Video: The £600 eBay Lotus Éclat

The Lotus Éclat celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2015, the year after its even more wackily-wedgy sister car the (second generation) Lotus Elite.

This anniversary will definitely* herald the start of a rocketship-like rise in values for these over-looked machines. At least that’s what I told the wife when I splashed a princely £600 on my latest eBay investment…

So what went so wrong with the reputation of 'Britain's Eco Supercar' (as a 'long-term' test Éclat was boldly described on an Autocar front cover in1979) that Éclat/Elite prices first plummeted, and then flat-lined?

Well, where to start… Probably with a hidden structural chassis member designed to rot invisibly, inaccessibly and catastrophically within a few short years of leaving the showroom... Or perhaps with a clever but insufficiently robust independent rear suspension requiring a significant overhaul twice before the chassis rotted… Or with the feeble Austin Maxi-derived gearbox matched to a rev-happy 160bhp twin cam motor (and usually rev-happy owners)… Or with the typical 1970s build quality… Water leaks... Shoddy wiring...

But hang on, that was then!

Surely these days, and at the current giveaway prices, an Elite/ Éclat offers the dedicated enthusiast a perfect opportunity to enjoy owning (and more importantly fiddling with) a proper car with look-at-me styling, carburettors, the potential for super handling feel, and a rewarding level of exoticism that TVR 'wedge' owners can only dream of. (Although perhaps ‘exorcism’ might be a more appropriate term… I’m sure the electrics on my car are haunted.)

Maybe. After a few short weeks of Éclat ownership, I’m already wondering whether my own dedication will last the course. I’ll let you know.

*N.B. Some say there's no such thing as 'a sure thing'. Then again, as a motoring journalist I've been enjoying 'free lunches' for years...

DIscuss this article in the FortyOneSix forum here

Article by Chris-R

Posted December 16, 2013.

Tags: Cars, Lotus, Eclat, Cars, Lotus, Eclat


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