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Lotus owners in the boondocks... any experiences?

1101 Views 13 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  lotusport
I'm seriously considering owning a Lotus Elise (used purchase), but I live in central Wisconsin, about 4 hours to either Chicago or Minneapolis. Is this just crazy?

I currently own a customized Miata with a M45 supercharger that I successfully installed myself. Still, I,m not sure what work I can do on my own, or take to a local import mechanic when it comes to the Lotus. The car would be driven strictly as a recreational sports car, not a daily driver.

How have other hinterland Lotus owners dealt with this situation?
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I live at least 3 hours from any Lotus dealership. I wouldn't even consider taking it to a dealership.

If you are decent with a wrench, don't sweat it!

A car is a car, if you know what I mean, and as far as working on the Lotus goes, it's pretty easy, since there are so few "systems" to deal with in the car. It really is not any more complicated than your Miata!
Hi GR82DRV, I’m another owner that lives hours away from a dealer.

I do all the basic maintenance myself; the car is not any harder to work on than my previous MR-2. Not surprising since the engine and drive train are Toyota. Oil changes take a little longer to do because of all the little bolts holding on the engine access panel, but it is something that just requires extra patience, no extra skill to deal with.

I’ve had mine for two years, and have never encountered any issue above regular maintenance. The car is easy to work on, and dose not require any specialized tools or skills to keep running. Some things on the car are a little "fussy", but nothing that you could not do yourself.
here in Buffalo, NY....I guess Lotus considers this the boondocks...because we are 4 hours from the 3 closest dealers.

If something serious happaned, like the cam problem, I just drove the distance. Other than that there I have not had any other issues.

Car is easy to work on. And I think any capable shop could handle it.
One thing you have going for you is that the dealer closest to you is one of the most respected and trusted in the country.

I regularly drive my Lotus between here and Door County and Eagle River, Wisconsin. I'd give it the green light. :)
Pretty common situation with these cars, as there are comparitively fewer dealers, most of which are in large metropolitan areas-

Probably the biggest consideration should be warranty issues- I have a few minor issues (headliner, driver seat rail, signal light o-ring) that I am living with because driving to the closest dealer is not worth the trouble-

I don't recall anyone here having regrets about the purchase due to not having a dealer close by-

Good luck!
I also live 3 - 4 hours away from any Lotus dealer, 14 miles to the nearest town. I get to pass alot of tractors!
No problems, a car is a car! I can do the shade tree stuff and I haven't had any major problems. I too installed a s/c, but had very good pictures and instructions.
buy the service manual, and if you like to work on your own car, get the rear clam hinge setup and you'll be in clover.
with a toyota powertrain, it's not exotic and it's japan dependable.
go for it!
I wouldn't worry about it, these cars are very easy to work on if you have any experience at all. My closest dealer was about 4 1/2 hours away and I managed just fine.
Thanks for the positive feedback. I dodge a lot of farm equipment here too... we live about 10 miles from the nearest town. OTH, we have some beautiful roads to drive here, so a sports car is a perfect pastime.

Anything beyond a Ford or Chevy pickup is considered "exotic" here, so imagine a Lotus in town!
Anything beyond a Ford or Chevy pickup is considered "exotic" here, so imagine a Lotus in town!
I hear ya! I grew up in rural Illinois where to this day EVERY man drives a pickup. But, as you can see, I haven't entirely given up my rural roots. :)

Where abouts are you?

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You can download the service manual and parts manual (search this forum for links). It's nice to be near a dealer for warranty service, but if it's out of warranty, it doesn't matter much. I haven't done anything on mine other than oil changes and a few minor adjustments. It's been a very reliable car... so far. You'll probably want to get an OBDII scan too if you don't already have one.
Far away........?? Haaaaah!!!

I think I may hold the record for most disconnected :panic: Elise owner in North America! I live in North Dakota and have owned my little gem for just over a year now. Regular maintenance has been pretty straight forward for me, particularly with the help of the aforementioned downloadable workshop manual. Having an enclosed trailer trailer has given me the opportunity to haul my little guy to an expert if the need arises but for now it has just been a pleasure to own whether I'm driving it to work or screaming across the autocross course!
Trust in fine English workmanship and enjoy the experience!
I think I may hold the record for most disconnected :panic: Elise owner in North America! I live in North Dakota and have owned my little gem for just over a year now.
Oohhh, in the 48 contiguous United States, maybe, but I imagine that some of our Canadian neighbors might make it a contest. And consider the plight of Monsi: he lives on Kauai and has the mid-Pacific between him and his nearest dealer in Honolulu. It's a boat ride for his car to get any serious service performed. :p
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