In reply to Mr. Ratcliffe’s letter in the May issue, I cannot really answer his question—I think that finally depends on what he wants the car for—but at least I can help with some more data on which to base his conclusions.
My ’65 Elan is the latest in about 10 years’ worth of elderly sports cars; anything I want seems to be at least eight years old before I can afford it. The predecessors were: MG TD & TC (total cost £275—wish I still had those to sell!), TR2, Mini-van (well, everyone has one sometime), Mk, I Sprite, Lotus 6, TR3 (nice ladies’ car the TR—my wife still has a TR4). The Elan is certainly the least reliable.
I bought the car about two years ago, after failing to find a Morgan at a sensible price. It came with a handful of bills recording a fairly hectic service life, but I had already fallen for the car and convinced myself that this only proved that everything must have been put right by now. Ah well!
Strangely, most of my troubles have come from the more common Ford bits, e.g. gearbox and clutch, with little bother from the special Lotus bits. But I still cannot make the handbrake do anything much except eat pads. Any suggestions anyone?
Perhaps I let myself in for it by buying a worn out car and someone with a more recent, low mileage model would do better, but the others were old also, and no two of them together cost as much as the Elan in repairs.
However, when it is going, there is nothing like it. Even the Sprite, after the attention of Messrs. Downton, Koni and others, was just not in the same class for driving pleasure. It’s the way it responds; be it going, stopping, or manoeuvring, it simply does whatever is required of it.
My conclusions must be highly subjective; it all comes back to the purpose of the vehicle. I would hate to part with the little beast, or to have to rely on it for transport. I usually cycle to work. I think it was a Morgan owner who paraphrased it rather well by expressing surprise when someone told him that the machine which gave him so much pleasure could also be used as a means of getting from A to B!/p>
Cheddar JOHN KAY