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STYLISH, SUPER SHARP LATE SERIES 1 2.0 LOTUS ELITE AUTOMATIC SOLD (1979)
STYLISH, SUPER SHARP LATE SERIES 1 2.0 LOTUS ELITE AUTOMATIC IN ICONIC LIVERY
******NOW WITH NEW CAMBELT AND NEW ALTERNATOR*****
With the recent arrival of an almost perfect early Lotus Elite with a five speed manual gearbox, my rare, 1979 2.0 Automatic Elite is being offered for sale.
Although I originally started my search for a manual car, this really sharp looking Elite automatic has been a very surprising and positive experience and a great introduction to the model and the heritage of Lotus.
Following a 200 mile drive home, apart from the usual worry associated with the unknown condition of the toothed cam belt, the car behaved itself impeccably, and although it revs higher than the manual car, it provides a relaxed drive in true GT style and is certainly a little different from the norm.
All the expensive, difficult to locate parts are in great order such as the period black leather interior, the original, ultra stylish GKN alloys wearing a full set of matching, as new tyres, the distinctive bright work around the windows, and all the instruments and switchgear which are lovely too, are complete. It even has a full stainless steel exhaust system installed. A replacement carpet set has obviously been fitted at some time in the not too distant past and that famous, almost Thunderbirds 70’s style Giugiaro masterpiece dashboard is covered in a slightly faded alcantara type fabric – pure nostalgia!
Crucially, being the original Series One car, the chassis is in exceptionally good order with no evidence of repair or corrosion that can often make these fine cars uneconomic to maintain. The innovative Lotus suspension is quiet and refined and everything operates smoothly without any worrying clunks or undue noise. The unusual Borg Warner three speed automatic gearbox also operates just as it should with smooth operation and responsive changes, up and down and perhaps surprisingly, it quite suits the grown up GT feel that the car has. Only one year later with production of the more expensive Elite S2.2 being started in 1980, the Series One cars manufactured in this year numbered very few and in automatic guise, they were especially rare as this really was the very last of the line for the pure, original Oliver Winterbottom designed shape of the super sharp and stunning S1.
Currently taxed until October and with a clean MOT until the end of March next year, this striking, period perfect Lotus is actually ready to enjoy and improve as and when finances and time allow. I plan to put a new cambelt on it as soon as I can so that the car can be used without any concerns.
Being the top flight 504 model, the car would originally have come fitted with air conditioning as well as power steering and the automatic gearbox. However, on this particular car, the potentially problematic and cumbersome air conditioning system has been removed entirely, thereby saving weight and possible complications. The remaining heating and ventilation system however, operates just as it should and the electric fan and both electric windows work well too. The car starts well once the two twin choke Dellorto’s have been fed with unleaded fuel and it settles with good oil pressure and a clean exhaust and pulls strongly without any hesitation.
There’s a great period mini Hi Fi ‘stack’ system fitted into the dash and in the extensive history file, the original operating manual for this is still intact.
As with many classics at this price level and age, there are inevitably certain improvements which could be made should you choose, but generally the car presents very well and always causes a stir when refuelling or at classic car shows. It can be used straight away without any serious issues as the all important cooling fans operate perfectly; keeping the 16 valve all alloy motor in check and the usual problem of a sagging headlining and worn upholstery is not a problem with this Elite, although a seam needs sewing on the drivers seat to be near perfect. At least you can spend your weekends driving, tinkering and enjoying the car and not just chasing rust around its bodywork as you might with many other classics at this sort of money. Add to that the distinctive styling, twin cam, 16 valve urge, exquisite Lotus handling with seating and luggage space for four adults and you have yourself a very special and usable classic car indeed. There is an almost unbroken record of MOT certificates from the early eighties, right up to date which helps validate the mileage and also numerous tax discs which show that this car has been in pretty much constant use over the years.
The striking black paintwork with fine gold coachlines is generally in good condition with good panel gaps, door closure lines and only a few marks or stress cracks in the finish, and it looks great against the aluminium trim and green tinted glass. It would lend itself superbly to a full period JPS style makeover if so desired. Being critical, the low, vulnerable nose section would perhaps benefit from some light cosmetic attention as the paint appears a little thin in places, but at least with it being composite, it won’t be deteriorating below the surface. I plan to make some modest detail improvements but the price may then adjust accordingly.
All the detail is complete including the badges and expensive brightwork and so all in all, the car is a perfect way to get into exclusive classic Lotus ownership at very modest cost. With recent F1 success and publicity and similar models being listed for sale this summer at prestigious auction houses with guide prices of between £8000 and £12000, these cars are clearly ‘on the up’ and are potentially a shrewd investment and also great fun.
Please be aware that this is not a restoration basket case in need of thousands of pounds worth of renovation. It is a fully functioning, fully MOT’d and taxed example of this rare and super-cool, retro styled Lotus and is ready to enjoy and detail at your leisure.
Far more dynamic and individual than the ubiquitous, rusting MGBGT and with much more space, comfort, refinement and style too.
Please call at most reasonable times to ask any specific questions or to arrange to view the car.
Please also note that the cherished number shown on the car is not available for sale