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Are there only certain Lotus models that were imported into the USA over the past 20 years? It seems like I keep learning about different years and model changes, but then when I look at what cars are floating around the US, it sure seems like there are a lot more '05-'06 Elise's than any other years/models.

Did all of the Elise's in that time period come with the Toyota engine? Is the Rover engine much less/more reliable than the Toyota's?

Are there certain years/engines/transmissions that are known weak spots (or money traps) and should be avoided? For instance the automatic transmissions from mid-00's Maserati's made those cars virtually worthless overnight.

Thanks for your input!
 

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Are there only certain Lotus models that were imported into the USA over the past 20 years? It seems like I keep learning about different years and model changes, but then when I look at what cars are floating around the US, it sure seems like there are a lot more '05-'06 Elise's than any other years/models.

Did all of the Elise's in that time period come with the Toyota engine? Is the Rover engine much less/more reliable than the Toyota's?

Are there certain years/engines/transmissions that are known weak spots (or money traps) and should be avoided? For instance the automatic transmissions from mid-00's Maserati's made those cars virtually worthless overnight.

Thanks for your input!
Yes, the 05's were the most numerous, then steep drop to 06, then STEEP drop off. The car isn't for everyone. After 05 they couldn't give them away new.

All US cars came with the Toyota motor. There are a handful of gray market S1 Elise's in the US with the Rover motor.

Some of the 05's had a cam wear problem that was taken care of on recall. There was also an oil line issue. Fittings would fail near the oil cooler, disaster could ensue. Also recall.

Otherwise the engines and trans were the same throughout the run, whether Exige or Elise. The differences were bolt on: superchargers, injectors, etc.
 

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2005 Elise LSS Saffron Yellow
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Did all of the Elise's in that time period come with the Toyota engine? Is the Rover engine much less/more reliable than the Toyota's?
I wouldn't have my only Lotus be a Rover engine car, just because Rover K series parts are even rarer on this side of the Atlantic than Ford Kent engine parts. The good news is that the MGF also used the K series, as did, of course, various Rovers. It's not a terrible design, but it's aging rapidly, and the 2ZZ-GE Toyota is a better engine in every siginficant way.

The S2 (Toyota powered) Elise/Exige had some teething pains beyond the oil cooler and cam wear issues, but they're mostly worked out of the population now.

A point I'd make is that a car that has been used regularly and is in good shape has had all this stuff worked out - which I think makes it a better deal than the theoretical 'low mileage creampuff' with no updates.
 
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