Delivered on a flatbed to the Back on Track workshop, a leaking coolant pipe was diagnosed. The problem was typically Lotus; an aftermarket bracket, bolted on to cure the excessive movement of the clutch slave cylinder, had been rubbing on an aluminium coolant pipe until it had worn straight through. Having fitted a new pipe, this time well-protected from chafing, and renewed the coolant, it was given the all clear.
A small part of me was wondering whether the Elise would actually make it without the intervention of the fourth emergency service, but my lack of faith proved unfounded. In the event it was my own fortitude that was called into question. Never have I experienced so much discomfort on a long drive. It was a hot day, and dehydration in the cramped furnace of the aluminium cockpit was once again a problem. Fortunately, on hand to take my mind off the pounding headache was a numb posterior and ringing ears. Headphones and Radio 6 Music streamed through my phone offered some escape from the pain cave, but it wasn't until the turn off for Lockerbie, about six hours after setting off from Surrey, that the suffering began to subside.
Focused on scything through the Borders I soon forgot about the heat, the rattles, the lack of padding in the seats and the whine of the fuel pump behind my right ear. Soon, the bond between man and machine began to cure, immersed, as I was, in the Elise's pure mechanical joy. The motorway lows were more than made up for by the minor road highs.
many hours of suffering. And by the end of the sweeping series of bends that extended out either side of Braemar I was in love with the little Lotus once again.
Returning home was no less brilliant. In fact, thanks to one particular road across the Borders, it was considerably better. I'll leave its numerical designation a secret for now, but in my eyes it was more then a match for the A93. Incredible loch-side flow turned to precision wiggles clinging to the side of a steep hill, and it finished with a magical rollercoaster of gravity-defying yumps. Driving, I thought as yet another selfless local pulled over to give me free rein on the road ahead, doesn't get better than this.
Car: 1998 Lotus Elise Sport 135
Run by: Danny Milner
Bought: October 2010
Purchase price: £9,500
This month at a glance: Bladder problem scuppers Wesh roadtrip, but replacement pipework holds strong for a relationship renewing journey north of the border.
Is it time for the Elise to go?
A cry of alarm from the Lotus - just drive me!
To Goodwood in the Elise
Why is the Elise slower on its new suspension then?
Nitron suspension upgrade for Danny's Elise