The future of James' fleet by Charlotte Elliott aged five and three quarters


Author: James ElliottPublished:

As regular readers will know, much of the past year has been spent agonising over what to do with my supersized (for me) classic fleet.

Because it will bring on a bout of acute embarrassment, I don't really want to go back and remind myself exactly how many times I have bleated on about it, so everyone will be relieved to know that the final decision has been made… by my five-year-old daughter, Charlotte.

It came out of the blue actually.

Sadly, Charlotte has never shown a great deal of interest in the classics, but she obviously knows what she likes.

All this week, with the +2 finally extricated from the dark recesses behind the broken garage door it has been languishing tantalisingly out of reach on the other side of, and living on the driveway as a result, she has begged to be taken to school in the "red car".

With that not possible due to the fact that I haven't yet done anything whatsoever about fitting harnesses in the back for her and Lucie, it prompted a wider debate on the Elliott cars.

"You have lots of cars daddy, but the one I really want to go in more than anything is the red one."

"Well I hope so, but you never know, I may have to sell it."

"Nooooo, promise me you'll never sell the red car daddy."

What sort of father would I be if I ignored such a plaintive appeal from my little girl, a cry so anguished that it hasn't been heard since Mermaid Barbie fell down the loo? Instant justification to keep the Lotus Elan +2 for ever. Result!

"Ok Charlotte, I'll try not to, but I will definitely need to sell something soon, so if it's not the red car, what should it be?"

"The silver car [a gratis Hyundai Accent planned to be Mrs Elliott's Putney run-around], mummy is never ever going to drive it."

Fair point, well made.

"What else?"

"The little yellow car [Lotus Elan S2]."

"Ah, that's already gone, I sold it when I bought the red one."

"Do you still have the blue car [Lotus Elite 2.2]?"

"Yes, I do."

"Then you can sell that."

"Ok, what about the others?"

"Well I don't want you to sell anything else, but I can tell you the other one you must always keep."

"Ok, what's that then?"

"The gold car [Jensen Interceptor]."

And that then is Charlotte's vision of the Elliotts' classic future: the +2 and the Interceptor and, slightly perturbingly, no guaranteed place for The Beast [1965 Triumph 2500PI].

I am not 100% convinced that some of what the little 'un said wasn't as a result of some sort of weird mind control on her mother's part, especially when it comes to the Triumph's omission, but I have to say that I am pretty content with that overall.

After all, if I do have to keep the red car for ever, then, unless there is a Lottery win, at some point it is inevitably going to come down to a straight shoot-out between the Jensen and the Triumph.

And it looks like young Charlotte has made that decision for me, or at least spared away the agony of me having to take it.



I feel sad for the Elite, lumped together with a Hyundai in the desirability stakes, but it seems to be the kind of "masculine" car (wedges?) that women and children don't bond with. Have to say I was looking forward to hearing about one being slowly improved and nurtured, it was a chance to have it's maligned reputation adjusted, but this ownership has just added another nail to the coffin. Gutted.

James Elliott

I lay no blame whatsoever at the feet of the car. It is entirely my fault that I took on something I have neither the time nor resources to do justice to. I bought the car for so many very positive reasons: I was simply blown away by it and had to have one. Sadly I already had another three classics that need nurturing etc and the Elite was (only) slightly more demanding than the rest of them, but enough so that it suffered financial and time neglect. Entirely my fault. In a different world, I would have bought just an Elite (and spent a bit more on it), and given it the treatment it deserves. Then I know I would have been rewarded with a phenomenal car, one people are foolish not to have latched on to this far.
That said, you are right about the masculine thing: even in that other world I don't think I would ever have have got the females in my family to appreciate it. My male neighbours all love it, the women of the street can barely hide their sneers.

Group Editor, C&SC


sensible girl. I think I would have chosen exactly the same.

My daughter is just 10 months, and my only classic is a 1956 MGA, but I'm shopping for something with a backseat so we can do family runs at some point in the future.


Don't sell "The Beast"!
Although our kids have long flown the nest, my TR6PI (round the world model) needs an all weather (read cold winters here in SW France) companion and I would like to find a "beast" to put in the garage at a reasonable price!
Otherwise, your daughter appears to have inherited a paternal sense of "good taste"!

Aussie John TR6 (roud the world model)

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