Thursday, April 25, 2019

Love Solving Puzzles? 1991 Lotus Elan M100 SE

A say? The Lotus Elan M100 was a wedge shaped convertible penned by Peter Stevens (Jaguar XJR-15, McLaren F1, Lotus Esprit, MG ZR, ZS, ZT & TF) and built in the UK from 1989 through 1995...and later produced by Kia in South Korea under the name Kia Elan (and Kia Vigato).  The Elan used a lightweight chassis and a name borrowed from the historical Lotus archives...but it was powered by an Isuzu (and later Kia) 4-banger mated to the front wheels.  The only problem with this next example is when the seller states: "Will need someone who is handy and loves hunting for parts, solving puzzles." Yikes! Or sweet!  Find this 1991 Lotus Elan M100 SE offered for $6,200 in Castro Valley, OR via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.

From the seller:
1991 Lotus Elan M100 SE 
condition: fair 
cylinders: 4 cylinders 
drive: fwd 
fuel: gas 
odometer: 74000 
paint color: silver 
size: compact 
title status: clean 
transmission: manual 
type: convertible 
This is an interesting project for the right person. 

I am a Lotus collector/builder and I wound up with the car the way a person who has a breed of pet they love and saw one abused and stepped in. This M100 was acquired by someone who was really over their head. It will need some TLC on most of the systems. The car was from Hawaii and it had sit for some time. It shows 73k on the clock. Runs alright and shifts well. The top is very nice. This is a great handeling car and would be a great first exotic. I have been sorting issues as I find them and adding parts to get back on the road. Silver was a very rare color for these in the USA. Will need someone who is handy and loves hunting for parts, solving puzzles. The interior is very good shape. It really would not take much to be a driver and work from there. Parts are not so rare they cant be sourced just needs some sleuthing and in most cases you can find where the part was sourced from saving a lot of money. 

Designed by Peter Stevens in 1986, the Elan M100 featured a fiberglass body over a steel backbone chassis. The turbocharged inline-four was sourced from Isuzu and has available parts supply. Power from the turbocharged 1.6-liter DOHC inline-four is sent to the front wheels by a 5-speed manual transaxle. A total of 3,855 of the largely hand-built front-wheel drive convertibles were produced from 1989 to 1992 during the company’s GM ownership era, and fewer than 600 made it to the USA. Again GM ownership makes finding parts a bit easier/GM Isuzu..

Few highs and lows 

Has a nice set of tail lights-these are rare 
Spare radiator 
Low mile Isuzu turbo power 
New Tires 
New Battery 
Decent interior with nice dash

Needs some TLC, One Window needs attention, Some gauges need attention, speedo, minor oil leaks. 
Really needs someone to care. 
Its a 49 state car and will need emissions sorted. 

This car will be sold as is, as a project with a clean title. It has not been registered in Ca. 

Great car for the price these are rare and so much fun to drive.. Lets talk 

See a better way to drive something funky?


  1. I think the description of this as a starter exotic is spot on. If you want that experience of something that makes your heart sing when it is working and your gut wrench when it isn't working this is a great entry to that world. I did 2 laps of an autoX course in one of these and would love to won one someday. For a front wheel drive car it has a ton of character and they are head turners due to being so rare here.

  2. Thanks for sharing such a informative topic

  3. I know I've said this before but if my neighbor was selling this I would be getting a cash advance on my credit card.
    It runs! I don't really care about the rest of the stuff, I will rig up some NAPA gauges, put some marvel mystery oil, bam done.

    1. I made a similar decision and bought a basket case Fiero. It is fun, but needing to roll down the window to open the drivers door gets old pretty fast. I also never know how fast I am going and the battery likes to drain itself for no reason. Now that I think about it the passenger door only opens from the inside, the front trunk latch is broken so you have to pull a sharp ended cable to open that, and the rear trunk uses a different key so literally no opening is easy.

  4. It is a the Bay Area (California) and just posted in PDX CL. there is no Castro Valley, OR.

  5. Seems to be missing the trunk lock as well.
    I don't know whether it's harder to imagine a front drive Lotus or a silver one.


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