The High Mile Club A quarter of a million miles by Lotus Elise? We can’t think of many things that would be more fun!
Iain Ogilvie, Chadlington, West Oxon
Ibought my Lotus Elise in December 2001. The London Lotus Centre/hr Owen in St Albans had this one coming in as a part exchange with around 11,000 miles on it. I had it at an advantageous price ‘as was’ without a fresh service and valet. That it was yellow was the main thing for me.
I already had a 1983 Turbo Esprit that I love, but it’s not a car for everyday use. So I acquired a second Lotus. I’ve kept her pretty standard apart from a stainless exhaust and Elise S2 shocks that improve the handling. In the 16 years and 238,000 miles I’ve owned her she’s been looked after by Elise guru Simon Scott-russell and her longevity is very much down to his care and a certain amount of mechanical empathy by the owner!
It’s a brilliant cheat. Baby supercar looks, pedigree, reliability and superlative handling, with fuel and running costs lower than your average Eurobox. 50 mpg anyone? Everyone tells me that Lotus cars are unreliable but, in my experience, that really isn’t the case if you keep on top of maintenance. There’s not a lot to go wrong as it’s basically four wheels, a chassis, engine and gearbox; the only ‘luxury’ being a radio/cd player. In my experience the more you use a car the less trouble you have. Top grade coolant and gentle warming up over the years has helped with longevity and that supposedly notorious K-series engine has only needed one head gasket, at 186,000 miles. In some areas she is a little like ‘Trigger’s Broom’; three radiators, two front clams and two windscreens, but overall it’s a tough little car if treated properly, although this car lives outside on the driveway. I’ll carry on driving and see if we can hit 500,000 miles. My 10-year-old son, Cameron, has loved the car since he was a toddler, calling it ‘Beep Beep’. Maybe one day he’ll inherit it? Most importantly, after 16 years, every time I drive the Elise it makes me smile.
Iain (left) and Simon Scottrussell, who has looked after
the Lotus’ mechanical side.