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Just been given a lotus elite

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Hi all,


Im new to this forum as Ive just been given a lotus elite that needs restoring. Unfortunately I really don't have the time to do it up so Im thinking about selling it and I was wondering if theres any demand for a lotus elite project? its mainly complete, just needs a new interior and a few small bits. can anyone give me advise on selling it and how much theyre worth?


If need be I can post more details about it when I get home if that helps. It does come with a rolling chassis/body of another lotus (esprit I think) 




Edited by Steve Bedford
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Welcome to TLF Steve. :welcome:


You should get some people seeing this. I would also post up a topic in the Introductions section if I was you. More exposure can't hurt.


Any other question with using the forums, feel free to ask one of us mods. We're here to help. :)

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

For forum issues, please contact one of the Moderators. (I'm not one of the elves anymore, but I'll leave the link here)

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Hi Steve


If the Elite comes with a spare Excel chassis the presumably someone has condemned the original Elite item. Lots of people have done this swap; I can't speak from experience (yet) but apparently it's not completely straightforward and needs someone with a bit of technical know how.


Price wise if you are unsure then Ebay will provide an answer, guessing about £500-1500 depending on how much else there is to do on the base Elite.  Pictures would be great

In the garage no-one can hear you scream 

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just got a bit of info on it from my cousin (who gave it me)

1979 lotus elite

wants interior sorting

needs roof lining

needs carpets

needs painting

all mechanical work sorted

had second hand chassis & hammerited

also complete old rolling chassis with lots of new parts on it, plus lotus excel body shell with lots of parts still on it including leather interior. all glass


reg plate worth £700 on its own

had 4 speed gear box fitted

had lots of new mechanical parts fitted, not much work to get through MOT, even the lights stay down

too much work done to break for parts


That's what my cousin has wrote down for me, I haven't had chance to get pics of it lately as ive been working, but theres some pics of when it was at his garage:





oh and hes also said theres a lotus esprit s2 stainless exhaust that he wants to sell as well

oh and hes also said theres a lotus esprit s2 stainless exhaust that he wants to sell as well

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Just had a look at the elite today and was thinking about doing some of the bits to it myself and see how far I get.


The first thing was the roof, it needs new vinyl, can I do this myself? if so where do I get the vinyl from? and would it be worth priming and painting the roof first? also, would it need an adhesive on the roof before the vinyl? im guessing the chrome trim on the roof comes off to release the bits of vinyl that are left on there?


The second thing I was looking at was the interior, theres a full roll of new flooring material in there that needs putting down but I was wondering if the leather interior and seats from the Excel would fit in the elite?


Im not bothering about the paint job on the car for the moment, if I can get these jobs done ill replace all the door seals and boot seal and then think about the paint


If I do restore it how much are these elites worth?




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First off, the exterior vinyl roof is optional, if the gel coat and paint underneath are ok, you don't need to put one on.But it might be easier to put one on than try to get a decent finish on the roof - this changes of course if your repainting the entire car....I'd be tempted to leave it off if your going to respray the car. In my dolomite sprint days 15 years ago, getting a new vinyl roof done professionally was 125 quid - factor in 15 years of inflation and I doubt it'll break the bank.




Yeah, it needs adhesive otherwise it'll shrivel in the heat and lifts.


You've to get it flat, but you want the adhesive to stick. I wouldn't bother painting and priming the glassfibre roof panel. In fact I'd be tempted to roughen it up a bit more (if its already a rough finish - if its good smooth paint and gelcoat - I'd be leaving the vinyl off).


Be careful taking the chrome trim off as its difficult and expensive to replace broken bits.


I think a fair bit of the excel interior should fit such as seats, It is however different at the rear quarters and I suspect the doorcards are different at the top as the excel body is flat where the elite and eclat drops. I don't know much about excels as I prefer the older cars - I've never lso much as laid a spanner on an excel. Centre console and main parts may fit - but not all of it. It is going to be a case of mix and match, which means recovering some of the existing elite sections in something close to the excel leather colour. The good news is that the interior trim panels in elites and eclats is very easy to remove, and are fairly flat, so recovering is easy. Have a look online at Woolies trim supplies. Also your local Hobbycraft sells leatherette on the roll in limited colours. Some adhesive and a sharp craft knife makes things not too tricky.


"How much are elites worth?"


The short and unhelpful answer is however much you can persuade someone to pay, that you are willing to let it go for. Values vary enormously from a few hundred quid up to 7K for a first class car (more if its left hand drive). Series 2 elites are worth more than series 1's as they are rarer and have worthwhile improvements and it is the series 2's that pitch in at the top end.


Series 1's in first class condition are unusual and we dont see that many offered for sale as most are in the care of long term owners, which is how they have stayed in good condition. Having a galvanised chassis makes a difference to value, and although you have photos of the steel chassis off the car to show to buyers - there is a stigma on ungalvanised chassis which affects values.


If you do a decent job and it looks really nice when painted, I'd say a realistic valuation/asking price would be 3.5K. No guarentee that you would get that in the market however.


They are however great cars and look better and better with every advancing day. Interest amongst Lotus enthusiasts is rising.


Fix it up, stay on the forums and join our happy band!


you'll love it.


Edited by Dunc
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Before starting work Steve take a while to think if you really have the inclination, patience or aptitude. If you just want the money sell now, it looks a nice complete car that would attract an enthusiast, especially with a few trinkets like the Excel chassis. You will be lucky to get back the cost of parts on a restored car, and that's doing almost everything yourself


If you start pulling bits off and then get stuck, sick or bored it could end up like the "basket of parts" cars that litter Ebay and get scrapped for their engines. I don't mean to put you off if this car really has pushed your buttons, but a restoration wasn't your first intention and realistically most people attempting this on an Elite are doing it because the car is a "keeper"

In the garage no-one can hear you scream 

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yeah I can see what you mean, to be honest I probably don't have the time to do it up. I think ill just sell it as is.


I had someone round last night looking at it who lives down the road and whos dad had 1 so he wants 1 to do up and keep, hes bringing his mechanic round this week to check it over.


If anyone else is interested in it let me know, looking for around £1250 ono

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