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When I first heard the Elise was coming to the US, I decided pretty quickly that it was probably something I'd be really interested in. However, we all know the bullet-proof build quality Lotus has been famous for. (Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious.) This made me quite cautious. It became clear quickly that many, many nice used Elises hit the market fast, and I decided early on that if going the used route, it would be best to buy a later build 2005. As you can guess, it didn't work out that way. I ended up the third owner of chassis #307. Here's the thing though: I haven't had a single problem with it. It's been as reliable as my Honda Civic. Now, do you think this is because owners 1 & 2 had the pleasure of sorting out the Lotus gremlins, or did I just get really lucky? Does anyone else have an early (<1500) 2005 that has been trouble-free? I am interested in what others' experiences have been. Thanks.
 

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I have a 2005 that I bought brand new, and have had no troubles with it in 2 years as a daily driver 15,000 miles, great gas milage as well. Let me know how you determine your Chassis number and I will let you know what # I have !

I bet most of the people who rushed out and bought without knowing about owning a low slung exotic sold them without driving them much. Also remember the car was out in the UK for a while before coming over to the US so the UK folks got to go through the 1.0 thing
 

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I've got VIN #73, and have had only minimal trouble...AC leak being the most serious item. It's made fewer trips to the dealer than some of my other more mundane automobiles.
 

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Mine is a 2005 as well.

Build Date February 2005, Chassis # 2829.

After 3 years of ownership no problems to report, starts right up after winter hibernation, no leaks, A/C works fine, just routine maintenance, everything is still attached...:)

Very happy with mine, better than I expected. :clap:

Regards,
Wayne

BTW, Chassis Number is usually considered as the last 4 digits of the VIN #.
 

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I've got chassis #0038. (41000 miles) No problems. Nothing. The most reliable car I've ever owned.

I was even surprised when other 05 Elise owners started talking about the speaker covers popping off cause mine weren't. *shrug* Others would describe their cars shipped out of alignment or with loose tools found behind the seat. etc.

I've noticed several build differences between my early car and other 05 Elises... (mainly related to AC hardware and the length of some of the cable bundles in the car) and came up with a theory that for hand built stuff they naturally focus more attention into building the first batch of cars then ramp up the number of production efficiencies they work into the assembly line as they move into the later cars. *shrug2*
 

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Waaaay more reliable than my last daily driver (a 1980 Fiat Spider :eek:)
April '05 build, first owner, 15k miles and truly zero problems. :nanner2:
I'v experienced most of the common complaints, but they never seemed like "problems" to me, probably because I was already "conditioned" by my beloved Fiat. My Lotus starts, steers and stops better than anything I have ever owned.

Tom
 

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#0490

just the service bulletin work and some loose screws (the car AND me). the a/c "works" but it sucks a lot more than it blows cold air!
 

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#5xx (need to look to be exact)

Only one relatively serious problem with the transmission that was resolved quickly and under warranty. Just about to hit 36k, so we pulled off the valve covers and the cams look nearly new. :clap: Best car I've ever owned.
 

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05 VIN #063

I bought my Elise used with only one month left on the warranty and have put 15k on it in 12 months with only one service issue. An 02 sensor, which as I understand it, really is more of a consumable item.
I don't have a ton of money and I know that if this car were in the shop like my previous VW was, I'd unload it because service can be spendy at the dealer.
So far......all good.
 

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30 thousand plus, no real issues, daily driver until I retired May 30th. I could say better than expected, but I lived in Europe until 2000 and I already knew they were well debugged, but it's gratifying just the same.
 

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BTW, Chassis Number is usually considered as the last 4 digits of the VIN #.
If this is correct then my last 4 digits are 3893, I bought one of the last new 2005s off of Lotus South Bay's lot. I thought they only brought 2,500 cars to the United States in 2005 yet my chassis is #3893 ?

VIN # being the one that starts with SCCPC....... that is on the windsheild
 

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I have an early '05 and the only issue was a headlamp going out, but quickly fixed with the replacement of the switch pack module. I only wish my Explorer was so trouble free.
 

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#0084

I am also the 3rd. owner. I bought the car with 14,000 miles on it and in 14 months I have put 10,000 miles on the clock.

Just before it went out of warrenty last August it spent a few days in the shop for all the recalls/upgrades.

Maybe the first 2 owners worked out the bugs or this is one great Toyota--I mean car. This can't be any realation to the English cars of the past.

LPM
 

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If this is correct then my last 4 digits are 3893, I bought one of the last new 2005s off of Lotus South Bay's lot. I thought they only brought 2,500 cars to the United States in 2005 yet my chassis is #3893 ?

VIN # being the one that starts with SCCPC....... that is on the windsheild
Initially, this VIN set was US-only, but at some point early in the 2005 model year that changed and that VIN set was used globally. So, your numbers make sense.
 

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My car is #0285 and I bought it from the first owner in February, 2007 with only 2200 miles. All the recalls have been done and I now have nearly 6000 miles with no trouble other than tightening up the shifter after the California dealer didn't do the recall correctly. I even have the original battery, which has not leaked (yet), but will get changed out this summer since it's getting a little weak. Admittedly I don't have nearly as many miles as some of you, but I'm happy with the car so far.
 

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#189 the only issue was the burning head lights, which was fixed under warranty. HRM also fixed the shifter under warranty although that was never an issue.
 

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I've noticed several build differences between my early car and other 05 Elises... (mainly related to AC hardware and the length of some of the cable bundles in the car) and came up with a theory that for hand built stuff they naturally focus more attention into building the first batch of cars then ramp up the number of production efficiencies they work into the assembly line as they move into the later cars. *shrug2*
In the case of the '05 Elise, the very early ones are probably better built than the mid-year ones. You may remember the huge backlog of orders and Lotus hired a lot of "contract" workers which they worked in with the regular workforce to add a partial shift to increase prodution. There were some build quality problems during that period, the most notable of which is probably the oil cooler problem.

Mine was built during that period (Dec '04 #1659). I had a number of things fall off, come apart, etc., including an oil cooler leak. However, after the first year of ownership, finding and tightening all the loose stuff, getting the shifter replaced and rebuilding battery cables, the car has been very reliable the last 2 1/2 years. It has always been my daily (and only) driver.
 
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