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Discussion Starter #1
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?
 

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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?
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.

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.
 

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Reliable Lotus

If you want a Lotus as your "daily driver" consider an M100 Elan, GM owned Lotus at the time and the car had the benefit of the GM "cookie jar" to do its development, Visit LotusElanCentral for info. And its only a 23 year-old car if you can't afford a new Evora. LotusElanCentral is a great source of technical info including repairs/upgrades.
 

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Yeah, if your budget is $5k for a only car daily driver, an old British car would be a mistake.
 

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Often the answer really is miata
 

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I have 2 old Lotuses, and although I have pressed my Europa TC into service as DD on occasions, like when my regular car is in the shop, I wouldn't consider using either of them as my only car.

You can use a Lotus as a daily driver - I know someone with an M100, and I use my Elise, but they're both somewhat younger!
 

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As Dylan says, you'd be jumping out of one kind of fire and jumping into another. BMWs have pretty high maintenance costs which if you're willing to do the work, you can lower substantially, but parts will tend to be spendy.

As Lotus23S10 said, the M100 Élan has a pretty good reputation, but for the most part, old Loti do not make very good daily drivers... but they are a hell of a lot of fun!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I Know they can be pricey, but I think the unreliability and care requirements of the Éclat would be worse. I want to be sure I'll actually get to work. Besides, I will be doing the maintenance myself, so I should save quite a bit. I'd buy any parts from rockauto.com where there usually cheaper. My concern is mpg with a V12!
 

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The general consensus has always been that the 840s are the better cars. Neither version of the 8 series is very reliable or cheap to operate though.
 

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That's an interesting choice! There are lots of interesting, reliable, and affordable cars besides those two!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the input everybody! I definitely have some thinking and research to do.
I've heard of some people putting Buick V8's in Eclats, doesn't that ruin the handling? After all, the point of a Lotus is handling, isn't it?
 

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^ what exactly are you looking for in your daily driver? Maybe we can come up with some cool suggestions you had not considered.
 

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I drove a Lotus Elan M100 as my daily driver for 2 years and it was fantastic. Of course their has been issues but I've fixed them. When I bought the car I knew it needed some work so I upgraded it gradually over the time I've had it. This summer my dad and I are going to repaint it and replace the hood and seals, if I can find all the seals. I've found most of them so far except for a few but hopefully I'll get them all soon. My mom just got an M3 she used to drive a MINI cooper. She has the M3 now so the MINI cooper is mine to drive daily now since the M100 is going to be repainted and they are very rare and I don't want anything to happen to it. Its hard to find parts, they don't make body panels for it anymore I believe.

M100's are hard to find and they are going up in value lately and won't stop in my opinion. A Miata would be nice for you I believe, cheap, parts are easy to find and they are fun.
 

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I remember once when I was tricked by stamosfan into believing he transported a helper red panda in his elise.

Our new member is considering a 37 year old lotus or a v12 8 series for a cheap daily driver. Have you considered a "needs work" 928? You can pick one up cheap.

subtle troll is not so subtle
 

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^ didn't want to come out and say it, in case he was mildly developmentally delayed, but now that we've got that out in the open, agreed...
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Well, I like the idea of a 928, but I think that's a bit more for parts than I want to pay ( though I know the 8 series isn't cheap). Basically, I just want something reliable, European in performance, and $8000 or less (preferably $5K or below). I'd like a Miata, but they look kind of girly. I've also considered a Mazda RX7, but I've heard these have a hard time passing smog ( I live in CA so I'm worried about it passing the emissions tests). What do you think of these? Again everyone, thanks for all the help!
 

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Ok on the off chance that you are not messing with us, I humor you. How old are you? what is your maintenance budget (high side) tolerance? Do you have a bus pass?

If it has to be affordable to buy and keep running, you are going to be shopping for something a little less highbrow than the current candidates.

Think E36 chassis 3 series, E 28 5 series, Maybe a naturally aspirated 944 if you are a bit brave, mid 90s benz is probably ok as well
 
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