Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Lotus Elan is Toyota powered, just like its much younger relation, the Elise. Will that however, make you question this toy-powered toy's not-so toy-like price?
Here, pull my finger. Ha, got you! No one however, was 'got' by yesterday's claimed GM experimental turbo charged 1979 Corvette. That seller's story was as sketchy as a politician's promise and it helped drive a 64% Crack Pipe loss for the car.
You know what, I think the only GM experimental engineering testers you really are likely to come by around this price are things like the 8-6-4 Caddys. Those all were handed off to buyers without the engineers having worked all the kinks out.
There's nothing kinky about today's 1969 Lotus Elan, as it's not just a classic British roadster, but also the role model for our beloved Miata. That little Mazda is likewise the Elan's spiritual successor, in the same fashion that the Elan is the Miata's spirit animal, guiding the little Mazda on its vision quest. Peyote, it's a hell of a drug!
Much like the modern Miata, this '69 Elan has a DOHC 4-valve four under its bonnet. That comes by way of a 1,600-cc Toyota 4A-GE rocking 42 DCOEs. The mill's said to be good for 126-bhp, or about twenty more than the original Lotus Twin Cam. If however you jones for authenticity over ponies then never fear as the car comes with the factory 1,588 too! And that one has less than a grand on a rebuild. Here's a quick trivia quiz - how many camshafts does a Lotus Twin Cam have?
Not only is the engine in this Elan a newer hunk of metal, but the frame and a bunch of the suspension bits have been freshened too. If you are unfamiliar with the Elan design, it's impressively simple: there is a capital Y-shaped frame that mounts the drivetrain and suspension, and upon that rests the fiberglass body, saddle bag style, over the top of the frame.
This car has had its original Lotus frame and control arms replaced with Spydercars pieces. These are re-engineered bits that are in most all ways better than the original. The car also has rebuilt brakes and Rotoflex lines. About the only thing mechanical that is stock is the 4-speed gearbox.
The body is claimed to be in good shape with only a few stress cracks at the battery mount. The car, while originally blue, is now refrigerator white. Top and glass are also said to be first rate. On the inside, the car shows a new hunk of lumber on the dash, rebuilt gauges, and new carpet and upholstery. You may note that this edition had fully-framed door windows and power glass. Fancy!
This Elan is offered by a dealer, but for some reason most the pictures in the ad look like they were taken by an appreciative passer-by while the car was on a cool-down after a long run. Still, it presents well - especially that interior, which looks sweet, and seems really well kitted.
For those of you who look at this car's $29,500 price tag and scoff that you would rather just buy 15 Miata's (Miati?) for that price, well, yes you could probably do that. You probably should too The Elan is the MX5's role model, and there's an important reason for that - it did Miata before being Miata was cool. This one not only gives you all that, but the Toyota mill and Spyder parts mean that it's even better than when Mazda thought it was worth copying.
So, do you think this Elan's mods add or detract to its value? These cars are tracking well into the $30K range which makes that an important consideration in evaluating its $29,500 price. What do you think, is it worth that kind of scratch? Or, is this a Lotus priced to an untenable position?
H/T to our own Patrick George for the hookup!
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