Most Lotus purists bemoan the early 1990’s Elan model as a travesty, unworthy of the Lotus namesake. I think that’s a little harsh; while they are the only front-wheel-drive Lotus ever made, they were still excellent handling little roadsters with neat styling, a robust and sprightly Isuzu turbo drivetrain and a bit of obscurity thrown in for good measure. Sure, they couldn’t match the revered Esprit supercar, but then again they weren’t supposed to. What really puzzles me is that the modern Elan is so derided, yet the 1970’s Elite and Eclat get a free pass! These hideous monstrosities are probably the worst vehicles Lotus ever churned out, as evidenced by the fact that three of them are for sale here on Craigslist for $1500 each.
I’ve got a lot of fond memories of bouncing around in the passenger seats of old Subarus. My mother, bless her soul, almost always drove older 4WD Subaru wagons and even had two at one point! They were practical, rugged, and she could fix them herself with some basic tools and a shop manual, if need be. Those cars left an impression on me, so I’ve ended up owning and wrenching on quite a few of them, including an engine-swapped BRAT and a very 1980’s XT Turbo.