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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, there's an '06 Elise for sale here and I found out it has extensive autocross on it and the dealership doesn't have any but the first service on record. Not good. Should I even consider getting into this one or should I simply wait for a car that won't have possible engine, transmission and suspension problems? Is it likely that I have some huge repair bills? Does the life of the car become diminished from this kind of driving? I want my first Lotus to be a true love, not a true pain... e-mail me at [email protected] to reply in confidence so no one feels slighted or so no arguments ensue if you prefer :) Thanks for ANYTHING you can tell me!:eek:
 

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Mulholland>SCC
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My understanding is each session of autocross are relatively short, unlike track sessions. How many miles does the car have? Many people get an ecu dump. Is it a private party sale from the owner, or from a dealer? Have an independent mechanic look over the car. Oh, and many people learn how to perform their own maintenance since the dealer is rather expensive. That doesn't mean they performed the necessary maintenance but it doesn't mean it was not performed either.
 

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The lack of service records isn't a big deal if the car was self-maintained...there's not much critical maintenance, really just tightening bolts and changing the oil, filter, and brake fluid regularly. As for autocrossing, it's really not that hard on the car, I wouldn't let that deter me.

Know though that I fit the profile of the person selling that car - I've done all maintenance myself except the first service, have autocrossed my Elise maybe a dozen times and have done two track days. I consider my car to be in great shape and don't feel the short periods of hard track driving have done anything to affect the car's life (except that of the brake pads, I suppose!). The autocrossing was especially easy on the car, I felt...tires took a beating, but there's typically only one gear shift the entire run, it's really not bad as long as you let the car warm up properly before your run.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hmm, I feel a bit better. The car has 35,000 km's on it now, new rubber needed, being sold thru a dealership (not Lotus dealership) as a "lease return" as the company that holds it didn't send it back to the original Lotus dealership for some reason. I think the saleperson said it was because the Lotus dealership didn't want to pay so much for it's return...I'm just a bit scared, want to have this baby for a long time if I do it. Don't want him/her to spend too much time in the shop rather than cradling my ass :)
 

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The lack of service records isn't a big deal if the car was self-maintained...there's not much critical maintenance, really just tightening bolts and changing the oil, filter, and brake fluid regularly. As for autocrossing, it's really not that hard on the car, I wouldn't let that deter me.

Know though that I fit the profile of the person selling that car - I've done all maintenance myself except the first service, have autocrossed my Elise maybe a dozen times and have done two track days. I consider my car to be in great shape and don't feel the short periods of hard track driving have done anything to affect the car's life (except that of the brake pads, I suppose!). The autocrossing was especially easy on the car, I felt...tires took a beating, but there's typically only one gear shift the entire run, it's really not bad as long as you let the car warm up properly before your run.
+1
I'm in a similar position, about 15 autocross events and 3 track days. I get my car serviced at the dealer and think my car is in excellent condition, and no worse for wear from the hard driving.

Where are you located? The Lotus community is pretty small. If you want to know the condition of the car, chances are, there's likely to be someone on this forum who probably knows the history of the vehicle.
 

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Hmm, I feel a bit being sold thru a dealership (not Lotus dealership) as a "lease return" as the company that holds it didn't send it back to the original Lotus dealership for some reason.
As far as I can recall there has not been a single person on here over the years that was successful in obtaining a lease on a Elise or Exige... but many have asked and many have tried, could be wrong but that right there sounds fishy to me. Might want to run a check on it online and make sure it has not been wrecked or totaled
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm in Langley B.C. Canada and the dealership owner is familliar with the car, he's the one who told me about the autocross stuff and service records. They do get a lot of lease returns, people moving onto the next years' beauty and such. interesting that down in B Hills there's no lease options...didn't know that. OK, the research contines, thanks for the info so far, keep 'em comin'...
 

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without a doubt - autox is far more abusive than track days...

however if the car if well maintaned and serviced - the car can take it and be in far better shape than many "street only" ragged out and abused cars i have seen.

to answer your question - track / autocross / street only - its all irrelvant to condition. any car can be used, maintained, serviced, or not and abused. autocross my be hard on the engine mounts and clutch, sure - but they may have been serviced too.. so could be fine. some tracks could be hard on oil starvation - but the car may be sorted for that, or not taken on that type of track.

i have not yet seen a track/autocross car in as bad of shape as many street cars i have seen... makes sense - if your tracking you want it solid and sorted and well cared for so it will be reliable on the track :up:

only way to tell is to inspect the car for what it is in reality.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi to you in Coquitlam, did ya look at the yummy goodies at Weissach? YUM!!! I have an appointment to take the car in for a head to toe check up before I go ahead. Anything I should really make sure he checks for?
 

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Anything I should really make sure he checks for?
get an ecu dump and check for standing starts.
those will void the warranty.
lotus says any timed event will void the warranty if i am not mistaken, so this does classify as that, not to mention standing starts from autocrossing, which i have also heard cases of lotus weaseling out of the warranty due to this.

so many of these cars get sold with very few miles on them, i dont think it will take too long to find a car that you want.
something doesnt sound right to me as far as a lease return. I would prefer to buy from the person who actaully owned the car.
be patient, and dont let emotions get involved in a car buying business decision.
I know its hard,
I am in the same boat looking for another race car, and i must not allow any emotions to become invloved in the purchase, and it can be very difficult to do so.
 

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Hey dobekiss,

I spent 12 years in Surrey.:wave: Left BC in 2001, to dry out in the desert. I didn't know there was autocross in the Lower Mainland. Did that just start up recently, or did the owner drive to Seattle for that?
 

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...
so many of these cars get sold with very few miles on them, i dont think it will take too long to find a car that you want.
...
Except that he is obviously in Canada and as such this statement is not so valid as in the US.

I bought my Elise from a dealer - no knowledge of the previous owner or use (except very low mileage). I have since found it was autocrossed but since I assessed it based on condition when inspected as acceptable it doesn't bother me. It has been faultless for three years (except for needing new rotors and pads earlier than I had expected!).

All the best finding a car you will love for a long time!!
 

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I know of some leased Lotus. Even here in LA. It actually does happen on occasion.


As far as I can recall there has not been a single person on here over the years that was successful in obtaining a lease on a Elise or Exige... but many have asked and many have tried, could be wrong but that right there sounds fishy to me. Might want to run a check on it online and make sure it has not been wrecked or totaled
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Spoke to the seller/dealer this morning and he said I'd simply have to take it "as is" and I have until noon to decide. I don't LIKE that! I made him a kindof lowball offer and he said "Have a nice day". I think I'm going to be passing on this simply because they just don't have enough info to make me feel comfortable about it's soundness. It's SO hard to not buy it, it's so gorgeous. But, pretty does not make it a good choice for me I suppose. Here in BC and Canada in general, they don't come up for sale very often in my price range (35-40 grand) but Fishguy, you're right. Something is "off" and I can't let emotions interfere with something like buying a car. Shoes maybe but not a car. Hi to you cdn alien, nice to have a place to dry out in the desert! I don't have a clue where the owner did autocross but there are track days at the Mission Raceway and there's some events out at Boundary Bay.
PS. ADEO I'm a girl :)
 

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Spoke to the seller/dealer this morning and he said I'd simply have to take it "as is" and I have until noon to decide. I don't LIKE that! I made him a kindof lowball offer and he said "Have a nice day". I think I'm going to be passing on this simply because they just don't have enough info to make me feel comfortable about it's soundness. It's SO hard to not buy it, it's so gorgeous. But, pretty does not make it a good choice for me I suppose. Here in BC and Canada in general, they don't come up for sale very often in my price range (35-40 grand) but Fishguy, you're right. Something is "off" and I can't let emotions interfere with something like buying a car. Shoes maybe but not a car. Hi to you cdn alien, nice to have a place to dry out in the desert! I don't have a clue where the owner did autocross but there are track days at the Mission Raceway and there's some events out at Boundary Bay.
PS. ADEO I'm a girl :)
good move!!!
the dealership saying you have a time limit is bullcrap. they are playing on your emotions.

dont buy anything from these guys.
i predict they call you later today, after the time limit, and either accept your offer, or will take something in the close area.

next week they will take less.


dont buy from anyone who pressures you.


there will be another one, believe me, its not the only Elise in Canada.

the right will will come along, and you will have the $ in the bank to move on it.

be patient
 

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Mulholland>SCC
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Why would they put a time limit on your decision? If they had another interested party with money in hand, they would simply sell it. You have not put a deposit down on it so they would not hold it for you. That alone would end my dealings with the dealer. Quite frankly, it would p*** me off. He is trying to muscle you into a decision. What for another one!
 

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Buying a local lotus is not a problem, so long as you get an INDEPENDENT ppi done.

I bought my lotus from a private owner with no service history whatsoever. I had Silicon Valley Auto Group perform a $500 PPI, the service manager personally signed off and validated the warranty for the car, and only then did I wire the money. The owner had no problem with me hiring the SVAG delivery truck to take the car to the dealer 70 miles awayfor the PPI, without even one $ of a deposit.

That dealer is treating you like crap.
Walk away.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Guess what, dealer just called, it's 45 mins to deadline, offered the car to me for 32,500 (Canadian of course). Told me I was driving it home TODAY and he was going to set up the car for a inspection at their shop. It's a really good price if I knew the car was sound....dude's a pretty stong talker.
 

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32,500.00 CAD = 29,170.71 USD - Not that bad of a price.

Inspection at their shop = fail.

Tell him that you want it inspected at a shop of your choosing and that you want them to pay for it if you purchase the car (you can agree on an upper limit). If you don't, then you will pay for it (although you will not share the results of said inspection with them unless they pay for it). The trick is going to be finding someone who knows what to look for, although the car is pretty darn simple so many things will be pretty obvious if they are bad.

To me, it sounds like they are getting a bit desperate, which is good for you.
 
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