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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I just joined the forums today. I know I'm only 18, but I've wanted an Elise ever since I set my eyes on it 5 years ago. Its been my dream car, and I've started saving up for a nicer car. I was wondering what the best route to go with for an Elise is. I know I can get some pretty cheap 05's, but I was wondering if buying a salvage one and rebuilding it is possible, and if it is cheaper than buying a running one? Thanks a lot guys!!
 

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...a salvage car is a very bad idea unless you've a lot of money, time, and expertise to carefully choose exactly the right car and view the process of restoring it as more enjoyable than having the car to drive...most salvage-title cars with frame damage cannot be repaired at all, and even those which can will end up costing significantly more than to buy a good-condition car outright...

...i don't recommend buying an elise until you have a private garage to keep it in every night and are confident that you can comfortably afford the insurance - at your age it can be brutally expensive for these cars...of course there are exceptions, but most people are not in a position where they can really afford the ownership of an elise or exige any earlier than their mid-twenties...

...a lot of people go with something inexpensive and expendable for their first six or eight years of driving, like an MX-5 or MR-2, just to get some solid high-performance driving experience in an excellent-handling car while awaiting a better-suited opportunity to own a high-line sportscar like a lotus...in fact, you'll find that a preponderance of the better drivers on this forum developed their skills in one of those two cars, an opportunity i wish i'd had when i was younger...
 

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Keep in mind the dealer charges $300 for an oil change. Sure you can do that yourself pretty easily but just think about that when your "cheap" 05 needs something "real" done to it that you aren't going to be able to handle yourself. Most likely you will quickly be looking at spending thousands of dollars. Same thing with the body. A 1/2 of a MPH impact from an SUV will cost $13,200 worth of damage and leave your car in the body shop for 2 months. (don't ask me why I know and have those specific numbers. lol)

Also insurance may very well approach or exceed your car payment at your age depending on state and record.
 

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Everything said above is very good advice, expessially about another car to learn on. I am 23 and bought the car when I was 22. Before I had the lotus I had a 1989 Nissan 240sx. It was a great car to learn not only how to drive but also how to work on a car if thats what your into. Another good car that a lot of lotus owners also own are s2000.
 

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Just get a nice '05 that hasn't been tracked.

Figure the Lotus should cost you no more than $1000 a year to maintain with everything, including tires...if that. (Not including insurance, gas, or car payments.)

NO more than a Cadillac or Lexus off-warranty.

Post when you get it with pictures....

Good luck! :D
 

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Figure the Lotus should cost you no more than $1000 a year to maintain with everything, including tires...if that. (Not including insurance, gas, or car payments.)
That's a very subjective statement. It depends on how much you drive the car. I easily exceed that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks a lot for all the responses everyone! Wow I didn't realize how expensive work was on these cars. I always knew they were basically glass when it comes to crashes, but I didn't realize maintenance was a fortune in itself. The current car I'm driving right now is a Subaru WRX. I've also done a lot of work with a 1990 bmw 325i. Does anyone have there Elise as solely a track car? That way insurance wouldn't be a pain until I could afford it and I could still enjoy the car from time to time.
 

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If you keep the Subaru and the Lotus is not your primary car, then Larry is right and the cost of maintenance will not be bad provided you do it yourself and nothing major needs to be performed. My Lotus is not my only vehicle, but I figure it's my most expensive and damn it, I'm gonna drive it and enjoy it! I go through a set of tires per year which alone puts me over the $1000/year. :D There are several here who solely track their cars. You could also look into (I'm not sure what they are called) exotic/collectible insurance. You insure the value of the car and have a very strict mileage limit. These are usually cheaper. Not sure if they have an age limit for these policies...
 

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Does anyone have there Elise as solely a track car? That way insurance wouldn't be a pain until I could afford it and I could still enjoy the car from time to time.
...mile for mile, tracking a car is considerably more maintenance-intensive than street driving, and unless you're talking about autocross, track time is very pricey, too - do you have a tow vehicle?..to put it another way, if you can't afford to street drive an elise, you definitely can't afford one as a dedicated track car...

...look for posts from fishguy - he's our de facto ambassador for purpose-built race cars, and he raises some very good points...
 
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