Name Jim and Carole Jackson
Ages 65 and 64
First classic #MG
Dream classic #Frazer-Nash #Le-Mans
Favourite driving song I wanna be a rock star Nickelback
Best drive Hanoi to Saigon on 2014 International Jeep Rally
“No Sarah, we can’t afford to buy you a horse and, no, I don’t believe that all the other girls in your class have one. You can have a horse when I get a #Lotus
Elan.” She was about 10 then, now 32 and, luckily, she has forgotten, so shhh! We bought our #1967
S3 S/E in #2004
Why an Elan? Funnily enough, on the #2013
London to Lisbon rally, a bloke with an MGB asked that very question. I fixed him with a steely glare and asked him why he’d bought that shirt. The real answer, setting aside the rationale that it’s the best car for the money by a huge factor, is just human nature. We all have an affection for a marque from our past: maybe a car we’ve owned, or an uncle’s, maybe a neighbour’s, even Emma Peel’s! In my case, after the inevitable Mini as a first car then a #1954
MG TF that was 14 years old, I moved upmarket, or so I thought, with a second-hand #MGB
It just seemed lacking in character after the TF so, once I’d studied various classic tomes and, after six months’ frantically saving, I spent even more money on an older car, an S1 Elan. It was in dubious condition and, despite the high regard that early Elans are now held in, it was a bit past its best. But it was still explosive. I could suddenly see what all the fuss was about.
Two years later, I traded up to an S3 – in an unusual 1960s colour – then a used Sprint in my favourite monotone Lagoon Blue. In #1973
, just before purchase tax was abolished, I bought my first new car, another Sprint in the same lovely colour, in kit form. We didn’t build it in time to go to the pub on Sunday lunchtime, not that Sunday – nor the next – but I was hooked, and still am. And if you aren’t you should be. Gordon Murray, Jay Leno, me... we all have that in common (but nothing else). Then marriage, kids, the need for furniture, food and so on meant that I was Elanless for 30 years. Still horseless, we’re just loving our Elan and are lucky in that we have plenty of good friends nearby who also own old cars so we often go off together on rallies, tours or just outings where one of us has organised an interesting tulip route or whatever. Then there’s Goodwood or the Silverstone Classic. Buying the Elan was one of the best things that we’ve ever done: it’s an interest that you can share with, or escape from, your wife (not me, of course) and you go to places that you wouldn’t otherwise have done.
We’ve made firm friends with likeminded people from ordinary blokes to Lords and Ladies. I was gratified a couple of years ago as I looked around an eclectic, and somewhat expensive, entry on an event and realised that there wasn’t another car that I’d rather own.
We’ve done a little over 60,000 miles in the 10 years that we’ve had the Lotus – from Ireland to the Czech Republic, and Sweden to Italy, on various tours. We’ve taken part in 18 competitive rallies where the car has been a huge success, unlike the crew – which hasn’t.
Our most notable result was the team prize on the Three Castles a few years ago. We formed a team with a rally-prepped DB5 and a DB4 GT (the people you meet, eh?) on condition that I could name the team ‘Two Astons and a Fast Car.’
The S/E has been no less or more reliable than any other vehicle from the ’60s. Last year, on the London to Lisbon, plus a week in Portugal, we did 4100 miles door to door with no issues whatsoever.
Hang on, what’s this on eBay: a 1973 Lotus Elan Sprint in monotone Lagoon Blue? The registration? CRA 536L? It’s our bloomin’ car. Well, it is now… again. It had been off the road for 34 years and has covered just 51,000 miles. In the ’90s, the chassis was replaced, the running gear rebuilt and the bodywork restored by Mick Miller. Now the overhaul has been completed and the car recommissioned by Neil and Ken Myers. It’s just stunning, almost too good to use, but that would be silly.
We’re keeping the S3 for longer events or rallies – we’re just back from the Classic Europe (with classiccarjourneys. co. uk) – and cherishing the Sprint for special occasions. The trouble is, every journey in an Elan is special.
Spectacular Alpine backdrop near Interlaken, Switzerland en route to Lauterbrunnen on the Classic Europe tour. #
Elan excels at Knockhill on Scottish Malts Much-used S3 at start of Silvretta Classic.
On way to team prize, Three Castles 2011.
The Jacksons with newly reacquired Sprint.
‘We’ve done 60,000 miles in the 10 years we’ve had it – from Ireland to the Czech Republic, Sweden to Italy’.