Have to post on that, too...
I was a little kid (I think 8yrs. or so), when a Lotus Esprit did overtake our Family car and I asked my dad, which car that was... i was really upset by the speed and the looks of the car, but he did not know. But a "lucky" circumstance made us take a look at that car again, because there was a traffic jam just a few kilometers ahead. As the Lotus had no chance to escape, my dad told me that this must be a Lotus. I remember, this one did not have a lettering on the back, but my dad new the badge ACBC from F1 racing.
And this is one of the guesses that come to my mind as well, when thinking about Lotus. This brand has a racing heritage! I remember famous drivers like Senna who drove Lotus as well.
Growing up, I was very much interested in cars and in Racing and I was really interested in Lotus. When I saw one in a Film (e.g. James Bond, Pretty Woman or sth. like that) and everybody kept wondering which car this was, I was the first to say "come on guys, this is a Lotus!"). I bought some books about Lotus as well and so I have been introduced in the spirit of a true engineer, Mr. Alan Colin Bruce Chapman. At his time, that man really changed a lot in his business.
All the knowledge about that even got me hooked to compound fibre "engineering", which I did successfully for years on my own in my garage (building parts for my cars).
I did not have enough money to buy an S1 Elise when it came out. Later, I started a late study (age 28!) which made me sell 2 of my 3 cars and promising myself to buy a Lotus, when study-time is over and money drops in.
And this is how I ended up with my first Lotus Elise (111R) a few years ago now.
Now that I own it, I cannot imagine to sell it again. It is so much more than for example an MR2. It is really really fast, I enjoy every single curve I take with that ultimate racing tool. On a small winded road... there are not many cars faster than an Elise left... in fact, I did not yet meet one (not claiming that there is none!).
There is nothing between you and the car, there is nothing between the car and the street. No filters... no electronic baby sitting and no need for that as well... A really sensational way to drive. When asked, I always say a normal car compared to Lotus is like comparing an oridnary knife to a scalpel.
Beside all this, it is incredibly affordable. A set tires for a season comes cheap (500 Euros), the insurance is cheap as well (500 Euros for 7 months unlimited fun) and if you are cruisin, the car does many kilometers as well with the little fuel in its tank. You can fix most of the problems yourself and should there be a technical defect of the motor... drop one in for some 2000 Euros and you are done again (or do an engine swap/ upgrade). Maybe driving a Porsche GT3 is also a lot of fun, but it will cost you 10 times the money you spend on an Elise (Evora and Esprit are not that cheap to drive I think, although these are "do-wants" in my list as well).
I think I could not be happier with an other car. Perhaps I buy a Seven some time later or an MK1 Elise with enginge upgrade or sth. like that.
The car has
- the performance
- the heritage
- the art of engineering
- the looks
- an affordable pricing
Where I am from, I think you have more prestige driving a BMW M3 (which is approx. same pricing when you buy it used)... but I don't give a damn what anybody else is thinking about my Elise. It is simply too much fun.
All this makes it my choice.