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  • Some questions

    I currently own a highly modified, and quite fast Lotus Elan that I love except for one thing, it constantly breaks and is draining my wallet and testing my patience.

    I know the only car I could ever truly replace the Elan with and not feel guilty is a Seven, so wondering if the Caterham/Birkins are fairly reliable (ZTEC) or are they cars that you have to constantly fiddle with? Not sure I want to trade one problem child for another

    Also, is there much difference between a Caterham and a Birkin? I've always been partial to the Caterham, but it seems that the Birkins are more affordable(?)

    And lastly the question you all are sick of hearing, are there any other options besides an SB100 to register the car? Can one get away with an out of state registration? I'd hate to buy one only to not be able to use it

    Thanks

    Morgan
    www.morgansegal.com

    The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

  • #2
    I've had Elans too. I loved them and still do - I'd like to re-build one one day. But I'd never want to use it too much, mostly for the reason you mention. But they are beautiful and a Series 2 would look really good next to the Caterham.

    The car you are considering is much more reliable than the Elan. The chassis has been constantly updated from the original and the drivetrain is modern. ECUs and fuel injection are much easier to deal and vastly more reliable than a pair of Webers. All the ancillaries are much better as well. No rotoflex couplings. You'd find one easier to work on as well.

    And of course a 7 is much (much) faster. The steering is more direct (believe it - it is possible) - and quicker, and the shifter is only marginally less satisfying than the Elans, still the best one I've ever used. And, there's more tire and less car - the grip is phenomenal. An Elan will seem mushy by comparison.

    Which leads to... A Super 7 is waaay less comfortable than an Elan. They are uncomfortable at best for long drives, a use they were never intended for by the designer, in my opinion. If this is important then consider an SV. It's just enough bigger to make a difference in this regard.

    After analysis I opted for a Caterham Superlight. It's all about power to weight, particularly on track, and the 150 - 200 lb. weight penalty of a Birkin is huge. It's like having a passenger in the car w/out the passenger. Bear in mind that I didn't really care about the difference in price because after a few years the money simply wouldn't matter anymore, but the weight penalty would. I've never regretted my choice either. Personally I also prefer the original for a number of other reasons, provenance being one of them.

    Note that I hardly ever use the car on the street or highway anymore. Once I discovered the full capabilities of the Caterham on the track my interest in speeding around on the streets disappeared, except for the occasional potter down to the grocery (kids looove 'em!). Using the car at anything less than track pace just doesn't do much for me anymore. Using one at even a fraction of that pace on the public way is extraordinarily dangerous and enormously irresponsible, both to the 7 occupants and to others, again in my opinion. You likely know all about what it's like to pilot a quick but very small car around out in the world. Others are free to engage in whatever behaviors they want of course.

    SB100 isn't that bad, (or wasn't when I built my car anyway. Getting the number is more difficult now than it was at that time but that's the worst part of it. Finding the right DMV office is the key these days I think. And building the car yourself is well worth it, for a variety of reasons.

    As much as I like the Elan it just isn't nearly the car that a Super 7 is. Go for it.
    Last edited by moosetestbestanden; April 5, 2008, 08:08 PM.
    Chris
    ------------
    A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks.

      I've driven a few Sevens including the CSR260, so know what it is about.

      Actually, my Elan is 1400lbs and 170hp, has has stiffer and adjustable suspension, CV joints (instead of the rotoflex couplings) and stripped of its side windows, top, heat, etc, it is also very loud (requires earplugs) so it is not that far behind most Seven's in terms of performance (with exception to the high horsepower 7's) and lack of comfort (freeway driving is brutal). Of course, without the fender flares I can't fit big tires under the car, but the sliding is part of the fun :D

      I am not necessarily looking for more performance as I don't spend much time on the track with my own cars. What I like about cars like the seven and the elan is that they feel fast even when you're not going fast.
      The problem for me right now is the fact that it seems that the Elan constantly needs wrenching on, although at this point I should be running out of things that can break on it pretty soon

      I got the impression that the SB100 is harder to get than you make it sound, and I have to say that is a big turn off for me as I would not want to get stuck with a car I can't drive because I missed out on getting one

      Thanks again
      www.morgansegal.com

      The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

      Comment


      • #4
        Morgan,

        When going the SB100 route, there is a possibility you will not get one of the numbers, but you can all but eliminate luck from the process with proper planning, IMHO. For example, I discovered that some DMV offices are far, FAR more prepared and knowledgeable with the process than others. I visited the office I ultimately used to get my SB100 number in Northern California numerous times in late 2006, in preparation for applying in 2007, and was pleased to discover that they knew a lot about the process, and how to make it go smoothly (got my number in less than half an hour). I have since heard of a guy who went to a more rural DMV location who did not get a number, because they were unfamiliar with the process.

        Because of your location, you should be able to locate an office not too inconveniently distant from your residence that is familiar with the SB100 process, and will be prepared when the day comes. It makes all the difference. You may want to go to your friendly neighborhood DMV and ask some questions about it. If they tell you about coming in the week before to pre-register between Christmas and New Year's Day, and bring up terms like "MSO", "form 343", or "form 5036" and seem confident, I would say you will have a damn good chance of getting a number at that office, when the day comes (particularly the "pre-register" part -this is KEY!). Don't be too put off if the first person you speak with is unfamiliar with it, but if the last person at that particular DMV office that you speak with looks at you funny when you mention the things noted above, it is time to try another one.

        Once you find an office you are comfortable with, you just need to have all your paperwork ducks in a row when the day comes, get there an hour before they open, and don't forget your checkbook.

        Sorry to be so long-winded. The point is that i believe the risk can be minimized to practically nothing if you're willing to do the legwork ahead of time.
        | | Sean

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the info.
          www.morgansegal.com

          The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

          Comment


          • #6
            Morgan

            You can sometimes find used Sevens that already have the SB100 sticker.

            Doug
            Last edited by Doug Liedblad; April 7, 2008, 04:02 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Good point, Doug. Now that is how to eliminate the risk of getting a number completely!
              | | Sean

              Comment


              • #8
                Morgan,

                Here is a 2006 Birkin on ebay that has only 800 miles, plus it is already SB100 compliant:

                http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...ksid=p3907.m32

                I don't know the owner or the car, but with only one bid at $18,000 and no reserve, it might be worth a look.

                Stan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Doug Liedblad View Post
                  Moirgan

                  You can sometimes find used Sevens that already have the SB100 sticker.

                  Doug
                  Very true, but that would also limit the pool of cars to choose from too

                  Originally posted by soareyes View Post
                  Morgan,

                  Here is a 2006 Birkin on ebay that has only 800 miles, plus it is already SB100 compliant:

                  http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...ksid=p3907.m32

                  I don't know the owner or the car, but with only one bid at $18,000 and no reserve, it might be worth a look.

                  Stan
                  Thanks, I had seen that and why I asked about the Birkin, but I am also a ways away from buying a car, I would first have to sell my Elan (if I can even bring myself to do it)

                  Anyone willing to give me a ride sometime, it's been a while since I've been in a seven and I could use a refresh of my memory?
                  www.morgansegal.com

                  The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mopho View Post
                    I currently own a highly modified, and quite fast Lotus Elan that I love except for one thing, it constantly breaks and is draining my wallet and testing my patience.

                    I know the only car I could ever truly replace the Elan with and not feel guilty is a Seven, so wondering if the Caterham/Birkins are fairly reliable (ZTEC) or are they cars that you have to constantly fiddle with? Not sure I want to trade one problem child for another

                    Also, is there much difference between a Caterham and a Birkin? I've always been partial to the Caterham, but it seems that the Birkins are more affordable(?)

                    And lastly the question you all are sick of hearing, are there any other options besides an SB100 to register the car? Can one get away with an out of state registration? I'd hate to buy one only to not be able to use it

                    Thanks

                    Morgan
                    u smell as bad as uncle scotty's cocktail (2 cars yesterday) and go punch WagonMonster in the Nutz.
                    2002 SV zetec/sierra; yellow over green

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Did WM stay in Colorado or did he move back SoCal?

                      anyway glad u finally made it over here. That Birkin also has a heater, which maybe adding in extra weight. It may function as a secondary cooling system, as some with Caterhams use it, but the Birkin owners can decide that issue.

                      If teh quest is pure lightness, then a Caterham SLR or Bike Engine Car is ur ticket. withy the other se7ens, their bigger size allows them to have more engine options.

                      I was toying with notion this past winter of upgrading my SV to more track orientated performance, but keep coming back to enjoying its psuedo-streetability. I have teh Zetec with MAF/intake plenum/stock ECU. Having just been in Al N's car 2 weeks ago, i do not like the "lack" or torque that a pure ITB setup gives. I would get better heads/cams, like most of the higher perfomance 7s have, but am to used to being able to let out the clutch w/o any throttle.

                      Find as many of teh different se7ens as u can while in the decision making process. if that birkin doesn't move on the price, jump on it anyway. u won't regret teh unaerodynamicness of these bricks.
                      2002 SV zetec/sierra; yellow over green

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Anyone willing to give me a ride sometime, it's been a while since I've been in a seven and I could use a refresh of my memory?
                        Your web site shows a 310 area code, implying the west side of L.A. / south bay area. Magnus is over on that side of the blob (Manhattan Beach) but has gone quiet for a while now. He's got an SV w/ a fresh Cossy 2.3L Duratec installed. End of the month will see a number of cars at Buttonwillow, if you want to make the drive.

                        1400 & 170 may seem close, and compared to some of the various models it is, but 1100 & 190 is vastly different, and track times will show it. Of course if you're not using the car on the track then it doesn't really matter very much.
                        Chris
                        ------------
                        A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You have probably seen John Coombs's Birkin in the "for sale" section. Very nice car with lots of upgrades but apparently not exacly cheap.

                          As for the weight difference....as Chris mentioned if you really need to have it at Caterham Superlight spec you better buy a Caterham. The Birkin is at regular Caterham level and you would have to strip and replace with custom carbon to get it down.

                          Gert

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Boxologist View Post
                            Did WM stay in Colorado or did he move back SoCal?

                            anyway glad u finally made it over here. That Birkin also has a heater, which maybe adding in extra weight. It may function as a secondary cooling system, as some with Caterhams use it, but the Birkin owners can decide that issue.

                            If teh quest is pure lightness, then a Caterham SLR or Bike Engine Car is ur ticket. withy the other se7ens, their bigger size allows them to have more engine options.

                            I was toying with notion this past winter of upgrading my SV to more track orientated performance, but keep coming back to enjoying its psuedo-streetability. I have teh Zetec with MAF/intake plenum/stock ECU. Having just been in Al N's car 2 weeks ago, i do not like the "lack" or torque that a pure ITB setup gives. I would get better heads/cams, like most of the higher perfomance 7s have, but am to used to being able to let out the clutch w/o any throttle.

                            Find as many of teh different se7ens as u can while in the decision making process. if that birkin doesn't move on the price, jump on it anyway. u won't regret teh unaerodynamicness of these bricks.

                            I thought this was the California Caterham club, what are you doing here? ;)

                            Yes, WM moved back here, hang out with him often
                            www.morgansegal.com

                            The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by moosetestbestanden View Post
                              Your web site shows a 310 area code, implying the west side of L.A. / south bay area. Magnus is over on that side of the blob (Manhattan Beach) but has gone quiet for a while now. He's got an SV w/ a fresh Cossy 2.3L Duratec installed. End of the month will see a number of cars at Buttonwillow, if you want to make the drive.

                              1400 & 170 may seem close, and compared to some of the various models it is, but 1100 & 190 is vastly different, and track times will show it. Of course if you're not using the car on the track then it doesn't really matter very much.
                              I am in Culver City. I've seen Doug Liedblad up at the Supercar Sunday meet that I frequent, he told me about this forum a while back.

                              Last Seven I drove was the CSR260 press car at Willow Springs two years ago, it was a blast, but $70k

                              Originally posted by slomove View Post
                              You have probably seen John Coombs's Birkin in the "for sale" section. Very nice car with lots of upgrades but apparently not exacly cheap.

                              As for the weight difference....as Chris mentioned if you really need to have it at Caterham Superlight spec you better buy a Caterham. The Birkin is at regular Caterham level and you would have to strip and replace with custom carbon to get it down.

                              Gert
                              A bit too much money for me, I would be looking to spend around $30k assuming I could get what I want for the Elan.
                              There was a Superlight that sold for $32k on Elisetalk a while back, that was frustrating as I was not in a position to buy it.



                              Are there options for registering it as a Vintage Lotus Seven? There was an SV at the British Car meet in Van Nuys on Sunday and I noticed it had a Lotus Chassis plate on it
                              www.morgansegal.com

                              The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

                              Comment

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