FOWHATWHATTOLOOKFOR

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -

As ex­cep­tional as the Elan’s chas­sis is, en­thu­si­as­tic drivers may well have found the lim­its, and the com­pos­ite and glass­fi­bre body is com­plex to re­pair. In­spect all ar­eas care­fully and pay at­ten­tion to the rear quarters and door align­ment. Also check un­der­neath for damage to the sus­pen­sion arms, as th­ese are sim­ple fab­ri­cated com­po­nents.

HID­DEN HIS­TORY

Ra­tio­nally the Elan is bought for the han­dling above all else. The chas­sis is gal­vanised, but the sus­pen­sion arms are prone to cor­ro­sion. There are also many bushes in the fully in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion. Re­place­ment rear wish­bones can run to £700 plus, with Lo­tus parts be­ing gal­vanised and in­cor­po­rat­ing new bushes. Ride should be ex­cep­tional, so bud­get for new bushes at the very least if it’s twitchy or soft. Pay at­ten­tion to the brak­ing, too, which can suf­fer from seized calipers at the rear and was not as ad­vanced as the rest of the M100.

PER­FECT POISE

The win­dow reg­u­la­tors and trim can present chal­lenges, the doors are quite com­plex to work on and past re­pair ef­forts may have added com­pli­ca­tions with bro­ken clips and bodges, so make sure the win­dows op­er­ate smoothly and lack scratches.

FALL­ING APART

Lo­tus own­ers of the 1970s and ’80s gen­er­a­tions will find the Isuzu pow­er­plant a shock to the sys­tem, as the Lo­tus­tuned, GM Japan-de­signed four-cylin­der is fun­da­men­tally re­li­able, ca­pa­ble of 200,000 miles and paired to an equally long-lived clutch and gear­box. Check for oil leaks and smoke in­di­cat­ing poor care of the turbo, and per­form the usual in­spec­tions for coolant, cam­belt changes and reg­u­lar main­te­nance.

UN­COM­MON RE­LI­A­BIL­ITY

The roof is straight­for­ward, but Lo­tus made a few odd choices re­gard­ing seal­ing and drainage around the A-pil­lars. The bat­tery box is un­der the hood com­part­ment, so don’t for­get to check in there while check­ing the roof. Stuck-on ex­tra seals and Sikaflex built-up gaps may look crude but are proven fixes, so don’t as­sume the car has been bodged.

RAIN OR SHINE

There are sur­pris­ingly few com­mon elec­tri­cal is­sues, but some typ­i­cal watch points are shared with any glass­fi­bre/ com­pos­ite bod­ied car where earth­ing is de­pen­dent on the chas­sis and wiring. Early cars had a weak and com­plex head­light mech­a­nism, and over time run­ning mod­i­fi­ca­tions gen­er­ally mean that the later the build, the bet­ter it is.

ELEC­TRI­CAL CON­CERNS

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