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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I've recently come across a lotus elise being sold by a reputable dealer for 33K. I'm a bit unsure if this is a good price for a salvage title lotus. It has lowish miles (40k) and is fully restored. It was salvaged due to damage on the front clamshell, no chasis damage or further damage that I know of but I'll be careful to inspect the car with a mechanic to make sure everything was done correctly. Can anyone confirm that this is a fair asking price as long as the lotus has been restored properly and there are no mechanical or cosmetic damages?

Touring package with just the soft top. Looks good inside and out.
 

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Fair price depending on outcome of a full PPI.
 

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In addition to making sure all the epoxy joints look good (including especially the suspension mounting points), I would have your mechanic make make sure the tub is not twisted. See:
 

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2005 Elise #3935, Chrome Orange, BOE tune, Exige wheels, splitter
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Hey all,

I've recently come across a lotus elise being sold by a reputable dealer for 33K. I'm a bit unsure if this is a good price for a salvage title lotus. It has lowish miles (40k) and is fully restored. It was salvaged due to damage on the front clamshell, no chasis damage or further damage that I know of but I'll be careful to inspect the car with a mechanic to make sure everything was done correctly. Can anyone confirm that this is a fair asking price as long as the lotus has been restored properly and there are no mechanical or cosmetic damages?

Touring package with just the soft top. Looks good inside and out.
It's been said, but if it's from Wirewheel, you're getting a car from a reputable business. I got a salvaged Elise from them and couldn't be happier. 33k, seems to be the going price. Good luck.
Noel
 
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That’s the trick, isn’t it? The entire run of federal Elises, all options, colors, geographic distribution, likely adds up to less than a single years run of Vettes or Porsche Cayman/Boxters,
 

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2009 Elise SC
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If I can find a better car close to my area i'd be okay with paying a bit more.
How do you feel about shipping a car? As @4380r noted, less than 5,000 Elises made it to the states in total, so they're pretty scarce. The wider your net, the more likely you are to find a car you're happy with.

If you haven't already, you'll also need to figure out how much it's worth to you to have an Elise, and make sure that the number is at least in market range for what you want in a car. I know that sounds like a really obvious recommendation - but I actually had to stop and think about this myself. I came back into this market about 6 weeks ago after considering an Elise two years ago - so my ideas of what it would cost to get one were a ways off and I was initially frustrated that I couldn't find any in the price range I was expecting. You can watch the flow through Autotrader, BAT, etc. (I did this for awhile) - but the sample size is small, so it's admittedly hard to get a solid feel for "typical" cost. Plus, each one is a little different in some way that somehow affects value, so it's hard to define a standard of any sort. So for me, it really came down to how much I could & would pay, and less about whether or not it seemed like a good deal.

As for a salvage title: I considered one, myself, and decided that I was okay with a branded title as long as the car was actually rebuilt well and didn't have any hidden damage. Buying from Wirewheel was really my only consideration in this case, because I wasn't confident a PPI would reveal all of the potentially scary stuff and though I read a lot about Elises and what to look for, I don't trust myself to adequately assess that myself. Assuming the car was sound, I would've been getting into an Elise for a reasonable price and the title wouldn't have affected my driving experience at all. I haven't seen enough pricing over time to know, but I expect the value of salvaged Elises (again - the good ones) trend in value the same way as the clean titled cars, but at a discounted number. So I figured I could always sell it some day, albeit a little more slowly than a clean titled car, and get most if not all of my money back out of it. Though now that I have an Elise, I can't imagine why I'd ever sell it.... 😉

Just my personal experience and thought processes, in case it helps to hear them.
 

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If you only will consider cars near you you'll be limiting your search and purchase potential as stated above by KCA and may wait till hell freezes over depending on your location. Open your search up! I had never purchased long distance and it was all so foreign to me but I followed advice here from members, got a PPI and then went to look once all of that was good for final determination. It was a 11 hour drive thru the mountains with trailer each way but worth it. As I had a WTB for a modded car and only two met my wants I lucked out with one 9 hours away and the other 11. The closer one failed the PPI so off I went for the other. Get your post count up so that you will be able to respond to offers here.
 

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I've purchased two cars from far away (the Elise was actually really close at 2.5hrs) - and in addition to giving you more options, traveling to get it actually adds to the "story" of the car. I flew to Connecticut and drove the first one home to NC in the pouring rain, through NYC and DC traffic. I even stalled it once in bumper-to-bumper and couldn't figure out how to start it again for 30sec (had to turn it all the way off first). By most measures it would've been an unpleasant 13hrs of travel - but I was so happy to have the car that I didn't care, and I consider it part of the adventure. That said, I wouldn't want to drive an Elise in traffic, and not in the rain, depending on the tires. But the overall concept of the purchase experience being part of the journey still stands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@nothau @kfennell If I end up passing I'll throw you both my point of contact for the car. It's unlisted but will be on the market soon. I have a good connection that let me know about it a bit early. Still very interested in it though, it's my preferred model, color and year. The price point is ideal for me at this stage in my life, It's just about making sure there's no other issues with the car and that I'm not overpaying (too much).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
@KCA @Catsailr27 This is good feedback! I am not really a car guy, I've always had nice cars but have never found myself to mesh well with car enthusiasts due to my limited knowledge on them. It felt overwhelming buying a Lotus privately so I've always hoped to find a reputable dealer. I'll take both of yalls advice in the meantime and make some additional posts, and watch and see what comes for sale.
 

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The price point is ideal for me at this stage in my life, It's just about making sure there's no other issues with the car and that I'm not overpaying (too much).
Based on what I've observed in the market since I entered it 6 weeks ago, I don't think you'd be overpaying at $33k. If it's been properly restored, then a similar car with a clean title would likely cost you an additional $5k, maybe more. So if that difference in cost is a barrier for you, and this car checks all of the other boxes for you, then I wouldn't worry about the salvage brand. The Elise will be just as much fun with a branded title. Focus on finding a way to get a good inspection, and if it checks out then I think it's an option worth considering.

You can surf around pretty quickly and find the lists of other things to look out for with Elises. But don't let those "problems with Elises" lists scare you. Most Elises either have some sort of minor issue, or are about to have one - it's their nature, and part of their charm. It's the big stuff like frame damage that you really need to look out for, especially with a rebuilt car.
 

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If you're going to keep and enjoy it, my two cents is not to worry too much if you get it for the absolute bottom dollar. I know that sounds a bit cavalier. But for me (I did overpay) the choice was between having one with low miles in the exact colors I wanted (and I think there are actually only about 10 magnetic blue with blue interior) that was within walking distance (a healthy walk of 12 miles) of my home or having none at all. Because there was no way (for me) I was ever going to find the time to hop on a plane to pick one up. Life is short. And I saved a lot on therapy. :)

A more common experience is that the purchase price (aka "downpayment") starts to matter a lot less if you start adding some of the pricier mods - Penskes, monolites, Rev 300, DMC headers, etc.
 
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It seems to me that whenever the front or rear clam gets damaged bad enough to need replacement, the insurance companies total the car ????? Then a salvage title is needed to get the car back on the road after repairs. With my past experiences of other makes and salvage titles, I don't think I would go that way. Just too much potential for problems in the future.......My 2 cents !!!!!!
 

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Hey all,

I've recently come across a lotus elise being sold by a reputable dealer for 33K. I'm a bit unsure if this is a good price for a salvage title lotus. It has lowish miles (40k) and is fully restored. It was salvaged due to damage on the front clamshell, no chasis damage or further damage that I know of but I'll be careful to inspect the car with a mechanic to make sure everything was done correctly. Can anyone confirm that this is a fair asking price as long as the lotus has been restored properly and there are no mechanical or cosmetic damages?

Touring package with just the soft top. Looks good inside and out.
I agree with others here. Wirewheel is the best place to buy. My 2008 Elise with salvage title from them is the best car I've ever owned.
 
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