You Know You Want To: Lotus Elise S1
The sun is (was) out and has got Chris harking back to memories of his S1 Elise, memories he fancies reliving...
I’m sure my affection for the S1 Elise springs from this time, but however hard I try to like the looks of the subsequent models, I can’t help but prefer the original. There’s a resonance about it that comes from reading those early magazine tests and desperately, desperately wanting one.
Sun-parched, I’m fancying another Elise now. Scouring the classifieds, I’m not sure I want anything other than a 120hp K-Series car – perhaps the Sport 135 at a pinch. This wouldn’t be about going fast and, besides, for all the known K-Series issues it was damned light.
“Coming in about 12 years," was the answer.
My Elise holy grail is a completely standard, early car, with sports exhaust and aluminium brakes. That includes the standard plastic window winders and the normal gear knob. Plain vanilla, as it left the factory. Hellish in the wet, riddled with problems, but in the sunshine a car you will never forget.
LOTUS ELISE S1
Why you should: The original Elise in all its purity
Why you shouldn't: Pricey
See the original advert here.
Top of my current (realistic) wants list. I'll have a plain one in Purple with Cream please.
Pick of the bunch for me now would be the Standard S2 'S' with the 140 bhp Toyota engine.
Just enough power to have fun without taking the spotlight away from the chassis. It also has a really nice linear power delivery unlike the 190 bhp Toyota in the S2 Exige with the second cam.
On song, the VHPD engine was spine tingling and the way the car chucked itself down the road was exhilarating, but the worry of when (not if) something would go wrong just made anything other than a quick drive out nerve wracking.
The S2 Exige wasn't quite as quick but really, it was tenths of seconds, nothing to really worry about and I went all over the country in it without a problem. I could take it to track days and be sure of it lasting the day, and with slightly more road-focused tyres (Conti sport 2 instead of the AO48s it wore in summer) it was fun in the winter as well as the summer - the S2 is the car I miss, not the S1.
Are they good dailys or are they more suited to having a work car and the Elise being a drive out/ toy/ track car?
My S2 has been fine as a daily though. It's not really much less practical than something like an MX5.