elise with a hard top on! That said, I only put it on the two times a year I do a thorough detailing. I do that to make sure that the hardtop continues to exactly match the rest of the car. It generally stays on for a couple of weeks afterwards.

I enjoy the car most with the top off, but I always keep the soft top on board, just in case. I happen to think the soft top is just about the best engineered piece I have seen. Easy to put on & take off, and (in my experience) pretty darn watertight, regardless of the pessimism reflected by the owner's manual.

--Bob Collum
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks everyone for all of the thoughts. As I thought, there are many ways to look at it. You did confirm my suspicion that it does add resale to some degree and I definitely agree on the esthetic aspect of the hard top. I have looked at the Balckwatch roof and although it is cheap it is also so Spartan. No seals are included with it, which makes it a lot less attractive to me. I have spoken with the guys in Brooklyn that have been advertising the Bordeaux wreck for months now and so far they are not willing to part out anything. They are also delusional on how much they want for the car.
 

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I've got an 05 with the comfort pack so it came with the thicker soft top but I purchased the Carbon Fiber Hardtop from British Racing Group- Online Webstore. The Soft Top is quieter and more sealed so in case of rain I use the soft top. The CF hardtop is really just a sun shade for tack use and doesn't seal very well but looks awesome . I tend to have no top on the car as much as possible, what's the point of having an open top roadster if you keep the lid on it ;-) It's really up to personal preference, I feel like hard or soft the sound aspect is kind of moot as your ears are still 4 inches from the engine. I'd focus on how watertight the top is.
 

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hello
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Value is a relative term for any extra parts, you can spend $1500 and then you get $100 more when selling it. So you lost $1400. Cars are rarely an investment. With the top, it might be hard to do the color match properly, hence expensive to paint. A black top might be better than one that is not color matched

Don't look at the racing tops, they are not made for comfort. They are made to be light on the track and allow easier entry and exit. The aero of the car with the top on is better. So when racing you need some kind of top. But no need for seals or trimmings or anything that adds weight on such tops.

I think if you are patient and keep checking this site a good top will come up for you at around $1k

Good luck with your search
 

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Value - You can probably always resell it for about $1000

Need - If you put the car away in the colder months then you don't need it. A softtop would do you fine from April through November.

I drive my Elise 12 months a year, so it is nice to have the hardtop on from Dec through March, especially if there is a bit of snow. I'm in Toronto.
 
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