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Autotrader Find: 1991 Lotus Elan

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author photo by Doug DeMuro March 2017

Good news, Oversteerists! Right now, you can buy a Lotus that you probably don't even remember. This is a 1991 Lotus Elan, and it's currently available on Autotrader for $20,500 from a private seller in the San Francisco Bay Area.

If you're like most car enthusiasts, you probably remember the original Lotus Elan -- a small, rear-wheel drive roadster made by Lotus from 1962 to 1973. The first Elan was known for its handling and its diminutive size, making it tremendously nimble and tossable. Gordon Murray, designer of the McLaren F1, once remarked that his only disappointment with the F1 was he couldn't give it the perfect steering of the Lotus Elan.

That was the original Elan. This one came later.

Released for the 1989 model year, the M100 Elan, as it's called, changed up the formula a bit from the original one. While the early Elan was rear-wheel drive, this model was front-wheel drive -- though it remained tremendously small. While the front-wheel-drive layout changed the character of the car, some period reviews referred to it as one of the best-handling front-wheel drive cars on the market. Perhaps more unusual than the drivetrain was the fact that Isuzu built the engine and transmission: a 162 horsepower, 1.6 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and a 5-speed manual.

And now you can buy this one. This 1991 Elan is one of just three listed for sale on Autotrader, and possibly the nicest -- finished in red, with a black interior and just 24,700 miles. The Carfax report verifies its low odometer reading, noting that it had 22,500 miles in 1999 -- meaning it's barely been driven since. In fact, it cracked the 24,000-mile barrier sometime in 2002. More importantly, it looks like there's some chance the current owner has had it since 1992, making it effectively a one-owner car.

You may have forgotten about the Elan. But if you buy this one, you can remember it every single day.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Autotrader Find: 1991 Lotus Elan - Autotrader