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Discussion Starter #1
So,

Not sure if I'm allowed to pester folks with questions on a Lotus Elise I am thinking about. If not, feel free to delete and I'll understand.

I'm not really ready to pull the trigger, but could for the right car. I've been researching the Lotus Elise for about 6 months now. I live in the San Francisco Bay area, tucked up against the Santa Cruz mountains. This would be my toy car. I've joined the Golden Gate Lotus Club just in time to be locked down and not make any events. Ugh Covid sucks.

What I'm mainly interested in from others is, what do you look for? What's the best way to do some research on a car that's for sale? Carfax? What else?

Take for example this 2005 Elise that's for sale in my area. Black, 15k miles, supercharged, for $32k. I keep looking at this car thinking, something must not be right. Very low mileage, supercharged for $32k?

SCCPC11155HL31196 | 2005 Lotus Elise Base for sale in Oakland, CA
 

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Looks like a nice car, low mileage. 2005 model year were not available in the supercharged version, so its either an aftermarket setup or a Lotus dealer stock install. It’s important to know which one. If you are interested in buying, have a PPI done by someone knowledgeable in your area, specifically checking for cam wear and oil line recall.
 

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2005 111R (Elise)
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I’d verify that it even has a supercharger. If it did; I’d imagine they would of shown a photo of it. It also looks like the dash panel (passenger side) look to not be loose.
Regardless, looks like a great car for 32k. Go drive it!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'd find out what supercharger it has.
That's a good point. Not sure who did the Supercharger. I wasn't aware it wasn't a stock option on the 05's. Now I do.

I'm also really fortunate, that if I find a car in the local Bay area, Dietsch Motorsports is right up the road. I hear they are a pretty decent and knowledgeable Lotus shop. I can have a full PPI done there for a small nominal fee.
 

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Important to ask about any recalls performed. A big one was the oil cooler connectors.
There are other points that will require inspecting, such as the toe link connections. Dietsche Motorsports may know about those and other such weaknesses to check.
 

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Permafrost55,
Interesting to me too that they'd photograph while still wet. Paint, especially black, always looks better when it's wet. I'd inspect in person for sure and have a Pre Purchase Inspection ( PPI ) done as well. When I was looking for my Evora, the costs for a PPI ranged in the $150-300 range. I've also used Vincheckup.com to get a decent rundown of history besides using the CarFax. I did the vincheckup before I went to the expense and hassle of a PPI just to ensure I was comfortable moving forward.

Good luck!
 

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Make sure on your PPI that you specify to check the cam lobes for wear. The indie shop that I used also did compression and borescope in addition to a full PPI and it ran $400. Prices will vary by shop and location. Happy hunting and good luck!
 

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2005 111R (Elise)
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Important to ask about any recalls performed. A big one was the oil cooler connectors.
There are other points that will require inspecting, such as the toe link connections. Dietsche Motorsports may know about those and other such weaknesses to check.
Radiator too; right?
 

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Just to add, it definitely has the touring pack. I know it states base, but having LSS wheels usually means sport pack as well. Although, purchasing a set of LSS wheels isn’t out of the question. Definitely get a PPI. Otherwise looks good from what I see.

Could be the dealership just doesn’t know what they have. Who knows. Good luck!


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Interesting that they show mostly exterior pictures. Dealers usually love to show the engine. Oh well....
 

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The most important thing is to go look at the car. People buy with their eyes.

  • Buy a plane or train ticket if you need to.
  • Drive it.
  • Talk with the owner.
  • Ask about the mods done.
  • Check the workmanship.
  • Let him/her tell the story.
  • If you can, bring someone along who knows these cars, preferably someone who owns one.
  • Take it to a mechanic for a PPI, or have the mechanic come inspect it for a fee. TurboHoses/Dietschwerks in Livermore or TrackSpec in Fremont are excellent.
  • Make sure he has a checklist of everything you consider important.
  • Ask to see the title/registration
  • Make sure the person you are buying from is the registered owner...
A car deteriorates fastest 30 minutes after the funds and title change hands....

I looked at several Elises before I found mine. One is still for sale in Oakland, CA ( I think its the one in your link). Sales person was so unhelpful I walked out after 10 minutes even though I had an appointment.

Second car was a private party. Some great mods that I would have done, others not sure they were worth the money and effort. Unfortunately some of the mods were poorly executed and looked like they needed to be redone.

The third car, was higher mileage, good condition, but could have used a good wash and detail. It had the reliability and performance mods I wanted. The best part was the owner. We took a test drive together, both driving. He let me look at anything I wanted to see and pointed out all of the known issues he had with the car. He went out of his way to make sure I knew what I was buying. I let him know I was interested and wanted to check further with the previous owner. I made him an offer a few days later and we made an agreement. One of the best car buying experiences I ever had.
 

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I never did get a PPI on the two Elises I bought, but I echo the sentiments above. Luckily I was able to go test drive the two I bought. (they were 95 miles away) I was REALLY looking for the car I bought 2nd, but as there appeared to be none around.. the first seemed like the best compromise. The owner was not overly excited to sell, but kinda needed to and had minor mods. He had such a connection, that my first offer was accepted later as I offered first right of refusal if I ever sold.
The car that was exactly what I wanted appeared for sale, 5 miles from the first, 3 months later. So I HAD to buy it.

I SHOULD sell the first, but I kinda like it too, plus would have to offer it back first and situation has not likely changed much in 9 months or so... so here I am.. :D

I should add that as I originally was a car mechanic 35 years ago caused me to "just look" for myself. The only regret on the 1st one has been an oil weep at an oil cooler and determined minor clutch slippage, but then again, it has 56K miles too. (Only Autocrossing it and comparing to the low mileage one at autocross also exposed the minor slippage. On the street you would never tell) The 2nd Elise has 12K original miles and bone stock.

Oh yes, the "tire size" in the door jamb will tell if had sport pack option or not. 175 fronts =base/touring 195 fronts = Sport Pak.

Good luck
 

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its either an aftermarket setup or a Lotus dealer stock install. It’s important to know which one.
Hmm why? So you know if it's an SC when you sell it later?

Interesting note - the SC version is the most valuable elise, yet the least desirable supercharger. The newer cooled kits are much better.

OP - find out if it's actually supercharged, otherwise it's a reasonable price, but not a steal
 

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Hmm why? So you know if it's an SC when you sell it later?

Interesting note - the SC version is the most valuable elise, yet the least desirable supercharger. The newer cooled kits are much better.

OP - find out if it's actually supercharged, otherwise it's a reasonable price, but not a steal
I think you just answered your own question.
 

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khamai It's not two exhausts its the option for under exit with that muffler. Hi exit is the other option.
 

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