Pick of the Day: 1977 Lotus Eclat

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Pick of the Day: 1977 Lotus Eclat

I dream of driving the Cannonball Run. I blame my desire to participate in this highly illegal road race on repeated viewing of the Burt Reynold’s movie, The Cannonball Run, as it seemed to be on perpetual repeat on HBO when I was a kid. Bucket-list items based on movies starring Dom DeLuise and Roger Moore seem like a poor choice, but my life is littered with interesting decisions that might not benefit me or anyone. Smoking is one of those decisions; so is rooting for the Arizona Cardinals.

1977 lotus eclat, Pick of the Day: 1977 Lotus Eclat, ClassicCars.com Journal
1977 Lotus Eclat

However, if I did participate in one, my driving style would not set any unofficial records in an unsanctioned race that starts at New York City’s Red Ball Garage and ends at the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach. According to Google Maps, the journey is 2,811 miles and should take 42 hours in normal driving conditions. With no official sanctioning body, there are no rules on the route you can take, and the current “record” is 25 hours and 39 minutes. I figure without any rules, you can’t have an official record, but an unofficial standard is still a standard.

I’ve wasted some time thinking about the best vehicle to attempt the Cannonball Run, and I’ve never come to an absolute choice. A supercar is conspicuous in traffic and gets poor gas mileage. More gas stops add up to more time wasted, and I think a Ferrari would stick out when traversing a Midwest highway at 100+ mph. A Honda Accord would lead to less pit stops, but I have concerns about speed.

1977 lotus eclat, Pick of the Day: 1977 Lotus Eclat, ClassicCars.com Journal
Cannonball Run placard

So many cars and so many arguments on which would be the best choice for a cross-country race. How would Sartre handle this issue?

The Pick of the Day could give me a clear choice on what to drive in a Cannonball Run: a 1977 Lotus Eclat listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in Cadillac, Michigan. (Click the link to view the listing)

“The past owner passed away, but it’s my understanding the car was custom-built to compete in the legendary Cannonball Run race across the country,” the listing states. “There is a placard on the dashboard.”

A stock 1977 Eclat was powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four engine that produced a factory-rated 160 hp. However, this one has a built, aluminum Rover V8 paired with a Borg-Warner T-5 five-speed manual transmission — stout upgrades that could help a possible Cannonball Run from sea-to-shining sea. A Spyder chassis and suspension helps keep this souped-up Eclat on the road, and Jaguar 11-inch brakes slow it down.

The pictures in the listing show a car in solid shape without any glaring aesthetic issues. Comfort on a 2,800-mile drive is a must and, accordingly, this Eclat has A/C. So you can monitor your speed and avoid county mounties, all the gauges work.

1977 lotus eclat, Pick of the Day: 1977 Lotus Eclat, ClassicCars.com Journal
Rover V8

A 45-year-old Lotus might not be ideal for a long road trip, but its possible pedigree definitely adds some intrigue to a future Cannonball Run.

The ClassicCars.com Journal

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