Lotus Elise and Exige buying guide

9 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Lotus Elise and Exige buying guide
Lotus Elise

It’ll knock your off to drive – but what’s the Lotus like to own?


The might just be the car that more fun per pound than any ever built. ‘Just add was Colin Chapman’s famous and that’s exactly what did with the Elise. Quite the best-handling car ever made, the redefines the term agility and offers surprising economy. four years of production, was a bewildering array of Series 1 all of which are great to drive and are as capable on a track around

Unless you’ve piloted a driver’s car before, you’re 
to have your socks off by the experience that the Elise Thanks 
to its mid-mounted engine, the car is balanced, with its light verging on the telepathic. While modern sportscars tend to controls that are overdamped, the 
is a tactile delight that the driver directly to the road.

are several keys to the Elise’s abilities, but the most important one is the low The 
core of the car is a chassis that of several aluminium extrusions, and riveted together. The result of all technology is a frame that all of 70kg and the whole vehicle is more than 700kg as a

That’s around 
35 per cent than an MGF, a car with the Elise shares the 1.8-litre engine.

The whole point of this is the driving experience that it try carrying people or luggage in the car and it fall at the first hurdle. But 
is only so much you can say about the experience, and no words will be a substitute for getting behind the That’s why you need to try one out before to establish whether the car is for you or not.

a downside to the raw excitement that the offers though, and that’s a of comfort on long journeys. with a Seven it’s a but unless your previous toy was a car you’re going to find model noisy and pretty

Early Elises begin at yet don’t assume that this is the start point, any car at this level will be a pit. This will buy you a good Elise, but it won’t had much in the way of upgrades. This be 
a good thing; unmolested are the ones that have led the easiest lives, as some of the heavily upgraded examples have seen masses of action.

Your best bet is to £9000-£10,000 for a really nice, low-mileage car, built the end of production. However, if you want truly special you can pay up to £13,000 for one of the models made, with a low at this money you can also buy an Series 2 car, which is the way to go.

If you’d prefer an Exige, have 
to dig pretty deep as 500 examples of the S1 were made and held their value well. It’s easy to £20,000 on one; indeed be doing well to pick up a low-mileage example for any less. And mileage is important with because of that highly-stressed which often doesn’t long.

It’s the same the 340R, with just 340 built: values are the same and so is the about engine life.

that have had official Motorsport parts fitted are worth more than standard examples. However, an decked 
out with produced by unknown aftermarket will normally be worth than a standard car because the is so variable.


The K-series is famous for its ability to overheat, because of its design and partly of the small coolant capacity. in the Elise it’s less to giving problems, but you still to make sure there are no of it previously having overheated, so for that tell-tale mayonnaise-like on the underside of the oil-filler cap.

take a look at the level of the because Elise radiators can 
be fragile. That’s why even if the is up to the mark, you still need 
to for signs of coolant at the base of the

Standard Elise powerplants are reliable, but those fitted to the high-performance derivatives can be worn out 50,000 miles if the car has been really hard. The models are those such as the 190 VHPD, and Exige, so you should look for of oil being burned 
(blue from the exhaust under suggesting that the piston and cylinder bores have


The transmission is strong, and to the car’s low weight there’s no for a high-mileage car to be suffering significant if it’s been driven any skill. Differentials will if the Elise has been subjected to too emergency starts, while selection will be tricky if the has worn. However, don’t the latter with a badly-adjusted linkage; if you struggle to select even when you take slowly, it’ll be because the are all out of kilter.

Elise clutches can take a beating, especially if has been too much full-bore Make sure the clutch slipping, by accelerating hard the gears and seeing if the engine increase while the 
road doesn’t.

Suspension, steering brakes

The ball joints in the suspension wear out after miles, while shock will usually last 20,000 miles or so. Once need replacing, the car’s suffer badly, so budget on £100 per corner for the new dampers, and £23 for each of the ball joints. racks typically wear out 35,000 miles, so check for in the system to see if a new one is needed.

They’re not as cheap as you might at £350 for 
a fresh unit, the fitting, it’s a cost you do with not having to bear.

sure the alloy wheels been damaged, as replacements are no available for the Series 1. Used or items can be tracked down and are often fitted anyway. If the are badly kerbed, there’s a chance the suspension will been knocked out of true so sure the tyres haven’t unevenly. If there’s 
a fresh set of on the car, be wary; they have been fitted it’s the cheapest way of masking a chassis.

Brake discs if the car is driven hard, 
and rust if it isn’t used often. Either way, their condition as they may renewing. Replacements cost apiece for standard original-equipment if you’re tempted to take the alternative, bank on spending £55 for each disc.

Lotus Elise

Bodywork, and trim

If the car has been in an accident, the will show signs of an Once the Elise’s frame has distorted in any way the whole thing has to be If it isn’t, not only is the car’s adversely affected, but it’ll handle as well as it ought to.

Building a car round a new chassis is money; don’t pick up a then find you’ve duped.

Just as bad as an obviously chassis is one that’s been Put the car up on a ramp and look for evidence of or rippling, mismatched adhesives or any of welding. Inspect the aluminium for signs of damage. If it’s or buckled it’s because of an at some point.

Also the metal hasn’t been by road debris.

Your check from underneath is to sure that the steel which carries the engine corroded. It’s the only piece of steel used in the and it has been known to rust. It is but the part on its own is £500.

All Elises to sit pretty close to the ground, 
so you to look for damage to the car’s as well as the front valance, and nosecone. The Exige features a splitter, prone 
to knocks can push it out of shape or cause so check it’s intact.

damaged glassfibre is a specialised so if the car has been shunted it will 
to have been repaired by an If it hasn’t been properly there’ll be sunken paint, microblistering and perhaps even in the panels.

The roof is surprisingly complex how basic it appears, and it can also all too easily. Whatever the weather is make sure you remove and the top, to check that all the 
are present and correct.

With that peach of a and reasonable reliability, it’s to live with an Elise day as long 
as you don’t cover mileages. Few people use 
it daily, it instead as a toy, but as a regular the Lotus is hard to beat. as comfortable on the track as it is blasting deserted B-roads.

There are few standard cars out there, yet no bad thing as some minor will make it even enjoyable. What’s more is that the structure is in perfect

Some of the really low-volume make great investments but not to be so usable on an everyday basis. include the Exige and 340R, the model being especially But track down a good example and everything else you drive will pale insignificance it really is that

A decent service history by who knows what they’re is essential. Look for evidence of having been carried out year or 9000 miles the 190 VHPD, Sport 160, and 340R need attention 6000 miles.

Lotus Elise
Lotus Elise
Lotus Elise
Lotus Elise
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