Two years ago I got interested in a Lotus Elan roadster, but as a computer programmer I never dreamed I would really own one of these cars. Then I became engaged to my wife and her father offered to buy us a Lotus Elan on his next diplomatic tour of Western Europe. We arrived in England on November 28th in a TWA 747 and collected the Lotus which my father-in-law had bought us as a wedding present and drove off on our honeymoon.
In the last two weeks we have spent three nights sleeping in the car with real trouble, and the following is the list of faults we have experienced on a car which cost more than two Chevrolets back home:
1. Headlamps pointed up in the sky.
2. Generator fell off after less than 200 miles.
3. Passenger door could not be opened from inside (260 miles).
4. Soft-top blew off (290 miles).
5. Headlamps fell down (330 miles).
6. Fuel tank started to leak (490 miles).
7. Car would not start (544 miles).
8. Oil leaked from rear of rocker cover—new gasket (638 miles).
9. Car boiled in Manchester traffic during rain storm (December?).
10.Spare wheel found to be flat when we had puncture at 2 a.m. in Northern Wales (772 miles).
11. Brakes suddenly jammed on in Stratford-upon-Avon (986 miles)
12. Hood (you say bonnet) opening cable broke off (1,168 miles).
13. Top (you say hood) blew off again and tore (1,214 miles).
14. Muffler became detached from chassis and was run over by passing truck (1,488 miles).
15. Plastic strip on front bumper flew off at speed.
16. Generator lead had been “arcing” from new and failed (1,444 miles).
17. Windshield wiper motor failed (1,608 miles).
18. Car went on to three cylinders and blew clouds of white smoke. Garage deduced that plug electrode had burned away due to very weak mixture setting making hole in piston. The car has been trailered back to the supplying dealer and my wife and I are flying home a week early (1,778 miles).
We are now preparing an advertisement which starts: UNWANTED WEDDING PRESENT. I now know most of the Lotus dealers in England but several of those listed in Lotus advertisements said, when we called them, that they had recently given up the Lotus franchise operation. I wonder why?