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Discussion Starter #1
Continuing my string of mishaps (not my fault!)... someone recently backed into my 05 Elise at a stop sign at ~5-7mph. A semi was turning wide and a larger SUV sent their receiver hitch straight into the front of the clam trying to make room.

Their insurance is offering my a buyback of $12k + cash ~$22k, but I'll more than likely have to take a salvage title on this one.

Ignore the crooked cover above the vents, point, one of the body shops didn't reinstall the cover properly and I haven't exactly been too concerned with appearance since this happened.



Front clamshell is pretty much toast for all local shops I've talked to, and has multiple prior repairs, and there's stress fractures in the crash structure but it may be livable without swapping a new crash structure on.

To complicate matters... the previous owner failed to disclose some minor frame damage to me that I missed during the PPI behind the front left wheel near the rear wishbone mounting point. No alignment or other problems with the frame. Pretty much cosmetic but not exactly great, enough to knock 2-3k off the cars value still.

I'm trying to decide where to go with this... take the full cash and buy another Elise, or do quick & dirty repairs and have a car I don't need to sweat tracking and putting serious miles on as much, I can easily see getting to 100k MI.

Car is fairly heavily modified but ~70k miles, so finding a direct replacement is tricky. BWR V1 Supercharger + Tune, Quick Ratio Steering Rack, Blinker Delete, Diffuser, Audio, Clam Hinge, Upgraded Rad + Hoses, OE Forged Wheels, Hardtop+Soft-top, Racing Buckets, Moroso Oil Pan, Exhaust + much more in minor mods.

I'm thinking post-repair it'll still be worth $23k at-least if I don't replace the crash structure. I'll be yanking the clam off tomorrow to check out the damage beneath to see how necessary the crash structure. Might be able to get a little more out of a sale than that with the supercharger.

Thinking best case:

$6500 GRP Exige front clam conversion w/blinker delete.
$3000 paint, possibly less since I can avoid most of the prep work and trim work, and live without a door blend. Or maybe Vinyl it... I always wanted orange.

Worst case:
+$2400 Crash Structure
+$1500? Crash Structure Labor if I don't do it myself

So somewhere between $20k and $25k all-in to get the car back in OK shape.

So where are my numbers way off... no way it's worth less than $23k fixed right? I haven't been paying attention to the market too much since I bought it.

I'm not a pristine car kind of guy... this will get driven, tracked, tuned, broken and fixed if I keep it. I probably won't sell it... but I need a fair valuation for an insurance policy on the thing. I've given a lot of thought to other cars... (4C, LS Miata, C7/8 Vette) and just can't see switching to something else.
 

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There is almost nothing that cannot be fixed in fiberglass

Personally if it were my car I would try to prevent the totalled quote from ever happening. They are not doing you any favors. They want to sell the car after paying you to make back the money

IF you do let them take it, take the good parts off of it


That would be my plan, keep control of the car, control the quote to keep it from being totalled, if I cannot swap out the upgrades before turning it in
 

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A. That is a pretty good offer, but you can always negotiate for more. Tally up all the aftermarket parts you have on the car and inflate their values. Also, the clam being shaved actually costs money to insurance. Tell them that it is custom. That is more $$$ Be nice, but stern, and you can get a 2-4k more cash.

B. If you want to keep the car let them total it out but see if they can keep title clear. That little bit of damage can be fixed. I just got done repairing a clam for an Exige I am rebuilding. It turned out well. I ended up still getting a new one, but only because i got a really good deal.

C. If you need a crash structure I have a spare one that i will pass on for a good deal. Ready to go with primer and adhesive.

Good luck and sorry about your troubles!
 

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Sorry to hear about your car. I had a pickup truck back into mine and destroy the front clam.
https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f259/05-elise-vs-f-150-bumper-central-nj-456562/
My crash structure was not damaged so I fixed it up and shes nearly back together. I have a spare orange clam (05 or 06 Elise) that has been modified with the turn signals and front seam filled in that I could sell to you. Not sure if that would help you at all, but if you want some pics send me a PM.
 

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Just from that picture is see:

+1500 for custom clam
+1000 for custom seats
+750 for custom steering wheel

Most insurance companies have coverage built in for custom crap. Mine tops out at 5k I think.

A good negotiation tactic in a stale negotiation is to threaten subrogation.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So far I feel the valuation they gave is really good, and the salvage house lowballed them bad on the buyback doing me a favor... the way it's written up now I'm basically getting paid $1500 to put 15k miles on the car if I take the full payout even after subtracting the mods I've done. I'm just worried I'm doing my math wrong about how much it's worth "fixed". I'm saving my energy to try and fight them on keeping the title clean, if I need to try and use the mods to get the value high enough to not be a "total loss" I'll do it that way.

It's basically a total loss _because_ of the blinker/license plate mount delete... since all the local shops are quoting OE clamshell + 20hrs of fiberglass labor and the insurance company didn't want to spring for the exige conversion directly or ship it to CA for one of the lotus focused shops to get it done, they'd rather cut a big check and be done with it.

There is almost nothing that cannot be fixed in fiberglass

Personally if it were my car I would try to prevent the totalled quote from ever happening. They are not doing you any favors. They want to sell the car after paying you to make back the money

IF you do let them take it, take the good parts off of it


That would be my plan, keep control of the car, control the quote to keep it from being totalled, if I cannot swap out the upgrades before turning it in
I might not be able to avoid having it totalled, and the salvage yard quoted in runs & drives condition and I don't have most of the original parts (most installed by PO or replaced worn OE) so I don't think I can get away with just stripping it. Wish I could revert the supercharger to OE though.

It's not like since I posted it here someone can't go through my history and find the dirty laundry on the car, I'm not going to mask the history if I sell it...

I've considered repairs on this clam, but I think once you tally up repairs paint prep, etc... the previous problems I've had with it. I'm think I'm ready for a fresher clamshell, but I don't *need* to do the exige front conversion especially if someone's got a clam without blinkers I can just pick up used.

Still, sounds like a few of you have spare parts! I'll send PMs.

Will follow up with a few pics in a few hours once I have it apart in the garage and can show the underlying issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I got it apart this afternoon and there's virtually no damage beyond what was visible, minor cracking of the crash structure and the radiator shroud survived:





Of course, no "approved" method of repairing this beyond replacement and the body shops sure do love writing the big estimates... but I'm thinking it's more invasive to swap the crash structure, I'll just hit it with epoxy, take the money, "salvage value" Elise and move on?

Here's the pre-exiting damage that was hidden from me that someone kept from being salvage, it's the only thing that gives me pause about keeping this... but the frame is straight and I've put tons of miles on the thing without issue.



GRP exige conversion clam, quality repaint of the whole car, and enough money for a REV400 kit and clutch and maybe even enough left over for upgraded trans sure sounds good :grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Figured I'd follow up with an update on this, I ended up taking the buyback after getting a really good sounding quote from InoKinetic to fix the car and road-tripped it out to CA to get it fixed.

They came in right at their quote for the original work to fix this, and I threw in a good deal of other repairs and upgrades for what insurance paid me. They reviewed the older damage I took pictures of above and said no issues with that and the best course was not to touch it since it was cosmetic. They repaired the crash structure instead of doing a full replacement since a repaired OEM one with the minor damage it had is a known quantity vs. an aftermarket crash structure with no crash-testing.

They've had the car for a couple months and I just flew out there and test drove and inspected it today and it looks like a great job... now just have to wait for finishing touches and return shipping.

A few thoughts:

  • They have an incredible fiberglass guy there and charge a VERY reasonable rate for fiberglass work, they re-worked around the turn-signal delete and made it extremely hard to see vs. the prior attempt.
  • First impression of the paint job quality is superb, especially given the rate for paint, super smooth finish like you see at car shows vs. OEM paint.
  • I opted to save $ by not blending the doors, sills and hardtop in with the clamshells I had painted. So its unavoidable the hue is slightly off, and the finish of the clear is slightly different.
    • I assume the car will get damaged again, and it's already a higher mile/rougher/salvage title so this is OK, if it isn't for you I'm sure they'd blend or repaint the whole car for a similarly reasonable rate. I assume the doors are a bit of a pain to disassemble and prep.
  • I was really pleased with their mechanical work, I threw in a number of upgrades and repairs and all were very reasonable on quoted hours for the job and labor rate.
  • They documented everything with photos online while the process was going.
In the end, I'll lose money since I spent the full insurance check and the car is not worth full value with the salvage title but I managed to get the repairs plus:
  • Rear clamshell repairs for some unrelated damaged I picked up at the track.
  • Rear hatch repaint and filled all mounting holes to install mesh grills cleanly.
  • Lightweight 2-piece rotors installed plus full brake job.
  • Lightweight flywheel and upgraded clutch.
  • Full suspension bushing refresh w/nickel-plated wishbones.
  • HVAC Resistor Pack repair/mitigation
  • A number of maintenance items & oil leaks, front & rear main seal on the engine done as well.
All in all I think a pretty good deal and the car's going to be ready to go to the track after breaking in the clutch and brakes. I have no plans to sell the car so the title doesn't matter as much to me, as long as insurance will cover most of the value if something happens again.

I'll post pictures here in a few weeks once I get the car shipped back!
 

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Great that the car is fixed. Nice to have those extra upgrades. Happy motoring!
 

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Nice to have a happy ending to a crashed/salvage title thread. Good to hear about the quality of Inokinetic’s work.
 
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