Evaluation: With one owner for 63 years. Decent paint in attractive colors and good chrome. Some paint is bubbling up on the Lotus badge. Lightly scratched window frames and mirrors. A few hammer marks on the wheels. Doors are a little difficult to close. Lightly worn interior, particularly the shifter and steering wheel. A used car, and both the RHD and the MG gearbox are less desirable, but this is still a lovely and honest little car. Easy to like.
Bottom Line: The Elite was an important model that put Lotus on the road to legitimate carmaker instead of purveyor of kit cars and featherweight racers. The Elite’s unconventional and light but fragile structure is a fiberglass monocoque made of three fiberglass pieces with steel frame members and suspension pick-up points embedded in the fiberglass. Elites performed admirably at Le Mans, which suggests durability, but cracking in the fiberglass is a known issue. Thankfully, many Elites still on the road are solid and well cared for examples, and that’s what this one appears to be. It was appropriately discounted for its age, condition and configuration (RHD and MG 4-speed rather than the improved ZF box).