$6,495 Sweet Elite! 1974 Lotus Elite

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This rare beauty is a 1974 Lotus Elite and it’s in Huntington Beach, California. It’s listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $6,495! Whether you like these cars or not, you have to agree that’s a great price. No, really, you have to.

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You can probably guess that I absolutely love the quirkiness of this body style, and you’d be right. Not to mention that it’s yellow! I don’t even know if I’d fit in one of these, but I don’t really care. Lotus only made around 2,500 of these so it’s not something that you’ll most likely see another one of when you take this to a car show, which you will because, come on, it’s a 1974 Lotus Elite! It’s hard to believe that they made these cars for 12 years, from 1974 to 1982; from Nixon to Reagan. Or, actually, from Heath to Thatcher.

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This car has no rust and it doesn’t even have any scratches in the paint, according to the owner/seller. One unusual bit is that it has a new fuel cell added to the trunk/boot, so I’m not sure what that’s about. I would rather have things bone-stock, so I’d want to figure out what’s wrong with the original fuel tank and get that fixed, but that’s just me.

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The interior looks as great as the exterior does, but there aren’t any good, overall interior photos. And, the seller says that the interior is new other than the carpet. The speedometer works, sometimes, so that’ll have to be looked at but the rest of the gauges are in working order. This is a 5-speed manual, which is nice.

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This isn’t a car that you’ll bring to your local franchise tire retailer for oil changes and tuneups, but you’d want to do that on your own anyway. This is a 2.0L inline-four with around 155 hp. This car has had the carbs rebuilt recently along with the hoses being replaced and a cooling system flushed and the seller says that there are “no leaks, no hesitation, no overheating, no warning lights”. I love this car, it checks so many boxes for me. Are any of you fans of this generation of Lotus Elite?

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Comments

  1. nessy

    Nothing to fuss over at that price. Funny looking car but the deal of the day for sure.

  2. dirtyharry

    At that price how could you go wrong? Decent paint, interior, no leaks. Never seen one before. Likely very “fiddly” to own. I imagine the Lotus twin cam four with two carbs provides some entertainment.

    • Dale Leier

      Solex’s are a pain but what isn’t?

    • terry johnson

      Buy it, ship it to Europe or UK, double your money.

  3. rusty

    Deal of day definately.

    Re: petroltank… having various fibreglass cars in my time, some had tanks that were part of the fibreglass body (Mounded in) and often that becomes a problem with the fibreglass in the tank deteriating.
    Not knowing these cars I only offer this as an aside.

  4. Jay M

    Wow, that’s gorgeous!
    -TR7 up front.
    -Gremlin in the rear.
    Quite a mystery why they didn’t sell more…

    Like 1
    • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

      ..Reason………. cost more than a Corvette …..

      handled great, but definitely heavy and underpowered…….. and got NO respect

      ……………………………still doesn’t

  5. Bobsmyuncle

    Great design!

    Like 1
  6. Dolphin Member

    I could really like a car that handles like a Lotus, especially if it is a Lotus in very good condition and costs only $6.5K.

    The middle looks OK, but the black plastic battering ram and Jay M’s Gremlin rear? No.

    • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

      Dolphin, they look great when changed from the USA Spec foam, to our Euro Spec bumpers

  7. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    .

    • Scotty G

      Dang, Dave, I wish you wouldn’t have posted those photos, now I’m thinking even harder on this one! Beautiful work as always, sir.

    • waynard

      How available are those bumpers and at what price?

      Like 3
  8. RoughDiamond

    Wow! Those front and rear Euro spec bumpers sure do transform the car aesthetically.

  9. Dale Leier

    How can you lose? If only this came up in a month from now….

  10. AER

    This has got to be a scam.

  11. Bruce Best

    I have driven them and I still have both an Europa and Esprit Turbo. This represented the Lotus version of a 4 seater coupe. Not as fast as the two seaters but the handling and brakes were just as good. Helpful if the two in the back were children or did not have legs. I think most of these had the galvanized chassis so they hardly every have rust problems and most of the bits are from high production cars so you can get them right of the shelf at shockingly low prices. That includes many of the suspensions bits.

    There are many lotus clubs and support suppliers both in the U.S. and in England where you can get the Euro numbers and they do make it look much better. Critical item is the fuel lines especially between the carbs. They were noted for cracking over time because of the heat in the engine department.

    As for the gas tank I am certain it has rusted over the years. That is a common problem in many lotus cars even the ones I own. Two choices rebuild and replace the mild steel tanks and have the epoxy coated or get one of the stainless steel replacements. That is not too difficult on the Europa and this car but is a major pain for the Esprit.

    Typically in this country they had air-conditioning but most of the rest of the car was much like the equal BMW of the time in terms of comfort. Did not go much faster but handled as good or better. You will rarely see two at the same time no matter where go you out side of a lotus club meeting. Strange looking true, wonderful driving dynamics also true, a pot of problems only if you do not keep up on service. But fun most certainly even if you only take it back and forth to the grocery for it will carry far more than you might think.

  12. Peter

    I could not find a single Lotus Elite in the online Hagerty valuation tools–and this is not the first time I’ve been similarly surprised, about a number of marques one would think would be represented there, based on their presence in collector communities.

    Can anyone else find it, and tell me where I missed my “braking marker”? LOL

    Thanks,

    Peter

  13. waynard

    I found it. They say “Good” is 6200. Excellent 13,800. I think. I just googled 1974 Lotus Elite and it came right up.

    • Peter

      waynard,

      Wow–thank you so much!

      Whatever I’m doing while ON the Hagerty website has not been working properly, I think, for years, because, as I alluded to earlier, I’ve attempted to find what should be fairly-common cars valued, and either the model is missing entirely (as it was when I attempted to find this Elite) or there’s missing model-variants, etc….

      And while I was aware that Google can be a shortcut into any number of websites, I’d not thought to try it for Hagerty.

      So, MANY THANKS, my friend–you win “the Internets” today! ;-)

      All the best,

      Peter

      • waynard

        Thanks, Peter, for the compliment.

        A little further info: if you add a word behind your specific car inquiry, like ‘upholstery’ or ‘paint colors’ or ‘specifications’ you generally get a lot of info real quick to pick and choose from.

        Have a great day!

  14. HeadMaster1

    I love these, but I love the Jensen GT just a bit more. At this price you can’t go wrong, unless the timing belt breaks on the way home :-( @Dave I see Kasas tags on yours, what part of Kansas are you in, and are there any decent Brit car clubs? I recently relocated to SE KS……Cheers

    • Steven C

      I just moved to Lawrence and daily drive an 87.5 Audi coupe gt, we should all hang out.

  15. joe

    I think Dave is in the mid-eastern area of Alabama.

  16. brakeservo

    I was only 20 years old when I got to drive the very first one of these to touch asphalt in America. Thought it ugly then, time hasn’t improved it. I did however make a change to the car that was eventually adopted by the factory – the little aluminum ‘ramp’t that allows the rear wiper arm to move from the parked position to the glass easily – I fouind a piece of scrap aluminum and hand-filed it to fit, and then screwed it on.

  17. Scotty Staff

    A painful auction update, this car sold for $5,995! Dang.

  18. Jorge Garcia

    I have seen them go for about $4k. These are Jensen Healeys with fiberglass bodies. Just kidding. Maybe not.

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