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RE: No Audi Content but...
When I was a child, I lived not far from the Lotus factory at Hethel in
Norfolk and unfortunately the sight of Elans being road tested and the fact
that one of my uncles worked there affected me badly - I had to own a Lotus.
In the mid 80s I got a 78 Eclat and all was well in the world, the sun shone,
beer was cold, etc, etc. After about 2 months reality came home in a big way
- sure the engine was sweet and the car went like stink, but it leaked oil
from just about everywhere - there were times when it seemed even the radiator
and tyres leaked the stuff (more than 10 years on, my parents driveway still
has the stains).
Not only did it leak oil out, it leaked water in. Rain, fog, mist, any
moisture led to puddles in the car, worst offender was the joint where the
upper and lower halves of the body met.
The electrics were even more fun than my Ur-q, especially with the earthing
problems inherent in a 'glass body and all the water. I replaced the starter
motor twice in 4 months, I believe that the heat in the engine compartment
When I eventually discovered major rot in the chassis, I let it go to a guy
with more money and patience.
Now that I've put you off, I'll say that if I could find a good late model
85-92 at the right price (less than GBP4000) I'd probably buy it for a second
Spare parts arent much of a problem in the UK because most of the components
came straight from popular 70s and 80s saloon cars, but I'd guess that you
would be up against it in the US.
Here, if you go to a breakers and ask for a door handle for a Lotus Eclat,
they either wont have one or charge a fortune, but ask for a door handle for
an Austin Allegro or a Morris Marina (horrible cars, some of the jokes built
by British Leyland during the 70s) and they'll have so many they might even
pay you to take them away.
One last thing, even the galvanised chassis (fitted to 2.2 litre models from
1980) will rust given the chance, on the non-galv. chassis rust can be so bad
that in an emergency stop the seat belts will tear out of the body 'cos the
mounts have rotted away leaving the bolts fitted to 1/4 inch of glassfibre.
88 Ur quattro