Uh, no. A 37 year old car, a 37 year old LOTUS does not stay on the road with just lubing the drivetrain. And 'maintaining' the car is more than a notion.Hello everyone!
I call myself possiblelotusfan because I don't own a Lotus (yet?)
I recently found a 77 Éclat for sale for $4500, supposedly in good running condition. I've heard these models have some problems (some say "legendary unreliability), but I've heard others say that so long as you keep up on lubing the drive train and maintain it properly, I will be reliable. This would be my only car for daily driving. In short, how crazy would I be to buy this for a daily driver?
If you need a reliable daily driver, and if you are not/don't enjoy being a mechanic, you would indeed be crazy to buy/use a '77 Eclat for that. That is unless daily driving to you means you only drive to/from work and work is already within walking distance.
Think of owning a vintage Lotus like owning an older boat. You need to spend a good weekend a month going over EVERYTHING on the car...and even then when going out it's a crap shoot getting home. Have a good towing company on speed dial.
If you are a decent mechanic and enjoy spending a lot of time, and a fair amount of money for parts, doing preventive maintenance and repairs, in other words look at owning/maintaining the car as a hobby you look forward to, then go for it.
If you are looking for a trouble free car that just needs 'routine maintenance' (I can't even type those words in the context of a vintage Lotus without chuckling) then you'll not be happy.
The key is to go over that car VERY thoroughly before buying. The problem with a lot of older cars, but especially Lotus, is that they were not maintained properly. Things would start to go wrong, and owners eventually gave up on maintaining or fixing things correctly, so shortcuts were taken. Not obvious until you actually start living with the car.
I may be exaggerating just a bit, but a vintage Lotus that looks decent, starts and runs ok, can still be a boatload of trouble.