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I've been very curious and interested in the Lotus Elise for a while now. I've been browsing these forums to get educated on the car and finally decided to sign up.

After a lot of research and looking at used examples online I found one in my area to check out in person. It's a black 05 Elise SC and it was at Subaru of Plano in Plano, TX which is a suburb of Dallas. It had 34K on the clock and was priced at 30K.

The dealer knew nothing about the car. They had no idea that it was hand built and that it had a Toyota power train. The car was simply advertised as an 05 Elise, they didn't even know it was an SC model. The car had the Touring and Sport package with a hardtop.

Thanks to this forum I was very well prepared in what to look for on the car. At first inspection I could tell this car wasn't given the TLC it deserved. The first thing I noticed was the paint was badly swirled; no big deal though, I can fix that with a nice detail. Close inspection of the front and rear clams revealed expensive damage. The front clam around the license plate mount was badly damaged. The rear clam showed what was possibly a very light impact but it was enough to show cracking and spider webbing. Both the front and rear clams would need to be repaired/replaced. Tires were fairly new and the brakes had plenty of pad left. The break rotors looked to be in good shape with no signs of overheating.

I climbed in the driver’s seat and started her up. I'm very familiar with the 2ZZ as I had a 2K Celica GT-S 6spd. The engine sounded good and healthy.

As I let her warm up I started inspecting the interior. It looked to be in very good shape. All the leather was perfect and surprisingly the door sills were not scratched at all. There were a couple things that I didn't like on the interior. One, the console around the shifter seemed loose and would move when you move the gear shifter; it was also of very poor quality material wise. Are they all loose like this? If so, can this be fixed with maybe a different shifter console such as a carbon fiber one? The next thing I noticed in the interior were the gauges, specifically the gauge needles. They looked very thin and weren't perfectly straight; possibly another material quality issue. Other than those two items, everything else in the interior was as expected from my research.

On to the test drive. First thing I noticed just pulling out of the dealer was the clutch and brake pedal travel. The clutch was possibly worn and need of replacement as it didn't catch until the pedal was almost completely released. The brakes appeared to be in need of a good bleeding as they felt a little spongy and didn't start working until almost to the floor. I'm so use to the brembo's in my sti which have so much bite that they will practically throw you through the windshield; I was expecting much the same in the Lotus but they weren't even close. With so much brake pedal travel this car was impossible to heal and toe shift.

Driving the car it felt very solid and was not as stiff and harsh as I was expecting it to be. The engine pulled nice and strong all the way to a conservative 7K rpm; I didn't want to beat on the car and redline it. I wanted to rev it high enough to see if the cam switch over was working.

The handling was out of this world, no big surprise there. I've never driven a car that handles this well. It cornered so flat and the grip felt limitless.

This was not the best example available in the used market but certainly gave me a better perspective and understanding of the car. Although it doesn’t have the power and torque my sti currently has, it will most certainly leave me in its dust in the twisties. Overall, I love the car but wouldn’t give up my sti for it. So my plan is to keep the sti and buy the lotus when I can afford to have both since I simply have to have one of these great cars.
 

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It's a black 05 Elise SC <...> The car was simply advertised as an 05 Elise, they didn't even know it was an SC model. The car had the Touring and Sport package with a hardtop.
For the record, there was no "SC" model for '05. Only the stand Elise with the options of Touring Package and/or Sport Pack and/or Hardtop.

Assuming that you are meaning it had a supercharger by the term "SC" modle, that was not factory.
 

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The loose console is pretty typical. The brakes should be more effective than how you describe, though the pedal feel is a common complaint and you shouldn't expect much improvement there.
 

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Very nice write up. The car sounds atypical and I hope you get a chance to test another one that is in better condition. There are some seriously nice cars out there for amazing prices right now, there should be little reason for settling for a car that needs that much work unless the price is ridiculous.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
For the record, there was no "SC" model for '05. Only the stand Elise with the options of Touring Package and/or Sport Pack and/or Hardtop.

Assuming that you are meaning it had a supercharger by the term "SC" modle, that was not factory.

I did not know this. But, it did have a super charger on it which obviously was after market.
 

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Location might help you out....talk to the locals !!
 
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