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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided I needed a Lotus back in 2011. Back then sale prices were decent but I had really just started working iafter college and needed time to save up, along with a few major purchases along the way.

Fast forward to now and I'm finally in a position where I can really save up for a Lotus. It will take me 2 years, possibly 3, to reach $30-40k. Which leads me to my question for discussion...

●What are your market predictions for Elise/Exige in 2015 or 2016?

The reason I ask is prices are going up, numbers are going down, and possibly owners that have them between then and now bought them used and plan to keep them. And there is no substitute to a Lotus for me.

I suppose I could start looking in about a year and finance the rest but that can be tricky with a 5+ yr old car. I'd rather pay cash but if prices keep going up it could be a wash with the interest I pay.

If you were in my position what would you do? What do you think the market will look like for buyers over the next 2 to 3 years?

I know these threads can be annoying but hoping a few of you can provide input!
 

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Personally, I'd be surprised if the prices kept escalating at the same rate they have over the past year or two. Maybe they have already stabilized. You could probably put a spreadsheet together based on the history here.

With the exceptions of ultra-low mileage and rare version cars, I don't think they keep going up for the following reasons:

1) There were "too many made" to be ultra-exclusive.
2) While cool, they don't have the artistic craftsmanship of a Ferrari 250 GTO
3) People who are drawn to Lotus are either a little more practical or simply can't afford/justify something else (please, no rants)
4) Most of us can't resist the temptation to mod our cars. Modifying your car insures its value can't go up to high. Outside of completely reversible mods (like wheels), modding the car devalues it - at least you don't get your money back for the mods. (Who pays a premium for a car that has clearly been built for the track?)

So, will you need more than $30K in 2 years? Depends on what you want. The more you spend, the nicer the car will be. If you are going to use this as a fun car, not a DD, then as soon as you can, start looking for a nice, straight, car with a salvage title. Have someone help you look for it and get it thoroughly checked out. If you were to buy a car with frame damage, you're toast. Frame damage on these cars is a "total". for the most part. But there are salvages for many reasons that make the car drive fine. You won't see appreciation on that car but you shouldn't buy any car (other than investment cars like a M-B `55 Gullwing) thinking about making money. And, a good salvage car is the PERFECT car to track, which is what you really need to do when you get your first one. Then you'll determine if you're a track guy or not.

Good luck. Save fast...life is short!
 

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I'm certain prices will continue to rise. The only scenario where this would not happen is if Lotus leaves the U.S. and potential buyers get cold feet based on harder to obtain, parts and service. Otherwise, yes, prices will continue to rise. I think there's a very large pool of future buyers just like yourself, larger than the pool of remaining and available cars. On a side note, I bought in 3 years ago at $18,400 clean, clear, avg miles '05 Elise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The car will serve as my weekend fun car and mountain drives, and maybe rarely commuting for the first few years. I plan to get I to track racing but won't be ready to tack on another expensive hobby at the beginning!

Basically, I prefer a 2006+ Exige but could take an Elise. My only real requirements are minimal mods (no track time) and any color besides black silver yellow or green. After that the car just has to check out ok.

Thanks for the responses so far!
 

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Typically I would agree with the modding statement but costs for items you would do anyway at a fraction of the cost. I put the molders into 3 camps, cosmetic, dyi and purposeful/professional. I would pay more for a car that has best of best parts that was maintained well. How much? Maybe a 1/3 rd of expenses. I have driven stock lotus cars that are low miles, look ok but mechanically are off and modded ones that are very well maintained and drive better then stock. I would pay extra for that. Point being drive a few cars, stock, modded, etc. you will see what it's worth to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You're right and I have a similar opinion. I think it comes down to what the mods are, if they are mods I like or would have done myself.
 

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I'm certain prices will continue to rise. The only scenario where this would not happen is if Lotus leaves the U.S. and potential buyers get cold feet based on harder to obtain, parts and service. Otherwise, yes, prices will continue to rise. I think there's a very large pool of future buyers just like yourself, larger than the pool of remaining and available cars. On a side note, I bought in 3 years ago at $18,400 clean, clear, avg miles '05 Elise.
Yes, but the very large pool of future buyers you cite is large ONLY because they are trying to wait out to buy cheap.

The pool of buyers who are willing to pay escalating prices is much smaller.
 

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i guess its fun to speculate. I'm mostly in agreement with #2

Its a unique car but doesn't have what it takes to ever skyrocket in value. People won't have golden memories of driving one in high school and lotus race pedigree falls short of an fcar or a pcar.

Also, we're in an era where more people value comfort than speed. There's more value on safety, fuel economy, etc. People are interested in cars that drive themselves.

The rising costs of owning a car lend a hand in the trend above. The percentage of 18 year olds with a drivers license I believe is lower than its ever been, because technology is making driving a choice for some things (amazon, skype).

Sometimes it helps to look at history - how many people are dying to get their hands on an elan or a seven these days? That car is regarded as one of the best handling cars of all time, it was made at a time Chapman was prominent and Lotus was a big name in racing. And yet, they do not command any kind of price premium. If any road lotus is going to become a true collector, its going to be one of the first cars with this formula - an elan or a seven.

To that end, prices for the elise/exige in the US aren't really going to change IMO. Sure there's not many elise/exige, but there's also comparatively few people that really want one. I wouldn't expect any really big swings in price.

Also, if you're going to take the car to the track one day, I wouldn't be afraid of one that had already been. If its going to take you a long time to save up for one AND you plan to take it to the track, my advice would be to buy one thats already been there and save the depreciation.

Don't let the above comments fool you into thinking I'm a disgruntled owner! I really enjoy the car and its uniqueness. Its a hoot to drive and I think the design has aged gracefully. I plan to own it for a long time. But I don't kid myself about how much its worth now or in the future. It WILL be harder to find one, but I don't think the price is going to be too much different.
 

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I did drink the Lotus Koolaid...

I think those of you who think the prices will drop or level off are wrong. It's subjective, but the Lotus uniquely fits in the mind-space of youth much more cleanly than you think. All I have to do is reference the Fast and the Furious... how many Ferrari's or supercars do you see ? Very few. How many modified everything do you see ? tons. Kids get it.

You can modify your cars on video games. Every time I hang with local tuner kids the Lotus has a halo around it. They git it. You can get a Lotus and personalize it. They are often misinformed, but they get the ethos of the Brand. These are the ultimate "tunercar".These kids are a tight and hard working lot. Not like the kid who does not care as described. They clearly see the virtue of Lotus cars and care about the same things we care about. The Lotus is thought to represent obtainable speed, bling and value, vs other unobtanium cars... I have also noticed many of the second tier car offering vehicles very similar in visual and performance impact to the elige last few years...

Back to my premise. Some of these kids will succeed and will still want one. And, certainly at least ten ( more of course) getting destroyed every year. I think a clean well maintained modified Lotus will not get any cheaper the next 5 years by much and will continue to garner a premium, until or unless Lotus starts dumping V6 machines on our shore that we can register. Then all bets are off:UK:
 

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Having recently purchased an Exige after reading the for sale adds for almost two years, I understand waiting for the cash to be in place and yet watching asking prices rise. The age of the cars will quickly force anyone wanting to finance an Elige have to do so now or wait and pay in cash. Most banks will only allow a loan on a vehicle up to 7 years old, in another month that will eliminate loans on the ’05 and ’06 cars. This will become a factor on future pricing as not everyone can pay cash for this type of purchase; the “kids” may really want one but without financing it will be out of reach for them. Even given this, I do not see prices coming down soon.

I would advise to start saving now. Continue to watch the for sale section and if one with all the colors and options you want comes up for sale you need to reevaluate your situation at that time. Some people wait months if not a year to find the car they want to buy. Interest rates are still low; you might pay $3k-$4k in interest over a 6 year auto loan on one of these cars (less if you do not have to finance the entire purchase). That interest is the gamble you take not knowing the future sales price if you wait to pay cash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the new replies.

I have been watching the for sale section almost daily the last two years... I think I will save for about a year ($15k) then if the "perfect" one shows up I will consider financing the rest (at the least my credit score lands me the lowest rate). If I do finance I will still pay it off at the rate I was saving.
 

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i Sometimes it helps to look at history - how many people are dying to get their hands on an elan or a seven these days? That car is regarded as one of the best handling cars of all time, it was made at a time Chapman was prominent and Lotus was a big name in racing. And yet, they do not command any kind of price premium.
I don't know that I agree with you on the Elan or Seven examples. How many want to get their hands on them? Not many in real numbers, but when either comes on the market they do not stay on the market long, and many people compete to get them.

Nice Elans are in the upper $20's even lower $30's these days. REAL Sevens, not Catherhams have gone crazy in price lately, especially all but the Series 4( which is arguably the best Seven in real terms but the least desirable) getting high $30's and well into the $40's.

Even Europas, finally are starting to creep up. Tired driver Twin Cams are going in low/mid teens. Well sorted and finished cars are routinely high teens with some starting to trade hands at $20K and up.

I guess it depends on what you mean by a premium. Are these exotic car values? No, the closest Lotus street car for that would be the Type 14 Elite, usually changing hands in the $70K to $90K range.

But as a multiplier of their original prices, the Elans an Sevens are doing very well these days. And again, when a nice Elan or Seven hits the market, the seller rarely has trouble finding several eager buyers.
 

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Interesting topic. Pretty much agree with jds62f.

Few points on vintage Loti. The true collector Lotus now is unquestionably the Type 14 Elite, rare, desirable, and pricey. The Elan is getting there, with a good driver around $25K, really good cars getting to high $30's. My impression is they are up about 20% to 30% in the last four or five years, but still way short of contemporary Porsche, Healey, etc. prices. So just clarifying, but agree with jds62f that current pricing does not reflect a premium against contemporary vintage stuff. Heck, the Elan prices are pretty much at what they cost new with inflation accounted for. That said, the market is brisk, with good cars selling easily, excellent on-line support.

I think this is a different deal from Elise over the next few years. The Elan just celebrated it's 50th birthday, rather than it's 20th. Once cars are in the truly vintage world, the market is based more on rarity & nostalgia than suitability as a car, objective performance, etc. As with all vintage stuff, the typical buyer is a guy that always wanted the car in his 20's and can now 'relive' the experience. Nice thing is they are readily restorable by a dude in his garage without a heck of a lot of specialized skills.

Don't get me wrong, I would love an Elise, and sure I would find the stock performance (NA or SC) more than adequate. But the average buyer has alternatives they will cross shop. They will use criteria like dealer availability, comfort, etc.; result is Elise remains a niche car on the performance / track / toy car side of things. Only reason I don't have one is I couldn't get the critical spousal approval and garage space. Probably less of an issue for an slush box Boxster, but just don't have the P-car passion so never asked.

So, what happens over the next three or so years is anybody's guess, but I lean toward price stability, particularly for older NA cars. Recent price rise and availability decline, particularly here in Canada, is pretty dramatic. The SC models will become 'used cars', hopefully increasing supply. Lotus leaves North America, demand down. Lotus gets its act together and introduces new models, guys 'upgrade' and Elise supply increases? Hard to say though, as a new Elise looks more competitive with an Evora.

Anybody's guess, but buy 'the one' when you are comfortable and can enjoy it! The market will do what it does, but don't think it will move enough to matter. Best of luck with the search, and keep the passion!

Edit. Agree with Lotusforsale; interesting remarks.

Europa pricing definitely on the move as well. Interesting data point last month or so. An excellent JPS TC five speed on offer at $32.5K, lowered to $31.5K, and not sold with offers received in both eBay listings. Listing got good exposure on BaT, and had tons of guys following the listings on eBay. My bet is this will be the price level for these cars in a few years, but maybe not this winter I guess.

Seven's are interesting. Might be availability of the Caterham acts to suppress the 'real Seven' demand a bit, but prices are very solid.

Both the Europa and Seven define niche though, just because of cockpit size alone. Elise in 10 or 15 years or so will be the same, provided we are still allowed to run them!

Stu
 

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My Honda Exige will be worth $1,000K in 2015.
 

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... Sure there's not many elise/exige, but there's also comparatively few people that really want one. ...
And that my friends, is the problem with Lotus's business model.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
And that my friends, is the problem with Lotus's business model.
This works for me! As long as Lotus makes enough profit to stay in business (which didn't really work out). I'd rather drive a car most people don't know about than grabbing a brand new Scion FRS off the lot with 30 to choose from.
 

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I did drink the Lotus Koolaid...

I think those of you who think the prices will drop or level off are wrong. It's subjective, but the Lotus uniquely fits in the mind-space of youth much more cleanly than you think. All I have to do is reference the Fast and the Furious... how many Ferrari's or supercars do you see ? Very few. How many modified everything do you see ? tons. Kids get it.

You can modify your cars on video games. Every time I hang with local tuner kids the Lotus has a halo around it. They git it. You can get a Lotus and personalize it. They are often misinformed, but they get the ethos of the Brand. These are the ultimate "tunercar".These kids are a tight and hard working lot. Not like the kid who does not care as described. They clearly see the virtue of Lotus cars and care about the same things we care about. The Lotus is thought to represent obtainable speed, bling and value, vs other unobtanium cars... I have also noticed many of the second tier car offering vehicles very similar in visual and performance impact to the elige last few years...

Back to my premise. Some of these kids will succeed and will still want one. And, certainly at least ten ( more of course) getting destroyed every year. I think a clean well maintained modified Lotus will not get any cheaper the next 5 years by much and will continue to garner a premium, until or unless Lotus starts dumping V6 machines on our shore that we can register. Then all bets are off:UK:
^ this.
I don't know guys - there is something different about the Elise in the Lotus historical line-up. It has so much Dino in it, several guys and one woman have stopped me and grilled me on how to buy one. And they have that look in their eye. I'm gonna buy one.
I think we underestimate the effect the car has on people, and as more and more people become aware of the cars, and the car's low cost to own - the demand will grow. And we are probably down to 5000 cars remaining intact , street legal. Many people get silly and wrap these things up. At a much higher rate than other cars. The people that get exposed to these Lotus, get all passionate and pursue purchasing them at a rate higher than other cars. So - Prices are up or level imo..Not down.
 

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My 2 cents. I think the recent values for low mileage, minor modded Elise/Exige cars will maintain their prices for the next few years.

I am surprised that no one has looked at the last great Lotus Super Car - the Esprit. I present to you my case at this link:

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f94/2004-lotus-esprit-final-edition-yellow-black-15k-miles-186306/

This is a STUNNING car (never seen it or have a vested interest). So what does this example and other Esprits in the market say about the future of our current generation Elise/Exige rides?

My thought is that over the long haul, the value will decrease as they age in both mileage, mods, and years. Are they a great driver car? No doubt. Will a generation of new drivers adopt them as great value car to tweak? Yes. Just like the EVO and WRX crowd have done with their Japanese performance cars.

So in the end, buy when you can afford one. Do what your heart and wallet can achieve with performance mods, and drive the **** out of it, the sell it for the next cool ride that comes down the pike! :coolnana:
 

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I decided I needed a Lotus back in 2011. Back then sale prices were decent but I had really just started working iafter college and needed time to save up, along with a few major purchases along the way.

Fast forward to now and I'm finally in a position where I can really save up for a Lotus. It will take me 2 years, possibly 3, to reach $30-40k. Which leads me to my question for discussion...

●What are your market predictions for Elise/Exige in 2015 or 2016?

The reason I ask is prices are going up, numbers are going down, and possibly owners that have them between then and now bought them used and plan to keep them. And there is no substitute to a Lotus for me.

I suppose I could start looking in about a year and finance the rest but that can be tricky with a 5+ yr old car. I'd rather pay cash but if prices keep going up it could be a wash with the interest I pay.

If you were in my position what would you do? What do you think the market will look like for buyers over the next 2 to 3 years?

I know these threads can be annoying but hoping a few of you can provide input!
I predict you won't buy an Elise or Exige...
 
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