Lotus Elan M100
- Mileage: 68,917
- Year: 1991
- MOT Expiry: July 2018
- Exterior Colour: Calypso Red
- Interior Colour: Grey / Red Leather
- Top speed: 122
- 0-60mph: 7.6
- BHP: 130
- Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
- Engine Capacity: 1588cc
- Engine Configuration: 4 In-line
The Lotus Elan M100, launched in 1989, was a two-seater convertible sports car designed by Peter Stevens and produced by Lotus whilst under the ownership of General Motors.
The M100-Series Lotus Elan represented the light at the end of a very long tunnel for its maker. Lotus had been developing a small car to slot in under the Excel and Esprit since the early-1980s and had to endure a number of abandoned projects before it arrived at the final 1989 car. For many enthusiasts, the M100 was a complete shock, not least because it was front-wheel drive, a format that had not really proved itself in the sports car market beyond a generation of hot hatchbacks. So it was a leap into the unknown for both buyers and its maker.
But once road testers got their hands of the Elan, and the scale of its dynamic prowess became apparent, you could hear the collective sighs of relief. Almost all the production cars ended up being turbocharged SE versions, though some 130hp non-turbo models were sold. All were powered by a durable Isuzu 1.6-litre engine, which Lotus had helped to design.
The M100 Elan's cornering performance was undeniable. On release the Elan was described by Autocar magazine as the quickest point-to-point car available.
It has made its mark in history as arguably the finest handling front wheel drive car ever made. Altogether 3,855 Elans were built between November 1989 and July 1992, including 180 normally aspirated (non-turbo) cars; 559 of them were sold in the US. The launch price was £17,850 for the normally aspirated version and £19,850 for the turbocharged SE version.
Leather upholstery, PAS, Folding soft-top, 15-inch alloy wheels, Electric windows, Electrically operated door mirrors, Pop-up headlamps, Clarion CRH-20 cassette radio, Leather gear knob, Battery cut-off, Lockable glove compartment, Cigar lighter, Ash tray, Space-saver spare wheel, Spare key.
This superb little roadster is pleasingly finished in vibrant Calypso Red. Absent of decoration, overhangs and wasted space, the M100's design has poise, presence and style. The aerodynamic fiberglass exterior presents well throughout and is for the most part in very good condition. On close inspection there are just a few discreet blemishes to the bumpers that have been touched up, but certainly nothing untoward for a car of this vintage. The Elan is topped-off with a manually operated black hood boasting a clear and crack-free rear window, and the dealer-supplied registration plates are still present with the vehicle.
The grey leather upholstery appears particularly fresh, showing almost no signs of any wear. The contrasting red accents of the comfortable sports seats look especially appealing against the exterior paintwork. The minimalist cabin presents to an excellent standard throughout, with only expected wear to the gear knob as evidence of use. Commonly worn items such as the steering wheel, carpets, and door cards retain a largely unblemished appearance.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The M100's 1.6-litre Isuzu engine was developed with help from Lotus. The peppy four-cylinder here is one of just 180 naturally aspirated examples, making the non-turbocharged Elan a particularly rare purchase today. The engine's 130hp is sent to the front wheels via a precise five-speed gearbox.
Under the bonnet the engine bay appears in fine fettle. There are no signs of damage or poor repair, and the engine itself has been well maintained by Lotus at close mileage intervals. A raft of main dealer invoices present in the paperwork detail the car's maintenance history up to the current mileage.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The 15-inch cast aluminium wheels present well having just been refurbished to a good standard. They are shod in a matching set of Continental tyres with little wear, having been fitted just 800 miles ago. Both front and rear discs and pads have also been changed within the last 900 miles, ensuring this little Lotus stops just as it should. The rear shocks were replaced at 68k miles as well.
This charming Elan has remained within the same family since new and has seen just two keepers, mother and then daughter. The history file is complete with a stack of Lotus invoices, and has been maintained almost exclusively by HR Owen since very early on in the car's life. The original bill of sale is still present and shows the total invoice price of £20,900, which includes the optional extras of power-assisted steering and full leather upholstery.
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