A new year and a fresh start – as a non-Lotus owner


Author: James ElliottPublished:

For the first time this millennium I am not a Lotus owner. Doesn't sound too serious, but indulging myself in some outrageous drama queenery (and not for the first time it must be said), it is a realisation that is more difficult than I would have thought to come to terms with.

Sure, the four cars from the marque that I have owned in that time, plus one replica in the form of my much-missed Westfield Eleven (argue among yourselves over whether I should be allowed to include that), are hardly going to trouble the numbers stacked up by serious marque addicts, but they still left an indelible impression on me.

Checking some dates reveals that for most of the last 15 years, I have in fact had two Lotuses at any one time… and now there are none.

And how do I judge their impact? Not so much by the treasured memories and pictures I cherish from those years with Elan, Elise, Elite and Elan +2 as by the myriad peripheral ways they seem to have infiltrated my daily life.

For example, I logged on to ebay the other day and noticed that my entire persona on there was Lotus related. My user name, my password, even my avatar. Same deal when I 'bought' Christmas on Amazon a couple of weeks ago.

Similarly, the dinky little pictures that accompany my presence on both Twitter and Facebook are a Guy Allen cartoon of me driving the +2 that I parted with last month to finally leave me Lotus-less. The Elan+2 that's already up for sale for £3k over what was paid for it I might add, but it doesn't do to rake over the coals and torture yourself in that way, not least because they are unlikely to get that for it (I know, I failed to get a lot less all summer!).

Coming into work today, there was another bunch of reminders because, thanks to the system logging me out of everything over the festive season, I discovered just how many passwords et al are Lotus related.

Add to that all the usual stuff – books, models, prints, boxes of spares in the garage etc – and there is still clearly a strong Lotus presence in my life, just not a presence that I can sit in and drive.

Which presents me with something of a dilemma. With the physical presence of the cars gone, do I "out" myself as an ex-Lotus owner – no longer one of that select fold – and change or eradicate all these little 'virtual' remnants of my past? Or do I hold on to these meaningless cyber-trinkets for memory's sake, or just in case another Lotus comes along sooner than I think?

Actually, I've seen this very nice Excel...



Don't change anything James. I fondly imagine there's always the possibility of owning another Lotus in a future Utopia (not a bad name for a future model). In my twenties I had a Europa twin-cam, a Series 3 Seven and an S2 Elan, which I still have a workshop manual and two new shock absorbers for! (Actually they are over 30 years old but they haven't been out of the box...). Later on I re-fell in love with Lotus When the Elise came out, and had one for 3 years. I miss it still.

Since then I've had a run of 5 Porsches, culminating in my current Cayman R, so if our similar histories are anything to go by, you know what the future might possibly hold - and I have to say it's not at all bad!

That said I could never 100% rule out a return to Lotus, and neither should you. Keep your virtual history in tact and your fingers crossed for Lotus. I am.

Chris Martin

The sign of a real Lotus man, James got so excited standing by that Elise that he...............well there are no other puddles around?
I can understand such long term loyalty to one marque and the associated detritus that accumulates.
I bought my first Mercedes in the '80s - a 3 year-old W123 because at the time it was the best car in it's class, safe, comfortable and reliable. As time progressed, it seems I didn't, and now thirty years on, there have been other diversions, but for daily duties I am on my eighth 'Beirut Taxi' with the SLC for Sundays and special road trips.
I guess that was just a case of stick with what you know, but rather than trying to make a 'classic' statement I just lost interest in modern cars, with, or without a three-pointed-star.
Your Lotus addiction probably goes even deeper and is more complex, but I don't doubt there is unfinished business.
Probably as a family man living in London you have temporarily run out of ways to justify such a selfish car (let's face it, they are only special for the driver) and the opportunities to get out and enjoy the open road must sometimes seem a distant memory from a Putney perspective, but you have yet to go all the way and indulge in a Seven (the Westfield must have come close); surely all things Lotus go back to there.
Forget the Excel as just an aberration, or a feeble attempt to pretend Lotus made a family car - in that case a Cortina would be better - but one day James will again have the 'wind-in-the-(thinning)-hair' and 'arse-on-the-tarmac' experience, we can be sure of that.
Meanwhile keep the keyring, mousemat, username, cufflinks, coffee mug, undies, password, toys etc; they will come in handy one day.
That's how I explain my collection of old Thunderbird brochures, manuals, books etc.



I'm giving James the benefit of the doubt Chris. The Elise could have blown a head gasket!


Reading this it came to my mind a story about my wife´s uncle, a man now in his sixties that has a large old tattoo in his forearm (something self made/prison style) with the name of his first girlfriend (a really uncommon name by the way) who by chance got married many years later to another lady with that same uncommon name in a completely different part of the country.

If that happened I´m sure it´ll be easier for you to end with another lotus in your life, especially living in the UK.


Mario Laguna

James, look to your left, what a gorgeous Dino!
Imagine the wonderful running reports you could tell us about.


Only on my 1st Lotus and I cannot peel my sorry a*** out of it.

For some reason these composite, sorry plastic cars, get under your skin. The best grin per mile by far. Over 14 years and 150k miles in my car through accidents Head gasket failure radiator falling apart and 2 engine bay fires to name a few. Not going into a long story about handling, Kgs.....

As the Squeeze song goes, 'Tempted by a fruit of another' has played now and again in my head but the fruit has not been colorful enough to even take for a taste test.

If I was you James keep that Lotus in your life from the parts in the garage to the virtual genetic DNA. From experience members on Selec.org who became Lotusless; the majority have returned from the Bravarian, Italian and Coventry to either replace or add a Lotus back to there life.

In the short term, the cheapest Lotus for every day use, buy the Lotus Tissue Refill, oh its on amazon too.

You can always take mine out if you need a hit.


Absolutely right James

After a lifetime of every car in the world I stumbled into an S1 Elise 5 years ago. As long as I can get in it I am keeping it .There is no driving experience better. The available power is real world plenty and the driver experience incomparable. All in a car costing so little and despite the know nothings opinion inherently reliable. And can I assure New Mario Laguna it is a far better drive and more reliable than the overrated Dino (so is 1972 911S for that matter but don't get me started about nodding donkey cars.)
Yes Lotus gets under the skin mostly because the Elise at least is just so good.


Appreciate the sadness, but with the prices at the present level just another pipe dream? Oh for the 'good old days'...offered a Lotus 11 Club in Cambridgeshire for £65 (yes, £65) or the owner was going to grass track it. Westfield 11 would be nice, even if needing work, at a sensible price, and surely acceptable to most......wish I'd built one when they first appeared but didn't, so my misfortune............
Yes, get another one to avoid withdrawl symptoms....................the wife could then use the cosy fug box.


Perhaps you can now work your way through a number of TRs and Triumph cars (I'm loving the TR6 and am presently refreshing a Stag for the Spring and cannot wait to get it out on the road).

Chris Martin

I think James knows enough about Triumphs, he has been thrashing the 'Beast' around for years, and even recently suggested he had faced temptation in the shape of a Stag; something to do with wanting an open sports car, but family friendly.
And he may yet go that route in search of consolation, but I think his more immediate dilemma is to get over the withdrawal symptoms.
So, should he ditch all of the associated Lotus trivia and accessories and go Cold Turkey, or just treat his current situation as a temporary penitence and admit there will be more of Chapman's finest yet to come?


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