Remarkably low mile example at just 15,715 miles from new
One of a reported 61 units sold in the UK market
In care of current owner since 2003; 3 owners total
As an original British auto maker, Lotus Cars is arguably one of the strongest and most respected manufacturers to call the UK their home. With its strong and successful history in motor racing and F1, Lotus prides itself in building light and agile sportscars. The Elise, with a kerb weight of around 725kg and a 1.8L mid-engine powerplant connected to an aluminium chassis and fiberglass body, is no exception to their track-oriented engineering outlook. For decades, Lotus models have been defined by the iconic mantra of the company founder Colin Chapman: "Simplify, then add lightness".
The Elise Type 49 was an homage to Lotus’ great Formula One Grand Prix glory and racing pedigree. It’s painted in the same Calypso Red, gold, and Monaco White colour scheme as the Lotus 49 Formula One car from the late ‘60s. This historic racer was driven by, amongst others, Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt, each claiming F1 Championship victories in 1968 and 1970, respectively.
This Elise Type 49 in particular is in astoundingly good condition for a car of this age. Coming up on 23 years old, it has only been driven a miniscule 15,715 miles at the time of our visit. Dry stored and under excellent care from its current and previous owners, this Lotus has been kept up to date on all maintenance with work being performed by specialists.
The History and Paperwork
Current MOT expires 4 August, 2023, with no advisories present at all on any MOTs in history
Current owner purchased the vehicle in 2003, owned and loved for the last 20 years
Full service history record with invoices
The current owner, because of his involvement in motorsport, was personally invited by Lotus management to the 49er’s launch event at London Motor Show in 1999. Not initially purchasing the vehicle on launch day, the owner was still extremely keen to acquire one, but held off until 2003 when they purchased one second-hand from the second owner. Not much is known about the first owner, but the current owner states the second owner looked after it well, but lacking a proper storage space for the car, they wanted to send it to a better home. For the past 20 years it has been under their caring ownership, and while it saw a lot of long-term storage it has been kept up to date with services and maintenance performed by Lotus specialists Scott-Russel.
Having not used the car as much as they had wished, in combination with a growing collection of other vehicles and limited storage, the current owner is ready to part ways with this rare Lotus. Having its latest full Lotus “C” service, new tires, and fuel pump (work totalling £2,087.76) just under 300 miles ago in 2020, it is fit for duty and in exceptional mechanical and visual condition, ready to take on more miles under a new owner.
Overall interior in above average and fully functional condition
Aluminium tub in great condition with no dents or dings seen
Bespoke hardtop comes in addition to excellent condition soft top
Inside, the cabin is trimmed in black leather and red Alcantara, with 111S-style seats, Alcantara steering wheel, aluminium indicator stalks, aluminium handbrake sleeve, aluminium switch surrounds and knobs, and fire extinguisher stored under the passenger-side dash. The Elise’s simple and to-the-point interior design is indicative of Lotus’ design strategy for this vehicle, to eliminate distractions and to take a passage from their own book “add lightness.”
Having driven so few miles in its lifetime, there is very little indication of use or wear inside the vehicle. The aluminium interior tub is in great condition with no signs of dents, dings or scratches seen. The carpets are still plush, with ‘Elise’ logo embroidery intact and looking new. The seats themselves are in excellent shape, and surprisingly comfortable given their rigidity and track-oriented feel. The driver’s side seat even comes with hand-powered air pump which inflates a bladder to increase or decrease lumbar support in the seat back. The one main area of wear noticed inside the cabin is on the black cloth and leather side padding, residing on the edge of the aluminium tub, which shows a small tear in the corner from being brushed up against when entering and exiting the vehicle. Along with that, and in the same area but closer to the front of the vehicle, there are a few marks as pictured from where the driver’s shoe comes in contact with the leather siding upon entry and exit. These are highly common areas of wear when it comes to these Elise models, as they are relatively difficult to get into and out of due to their nature. The steering wheel shows very little sign of use, the previous owners having taken care to drive the vehicle with clean hands against the Alcantara grip; which feels notably soft, sporty and plush.
Looking forward, the dashboard and centre console area are in nearly new condition as well. The STACK gauge pod in front of the driver is minimalistic and not at all intrusive. With the tachometer and speedometer in front and centre display, the only other information present are warning lights (no current warnings), mileage and trip, and fuel level on the orange LCD display. Next to the gauge pod, the heater controls furnished with aluminium knobs; again in near perfect condition with minimalistic and exceptionally functional design. Next to that, there’s a Pioneer DEH-2130R CD player connected to a couple of Alpine speakers behind the seats, providing a touch of luxury in an otherwise track-oriented interior. Down from there, the aluminium gear shifter and handbrake knob is in like-new condition, accenting the aluminium finish of the rest of the interior.
The boot itself, while being relatively small compared to a full-size vehicle, is still quite usable and does house enough room to contain the soft top and frame when not in use. Boot carpet and trim is all in excellent condition.
The vehicle comes with a bespoke carbon fibre hard top as well, which in our opinion, impeccably completes the look of the vehicle. The owner states they’re not sure who made the hardtop, but it’s much admired particularly because of the way it effortlessly fits to the vehicle. The Lotus OEM hardtop involves you having to take off the roll cover to fit it, whereas this one connects to the top of the car with only four hex screws. The owner also states the hardtop is completely watertight.
Overall exterior in top condition with only normal marks to be expected
Wheels in near perfect condition, wrapped in Yokohama tires
49er colour scheme all original and shining
The exterior of this 49er matches the sentiments of the interior, in excellent condition with only a few small signs of use apparent. The original Calypso Red, gold, and Monaco White schemed paintwork itself is still shining and glossy, having lived most of its life in dry storage and away from the diminishing effects of weather and sunshine. That isn’t to say it hasn’t been used at all, as there are some small marks and chips from the road on the front bumper, and some marks in front of the passenger’s side wheel on the front bumper, as pictured. While these are visible when up close, we don’t think that they in any way detract from the overall look of the otherwise exceptional condition vehicle.
The fibreglass body is in excellent, straight condition, with trim, glasswork, emblems, and decals in great condition as well. The carbon fibre roof has an excellent glossy finish, with smooth edges and lovely shape for a bespoke piece. The light lenses are in great condition as well, with no signs of fading from the sun, and headlight covers in place. There are some small, hardly noticeable areas of dirt which have managed to get into the bespoke headlight covers, but this can likely be cleaned.
Looking underneath, the Lotus is near flawless. With an aluminium body and undertray, there are not any visible signs of corrosion present, except for the springs themselves and rear axles, which do show some areas of surface corrosion as pictured but are still structurally sound and usable. The frame itself looks very straight, with no surprises seen, and all seals look even and well assembled.
It rides on its original gold-finished 15-inch alloy wheels, which are in near perfect condition with no signs of any bumps or contact with the curb. They’re wrapped in staggered Yokohama Advan Neova AD08RS tires, with plenty of tread remaining. The Yokohama add an aggressive tread pattern which accents the sportiness of the vehicle nicely.
1.8L Rover I4 running strong, originally rated around 118bhp
5-Speed manual gearbox with short shifter and upgraded linkage said to shift perfectly, enjoyable to use
Owner states suspension, steering, braking and overall responsiveness as good or better than to be expected for the age
A few tasteful modifications include:
Gear linkage upgrade as mentioned above
Catalytic converter replacement pipe
Stainless steel sports exhaust system
Hurricane air filter and induction system (carbon fibre)
52mm throttle body upgrade; completely changes the way the car breathes
The owner states that the vehicle handles, accelerates, brakes, and otherwise all together fits the part; it’s an excellent homage to the Lotus 49 in looks and in spirit. While the car remains mostly original, the updates mentioned have brought an additional level of driving pleasure and involvement. The aluminium gear shifter and handbrake feel exceptionally well made, and function with precision. The shifter itself has been updated with an upgraded gear linkage and “quick shifter” which ensures gear changes are quick and precise without any fumbling. When idling, the exhaust note is extremely subtle, noticeable only by the light rumble of the engine sitting directly behind you. With a blip of the throttle, the engine sound introduced from the induction kit provides a healthy grunt to the otherwise reserved nature of the vehicle. It is an excellent, well balanced auditory experience this one, that surely will not disappoint.
The engine bay as well as the front bay, which houses the radiator and various reservoirs, are both in clean and tidy condition, with no leaks spotted, and all plastics in good shape.
The owner states that the vehicle is an absolute pleasure to drive, in fact the only words we heard that weren’t direct praise of the vehicle were to do with getting in and out of the vehicle itself. Having entered and exited the vehicle quite a few times during the photoshoot and inspection of the car, we felt we were entitled to skip our yoga class that evening, as it does expect a fair bit of contortion to get settled. That being said, this is of absolutely no consequence, as the feeling of pure joy received from driving this historically significant Lotus is a more than favourable compromise. This Elise is a prime example of a pure and simple hand-build British sportscar. To quote the current owner, having been deeply involved in professional motorsports, rally, and motorsport management in the past, and having currently and previously owned many other Lotus cars states:
The Lotus Elise is just the purest piece of motor engineering that has been built and is a real tribute to the legacy of Colin Chapman. It’s light and therefore doesn’t need a huge amount of power and it drives like a race car. You put it on the road where you want it to be, and it stays there. You can’t help but have a smile on your face when you drive it.
This ultra-rare Type 49 Elise, with its distinct colourway and unique carbon fibre hard top, really sets itself apart from the usual track-oriented crowd these cars usually attract. It’s comfortable enough to drive on the road, but will still handle and perform like the true race car that it is.
Notice to bidders
This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only. Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.
UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Car & Classic are run through an online HPI check. On the HPI report, this vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft. It is currently not covered by a finance agreement.
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2000 Lotus Elise Type 49
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