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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! I have been lurking on these forums for about 2 days reading all that I can. Let me tell you a little about myself and what I think and what I am looking for.

I am a 33 yr old husband with 2 pre-teen kids living in the Greater New Orleans area. I am not rich by any means, but I handle money REALLY well and live way beneath my means (what is wrong with most people is that they don't). I paid off my house in 5 years (I have no mortgage), have no car note, pay my cc off every month, have absolutely no debt.

I am a car enthusiast. Always have been. I have owned a 2000 Montero Sport for the last 10 years and have been looking for a new vehicle going on 12 months now. I previously owned two '74 Chevy Novas for a combined 5 years and had to part with the last one shortly after Katrina.

The Nova(s) were fun cars. I enjoyed owning and driving them, but having to constantly repair them got old (too much for the wife to handle) so that I won't be looking for another vintage vehicle.

As I said, I am not rich, so I am looking for something that I can use as a daily driver. I dont want (afford) to have a 3rd vehicle. I dont want to have to find excuses to drive my car (cruising, car shows, etc). I mainly use my vehicle to drive to work weekly (about 30 miles round trip) and we use my wife's car (scion XB) on the weekend.

Thanks if you stayed along this far. :p

Ok, so I started following the Dodge Challenger late last year and like the car, but the styling and the price really didnt completely win me over. I really love the new Camaro, but trying to purchase one right now is impossible. Four local dealerships have told me I can't get one until December if I am lucky. And no, I am not interested in paying over MSRP and getting it from Florida or Ohio...

So, I could be patient, but I saw a used '05 Lotus Elise a few weeks ago for $26k with 10k miles. I really liked the car. It caught (and kept) my attention and the price is more than right. Before I could inquire about it, it was sold. I filed it in the back of my mind.

This Monday, a cabby slammed into the back of my vehicle (see pics). So, I am kinda in the market right now sooner than anticipated. I was getting tired of driving this old vehicle and now I really want a new one. I rather not wait until December+

Looking at the Lotus Elise... is it something I can plausibly use as a daily driver? Looks like several people on this board are doing so. I flew to GA to get my first Nova and had my second one shipped to me from CA. I suspect I would have to do the same with an Elise? What should I realistically be looking for? (year, mileage) What do I need to stay away from? I am not going to track it or mod it. And dont want one that has been.

I have seen people complain that the ride isn't smooth in the Elise (feel every bump) and has been called "an oversized go-cart" on other forums, what do you say about that? It seems like the Elise may be the red headed step child of Lotus, it doesn't even have its own forum here (there's one for exige, evora, esprit, and elan, but no elise!).

One of my main questions is it doesn't seem that there is a Lotus dealer anywhere in the area. So besides trying to purchase one, what about maintenance/repairs? I am NOT mechanically inclined, but learned to do a lot with my old Nova. Thirty year old cars, though, are simple compared to today's vehicles. Warranty work or not, if I brought a Lotus home, where would be the place I would take it for service? (How do you others that dont have a lotus dealership/shop in your area deal with this issue)

Trying to make up my mind in my latest vehicle purchase and appreciate any feedback/opinions. :D
 

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whether or not you can use is an elise as a daily really depends on you :p
 

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You will love it... I daily drive mine and have put 25,000 kms on mine in a year and a half and I live on a 67x10 mile island.. :D

Like you I'm also very interested in getting a Dodge Challenger since I grew up being fed Mopar and around dirt track racing. My first car I built was a Cuda'... Since the Challenger isn't really an option here in Japan I plan on picking up a used one when ever I move back to the USA. I still have to buy that house though... :(
 

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I daily drove mine until it snowed and bought a Subaru to drive through the winter. I hated that and got a VW GTI which I mostly daily drive now because my commute isn't that much fun in the Elise.

The only real issue about daily driving it is that you can't park it on the street incase someone backs into you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
...mostly daily drive now because my commute isn't that much fun in the Elise.

The only real issue about daily driving it is that you can't park it on the street incase someone backs into you.
Isn't much fun, why? Because of snow or other factor? Only snowed for 8 hours here in the last 10 years. And I work for a defense contractor that has a huge enclosed parking lot (which I can park in the very back, alone) :cool:


Monsi said:
whether or not you can use is an elise as a daily really depends on you
Can you elaborate? What does that mean? Whether or not I can ignore it driving like crap on a daily basis? Whether or not I can keep people off of it in the parking lot? :thwack:
 

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I have seen people complain that the ride isn't smooth in the Elise (feel every bump) and has been called "an oversized go-cart" on other forums, what do you say about that? It seems like the Elise may be the red headed step child of Lotus, it doesn't even have its own forum here (there's one for exige, evora, esprit, and elan, but no elise!).
First: this forum started as EliseTalk, and other Loti were added as time went on.

My take on the Elise is that typically, if you aren't looking for the handling it offers the rest may disappoint. Most people just looking for a sports car will be happier with a Porsche, BMW etc. My two cents...
 

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I think you should do some more research, on these boards (a great resource) and anywhere else, to help you decide if an Elise is for you.

One thing to keep in mind (particularly in light of your recent rear-end accident). These cars are expensive to repair, and some insurance companies are shying away from covering them, and the rates can be all over the map so you might want to check with your insurance agent). Also, you cannot take to any old body shop, the number of places that are qualified to work on them and repair them are limited.

As far as an oversized kart, that's an often-used, fairly good description for these cars :shift:

They're not exactly forgiving on bad surfaces, but probably comparable to most other sporty cars with fairly stiff suspensions.

It's a great car, but you need to know what you're really signing up for :D
 

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How big of a man are you? If you're really tall (over 6'3") or wide, the elise may be too small for you. If you are worried about comfort, the elise's ride is harsh. I pretty much use mine as a daily driver, when I know I have a good parking lot to go to. You do not want to parallel park your elise as it has no bumpers and the entire front and back of the car is one big piece of expensive fiberglass, so if someone taps you, you're looking at a big repair bill and a lot of time in a shop.

The reason there is no separate elise board here is because the entire forum used to be called elisetalk. The elise is by no means the red-headed step child for lotus.

Maintenance, I don't know. It's a toyota engine. It takes a little longer to do an oil change because you have to remove the undertray. Also, you'll want to torque down stuff to specs when you do oil changes. The car is a big go cart, and that's why most of us love them. Compared to 99% of the cars out there, my elise is loud, the ride is harsh, it is a pain to get in and out of, but it is an absolute blast to drive. Find one to take on a test drive, read a lot more, and decide. I lurked on these boards and posted infrequently for years before I got my elise and I couldn't be happier. I knew about the quirks going into it, which I think is important for such a purpose built car.
 

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Daily driving the Elise is very subjective. Research all of the shortcomings of the car (cramped, storage, ride quality, ingress/egress, etc...), if you can live with those, then you're probably fine.

About the forum though, this site used to be called EliseTalk.com, so the general forum serves as the Elise forum ... or at least used to.

Along with what others have said, there is no such thing as a "fender-bender" in this car. A "light" accident usually results in a $5k-14k repair bill.
 

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Can you elaborate? What does that mean? Whether or not I can ignore it driving like crap on a daily basis? Whether or not I can keep people off of it in the parking lot? :thwack:
I think he mean as to weather or not your a vagina (since the other word probably isn't appropriate here..)
 

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It would help to know why you want an Elise. Can you elaborate?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
How big of a man are you? If you're really tall (over 6'3") or wide, the elise may be too small for you. If you are worried about comfort, the elise's ride is harsh.
I am 5'11 and 165 lbs. Guess I am "average".

I appreciate everyone's words. Truly. And yes, I am continuing my research you can be assured. I took the plunge to post but haven't given up my reading.

I can handle some "quirks". Hell, I didnt have AC in my Nova for five years and I live in humidity hell. The door sometimes stuck and the radio had an electrical issue. But get behind that beast of a 350 and you forget all that. :D
 

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Daily driver....if you are really into Lotus.....otherwise it will get tiresome.

But the real issue is if you need to transport kids. Pre teen.....How much pre teen? Anything less than I would say 12 or 13 is a danger with the air bags.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok, I understand now that the site used to be elisetalk and it is just me showing up late to the party and not understanding that until now.

It would help to know why you want an Elise. Can you elaborate?
Good question. I guess with risk of sounding overly superficial, I really love how the car looks. It is bad ass and I cant stop staring at every picture I see of an Elise. I can't find a color I dont like on it. And growing up, Lotus was in the same realm as Lambo and Ferrari. I had no idea there was such an affordable option in getting an Elise. I showed my friend the '05 last month that was online, and he thought it was a $150k car. The car just looks awesome.

Having said that. I dont really care how it corners or its 0-60 speed. As stated in the first post, I am not looking to track one or sup it up. I want performance mind you, but as long as I am not getting passed up by Honda Accords, it's not that big deal. Also, I dont want to get to work and my ass to be hurting me for 2 hours and I am begging other people to drive me to lunch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Daily driver....if you are really into Lotus.....otherwise it will get tiresome.

But the real issue is if you need to transport kids. Pre teen.....How much pre teen? Anything less than I would say 12 or 13 is a danger with the air bags.
Basically this would be MY car. Only used to drive to and from work. After work, evenings, eating out, vacations, weekends, any time I have to travel with the wife/kids would be in my wife's Scion. I know this will work as the Nova wasnt really a kid friendly vehicle (no seat belts) and I drove it for 5 years and never once had to use it to carry the kids (and they were much much younger then). They are 10 and 9 now, btw.
 

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It's good to think of an Elise as an Oversized go kart! It basically is, and you can feel pretty much every bump in the road, but it also depends how much you feel a bump with what suspension it has, if you have Nitrons and they are on their stiffest setting then you will fell everything!

Awsome cars though! so much fun! try and meet up with a local elise owner get a ride out in it, maybe he'll/she'll let you drive it :shrug:

You can only ask....
 

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I have only had my Elise for a few weeks, but I love it. I would say that if you can live with the insurance costs (mine does not cost much more than a BMW) and You can work on old cars, you are already in pretty good shape. The maintenance on the car is pretty easy compare to other cars I have worked on. Surprisingly so. It needs only basic stuff, oil changes, brake fluid, pads, bolts torqued down, tires, etc. There are no valve adjustments, no tweaking of carburettors, and a tuneup involves replacing the spark plugs, about 10 minutes and maybe $36 at most. The big issue posted here seems to be when the mass airflow sensor gets dirty or oily and the car idles badly. (I need to clean mine) But cleaning the MAF seems to correct the idle. From what I have read, people really don't have alot of complaints for what is essentially a very rare and exotic car. I think you could give an Elise a try for a year and see how it goes. If you take care of it, you'd certainly get a fair amount of cash back.

And... good for you on paying off your house! It took me about 16 years to do that. It's a good feeling till you realize that all the saving is about to be taken away to given to folks with less financial planning skill!

I am 6'2" 185lbs, and I fit well in the car. It is a safe car, built like a Formula One race car.
 

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Awsome cars though! so much fun! try and meet up with a local elise owner get a ride out in it, maybe he'll/she'll let you drive it :shrug:

You can only ask....
+1
 

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Ok, I understand now that the site used to be elisetalk and it is just me showing up late to the party and not understanding that until now.



Good question. I guess with risk of sounding overly superficial, I really love how the car looks. It is bad ass and I cant stop staring at every picture I see of an Elise. I can't find a color I dont like on it. And growing up, Lotus was in the same realm as Lambo and Ferrari. I had no idea there was such an affordable option in getting an Elise. I showed my friend the '05 last month that was online, and he thought it was a $150k car. The car just looks awesome.

Having said that. I dont really care how it corners or its 0-60 speed. As stated in the first post, I am not looking to track one or sup it up. I want performance mind you, but as long as I am not getting passed up by Honda Accords, it's not that big deal. Also, I dont want to get to work and my ass to be hurting me for 2 hours and I am begging other people to drive me to lunch.
That's an honest answer. As you can guess now, many people who bought one on looks alone have come and gone here. It's good you are considering a used one, there isn't much economic exposure then, and you can probably sell it without a great loss if you don't like it. But who knows, you may get interested in the car's handling and even take up racing, that's happened to more than one person here too...
 

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I will give you my take....I just sold mine, after just a year of ownership. It was my daily driver, and I couldnt live with it as such. I was too nervous to drive it anywhere I couldnt control who parks next to it. My wife hated riding in it, as well as all of my other friends(Loved when we could go play, but as a "lets go get lunch car" everyone despised it) and I live in a tourist area, I would get run out of my lane at least once a week, way more often then even my miata.

Driving it over 30 miles a day (Half highway, half city) was a pain in the ass due to traffic everywhere, and in stop and go, my high performance ACT clutch would cut the circulation off to my toes.


Having said ALL of that, I know, 100% that if I already had a nice, comfortable, daily driver......I would have held onto the Lotus until I died.
 
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