The other day it was brought to my attention that it’s the Lotus Elise’s birthday.

It’s no longer a teenager, apparently - and neither am I. Twenty years ago, before they went on sale, I drove one back to Lotus headquarters - one of the occasional perks of the job. It left something of 
an impression, because not only 
was there no radio, but the driver’s window was also stuck in the down position. In winter.

The Elise was pretty much a rebooted Seven and an example of Lotus getting back to its basic driver’s car roots. In used car terms, it has been something of an object lesson in the trajectory of the appreciating modern classic. It bumped around the £6000 mark for a while, and that included some pretty ropey examples.

From there, though, the only way was up. So should we be looking more closely at the Elise Series 2?

Launched in 2001, the Elise S2, with its distinctive lizard-eye headlights, was a leap forward for Lotus. It still had MG’s 1.8 K-series engine, which many forget was re-engineered by Lotus to make it better (although it’s still worth checking for head gasket issues), and there was also the more potent 111S version.