Friday, October 11, 2013

10k: Fun Until Your Friends Find Out: 1991 Lotus Elan Turbo

Owning the best front wheel drive car ever built is a somewhat dubious honor that you may want to hide from your gearhead buddies.  It is like dating a well done post-op transexual female, sure it's gorgeous and fun to ride, but you don't want to let your friends know what evil lurks between the shock towers.  In the case of the Lotus, it is an Isuzu 4-banger powering the front wheels - heinous stuff indeed, born from a time when Isuzu was putting "Handling by Lotus" badges on its own cars.  The truth is that Lotus Cars, a small firm in Norwich, UK, just didn't have the resources to build an entire vehicle so they used badge prostitution, legacy-for-hire and parts bingineering to build the first and only front drive Lotus.  Find this 1991 Lotus Elan Turbo for sale in Baltimore, MD for $10,500 via craigslist.

The problem with the M-100 Elan wasn't that it was a bad car per se, in fact it was faster than a Honda CRX and better in every conceivable way to a Ford was positively obliterated by the Toyota MR2 and Mazda MX-5 in performance, cost, durability, cetera.  Today, the only thing the Elan has "going for it" is that it is rare...because it was such a turd when new and no one wanted it. Beauty, in this case, is only fiberglass composite deep.

At least the 160 horsepower turbocharged version (which coincidentally shares an engine with the Impuse RS from our last Unicorn hUnters feature) with only 2400 lbs to haul around is reasonably quick.  See a better example of the motor-scooter rule? email us here:


  1. whatever else this had or didn't have going for it, the first thought i ever had and still have about it is: celica taillights wtf?

  2. One of those "answered a question no one was asking" cars. Good luck with sale.

  3. Technically, was the Ozzie-built Capri XR2 the most direct competitor, what with two seats and a small, turbocharged engine?

    I know someone who once worked at Lotus and this car actually had a really good handling reputation. I'd sure love to try one out. It's a big flip-off to purists, which is always fun, even if I must confess I'm thoroughly biased toward RWD myself.

  4. "It is like dating a well done post-op transexual female, sure it's gorgeous and fun to ride, but you don't want to let your friends know what evil lurks between the shock towers."
    Pulitzer prize right there, sir. Maybe we should call her Lola.

  5. Another delusional seller offering very little information to support his laughably optimistic asking price. Future classic? Ha! There are so many very good reasons they only sold a handful of these Elans - not the least of which was non-competitive pricing and inadequate performance. And no, you can't register this thing as a classic because of it's age and limited production. Idiot.

  6. I never see these go for a low price, they are always expensive and not worth it. If you want a "Lotus Elan" from the 80s/90s buy a Miata.


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