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Discussion Starter #1
I am new to the forum and have been actively looking to buy an Elise for the past month or so. A local VW dealer just took in an '06 on a trade so I went yesterday to take a look at it. It has 66,xxx miles but does come with a hard top. The car seems to run great but it does have some signs of wear and tear. The front clam shell has 2 cracks in it which you can see if you look closely at the picture (see Autotrader link below). The dealer claims they are going to "repair" the cracks. The other major blemish is the seats are worn and have lots of cracks. After pointing out these flaws, they lowered the asking price to $24,500 as is or $25,000 with the cracks in the clam shell repaired.
What do you think? Any input is greatly appreciated, thanks.


Cars for Sale: 2006 Lotus Elise in Hartford, CT 06120: Convertible Details - 322566663 - AutoTrader.com
 

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There's only one photo there that shows me nothing.

A few things:

- Get LOTS of photos of that clam. A 'cracked' clam is a big deal. Oftentimes the repair requires removal of the clam and repainting. A VW dealer probably doesn't know this. It takes a LOT of time. Not sure a dealer is willing to spend $3K to repair the claim properly. If they'll fix the cracks for $500, that's a good deal, however, the most likely won't fix them properly.

- You also need to see what's BEHIND the crack.

- 66K miles is high. Not a big deal, but we usually don't see these cars with that high of mileage. Would make me want to research a TON more.

- Cracked seats are no big deal. You can get them reupholstered at an auto upholstery shop pretty inexpensively.

- $25K sounds high for the car you are describing. I'd expect $23K.

- I'd make sure you get an ECU dump. If it looks beat up, it may have been abused.

- I'd really question why an Elise is at a VW dealer as a trade. The market is limited, but specific for these cars. Most owners are on these forums and will have a better lot selling it directly to another enthusiast or to another Lotus dealer.. Let's say the guy got $20K from the dealer on the trade. He could have got $23-24K on the street. Maybe there's more to the car and he wanted to dump it.

Again, need more pics.
 

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There's only one photo there that shows me nothing.

A few things:

- Get LOTS of photos of that clam. A 'cracked' clam is a big deal. Oftentimes the repair requires removal of the clam and repainting. A VW dealer probably doesn't know this. It takes a LOT of time. Not sure a dealer is willing to spend $3K to repair the claim properly. If they'll fix the cracks for $500, that's a good deal, however, the most likely won't fix them properly.

- You also need to see what's BEHIND the crack.

- 66K miles is high. Not a big deal, but we usually don't see these cars with that high of mileage. Would make me want to research a TON more.

- Cracked seats are no big deal. You can get them reupholstered at an auto upholstery shop pretty inexpensively.

- $25K sounds high for the car you are describing. I'd expect $23K.

- I'd make sure you get an ECU dump. If it looks beat up, it may have been abused.

- I'd really question why an Elise is at a VW dealer as a trade. The market is limited, but specific for these cars. Most owners are on these forums and will have a better lot selling it directly to another enthusiast or to another Lotus dealer.. Let's say the guy got $20K from the dealer on the trade. He could have got $23-24K on the street. Maybe there's more to the car and he wanted to dump it.

Again, need more pics.
What he said is all good stuff!! Mileage is no big deal. How the clam is repair IS a big deal unless they're just a few hairlines. I'm in CT. Give me details and I'll let you know if its a track car. BTW, that VW dealership is Valenti which is a Lotus dealership in Watertown! They know EXACTLY what they're doing and will be able to repair that clam as they have repair shops with experience. The low 1/3 of all Elises will look a bit rough at 66K but repainted is easy esp White.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I already looked at this '05 Elise in Naugatuck and it is in much worse condition than the '06 in Hartford. The '05 check engine light was on and something was definitely wrong with the steering/suspension. Smelled like previous owner was a smoker, soft top was all scratched up, after market shift knob fell off when I went to put it in gear....I felt sorry for that car. Pictures looked great online but in person it needs a lot of work. Plus if you look at the reviews of that dealer, I wouldn't dare buy anything from them.
 

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I already looked at this '05 Elise in Naugatuck and it is in much worse condition than the '06 in Hartford. The '05 check engine light was on and something was definitely wrong with the steering/suspension. Smelled like previous owner was a smoker, soft top was all scratched up, after market shift knob fell off when I went to put it in gear....I felt sorry for that car. Pictures looked great online but in person it needs a lot of work. Plus if you look at the reviews of that dealer, I wouldn't dare buy anything from them.
Agreed! Their ratings and horror stories in reviews are as bad as I have ever seen.
 

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I would at the very least take either one of these cars to an independent Lotus specialist for evaluation and ECU analysis. We as Lotus owners here on the site can pick a car apart ruthlessly. Just make sure you do not jump in and buy one just to get one. I was absolutely consumed about buying one. BUT, I did my homework, painfully passing up on cars even though my need to have one controlled my thoughts all day and night, and finally got the perfect Elise for me. It had everything I wanted, the color I wanted and the options I wanted. It also had over $30,000.00 in upgrades that I did not expect but was pleased to have on the car. AND at the price I wanted to pay. So either of these cars may or may not be the right car for you. Just have them thoroughly inspected by an expert. Wait for the next one if they do not check out. And when you do pull the trigger, ENJOY everything these cars have to offer!
 

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I would at the very least take either one of these cars to an independent Lotus specialist for evaluation and ECU analysis. We as Lotus owners here on the site can pick a car apart ruthlessly. Just make sure you do not jump in and buy one just to get one. I was absolutely consumed about buying one. BUT, I did my homework, painfully passing up on cars even though my need to have one controlled my thoughts all day and night, and finally got the perfect Elise for me. It had everything I wanted, the color I wanted and the options I wanted. It also had over $30,000.00 in upgrades that I did not expect but was pleased to have on the car. AND at the price I wanted to pay. So either of these cars may or may not be the right car for you. Just have them thoroughly inspected by an expert. Wait for the next one if they do not check out. And when you do pull the trigger, ENJOY everything these cars have to offer!
How much would taking it to a specialist for evaluation and ECU analysis cost? Looking at buying one right now (when i find the right color/price combo) and want to make sure i know everything about the car before i buy it.
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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some sellers if they were serious owners may have one done in preperation for the sale. (My seller had one ready for me when i was looking) Valenti should be able to an ECU dump as they are a Lotus dealer. I'd figure $250 - $400 for a pre purchase +/-.
 

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Here is a picture of the cracks. I inquired about the car and had the sales rep send me some pics. This is one of them.

I'm also looking for an Elise. I may go check this out, more as a data point than anything else. As far as a PPI, I just looked at a car that had a PPI by Valenti, I think the cost was $260, the current owner made the report available to me when I looked at the car.

Cracks
 

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I called on this elise when they first put it up for sale. I talked them down to $21,995. Then I googled the vin number and found out where it came from and ALL the pictures of the car. The car is BEAT! I wouldn't spend $18,000 for the car, OK maybe I would, but they won't let it go for $18,000.
 

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That little crack looks to be a nasty little crack. The problem you face with a crack in the clam is that to be repaired properly the clam likely needs to be removed (labor hours) and repaired from behind. The next issue is paint. Unless someone is very very very good iwth paint you're talking about painting the whole panel. The problem is you have a clam, not a panel. Be wary.
 

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Maybe I'm being pragmatic, but a cracked clam isn't a big deal. You can remove one yourself in your garage in a couple of hours. Load it up in a truck, take it to a repair shop that has experience with fiberglass (Corvette shop?), and have them repair it and paint it and recover with starshield. You might spend $2-3 for this, but your front end will be just like new. Its very doable.

It ain't a Ferrari folks.
 

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Maybe I'm being pragmatic, but a cracked clam isn't a big deal. You can remove one yourself in your garage in a couple of hours. Load it up in a truck, take it to a repair shop that has experience with fiberglass (Corvette shop?), and have them repair it and paint it and recover with starshield. You might spend $2-3 for this, but your front end will be just like new. Its very doable.

It ain't a Ferrari folks.
no, but it's LOTUS., which means that those who are not mechanically savvy are expected to pay a bit more to get their cars fixed by a dealer or mechanic. ($200+ oil changes for instance)

a $2-$3k repair is definitely IS something to be wary of when buying a car- any car.

and while is might not seem a big deal to mechanically savvy people, removing and transporting a front clam isn't really something an average Lotus owner is capable of.

$25k is a bit high for a car in this condition, especially if the clam has cracks.
 

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I can tell you from experience that a fairly simple crack, where I did indeed remove my own clam and transport it to a body shop good with fiberglass cost me around $1500 to repair properly. Plus the star shield replacement/install. While that's not much in relation to replacing a clam, I doubt this dealer is going to simply throw in a fix of that magnitude, at least a proper fix.
 
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New pictures of car posted

http://www.vwofhartford.com/VehicleDetails/used-2006-Lotus-Elise-Coupe_2D-Hartford-CT/1760466793

We repaired the clam and posted new pictures yesterday. It is indeed a labor intensive repair, but it was done right. The starshield was removed and will not be replaced. The vehicle is at our Lotus store getting checked out until around Saturday 6/9/12. If you would like to be kept up to date please call and ask for Steve Audia at (866) 308-6701. I personally drove the car about 500 miles and it runs beautifully. We already replaced the front two tires with the oem yokohama tires and it is due for some more work at our Lotus store today.

-Alan :nanner:

Here is a link to our reviews on dealerrater.com if you are concerned about our google reviews.
VW of Hartford - Volkswagen, Service or Auto Body - Dealership Ratings
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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was the car blue at one point? One of your dealer pics show the car in blue??????? Any possibility of a closeup pic of the nose where the repairs were completed on the fiberglass? Looks much better in these pics.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ok, guys. Now what do you think? Let's assume the clam shell was fixed properly but the seats still look to be in pretty bad shape so they are going to need to be re-upholstered. The mileage on the car concerns me a bit. I am looking at other Elise's to purchase but haven't pulled the trigger yet.
 

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Ok, guys. Now what do you think? Let's assume the clam shell was fixed properly but the seats still look to be in pretty bad shape so they are going to need to be re-upholstered. The mileage on the car concerns me a bit. I am looking at other Elise's to purchase but haven't pulled the trigger yet.

It looks like they did a decent repair. BUT, you seem to have reservations about mileage. I would suggest that you wait. Do not pull the trigger unless you are completely satisfied. Have you expanded your search area? Do not discount the idea of looking nationally. On the other hand it does look like the dealer has put forth an honest effort to do things right. Once again I suggest an inspection by a Lotus dealer and ECU dump.
 
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