So, it’s time to cross an item off the bucket list and buy a British sports car, but a new one is just a bit beyond the budget. One of the benefits to shopping for a used Lotus sports car is that Lotus models rarely change. Lotus engineers got the principles down pat early on, with their small, lightweight designs, and Lotus enthusiasts tend to be pretty happy with them. Lotus cars are fast not just because they’re powerful, but because they aren’t bogged down with unnecessary baggage. So it’s unusual that anything is added from model year to model year, and new model releases tend to be fairly infrequent. In other words, buying a used Lotus means you probably won’t be stricken with envy every time the model year switchover comes. The process is also simplified somewhat because there’s no need to fret about a lot of packages, trim levels, or options. Do some research on Lotus models, decide which model most appeals to you out of the used Lotus cars available, find the best deal, and you’re done.
On the flip side, the disadvantage to trying to find a good used Lotus for sale is that people who buy a Lotus, new or used, are going to drive it hard. That’s what it’s designed for, and anything else is squandered potential. It’s not a matter of trying to find a preowned Lotus that hasn’t seen an occasional track day or club meet, because, frankly, that’s pretty unlikely and a seller who says a Lotus has been babied is probably not being totally honest. It’s better to find a used Lotus that comes with a lot of documentation – receipts, service history, and the like. An owner who is meticulous enough to keep a lot of records obviously cares about the car and probably treated it well, even if it regularly got flogged on the track or autocross course. Just be careful, look for signs of undisclosed damage that might indicate a crash, and be confident in the eventual purchase. Drive it around for a bit. Get to know it. Then, get that new-to-you Lotus back on the track where it belongs.