Searching for this week's best used buys has unearthed a tidy Lotus Elise S1 for under £12,000
30 November 2018

Twenty-two years after its launch, the Lotus Elise S1 still looks fresh, while its once youthful advocates now sport grey hairs and wrinkles. Still, you’re never too old to have fun, and fun is what the Elise S1 does best. 

We spotted a 1998 car with 82,000 miles and a big service history file. It’s being sold by a main dealer who promises the “unsightly wear patches on the driver’s seat and sill cover” will be replaced. 

Since it’s being sold by a main agent, you can be confident it will have been thoroughly prepared. But if you prefer to buy privately, there are some essential checks you need to do to avoid buying a lemon. 

First, check the body for repainting. Expect to see some at the front where stone chips have been blown over but elsewhere could mean crash repairs. 

Find a used Lotus Elise S1 on PistonHeads

Our Verdict

Lotus Elise

Is the Lotus Elise still the last word in open-top British sports car fun?

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Inspect the bonded aluminium chassis. It’s hard to repair, so if you see signs that it has been, be afraid. 

The Elise’s suspension is noisy so try a few cars to establish what is normal and what isn't. Check for MOT advisories relating to the suspension because a test drive won’t necessarily reveal problems. 

On Rover-engined models, check for head gasket failure or replacement, which is a specialist job. An aluminium radiator is a good sign because the original leaks. Another is a stainless steel exhaust. 

Service intervals are every 9000 miles and the cambelt on the Rover engine must be changed every four years. Does the hood leak? 

They all do that, sir.

Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet, £874.955:

That’s right: the price of this limited-edition G-Class (99 were built), launched in 2017, is just short of £900,000. That’s double its £426,000 official price but the seller is banking on monied folk like us falling for its 621bhp twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12, stretched wheelbase and S-Class fittings. 

Nissan Cedric, £4800:

There has been a Cedric since 1960. This 10th-gen one has a 2.5-litre V6 and a sumptuous interior with leather seats and a flight table extending from the glovebox that would cause some interesting impact injuries. It looks like a Lancia Thema at the front, a Mercedes S-Class at the back and a Nissan Skyline from the side.

Audi TT, £2995:

We’ve a soft spot for these original Audi TTs. This is a 2005 1.8-litre coupé with 100,000 miles, owned by the same chap since he bought it at one week old (not him, the car). It has 10 service stamps in the book and was last serviced in May. Body, wheels and interior are all described as “excellent”. 

Jaguar XJR, £11,995:

The discreet red and green badge on the tailgate of Jaguar R models always gets us excited. This time, it’s on the back of a 2004 XJR 350-series with the deliciously growly supercharged 4.2-litre V8. The car has done 77,000 miles and has full service history. It’s got a mesh grille and 20in alloy wheels, too.

Auction watch:

Mercedes-Benz S320 LWB:

Even at such an advanced age, this 2000 W-reg S-Class was still having serious money spent on it. For example, in December 2017, it not only had a major service (bringing the stamp count in the book to seven) but also an air suspension overhaul, new drive belts, pulleys and tensioners, and a new battery. Someone got a bargain.

Get it while you can:

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 4H, price new £39,500, price now £33,699:

With the car grant for plug-in hybrids consigned to the history books, how long before PHEVs like the Outlander follow suit? If you’re not a business driver keen to reduce your tax bill, you won’t care. On the other hand, someone needing a big SUV for short-haul work might miss its 30-mile electric range. Whatever your view, the market is responding, with one Mitsubishi dealer offering pre-reg Outlander PHEV 4s for almost £6000 less than list. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi is supporting new sales with a £2500 deposit contribution. Where there’s a will…

Clash of the classifieds:

Brief: Find me an awesome limo for £35,000 that I can hire out for weddings and parties.

1936 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Hooper Limousine, £26,500:

When looking for an awesome wedding car, nothing does it better than a Rolls-Royce and this pre-WW2 20/25 Hooper-bodied Limousine is no exception. There’s lots of room for the bride’s train, it comes in traditional white paint and it hails from an era when Rolls-Royce cars were built like trucks, so reliability should be high and maintenance costs low. Plus, this car will be hired for only the classiest of parties, which means you’ll spend less time cleaning up sick and Prosecco stains. Max Adams

Bentley Flying Spur 6.0 Mulliner, £30,999:

If John’s looking for something awesome to transport a bride to the church or a couple to their golden wedding anniversary party, this magnificent Bentley Flying Spur Mulliner is the only way to go. It’s so rammed full of luxury kit that I’m surprised it can move, but under that elegant bonnet is a 550bhp 6.0-litre W12 of utter calm and infinite power, so shift it does. You certainly won’t be late for the wedding! This 2008 version has done 62,000 miles so is barely run in. Mark Pearson

Verdict: A black Bentley for a wedding? Unless the bride is colour blind, it has to the white Rolls – the very definition of awesome.

John Evans

Read more

Lotus Elise Cup 250 versus original Lotus Elise S1

Lotus SUV to use Volvo underpinnings and have class-leading handling​

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV review

Join the debate


30 November 2018

That has to be a joke right?

Audi TT all the way, either stick 10,000 a year on it and sell after 3 for virtually the same money or use it for a blast on sunday morning and sell it in 10 years for more money, either way can't think of many ways to get over 220hp and 4wd for under £3000. A Roadster might be more fun though!

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

30 November 2018
Show respect so soon after Rememberance Day and do NOT use the classic words from The Fallen in this way. Shame on you!!!!

30 November 2018

Spot on Edballs.

I'm only responsible for what I say, not what you understand...

21 December 2018

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