James Ruppert: Now's the time to buy a Lotus

There are not many Europas about, but the Evora is a sort of reasonable entry-level commuter Lotus that isn’t yet another Porsche 911, although there may be the whiff of adhesive. A 2010 3.5 with 38,000 miles at £24,990 seems like astounding value. This one was at an independent dealer so had a three-month warranty, which is a good start. Best to buy more if you can.

Then again, I do like the look of the related Europa S and an independent dealer had a 2007 one with just 34,000 miles for £24,450. It had had four previous owners but a very detailed list of recent work, including the addition of a sports exhaust and milled gear knob. Worth buying and really using.

Then there is the Elan. This really should be the core Lotus model and the last fat ones are £7000-plus. They are all 1.6 SE models and the most interesting one I found had an impressive 128,000 under its wheels. Not only that, a full rebuild 5000 miles ago might make you swerve away from a recent Mazda MX-5. Asking price? A solid but fair £12,500.

So there you go. There’s no point going too far back in Lotus history as there seem to be everyday examples at very reasonable money. If you’re for or against later Lotuses, let me know.

What we almost bought this week

Hyundai Accent 1.3 Coupé: For the price of a PCP deposit (£790), it’s a 33,000-mile two-owner super-reliable runabout with full service history. The Accent isn’t the most stylish conveyance but the coupé model is at least tidy looking. Jump in this 2000 example and laugh in the face of monthly payments as you coax it up to 60mph. 

Tales from Ruppert’s garage

BMW 320: The Baby Shark came home with a whopping £700 bill, and now that the cold weather has set in, it certainly isn’t £700 better. There were receipts for a new fuel pump, which had to come from Germany and wasn’t that cheap, plus all-new brake pipework.

It is a bit like the very old days. I need to use it so what I have to do is dig out the screwdriver and adjust the mixture manually. The revelation that the Solex is not complete probably does not help, but I am now very close to the end of my limited patience.

Reader’s ride


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