Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Central Virginia
My Elise was in Ohio and the metro Chicago area before it found its way south. I wouldn't have bought it if it had a lot of corrosion damage, but it does have some, as it was obviously driven on salted roads a couple of times. The suspension components, etc don't respond especially well to this, and you don't really know what has happened until you start taking things apart. I discovered a little light corrosion under the washers on the diffuser, for instance. Whoever it was who put it together last time apparently didn't understand dissimilar metal corrosion treatment.
Anyway, a Lotus is quite nimble and small, so it's not hard to dodge potholes in one. I would, however, avoid any road until after the first heavy rain at the end of salt season, or at least be aware that getting chloride on the car is going to make work for you later, so you get to weigh the value of that early spring drive against the damage that will occur.
I must admit that actually using the car is a big part of its appeal to me. I enjoy working on cars, and I enjoy driving cars. I don't enjoy looking at my parked cars waiting to be driven. It was always the plan that the Elise would be driven as much as was vaguely practical. It has been to the grocery store, I've taken it camping, it delivers a kid to school, and me to work. It will be going to track days (possibly sooner than I initially planned because it turns out to be pretty prepped already), but its purpose is to be a fun runabout, and that's what I use it for. I've scuffed the front clam on a driveway once, have gotten mud on it, and expect to do more of the same in future. My one big fear is a rock hit on the windshield (had this happen on both of the DDs in the last 10 years), but I didn't buy the car for it to sit unused in fear of being damaged.