Forever dreaming about owning a Lotus Elise but only got £10,000 to spare? The earliest models are now within your grasp. The popularity of the 2001 facelifted model and the onset of winter are depressing prices of the original car further. Typical of the sort of deals you might find was a 97 /R-plater in Norfolk yellow with 43k on the clock, being sold privately for £9950. We could also have snapped up a 40,000-mile car in red, on a P-plate, for the same money. However, Elise experts reckon that you’ll need to spend a bit more to secure a tidy example. ‘You’ll find plenty of cars at around £10,000, but you risk finding only leggy examples that could have been abused for this money,’ one independent retailer told Autocar.
Clean cars at dealers will set you back more. One R-plater we spotted at an independent was up for £13,500 but had only covered 16,000 miles and came with a full Lotus history. More tempting, albeit with higher mileage at 40k, was a silver car up for £12,500, also with history. Prices aren’t quite so attractive for used Mk2 cars (right), but they are getting better. Only £16k will get you into a 1.8-litre example with around 30k on the clock.