Tuesday, June 10, 2014

5k: Acceptable Elitism: 1980 Lotus Elite 504

Are you searching for an oddball weekend car that won't cost you a fortune to buy or maintain, but want others to think it does?  Look no further than the Lotus Elite, a shooting brake style beast that was the world's most expensive 4-cylinder car when launched and is now traded on the weekends for a sizable Beanie Baby collection. Find this 1980 Lotus Elite 504 offered for $4,500 in Middletown, NJ via craigslist.  Tip from David K.

The Elite (and its Elcat cousin) used a glass reinforced fiber body mounted on a steel backbone chassis that was evolved from the Europa and Elan.  While the Elan was 60's suave and the Europa was 70s funky, the Elite introduced in 1974 still had some 70s funk but combined it with 80s focus on performance so it looked one part supercar, and one part toaster.

Mounted in the front of the Elite is a Lotus type 907 inline-4 cylinder engine displacing 2.0 liters and rated at 155 horsepower.  The 907 can be found in the rusting remains of Jensen-Healey convertibles all over the country, so parts (new or used) are relatively easy to find.

This Elite is one of the later 504 variants, meaning it added power steering, air conditioning and an automatic transmission to the base car.  

See a big bumpered classic with a cooler fuel filler door?  tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. I have always liked the Elite better than the Eclat (fastback model), and this looks like the one to get if you are in the market.

  2. Seems like a lot of Lotus for the money, considering the extras included. I don't even like this model but I could see myself driving it to work while wearing some sci-fi silver space suit.

  3. This is by far the best looking Gremlin I've ever seen.

  4. With the style of a Gremlin and the practicality and reliability of a Lotus, It's win win!

  5. Got to love those VW Type 2 taillight lenses.
    Oh, and you absolutely must swap out those heinous US-Spec plastic bumpers


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint Eastwood...it don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="http://www.IMAGE_LINK.com" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.