So I had a plastic car. It was great fun to drive, but it was fundamentally an assemblage of proprietary bits, some simple folded sheet steel and welded tubes, and a plastic body. It wasn't a real car, somehow; it was a toy one, Lotus just-add-lightness magic or not. And I knew that if another car sideswiped it I'd be history, because an Elan has no side-impact resistance at all. (A monococque Clan Crusader does, incidentally.)
The classic car world has a habit of turning a blind eye to thoughts like that, falling back, if pressed, on the defence that a motorcycle is even more dangerous and they're still allowed. And many Elans have been retro-fitted with a roll cage which includes stout bars in the sills and across the base of the bulkhead, which improves things to a degree. I never got as far as that with mine, and sold it – two cylinder-head rebuilds, a gearbox rebuild, a replacement differential and much else later – for £14,000. My classics have had proper steel bodies ever since.
Meanwhile, a vigorous market has developed for un-bodged Elans, be they miraculously original or properly restored. Such an Elan hides its fibreglass-ness well, with modern specialist bodyshops skilled in smoothing ripples, sharpening edges and tightening panel gaps to a far higher standard than the factory ever managed. These Elans have been to finishing school and have been civilised, and they sell for prices which prove that, properly handled, fibreglass is no longer a stigma. A later owner put my old Elan through just this process. It emerged in BRM-look dark metallic green with orange bumpers, and sold at auction for twice what I got for it six years earlier.
I had a quick look underneath it at the auction, though. And I reckon my Isopon P40 repairs were still there.