Lotus Elan Reviews

1991 Lotus Elan Turbo 1.6 turbo from North America

Model year1991
Year of manufacture1991
First year of ownership2011
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission 1.6 turbo Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.6 / 10
Distance when acquired45000 miles
Most recent distance46000 miles
Previous carMazda MX5

Summary:

You will be the only person anyone will ever meet who owns one

Faults:

Re-upholstered seats.

Steering wheel replaced.

Dash replaced.

Cosmetics mostly.

General Comments:

Very neat and exclusive car.

Only 600 of them in the USA.

Designed to be fast and usable daily.

Just a fun little unique car.

Hand built, so it's easy to rebuild.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th July, 2012

1991 Lotus Elan SE Turbo Elan SE turbo from UK and Ireland

Model year1991
Year of manufacture1991
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission Elan SE turbo Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.3 / 10
Distance when acquired76300 miles
Most recent distance78000 miles
Previous carBMW 3 Series

Summary:

The best front wheel drive car money can buy!

Faults:

Nothing has gone wrong yet. It is running fine.

General Comments:

I bought my Elan in August 2006 as a third car to run at weekends and just for fun etc. It has a full history and has had recent full services. It is in excellent condition.

I have been aiming to get one of these for ages. It's legendary handling is even better than I expected. This is the fastest I have ever handled 'B' road bends! It is a real thrill when the turbo kicks in at 3500 revs!

The interior is very 1990's, but functional and accessible, except the clock behind the indicator stalk.

The exterior is..well...the prettiest car ever designed?

I love this car. There isn't anything better on the road!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th December, 2006

5th Feb 2012, 18:44

I own a Lotus Elan turbocharged (SE 1993). I must say that before I bought the car, even the day I was there to buy it, I had my fears if my choice was good, safe and most of all... wise.

When I started up the engine, and sat in the seat, catching the steer and putting the 1st gear on, I felt like I was the luckiest guy on planet.

THE LOTUS ELAN IS JUST LIKE DRIVING A KART. Just like that.. power steering is accurate, hard, but you will find out soon why, speeding is just like being in an aeroplane.. the speedometer goes to 160-180km/h before you say ”Lotus”, 0-100km at 6.5 – 7.0, top speed 240km/h depends on the car's situation.. The car weighs 1011kg, but it feels like you're driving a jeep.

Economy is amazing – light car –> strong engine.. It’s like a baby riding a horse.

The only thing that Elan misses, is braking. Not that bad, but not that instant and safe. You need aftermarkets.

Also believe me, the hood doesn't leak if the seals are in good (or new) condition.

Interior seems as old as it has to be, and as sporty as it must be, considering that you're still driving a Lotus (it’s the most equipped and non-spartan Lotus).

The exterior is amazing and astonishing, people still stare at it and sometimes yell ”wow!” or ”it’s a Lotus!”. Everybody says.. ”the Elan still turns heads”.

Don't miss it, don't say it’s over, don't say it’s overvalued. Find an Elan in good condition and you will never regret your money and your car. You will be proud of it, and you will enjoy all the good work that has been done on this car. Lotus isn’t a fool. Drive it.

1974 Lotus Elan +2S 130/5 1.6 DOHC Ford block, Lotus head from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1974
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 1.6 DOHC Ford block, Lotus head Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Previous carFord Sierra

Summary:

Great value for money - guaranteed classic motoring satisfaction

Faults:

Sticking carburetor float

Sticking brakes.

General Comments:

I'd always wanted a Lotus since I was very young and when I managed to make a bit of cash selling a flat in London I decided to treat myself. I bought a 1974 +2S 130/5 "big valve" engined Lotus Elan. I have to say I *LOVE* this car.

Elans of this era are not super cars so it is not the fastest thing on the planet - they top out at about 125mph. Acceleration though is impressive enough with very respectable 0-60 times for a naturally aspirated 1600cc car and the most important thing about the Elan (any Elan on the 60s chassis by Chapman like this one) is that it handles on rails. And anyone who describes any other car as handling on rails really needs to try a classic Lotus Elan because I swear they will move their benchmark!

I do not know what one has to do in normal driving conditions to even get the tyres to squeal a bit! It's just immaculate to drive and enormous fun. You can have a wonderful time in the English country lanes and not even break the speed limit with short bursts of acceleration and exhilerating cornering. All in all a cracking car which I will only ever sell in the most dire of circumstances.

As for the old Lotus acronym people like to chuckle about, Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious, I have not found this to be the case at all. A well maintained Lotus that is kept in good shape is actually not too much trouble at all. Many parts are shared with the Ford Cortina of the same era (the Cortina donates the engine block for the original Elan) and so are not expensive. And it's a 1600cc so it's not too thirsty (I reckon I get about 35mpg, but of course it's a Lotus so I thrash it about a bit - if you drove it like a grandmother you might get 40mpg - a marked improvement on the 8-12mpg from my father's V12 XJS!)

The only problems I've had are more down to lack of use than anything. The car gets driven every few weeks, but not enough to stop a troublesome brake caliper binding up repeatedly - the sort of thing that would stay freed if the car was in daily use.

But all in all, good car, no problems, great fun, holds its value, HIGHLY recommended if you want a reasonably inexpensive weekend classic.

One piece of advice. Pay the money for a good one. Don't be tempted to buy one that's "alright". That dreaded "alright" could turn in to a big fat bill for something nasty! False economy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th August, 2005

Average review marks: 8.1 / 10, based on 7 reviews