Lotus Elise Sport 160: PH Carpool

Name: Nick Leek
Car: Lotus Elise S1 Sport 160
Owned since: 2012
Currently owned: 2014 Mercedes ML250 AMG, Porsche 991 C2S, Lotus Elise Sport 160, BMW 318d Performance Edition workhorse
Previously owned: Ford Orion 1.6 Ghia, Peugeot 306 D Turbo, Peugeot 306 Rallye, Lotus Elise S1, BMW 330cd M Sport, BMW 525d M Sport, BMW E92 M3, LandRover Defender 90, Mercedes ML 300 AMG (2010), VW Touareg 3.0 R-Line (2013).

Why I bought it:
"The first Lotus Elise I owned was a standard S1 which was a pure joy to drive and an education in rear-wheel 'driver's cars'. However, I always felt it was lacking in power with only 118hp. As soon as I joined the Lotus community I learnt of the other models in the Elise range and was immediately drawn to the rare Sport 160 - which at the time was out of my financial reach (I was 24 years old at the time). The higher power and more aggressive appearance had me hooked. It was to be my next Elise.

"After a couple of work promotions, ironically I was forced to sell my original S1 - it being deemed 'not appropriate for my future career prospects' - something to do with the noise every time I arrived at the office. Instead I bought a BMW 330cd but immediately regretted selling the Elise the minute the buyer drove off my driveway. However, I knew that with a bit more work I could aim towards owning the Sport 160 as a second car - however, the problem was finding one... and a good one at that.

"Inquisitively, I study the PistonHeads and other classified advertisements almost daily and after eight years (a house purchase interrupted my plans), I finally found the one - a near perfect Sport 160 with only 17,000 miles on the clock! I called the seller without hesitation and immediately drove the 180 miles with cash in hand. When I arrived, he'd changed his mind and didn't want to sell it, but after some lengthy negotiation we concluded a deal and I drove it home pleased as punch!"

What I wish I'd known:
"Having already owned one Elise and after a lot of research I entered into ownership with my eyes wide open. I knew about the common faults and budgeted for the regular servicing with a healthy contingency for running repairs."

Things I love:
"Elises are by nature characterful cars. The Sport 160 only adds to the drama with it's lumpy race-car like idle and raw sound. The super low driving position, beautiful lines and exposed chassis are all wonderful features. However, it's the way the car feels which is undeniably the most endearing feature. The purity of the handling and the connectivity the car is second to none - not just my opinion, but also that of many respected motoring journalists around the world."

Things I hate:
"Simply not using it enough! You have to be prepared to compromise a few basic things when owning an Elise, like space, consistent heating, water tightness... and the need to remain physically flexible to enter and exit with some degree of grace. My first Elise was my only car and daily driver and when 24 years old without any real responsibilities, you can adapt to the compromises easily (although I did wear out three suits from sliding in and out over the wide sills). However, as life goes on and responsibilities grow, other priorities such as the need to fit multiple children, wife, luggage, etc seemed to banish the Lotus from being useable occasionally, to being only fit for a run out to the shops to pick up more baby milk and nappies!"

"Aside from routine servicing, consumables like tyres and general running repairs, it has been very economical. Even fuel consumption is respectable at around 30mpg. I've budgeted for £750 - £1K per year and only once exceeded it."

Where I've been:
"A few road trips in the UK and an epic trip to Le Mans for my pre-nuptials stag weekend with some like minded enthusiasts. My only regret is not enjoying the Lotus more on trips like these."

What's next?
"Sadly, this Lotus was sold this week to make way for the new 991 C2S which has just joined the family - but I felt compelled to leave a Carpool review (or end of term report) to justify this truly awesome car before the memories fade away. With two children under three years old, opportunities to enjoy the Lotus were diminishing and it was turning into a beautiful garage Queen. I'd loved to have kept it and just enjoyed the odd day away, but these cars need to be enjoyed and exhibited. I'd love to own another S1 in the future... but with values for standard cars increasing all the time, finding a good one for right money will be the challenge. I doubt I'll ever own a Sport 160 again as they're becoming so rare, but let's hope it's not another eight years before my next Lotus adventure begins!"

If you would like to feature your car in PH Carpool, please email carpool@pistonheads.com

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Comments (7) Join the discussion on the forum

  • simon-tigjs 12 Feb 2018

    I totally get where your coming from with a love affair. I owned a perfect 111s . I travelled to Glasgow from Northants to buy the most mint car you have ever seen. The 76 year old owners wife had a hip operation and could not get in it anymore.! He even polished the underplates. The only thing missing was the growl my Renault sport spider had, but a brilliant car. For me though it had to have the Vvc engine. Dont get the Toyota thing. Its a british sports car and it made it so drivable. It sold to Norway and the chap drove over with his Dad to drive it home and still has it. That says something. A good Elise is a thing to Cherish...Oh I sold it to live by the coast and now own an equally fabulous boat

  • Motorsport3 12 Feb 2018

    I would have let go the ML first before I get to the Elise...

  • JualMassFlyweel 12 Feb 2018

    Nice story. I'd have kept the 160 and not bought the Porsche, but then I'm not a position to do either anyway! Hope you enjoy the 911.

  • Maldini35 12 Feb 2018

    Motorsport3 said:
    I would have let go the ML first before I get to the Elise...
    laugh my thoughts exactly!

    Lovely car the 160.

    I need another Lotus in my life...

  • Sion111R 12 Feb 2018

    I’ve owned my S1 for over 10 years now. Then I fell for an immaculate supercharged 111R which I bought having told my wife the S1 would be sold to help finance the new Lotus in my life. That was March 2017. I can’t bring myself to sell the S1.

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