1974 Lotus Other
Up for sale is a Lotus Elite M50, #172 of production. This was Lotus's first entry into the supercar market, designed to compete with Porsche and Ferrari. The design was inspired by the Lamborghini Espada which was a contemporary. The car marked a huge jump from the miata-type Elan and the speciality Europa, being a true 4 seater. Both of those previous models had been available in both factory built and kit forms, with the latter being a huge tax break in those days. The Elite M50 was the first car from Lotus available only in factory built form, at least for the previous few years, but it is still designed like a kit car, and therefore very easy to work on. I have often said I could take 80% of this car apart with a phillips head and a 13mm socket. I have owned her for about 20 years now, she was my second Lotus, and I showed her quite a bit. She won a trophy in 1999 which goes with her to her new home.Along with the trophy and a scale model, there are books including a compilation of 29 reprints from car and driver, road and track, etc. and a complete factory service manual. The original vinyl wallet containing the owners manual, dealer network list, complete wiring diagram, and service schedule is also included. At around 10 or 11,000 miles, right before I bought her, there were new euro bumpers installed (no big black rubber bumpers here!) and an engine out repaint that was an excellent job. It is a triumph blue and the paint code is in that vinyl wallet also. Also around that time the rear windows and back hatch were completely blacked out, which is a great look. There are a few spare parts, including the original front rubber bumper(poor condition), a chrome strip(?) and two lower body panels that are in the original milk chocolate brown, if the winning bidder wants them. The interior is completely intact and even the white corduroy fabric, famous for being near impossible to clean, is fairly good considering she is 45 years old. I always had seat covers on her to try to protect them. One thing with the interior is the drivers side sunvisor was broken when I bought the car, it is included but the plastic shaft is broken. All the glass is present and intact. The lettering and stripping are vinyl and removable if the winner decides to. (I put those on after answering "what kind of car is that?" for some ten years, and that is my way of shouting my answer across 4 lanes of highway!) The paint job is at about 90%, with a few spots of small paint chips (see photos). The pop up headlights are held closed by a vacuum system which no longer works but it would be very easy to adapt to electric motors from a miata, fiero, mr2, etc. Something I always meant to get to but never did. What I did do was a carb rebuild and engine out valve job at 16k miles which also included a timing belt and tensioner, new water pump, and exhaust system had all 3 mufflers replaced with new stainless steel units, but the pipng was never replaced and on drivers side where pipe is bent to go over axle there is a hole (see photos).Also she is equipped with twin cooling fans for radiator, they would kick on when temp went past halfway. well in summer, when I would get stuck in construction or traffic, by the time fans kicked on temp would still be climbing so rewired the fans so one stayed on whenever car is on and the other is controlled by under dash toggle switch. Also bypassed sometimes dodgy Lucas electronic starter relay switch and installed push button starter. Much better. She is fitted with a newer AC Delco battery and newer Jetzon Stealth Interceptor tires. The Elite is powered by the "brilliant" Lotus 907 motor, the first modern multi-valve 4 cylinder engine with twin Weber side-draft carbs and K+N filters. Lotus was truly cutting edge with the multi-valve 907, and it took Ferrari almost ten years to introduce their own multi-valve engine(1983). It produces 160 horsepower with the optional Webers, and a wind cheating shape which scored one of the lowest drag numbers ever recorded: a flat .30! This number, along with a frontal area of 20 square feet, means she only needs 41 horsepower to maintain 100 mph! This same engine was used in the Jensen-Healey, and I have seen examples of that car with over 100k miles on the 907 motor! It also was the original engine used in the Esprit (the one James Bond drove that turned into a submarine was powered by the 907) and parts are available. Handling on a Lotus is their strong point, the balance on the car is highly desirable, with the front to rear weight distribution, with the driver in the car, registering at 51% front/49% rear. She handles like a dream. About ten years ago I bought my third Lotus, an 87 Turbo Esprit, and the Elite has pretty much sat since then. Before she was parked she was running fine but had developed a charging problem, at idle she was only pulling about 10 volts but at driving speed the normal 13 and a half or 14 volts. Probably an issue with the main ground (a common problem with these carbon-fibre cars) and I replaced both the alternator and voltage regulator (both Chrysler parts from that era) but did not alleviate the problem. Also the pass door moulding has come unglued and was taped in place (see photos). She has been started sporadically over these ten years but it's been a few since the last time.When the decision was made to list her I tried to start her but she acted like there was no spark. Since I bought the Esprit she has been a little neglected. I admit it. Due to her not running, the charging situation, and attention needed to the brakes (from sitting the brakes have frozen) she will need to be towed to her new home. But it is time for her to move on. She needs a new owner who is as enthusiastic as I was in the beginning. She is a perfect entry level Lotus. The engine turns easily and should be a very easy fix to get her running, a great winter project or father/son endeavor. Clean title in hand. There was a 74 Elite on e bay recently, a "barn find" with a totally destroyed interior, etc. and watching what that car sold for determined where I set the low reserve for this car. This is no barn find! This car is strictly sold as is, with no warranties expressed or implied. I have enjoyed this car for many years and hope she finds the right home. A $500 non-refundable deposit is required by winning bidder upon auction close. Certified check or paypal only. Good luck and happy bidding!