The Silverstone Classic Sale 2017

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1997 Lotus Elise S1

Lot No.: 411

Registration: P516FPM
Chassis Number: SCC111YN1VHA10911
Engine Number: 18K4FJ31481945
Number of cylinders: 4
CC: 1796cc
Year of Manufacture: 1997
Sold for (£): 24,750

Purity is a fragile and vulnerable thing and in August 1996, the revolutionary new Lotus Elise seemed to ooze purity from every extruded anodised aluminium and epoxy resin crevice, with nothing superfluous subtracting from the essence of this truly minimalist, focused little sports car. Although 'beautiful to behold' it certainly was, the time-honoured relationship between 'form and function' was clearly evident in the way it went and handled with its lightweight chassis-tub at 731kg failing to daunt the enthusiasm of the mid-mounted, 1.8-litre K-series engine, and its 118bhp was enough for a 0-60mph time in the low sixes allied to decent pull in the higher ratios. Clothed in two-piece 'clamshell' fibreglass bodywork, the featherweight two-door also featured all round double-wishbone independent coil-over suspension, rack and pinion steering, four-wheel ventilated disc brakes, and a five-speed gearbox. 

Designer Julian Thomson and engineer Richard Rackham were keen to create a car with something of a motorcycle’s feel, and they undoubtedly succeeded, as is evident as much as in the aluminium-and-rubber interior and neat little Stack instrument panel, as in the car's dynamic intimacy with the road, the wind, and the weather. The Elise was a reaction to the corpulent world of leather, luxury, and levers becoming increasingly evident in Lotus road cars, and was an attempt to recreate Colin Chapman’s early principles before he abandoned them in a move upmarket. The early cars were followed in 2002 by the Series 2 and any number of special models with various engine options and greater levels of creature comfort and they're all great, but the simpler, more demure Series 1 still defines the breed. 

The 1997 Lotus Elise S1 'lightweight' offered here was supplied new by Bell & Colvill to a prominent member of the BRDC who was a well known racing driver in the 1960s. It has covered a mere 1,633 miles from new and is one of the very early lightweight series cars which featured composite brake discs and an aluminium engine cover in the quest for the lowest possible kerb weight. 

This little Lotus presents superbly in 'Racing Green Metallic' with Magnolia hide and is fitted with a 'Momo' steering wheel, built in driving lights, and Perspex headlamp covers. The car has recently been serviced, which included changing all fluids and replacing the cambelt and will have a fresh MOT at the time of the sale.

This sparkling Elise is in superb condition as can be seen in the accompanying photographs. Absolutely delightful.