Collecting Cars

1999 LOTUS ELISE S1

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This 1999 Lotus Elise S1 is a landmark lightweight driver’s car, presented in sound cosmetic order and mechanically strong condition. It is powered by the 118bhp 1.8-litre DOHC K-series four-cylinder engine, driven through the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. The odometer indicates 79,650 miles from new.

An original right-hand drive example, this Elise S1 was delivered new in the UK and was first registered in March 1999. It retains its original factory colour of Norfolk Mustard Yellow, with black leather upholstery. There are three previous registered keepers on the V5C log book. The seller has owned the car for the last year, and has enjoyed around 2,500 miles on the road.

There is an aftermarket hard top roof currently fitted, which is painted satin black to match the wheels, though the original soft top, brace and supports all remain with the car. The only other modifications include a single-exit sports exhaust system, Bilstein suspension and braided brake hoses.

In general, the car’s bodywork remains in excellent condition. There is a small split in the fibreglass on the nearside front wing, behind the mug guard, and a hairline paint crack to the rear of the clamshell. Light stone chips are also present on the nose section, and there is a repaired chip in the windscreen. Ahead of the rear wings, black stone chip protection film has been applied.

The car sits on the original Lotus AWI five-spoke alloy wheels, with a 15-inch diameter at the front and 16-inch at the rear. They have recently been reconditioned and painted satin black, complemented by red brake calipers around the discs.

In the cabin, the upholstery and trim shows wear in line with the mileage. The black leather seat facings have light surface cracking and discolouration from use, but no rips or holes. At the outside edges of both seats, the fabric bolsters have worn with use, and there are aftermarket covers in place over those sections of trim.

There are some scuffs on both side sill covers, which are common wear areas on the Elise S1, but they are inexpensive to replace if the next owner desires. The three-spoke steering wheel, metal gear knob and Elise-branded tailored floor mats are all original, and are in good order. There are no electrical faults, and the limited range of control switches and buttons that Lotus fitted in the cabin all work perfectly.

The last scheduled maintenance was carried out in January 2020, which comprised of an engine oil and oil filter renewal, and general check of all fluids. Previous used Lotus dealers and specialists for all work, including a full front clamshell removal to facilitate repair and strengthening of the pedal box. In 2018, at 71,000 miles, a higher-grade head gasket was fitted, along with renewal of the timing belts, spark plugs and annual service items.

Its most recent MOT test took place on 5 September 2019 at 77,597 miles, which resulted in a clean pass with no advisories whatsoever. The alloy wheels are shod in Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 tyres in size 195/50 R15 at the front and 225/45 ZR16 at the rear. The tyres are all in very good condition with plenty of tread remaining.

Accompanying the car are all of the original books and leaflets, including the owner’s manual as well as the stamped maintenance record. There is also a good history file pertaining to work carried out in recent years by previous owners. Two keys with two working Thatcham-approved Cobra immobiliser fobs are also present.

This Lotus Elise S1 is a strong and solid example of one of the purest driver’s cars of the modern era. It has been used and enjoyed as intended, as the mileage indicates, so this is likely to prove a great value purchase for its next owner. It starts and runs very well, and has scope to be gradually improved with some cosmetic rejuvenation in the future.

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