1977 Lotus Eclat

$183.6M for Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale
Saturday, 21 January - Sunday, 29 January
Sale Price
23 January 2023
Sold Date
Lot Number
Enthusiast restoration
Auction House
Chassis no. 100190E. Yellow over black. 1973/160hp, alloy wheels caps, Toyo tires, LeCarra woodrim steering wheel, wood shift knob.

Evaluation: With the same owner for about 25 years and got restoration work somewhere in that time. What a surprise…it’s leaking fluids. Older paint with some overspray on the rubber and a few of the stress cracks endemic to old Lotuses. Clean, bright bumpers but scratched window frames. The headlights are up despite the car being off, so maybe they’re stuck. Aged wheels. Clean, possibly newer seats but worn shift knob and warped console. A bit grimy underneath but there isn’t any rot, at least that I can see, but a big area of rust on these cars is the backbone chassis and that isn’t really visible with the car on the ground.

It’s a leaky old example of one of Lotus’s most infamously unreliable cars, sold early on day one of the auction. What could go wrong?

Bottom Line: The Eclat, a slightly sportier fastback version of the Gremlin-esque 1974-82 Elite, was not Lotus’s best. Part of the company’s attempted move upmarket in the 1970s, it is fund and stylish but plagued by all the reliability and build quality issues you hear about on old Lotuses, and whoever came up with the old joke that Lotus stands for “Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious” may have owned one. Its natural habitat is usually either disintegrating in someone’s garage or driveway, or sitting on eBayMotors with a temptingly low asking price, so good running and driving Eclats are rare.

They do exist, though, and they have sold in the mid-teens. But this car doesn’t look that good, and the puddle forming on the ground underneath it is probably just the beginning. It looks like the kind of car you pay 14 grand for, put another 10 grand into, give up, and then sell for 15.

by Andrew Newton
10 February 2023

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