A front wheel drive sports car? From Lotus? It was the only front wheel drive car ever produced by Lotus and after a $50MM research and development investment by parent-company-at-the-time General Motors, the M100 Elan’s handling prowess by most critics was undeniable. At the press launch, Autocar magazine described the new Elan as “the quickest point to point car available”. Some reviewers at the time actually found the handling too secure and predictable compared to a rear-wheel-drive car. Even in 2018, Mike Brewer of Velocity Channel’s Wheeler Dealers show described the version they reworked as the finest handling front wheel drive bar none.
The M100 Elan used a 1,588 cc double overhead camshaft (DOHC) 16-valve four cylinder Isuzu motor (another company owned by GM at the time) that Lotus engineers tweaked with a turbocharger to deliver 162 hp. That was enough power for the car to achieve mid-six-second acceleration times and a top speed of 137mph. Despite its good looks and favorable handling, the $34,000 base price was a hard-to-swallow $20,000 premium over the highly acclaimed MA Mazda Miata that ironically was fashioned after the original Elan. Consequently, the M100 Elan remains a very rare site on roads today with only 3,855 produced between 1989 and 1992.
The White Over Black Leather 1991 example presented here is being offered by the original owner who only put 27K miles on it. Consequently, the seller is proud to state that his Elan is “in excellent mechanical working order as to engine and drive train, suspension and brakes, top is as new, all components are functional, and the BF Goodrich high performance tires barely worn.” We have to agree that due to the low mileage the body and interior look virtually new. The seller also states that the “hydraulics and coolants are flushed regularly and that he uses ethanol free premium fuel.” The only service mentioned are that the fuel injectors were recently removed and cleaned.
You can find this low-mileage time capsule for sale on Autotrader Classics in Vinings, Georgia by the motivated original owner for $18,000 by clicking here. Based on the current Haggerty Valuation Online Tool, the original owner has his Lotus priced below the “#2 Excellent” level, making this car a fair buy.