1991 Lotus Elan M100 total production, USA

Discussion in 'British' started by jjmalez, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. jjmalez

    jjmalez F1 Veteran
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    Apr 8, 2005
    5,139
    Northern Illinois
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    Joseph
    I brushed off the '91 Elan as a Isuzu front wheel drive mistake by Lotus. Recently spoke with a few owners that can't say enough about the cars handling & performance and reliability for the price.

    Does anyone know the official number of Lotus Elan's sent to the US? Is there a registry of those cars anywhere?

    Lotus Talk isn't much help and not the best web sight out there.

    Thanks

    Joe
     
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  3. Lotus91

    Lotus91 Formula Junior

    Oct 20, 2014
    279
    I just sold mine this weekend.. I hear only 300 or so came to the US compared to the 4000 or so made for the UK. that's what the Lotus CEO told me.
     
  4. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ

    Jun 4, 2008
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    Rich
    I've seen a few for sale lately and they are reasonably priced. They look awesome and are great drivers, I would love to have one in my stable!

    My biggest issue would be that at $10K, what could I get that would be "better"? Maybe a Honda S2000, a Europa, or an Esprit?

    That's not to trash these, I love them - and better is a relative term. However, that's the way I tend to think, which is why I don't buy cars often!!!
     
  5. jjmalez

    jjmalez F1 Veteran
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    Apr 8, 2005
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    Joseph

    Can you provide some insight of your ownership? The good and the bad? Your likes & dislikes?

    Thanks.

    Joe
     
  6. Lotus91

    Lotus91 Formula Junior

    Oct 20, 2014
    279
    I loved it. decent power, great handling, pretty good build quality. the engine is bullet proof. GM electronics, GM switch gear, japenese reliability. some parts are expensive but the car is pretty much bullet proof. and it just looks good.. fun fun car. I hated to sell it but I am keeping my Esprit turbo so I still have a Lotus in the stable.

    Brian
     
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  8. David Lind

    David Lind Formula 3

    Nov 19, 2008
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    Well, I've had a Europa Special (Twin Cam) for 40 years, and a driver in reasonable condition will be about 35% (or more) over a $10,000 budget.
     
  9. Bahrain66

    Bahrain66 Rookie

    Aug 14, 2017
    1
    Hi Joe,

    GM invested a fortune into it's development, But the front wheel drive put people off and the Mazda MX5, which came out at the same time for a lot less money, probably killed it off. Take one for a spin and you will probably love it. Remember, it is still a 26 year old car, so if your looking at something that will keep up to todays sports cars, then it may not do it for you.

    Not the fastest car out there 0- 100 kmh is around 6s.

    Standard is 165 BHP. remaps normally bring it to around 200. Although 437 BHP, with NOS and a ton of other upgrades has been achieved by a guy in Greece. check for SH4RK Elan on you tube.

    I have both an Elan M100 and Evora in the garage.

    Really love the Elan. Brings a smile to my face every time I drive it. I often get stopped and people ask what car is it and if it is for sale... Answer to the last question is always NO!
    Quite a rare car and reasonably reliable. I've owned mine for the best part of 16 years.

    Best website out there to find any info on the M100 is the LEC Apparently Just 539 federal Elan's were ever built with only 117 being delivered to Californian spec.

    There was a guy in NC keeping a register of the US cars. He will be able to give you the best info available on the US cars. Contact John at: LotusM100

    Main problems to date are:

    The roof leaks ! Don't drive it in the rain, and at the moment seals are rare and mostly unavailable. I'm hoping to have them remade in a better material in the next few months.
    Head gaskets: known to fail a lot.
    Rust on outriggers / suspension: Pretty serious, but if the car has been in a good climate, may not be a problem.
    Headlights: Easy fix, uses the GM headlights from Corvettes, Reattas, etc. refurb kits freely available.
    Window regulators: Uses a modified Peugeot unit. I have now had a lot of refurb kits made.
    Brakes: standard brakes are crap! unless well maintained. Astra GTE brakes. but a few companies sell a 4 pot calliper system that really makes a difference.

    Would have to say probably the best, exclusive $10k convertible you could add to your garage.
    an S200 would be newer, similar acceleration but not such a good looking, rare car.

    Prices are recently starting to increase, so it could be a good time to add one to your garage.

    Likes would be, Its a really great reliable car, I love it :) Only dislikes would be if that you do your own maintenance, it can be a ***** of a car to work on.
    You need small hands. some parts can be hard to reach.

    Take one for a spin and see what you think.

    Regards

    Wayne
     
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  10. David Lind

    David Lind Formula 3

    Nov 19, 2008
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    David Lind
    That was a great report!
     
  11. NEP

    NEP F1 Rookie

    Jul 19, 2010
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    Altogether just 3,855 Elans were built between November 1989 and July 1992, including 129 normally aspirated (non-turbo) cars. 559 of them were sold in the US, featuring a 'stage 2 body' which had a different rear boot spoiler arrangement together with a lengthened nose to accommodate a USA-compliant crash structure and airbag, and 16-inch wheels (optional in most markets, standard in the U.S.) instead of 15-inch as on the UK model.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Elan#Elan_M100
     
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  13. David Lind

    David Lind Formula 3

    Nov 19, 2008
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    There was a second run of Elans made only for Europe or the UK. I saw them being built when I was in the factory in June, 1995. There were apparently enough spare parts to make over 100 cars, and they assembled those parts and perhaps produced even more after that. As I recall, all of those cars had the larger diameter wheels.
     
  14. LMPDesigner

    LMPDesigner F1 Rookie
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    Nov 5, 2003
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    I have owned 2 (still have number 2) over the years.

    Car was designed and tested on the B roads in and around Norfolk (as our all Loti). If you have ever been out there and driven them then you understand the Lotus concept 100%. The Norfolk road environment is quite unique-even for England.

    The roads are way, way too narrow and curvy (no real straights anywhere) for just about any "normal" sports car. A Ferrari is like an awkward teenage at his first dance on these roads. But in a Lotus it is a different story. In this environment a Lotus is the fastest car "point A to point B" out there. So if you appreciate that type of car then the M100 Lotus is a masterpiece. Yes-front wheel drive and all. They really did a fantastic job on the vehicle dynamics, better than almost any other Lotus. Some front suspension "raft" concept was a very clever way of getting really good suspension stiffness in the directions needed but also the required compliance in the other directions.

    So car strong points:

    Handling-Phenominal
    Lower cost convertible.
    Pretty reliable overall. Isuzu drivetrain. GM parts. Mostly.
    Decent interior.
    Unique looks.
    Super easy/quick top up/down process. Top 100% hidden when down.

    Weak points:
    Build quality variable.
    Brakes are awful. Repeat awful.
    Top leaks. Bad weather sealing to top. It is English!
    Some fiddly bits.
    Parts are hard to find.
     
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  15. PAUL500

    PAUL500 F1 Rookie

    Jun 23, 2013
    2,569
    Didn't Kia start building these again for a while under their own name for the Far east market?
     
  16. Ingenere

    Ingenere F1 Veteran
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    Dec 11, 2001
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    I had one for a few years and it was great. It didn't feel like a quality piece, but it was a lot of fun and was bullet proof.
     
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  17. Lotaz

    Lotaz Formula 3

    Nov 18, 2016
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  18. jjmalez

    jjmalez F1 Veteran
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    Apr 8, 2005
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    Sweet Nancy was so fancy, to get into her pants we had to be the aristocracy...

    Now she eases oh so gently from the Lotus to her Bentley...

    Suddenly she feels so young.
     
  19. Bigdino

    Bigdino Rookie

    Dec 14, 2021
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  20. Bigdino

    Bigdino Rookie

    Dec 14, 2021
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    Now that same 10k won’t get you a Lotus Elan M100 or much of one…. Excellent, lower mileage, serviced ones in desirable color are near double or higher and climbing…
     
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  21. adonai87

    adonai87 Formula Junior

    Dec 17, 2005
    528
    Tenerife,Alicante
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    Adonai
    Yes!, the Kia Elan for Korean and Vigato for Japan

    NA Engine, 1,8 16v 140cv
     

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