Monday, January 09, 2006

A Rose By Any Other Name

Two Spyder Cars Elans on the roadWould it really smell as sweet? What am I babbling about? Bear with me ...

My father is a Daily Telegraph reader. Terrible habit, I know, but what can you do ... ? One thing it does seem to do very well though is the motoring section. Which seems to be about the only bit he reads. He has an Honest John quote for every occasion!

So when I visited for the weekend before Christmas he had saved an article for me. And courtesy of all these newspapers publishing online these days, I can share it with you - "Why Buy An MX-5?"

Now let's get one thing straight. The MX-5 is actually a corking little motor. It's modelled on the original Lotus Elan of the 1960s - that's why it's so popular. It represents classic motoring with modern reliability, and it's the car which delivers the most bang for your budget ... until recently, that is.

Enter Spyder Cars. They will take an Elan +2 (like mine, though I wouldn't cut up such a nice example) and throw away everything but the bodyshell and the interior. Those bits they will stick on top of their own custom chassis, complete with 2.0 litre Ford Zetec engine for about the same money as a new MX-5.

Wha .... ?? So, you have a brand new car and a classic Lotus Elan all at the same time. Wonderful! Alternative to running a classic +2S? I don't believe so. The Spyder Cars Lotus conversion I would buy. As a day car. But from my perspective, there is no way on Earth you can replace a genuine, well kept classic with a modern conversion. The rose would smell more like an orchid. Still very nice, don't get me wrong, but just not the same.

If the company I work for offer me a £20,000 company car allowance tomorrow though, I know exactly where I'm going ...

Photograph courtesy of Practical Classics.

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