If I’m correct, the average American male is 5’9”, the average woman being 5’4”. If you’re taller than the former or simply overweight, it’s possible you may not fit in a Lotus Elise. The company has had its ups and downs but, during those moments, no one could ever accuse Lotus of following the herd. While the Millennium found Lotus working with other manufacturers in order to survive, its incarnation would have founder Colin Chapman saluting the Elise if he were alive. For that reason, the Pick of the Day is 2005 Lotus Elise listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in Tempe, Arizona.
The Elise made its debut at the end of 1996. Weighing in at just over 1,600 pounds, the Elise carried on the Lotus tradition after a host of supercar-esque models from the 1970s. With a vehicle so light, it didn’t take much horsepower to give it strong performance; in this case, a 118-horsepower 1.8-liter Rover inline-four was good for sub-6-second sprints to 0-60. Higher states of tune were available — up to 192. Considering Lotus’ MO is all about lightness and handling, the Elise was fulfilling the Lotus promise that had fallen by the wayside for years.
The Series 2 debuted at the end of 2000, mainly due to changing European safety standards. The little company that could, so to speak, acquired a partner in General Motors to help financially with the upgrades (and resulting in the Lotus-based Opel Speedster and Vauxhall VX220). The base engine was the same Rover 1.8, though now with 120 horsepower, with options up to 192 horsepower. But then, in 2004, Lotus began to use a DOHC 1.8-liter Toyota engine, though tuned by Lotus. For 2005, Americans got their first chance at an Elise, with the 189-horsepower four was good for sub-5-second 0-60 sprints, and even better with the Sport package. A facelifted Series 3 version was introduced in 2010, but Americans would only get one more year to buy one as Elise would disappear for 2012 due to a safety standard upgrade that Lotus decided to forego. For the rest of the world, it would continue just until a few months ago, some with a supercharger.
This Scottsdale, Arizona-based 2005 Lotus Elise has had one owner in its entire existence on this Earth. The original female owner has driven this bunch of British energy just 32,000 miles, and she kept every piece of documentation to show that the Elise was properly maintained. The Formula Red sportster is powered by a 190-horse Toyota 1.8-liter 2ZZ engine that is harnessed by a six-speed manual. Other features include 16-inch alloys wrapped in Yokohamas, sport seats, removable soft targa top, upgraded stereo including CD, and such niceties like air conditioning, power windows and keyless entry. “The beautiful sport interior is very clean and looks amazing!” claims the seller. “The [leather] seats have really held up well with no scuffs or ware lines.” No “Prince of Darkness” funny stuff from the days of old — “everything works in the car: lights, gauges, radio, seats, windows, locks, a/c blows ice cold, etc.” The Elise also comes with its original manuals and keys.
For $39,900, this 2005 Lotus Elise can be yours. With clean CARFAX and AutoCheck, you can have peace of mind. There haven’t been many pure sports cars in the American market in recent memory that haven’t weighed two tons, so if you wish for something pristine in the manner that Colin Chapman intended, look no further.