The Elan

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Sir,

Regarding recent correspondence about Lotus assembly, you may be interested in my experience with an Elan, which I have now had for some eight months and 10,000 miles.

Assembly took me and one other person 2 1/2 days, with a third assistant while fitting the engine. This time might have been reduced had I realised earlier the necessity of closing and clipping the rear springs before offering them into position, and had the kit not lacked a large number of essential parts. The assembly was quite straightforward, but when the engine was fitted it was seen to be out of line. This was found to be due to the engine being supplied with one of its mounting brackets fitted upside down, proving that it could not have received even the most casual inspection.

I experienced the usual crop of teething troubles, such as failure to start owing to the battery being almost fiat when supplied, bonnet-release clips coming away in my hand, headlamps not lifting up and odd electrical parts failing. Water cascades through the doors and after three sojourns at the works I have concluded that this cannot be cured.

The car arouses a great deal of interest, and I am often asked if it is worth its cost, which is more than a Rover 2000; and its price per pound weight is probably higher than any other car on the market. Basically, I do not think that it is, as it is guaranteed for only six months, the paintwork is shoddy, and fittings such as door handles seem to be the cheapest obtainable. On the other hand, if it is performance and sheer pleasure of driving that one wants, and if one can ignore the smell of soaked underfelt, then it is worth the money.

I would add that I would not buy an Elan with the wide-ratio gearbox, or if I did not also have another car.

K.WALLER.

Walton-on-Thames.