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E1Geoff

On The Hunt For My First Elise

24 posts in this topic

Hi all, my name is Geoff and I am finally taking the first steps into buying the car I have dreamed of owning for longer than I can remember.

 

I have had a good read through the forums and picked up some excellent advice so my thanks for that already.

 

I have been to see 3 cars so far, an S1 with about 70k that had been treated by Dave Andrews giving it 155bhp, a 2006 111R at ~40k (w/DBW throttle and Air con) and a Standard 2001 S2 at 25k.

 

After trying the S1 (which incidently was a great car and I have never seen so much SH!) I had concerns about my intentions to use the car as a daily driver, but having tried the 2 S2's those concerns went completely out the window, certainly the first decision has been made and it will be an S2 I go for.

 

Reflecting on what I have seen so far a few questions have come to mind and it would be great to hear the thoughts/advice of those with more experience of these cars;

 

1) The 111R seemed to quite a few more rattles than the Std S2, suprisingly so considering there is only 15k diffrerence, although I am not sure whether the Std S2 was just a very good example (it was very very tidy all round and made the 111R look tatty in comparison). How easy is it to track down and sort the majority of rattles - is it difficult to get into the dash?

 

2) The 111R had what seems to be the not uncommon paint bubbling and some slightly patchy paintwork (see pics below) - what kind of cost is a door respray, inc blending into the other panels? I understand care has to be taking with heating and prep of the GRP for paint...

 

IMG_5045_zpsc7dd9ba6.jpg

 

IMG_5041_zps28f8ab09.jpg

 

3) The 111R also seemed to have a slight missalignment between the front clam and lower wing panel on the n/s (the o/s was fine) - is this just a case of adjusting the fittment? I know the radiator has been replaced on the past so maybe when the clam was refitted it wasnt aligned back properly.

 

IMG_5046_zps29b750ac.jpg

 

4) How easy are some of the interior bits to get hold of/replace - e.g sill leather patches etc, to tidy up the interior a bit?

 

The engine and gearbox of the R felt great, it just was made to look a bit tatty when compared to the 25k Std S2 (even the suspension looked much dirtier despite being a 5 yr younger car).

 

I'm not necessarily put off by the rattles/cosmetic stuff providing the price is right. I was wondering if people might suggest what they this particular 111R would be worth with the considerations above?

 

 

 

 

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Personally I prefer the standard k series cars to the 111R. The Toyota engine and box is a lot heavier than the standard k - and I really mean a lot. My standard s2 weighs 750 kilos - a 111R weighs about 870. Most of that extra weight is at the back too where you want it least. The weight makes a big difference to the handling. Standard 120hp cars aren't much slower than 111Rs and are still plenty quick enough.

 

Newer cars can be better built and finished but it seems to be the other way round with the examples you have found.

 

The K series cars WILL do the head gasket, be in no doubt about that. Budget £800 to have it fixed properly when it does and it should be fine after that.

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Paint blisters are a problem on lots of cars, some never suffer at all, and it really seems to be luck of the draw, that said, they can be dealt with but need to be sorted by someone who knows their onions where GRP is concerned. All Elises rattle to a degree its just the way they are but from what your saying this 111r sounds like its been a bit unloved. Personally given what you have stated about it I'd walk, there will always be another to see. On a personal level if I was looking for an S2 as a daily driver I'd be after a S2 111s. Not that I dislike the Toyota cars, I had a 111r for a 4 years as a daily driver and it performed faultlessly, though like all Japanese units you have to use the revs to make real progress, the K on the other hand has a more usable power band as a daily car. I'd suggest trying a 111s before you buy an R, you might not agree but at least you will know.

Most of the things you mention above are easily fixable at a cost, but there are lots of cars about to choose from that are mint, why trouble yourself with having to fix things on your new car.

Hth

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There are plenty of 111r's on the market or will be coming into the market now it's spring.

 

I'd just keep looking for the right one. With a bit of time and patience you can track down and eliminate all rattles etc. I'd go for a car without paint blisters unless you get a really good price. It can be pretty expensive to get it fixed right with a good colour match etc if the blisters are widespread.

 

Clam alignment can be altered quite easily (as you say will have been done when radiator replaced).

 

I've always liked the power delivery of the Toyota engine and I think if you are using it as a daily driver is probably going to be more reliable. There is also the bolt on supercharger kit if you fancy a bit more power in the future.

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Buy on condition, I must of looked at nearly a dozen before finding mine. I'd walk away from that 111R as those paint blisters look costly. I test drove a 111S and 111R back to back and they are very different. In the end I preferred the power delivery and brakes of the 111S but it's all down to personal preference.

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having owned both the two variants of S2 elise you are looking at they are both totally different cars:

All S2 elise's have the potential to suffer with paint blisters, both of mine did the K had it on the clams and 111R had it on the door.
you are looking at a few hundred £ to have it put right, depending on the depth of the damage to the fibre glass.

Rattles as already stated they all rattle, as to how much is a different matter, my 111R rattle a lot less than my K but there was a massive mileage difference between them.

having used both as a daily car i'd say the toyota engined car has "more refined" road manners, mainly due to the ABS brakes.

As dean said have a head gasket failure fund ready for the k series, however don't be fooled into thinking the toyota engined cars are faultless, they can have common issues with the gear boxes particularly 2nd gear (i think)

As Gav at Unit4 in Burton-on-Trent (local lotus specialist) told me when asking about paint work: its hard to find one that hasn't had paint,
this could be the reason for the poor clam alignment or its had some front end work done? Also Clam alignment should be an easy enough fix and can always be used as a bargaining point.

When looking to replace my K i tried a few other S2's out not all where toyota engined either, and there are definitely some s**t examples out there.

Remember to HPI check any car you go to look at!

hope this helps.
Alex

P.s. there is a nice looking dark blue 111r for sale in nottingham its up at £15750 on 35k miles that might be worth a look.

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Wow I am gobsmacked by the number and depth of replies I have had, thanks to you all, sorry I cant reply individually but be sure I have considered all the points raised. I had the pleasure of trying a very tidy 111S this morning, with a few more miles than the R, but in equally good condition as the standard S2 I saw yesterday.

 

On reflection I have to say the R felt much more how I imagined an elise would - of course there is great jump in torque as you hit the second cam, but actually for me the car I drove still felt great on the first cam, response was near instant, and I really enjoy the extended powerband the R gives. Although to be honest its like arguing whether I want to win £5m or £10m!

 

I am leaning towards the R as the engine just feels a little more refined and quiter when sat at idle, the K's I have been in all felt a little lumpy and a little noisy on the cams and valvetrain. I also feel that, although I am happy to account for the cost of the headgasket, it won't lesson the inconvenience should it let go, particularly as public transport isnt an option for me getting to work. That being said I will be sure to look into the issues that are common with the Toyota engine/gearbox.

 

Part of my reason for the initial direction towards a 111S was budget, however I think that providing the R is the right price due to the cosmetic issues it opens up an option I didnt expect to have. Ultimately I am buying a car to use as a daily driver, so minor cosmetic issues and rattles are going to be inevitable so part of me wouldnt want to start off with a mint car and the associated purchase cost, just for it to end up the same way.

 

I think I am going to see what kind of a deal I can get on the R from there, being in the fortunate position that I have just started looking, and having tried a few others have a reasonable good idea whats out there.

 

I'll report back with how it goes!

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Good luck!

If it's a daily driver I would suggest air con as on really hot days you will cook even with the roof off (engine in rear and radiator in the nose..) and make sure the radio works - mine is absolutely rubbish anx it does my head in.

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I'd agree with Dean, kseries s2 heater is not good at clearing the screen fast so aircon is a mist if a daily drive. Heater is ok after everything is up to temperature.

 

Paul

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Any heater in a S2 04 onwards is made of Cheesium.... they have even been known to melt themselves. Another joy of being a Lotus ownerblowup.gifrolleyes.giflaugh.png

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Well I am now the proud owner of my first Elise!

 

Picked up the R last night and have since done the best part of 100 miles and absolutely chuffed to bits. Its just so purposeful in the way it drives, immediate throttle response, beautifully direct and responsive steering and dynamically I am amazed how well it rides on crap roads considering how focused the suspension and chassis are. Even when I got diverted down a ridiculous country "road" (I use the term loosely) due to a road closure.

 

I actually think I was being a little harsh saying it was rattly and tatty, actually there is only one interior rattle - the lower steering column shroud, and there is only minor scuffing in places where it would be completely expected.

 

I have to say not being able to wait for my alarm to go off this morning to drive to work has been a novel experience!

 

I am looking forward to the weekend so I can give it a proper drive go over it with a fine tooth comb to give it the TLC it deserves.

 

I'll get some photo's up asap. Thanks again for all the advice. Does anyone have any experience of Allon White in Cranfield?

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