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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Getting ready to purchase an Elise with a rebuilt title. Any comments, advice, insight will be welcome.
 

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Inspect what they say they fix, then inspect what they didnt say they fixed.

Then check with your insurance company and make sure there will be no surprises there.

These cars are a pain to repair, not impossible, just an expensive pain.

If it all checks out, then you have an advantage.

With a rebuild title, millage really does not matter! Drive! Drive! Then drive some more!
 

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If the seller is some guy in a garage just trying to turn a profit, run. If it is a pro shop like Wire Wheel, inspect it like you would a clean title. I bought mine from a guy who put more work into hiding problems than fixing them. After spending a ton of money and time, I could've just bought a clean title. Guys like that are sadly not uncommon and cut tons of corners, but if you get one done right, then you just saved some money up front. In the long term, you will only be able to sell it under market price, so it only saves money in the short term


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I should also add that it depends on your intentions. If you plan on road trips and track days, get one that looks repaired well but painted poorly. Then enjoy the heck out of it.



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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I do intend to drive the heck out of it with a big smile on my face and do some track days with my daughter and our R53 Mini. I figure I won't feel as bad if it takes some hard driving on track days or even if it has an off track excursion. And, it is a Wire Wheels car.
 

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I do intend to drive the heck out of it with a big smile on my face and do some track days with my daughter and our R53 Mini. I figure I won't feel as bad if it takes some hard driving on track days or even if it has an off track excursion. And, it is a Wire Wheels car.
Still do your due diligence, but Hayes at Wire Wheel is straight to deal with. Ditto on checking your regs in your state re rebuilt title cars.
 

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Being overly anal about inspection might be reason for a seller of a full-titled car to loose his patience. OTOH, anyone selling a car with a rebuilt title should expect the third degree and be willing to accommodate your wishes. IMO, focus on chassis and suspension first because a really botched repair will kill any value of the car. Engine and drive train can be repaired or replaced, albeit at considerable cost...

I've heard good things here about Wirewheel. They seem to have a reputation for straight shooting.
 

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I own an '05 Elise with a rebuilt title (from Wire Wheel, top notch shop and great work) as well as a 2011 Elise with a clean title, and I see no difference as far as driveability and integrity. Just make sure you are thorough when you check it out. As a shameless plug: Hayes and his guys do excellent work, have a passion for these cars, and quite honestly, his shop probably has had more Lotus come through than any other dealership in the U.S. So if you're buying from him, you're in good hands. Would love to do business with him again someday.
 

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Make sure the inspection involves removing the undertray. It's standard procedure for this car, so anyone who gives you grief over it is trying to hide something.

Enjoy the 5 grand you'll save over a comparable car with a clean title.
 

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I bought my Exige S240 through a consignment agent who specializes in all things Lotus: Robert Connick at Britishracinggroup.com

He can find you a peach, whatever you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
O.K. this is a follow up for anyone transferring a rebuilt (or salvage) title in the state of PA. Before the title can be transferred (and therefore registered) the car must pass a PA "Enhanced Vehicle Safety Inspection" which of course must be done at an approved "Enhanced Vehicle Safety Inspection Station". Since this is more than a normal inspection it costs more. I had mine done at a place that is also a auto technician training school - Torchiana Automotive Training Institute (TATI). The cost was $250 plus tax. They give you documents (including pictures of the car) to take to the auto tag place of your choice. But, they don't actually put the stickers on the car. You then take the documents to the auto tag place they give you your temporary (pink slip) registration which you then take back to the inspection station who will then put the stickers on. Of course, the car must pass the "enhanced" inspection. I'm not exactly sure what exactly the enhanced inspection includes over and above the normal inspection. I was told they check every system and function on the car and everything must work. For example, I could tell the windshield washer was tested. My '06 Elise failed because the passenger side headlight was out of adjustment. It was pointing pretty close to straight down. But, I quickly fixed that, brought it back and passed.

many thanks again to Hayes at Wire Wheels for the great and honest service.
and to Joe Torchiana for the care and service during the inspection.

to anyone considering a rebuilt title Elise - my experience has been a good one with the people I've dealt with. A little more trouble than a clean title but my cart is just as fun as the clean one.
 

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My '06 Elise failed because the passenger side headlight was out of adjustment. It was pointing pretty close to straight down. But, I quickly fixed that, brought it back and passed.
This is pretty much how the come from the factory rotfl
 

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Sorry to hijack this thread but I have a newbie question.

Why do so many of these cars end up on salvage or rebuilt titles? I realize that the clams or the crash structure is easy to damage and expensive to fix, but most of these cars are worth $30k plus now. Surely clam damage can't be more than that to fix?

I'm assuming they end up on salvage titles b/c the insurance companies figure the cost of repair exceeds the market value of the car.
 

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Sorry to hijack this thread but I have a newbie question.



Why do so many of these cars end up on salvage or rebuilt titles? I realize that the clams or the crash structure is easy to damage and expensive to fix, but most of these cars are worth $30k plus now. Surely clam damage can't be more than that to fix?



I'm assuming they end up on salvage titles b/c the insurance companies figure the cost of repair exceeds the market value of the car.

Even now, I know some cases where just a single end of the car was damaged and the bill ran up to almost $20k. When the insurance company is getting mid teens at auction, it is cheaper to just sell it at auction and take your deductible. Plus, there is so little data on these cars, some companies don't even have them in their systems where they normal put in make, model, and damage and out comes an estimate. It is easier to just write it off. I'm not sure if the frequency of salvages is going down now that prices are rising because again, data is limited, and KBB severely undervalues the cars. Oftentimes the ins co will value the car low and the burden to properly value it falls on the owner.



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Hi guys, Im new here. My wife and are looking at either an Elise or a Cayman S for a weekend car. I found this thread interesting because I noticed what seemed like a high number of rebuilt title cars out there. Especially in the price range I am looking (under $30k). I wonder if it has to do with this car having a higher likelyhood of being damaged at a track day? I plan on tracking mine and I know the more you do the more likely you are to have an offroad excursion. I also dont think banks will loan on cars with salvage/rebuilt titles do they?
 

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How many of you recommending inspections are structural engineers? How many of you getting these recommendations are qualified structural engineers? Here is a guy rebuilding his Elise...and is making a dangerous car...

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f259/can-t-believe-i-m-posting-severe-front-end-damage-my-elise-218017/index4.html

Hadn't I seen the build process, I doubt even I would have caught this... Inspection of these cars is not for a qualified mechanic but for a qualified aerospace structures engineer. These cars are built like airplanes. Lotus used the same materials (aluminum; not the particular alloy) and used the same building techniques...bonded and rivited structure.

If it has been salvaged because of clam availability, then no problem...
 

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craigyirush
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I am also thinking of getting a car with a non-clean title. However, I don't know the difference (if any) between a car with a salvage title and one with a rebuilt title?

I see both terms used in F/S ads here and elsewhere for what seem like cars in similar condition - some kind of clam damage which caused the insurance company to write it off.
 

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I am also thinking of getting a car with a non-clean title. However, I don't know the difference (if any) between a car with a salvage title and one with a rebuilt title?



I see both terms used in F/S ads here and elsewhere for what seem like cars in similar condition - some kind of clam damage which caused the insurance company to write it off.

Maybe different states use the words differently, but my understanding is that a rebuilt title applies to a car that used to have a salvaged title but is now finished. In the time between the wreck and repair, the salvaged title applies, but people often use the words interchangeably. Context is key on the forum - if it looks finalized, it has a rebuilt title even though the ad may say salvaged.


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