No, really, it was found in a barn, in Sussex. Simon paid £400 for this charming, shabby Lotus Elite and we bumped into him on his maiden journey to the local Marina. A sympathetic MOT after paying someone a few quid to get shot of this tatty classic taking up space on the farm and he was on the road, smiling.

See how my camera pans quicker than this car can drive? It’s a bit smokey but the slant 901 engine runs and sounds fine, “FFS don’t touch those carbs if it runs OK” was the advice I once heard with these engines. The paint isn’t original and some of the trim, never Hethel’s strong point, is a mile adrift. But who cares? It runs!

This is a type 83 (four seat Elite) in 502 spec (base model plus air con) and the devil is in the detail. The wiring is a mess, there’s a toggle switch for under bonnet illumination, for example, and there are homebrew looms everywhere. The headlamps were possessed but you be a loon to drive this far in the dark anyway. Or the day. But check that F1 championship badge, this marque is a winner.

There’s no intention to further restore this, says the owner, it was an impulse rescue and just a bit of weekend fun. Maybe us ‘punks will take it on for further fettling fun when times allow. We’d need a good auto electrician, like, really good.

If, like us, you love a bit of Lotus then check out our sister publication, Absolute Lotus, here –



About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich's drivel regularly appears in Practical Performance Car and GT Porsche magazines. He has also written for Classic & Sportscar, MogMag, Classic Performance and Retro, Banzai, Evo, and Modern Mini. He also did a book no-one bought. His hungover fizzog also often appears on CBS’s Carfection channel enthusing about historic motoring. Le Mans winner Derek Bell once refused to get in Rich's Morgan Three Wheeler with him at the wheel. Currently amongst the detritus in his garage is a 1972 Fiat 500 Abarth, a fat BMW and a Lotus Elise. Previous machinery includes a Porsche 968, an Alfa GTV V6 and a dreadful Sinclair C5. He also owns a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike.

4 Responses

  1. Helen

    GYN173N was our car for donkeys years , she was a TRUE barn find back in the 80s , no really. She was one of only 6 in 2 tone purple and was the car we used to get married in. She was fully restored in the late 80s early 90s and this article has had me in floods of tears seeing the state shes in. She was used to marina life tho as we too had a boat !!

    please get in touch

  2. Helen Smith

    This was my car for years ,was my daily drive. Gutted that she’s red now when in her hayday she was a headturning 2 tone purple and was mint!
    Got married in her , after she truly was found in a shed but was lovingly brought back to life by my husband . Cannot believe what has happened to her .


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