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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to Lotus and am contemplating buying my first one, probably an Elise, although I would also consider an Exige.

What model years are the best in terms of performance for the money and freedom from problems? What options are most important to have?

I plan to track it 2-3 times a year and just enjoy it around town on nice days the rest of the time.

I won't probably have the car long term so resale value is also important.
Are these cars going up, down or stable currently in terms of their value?

My budget is pretty open for the right car.
 

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Be kind, remember; all newbies are born trolls.....they usually grow out of it.
Oh, and by the way, in my opinion 2005. Lightest, throttle cable, more tuning tools than later years.
Downside: not the best seats or tail-lights, shifter recall, oil cooler recall (hard to get loans, the car is over 7 years old).
 

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The basics are the same but as there are a myriad of variants available, each with their pros and cons, and as I am not familiar with your detail preferences the best advice I can offer is to buy the one that makes your heart race :) Find that car in the best condition for the money and go for it!!
:D
 

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Just buy an unmolested car and be done with it.
 

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I have a 2005 that I autocrossed for 2 years and did a track day with, planning on doing a couple a season now. I put about 7500 miles on per summer, so it sounds like you will be using yours the way I use mine. Literally the only modification I have made is an exhaust w/ ecu upgrade which was purely for sound, no performance. They are good for the track right out of the box, it's just hard on tires and brakes obviously. But the point is, they are awesome.

+1 for 2005 if you don't need to finance it. I financed mine 3.5 years ago and got a pretty high rate because the car was "old" (10 years newer than anything else I have owned). I just like throttle cables. However the headlights and seats are far superior on 07+ cars. I ended up with a 2007 front end anyway so I have the better head lights anyway.

A 2005 with 07+ head lights, tail lights, seats, and a touch of custom interior work would be super nice. It's all opinion though. I'm a purist and I fit well in the 05 seats so I landed in the correct car just out of luck, not because I did any research.

They are all pretty much the same, just buy one that you like and drive it.
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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All the same car imo. 2005's will be the most affordable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks guys. BTW, I did try the search function. It did not work well!

Can you put 2008 or later sport seats in the 2005 and what do they cost?

Are the five point racing harness points already there?
 

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05 elise freak...have you been successful in putting 07+ headlights in an 05 clam? I tried to do this with an 06 clam and noticed the fitment was "exactly" the same. The 07 headlight if I remember was very tight into the "light pocket". I didn't want to pinch the gaskets too much so i stopped there and went to an 07 clam. I'm sure there may be threads out there, so i don't mean to go off on a tangent, but since you mentioned it, thought i'd ask. oh this is on an exige, but i'd think the same would apply for the elise...
 

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Search is your friend, not starting new threads

:UK:
If search is my friend why do I always want to smack it with a baseball bat, pour gasoline on it, light it on fire, and throw it to the curb?

Values are holding remarkably well, but that's for "unmolested" condition. If you beat the snot out of it and store it outdoors without regular maintenance (not saying you'd do this) don't expect a good ROI.
 

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Extruded aluminum pedals are only on the 2005. Also some colors you may want may only be 2005s.
 

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I went with 2006 because I liked the LED taillights... honestly it was 2005 or 2006 for me but I'd "prefer" a 2006. I happened upon a 2006 and brought it home. I feel like there's very little variance between them. Sure drive-by-wire is kind of one of those "meh" things but it's got the more comfortable seats and the taillights. I believe it's got an updated ECU with better fuel economy (who shops fuel economy and lingers around race cars?) but I didn't see a world of difference between the two.

I've got a spreadsheet in my signature from another thread going on that aims to track the price increase/decrease of different year models. It's not quite thorough yet as I don't have a ton of data to go off of.
 

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I really like those extruded pedals on my 2005 too. I do wish I had the LED tail lights of the 2006+. The 2006+ seats are also a little nicer, but I switched mine for custom CF so that doesn't matter to me.
 

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When I purchased mine last fall it came down to the cleanest front clamshell. I looked at three cars and two of them diy epoxy repairs to the lower front end. Yes this would have been cosmetic but it would have bothered me enough that I would have paid the price to repair it later down the road.

There are small difference between the years as mentioned above in other post, but for me it was nothing that would sway me one way or another.
 

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Can you put 2008 or later sport seats in the 2005 and what do they cost?
From what I know the only seat upgrade came out in 06 and yes they swap out. If 08 had a "sport seat" I would assume it fits because they didnt make any changes to the rails. There are a lot of small changes from model to model but non of this matters for a track car. IT may also be worth while to look for an 05 with the sport edition but you can also upgrade it yourself.
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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imo the opinion the seats have to be eliminated from the discussion.Why? Because the true way to address that "situation" is to perform the complete, highly documented, seat mod - tear down - pad seat with air2gel, flip the lumbar cushion (on the '05s - into the proper location!) , and reattach the leather. Both the stock '05 and '06 seats suck for comfort, long term. Why not get the lumbar support where it actually belongs? Why not pad for amazing comfort? Seats should not be in the mix - all the cars need this mod.
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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Thanks guys. BTW, I did try the search function. It did not work well!

Can you put 2008 or later sport seats in the 2005 and what do they cost?

Are the five point racing harness points already there?
You have to search with Google:

Lotus Talk: what you are searching for


works every time.
 
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