In the Six-Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors' character Steve Austin was rebuilt with amazing capabilities following the crash of his experimental aircraft. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Lotus Elise isn't that expensive, but seeing its also been rebuilt, would buying it at any price be a mistake of bionic proportions?
The cheesy ‘70s sci-fi escapades of the Bionic Man would be a nice fit for yesterday's 1978 Ford Granada. Unique then (and more so now) was the 302 and a stick it sported, but even that couldn't dissuade 65% of you from wanting to change the channel to something cheaper.
If British cottage car-builder Lotus were a TV show, it would have ended every episode with a cliffhanger, leaving viewers to wonder if it would survive to see another day. Ratings certainly improved with the introduction of the spare and extraordinarily capable Elise however, and that car has secured Lotus a future of. . . well, that script hasn't been written yet. After their wacky introduction of fiberglass styling bucks for like 30 spin-offs last year, the company's plans seem right out of the final couple seasons of Lost.
But the Elise has been a sizable hit around the globe and on America's curvier roads. Today's 2006 Elise - in guards red - is also a big hit. Well, at least it is claimed to have been hit pretty hard which resulted in the replacement of the front suspension and the creation of its custom ‘headlights only' front end. The seller also avers - in one of his many ads for the car that the damage done was sufficient that not only was the Elise rebuilt, but so was its title. Now, I'm no expert on the DMV regs in the Sunshine state - in fact after hearing that the place is crawling with alligators I don't even want to set foot there - but I'm pretty sure that Florida Rebuilt Title is equitable to Salvage Title, or radioactive Ebola virus, when it comes to Insurance companies.
If that's the case then this Elise is like Miranda Kerr with a big ol' hairy cold sore on her lip, and it may make you think twice before assuming the Lotus position. It also makes you wonder how much damage the car sustained, and whether the bonded aluminum platform underpinning it has retained its structural integrity. This isn't the kind of car that you can just throw on a dedicated bench and expect to stretch back in shape, and in fact it may just be one-and-done when it comes to shunts of any significant magnitude. The seller says it's all good, but I have a sinking suspicion that he may have a vested interest in moving the car resulting in his opinion being somewhat tainted.
But does the car also have a taint? In the pics it appears taint-free, and the miniature G posing with it sure seems to think it'll pull in the ladies. The seller says the interior - all tissue-thin seats and exposed alloy everywhere - is in great shape, and it still has its original airbags, possibly indicating that the damage done in the accident wasn't all that bad. Alternatively it could mean that the car's crash sensors exhibited typical English electrical gremlins. The Toyota four and 5-speed gearbox are claimed to be functioning without issue, and the driving experience is said to be everything you would expect of the little Lotus. Its 29,000 miles is relatively low as is its $23,500 asking price — in fact one of the lowest of the panoply of Elise (Elises? Elisi?) offered for sale at this time. But that price most likely reflects the fact that - like the Six Million Dollar Man — this Elise has been rebuilt after a major event. The question is, with the history that is known, and that which is unknown, is the price of this Elise low enough?
What do you think, is the rebuilt title on this Elsie like the 666 on the back of Damien's head, and reason to run away no matter what the price? Or, is that a non-issue and just a way to get an Elise on the cheap?
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