A good friend of mine once said "I'm not rich enough to fill my garage with all of the cars I could want, but I can own just about most of them one at a time".
Over the years I've been lucky enough to follow those principles. I've owned some fantastic cars including Porsches ranging from a 1967 hot rod to modern cayman and 911, a BMW M coupe (clownshoe), 2015 Elise, etc.
After all of them, it's the Lotus, despite its faults that keeps coming back to me. Being lucky enough to not need it as a DD, but also busy enough that I don't get a lot of free time, I've decided that an Exige would be just right to give me something to tinker on in the garage, auto-x on occasion, or to pop out for the impromptu Bear Mountain run or Caffeine and Carburetors.
The only issue is finding one! What happened? When I was looking for the the Elise it seemed like there were good early Exiges available at all times. They were never particularly expensive, and you could have a pick of colors. Now it seems that I am seeing over priced, low miles cars that simply aren't selling, or high miles, tracked out (or otherwise heavily modded) cars that simply are too personalized for me (wanting to make my own personalizations of course)
Where's the plain white (or black or orange etc), unmodified 06 that used to be a dime a dozen? you would think that at 10 plus years old they would be trading hands as the owners move up into "modern" performance cars or into more practical daily cars as their families grow.
They were never a 'dime a dozen.' They always trended pricier than the Elise, even the NA 06's. The 06's were basically a fast back Elise with the LSS suspension stock. People quickly found out that visibility issues were easily corrected, and that it was easy and cheap to fit the Exige with a soft top. The 06's especially, because they made no pretense of having a useful roof scoop.
That said, I'd say it's been a good 8 years since they bottomed out. When I sold my 07 Exige in 2010, I advertised it on here. Touring, carbon fiber/body colored full mohawk. Y and LSS Wheels. Both sets of wheels had fresh tires. Under 20K miles. FSH, lots of ECU dumps, etc. Immaculate. Heck, it was even autographed by Doc Bundy. Not a SINGLE bite on here, at all, when I had it advertised for $37K. Not even an email of interest. Finally sold it for $34K to a local guy who saw it on cars.com or autotrader. It hasn't surfaced since, he isn't part of 'the Lotus community.'
Since then the prices have been on a steady rise.