The dreaded branded title, cars that hold the words ‘salvaged‘ or ‘rebuilt‘ are typically avoided by the plague. For a car to have one of these types of titles, it means that the car has sustained such extensive damage that the insurance agency, along with the help of mechanics and inspectors, has decided that the car is no longer worth repairing. If the car has been rebuilt and inspected it can achieve the status of ‘rebuilt’ but regardless of how professional and legitimate the rebuild.
There are many reasons why you’d want to avoid a branded title car, but there are some cars that are actually still worth their salt once they’ve been totaled by insurance. They may not be worth as much as their clean title equivalent, but these cars can still hold their own and might be worth the lowered price.
It’s the Lotus Elise
The Lotus Elise is one car that is more commonly found on the market with a branded title than not, at least in the United States. They are spunky and sporty, and most importantly they are uncommon. Due to changing safety regulations in the US, Lotus was unable to continue to bring the Elise into the country, making the last production year to reach the states the 2012 model.
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Because the cars are rare and limited, they have held their value pretty well, and this also helps them hold their ground once they’ve been rebuilt. There are several teams that specialize in professionally rebuilding Lotuses across the country, and once done you could almost do nothing to tell that the car was ever wrecked, to begin with.
Why the Elise is worth the branded title
Cars with salvaged or rebuilt titles are typically much lower in value than their clean-title equivalent. This can be up to 75% the value of the car, and for the Lotus Elise, that means getting a rare exotic car for less than the cost of some pretty average brand new cars on the market, even as low as $20,000.
Here’s the catch: there is always a slight gamble when you’re buying a used car, and that bet seems to get riskier when you’re buying a rebuilt car. Buying a rebuilt exotic, however, is the riskiest situation at all. You are relying on the person who rebuilt the car to have fixed everything professionally and that the inspector that deemed the car worthy of being ‘rebuilt’ instead of ‘salvage’ ensured that the car is safe to drive.
The Elise has one major thing going for it, and it can make you feel confident when it comes to buying a rebuilt one. The engine and mechanical components of the Elise are out of a Toyota. That’s right, the Elise has a 2ZZ engine out of the Toyota Celica GTS, older Toyota Camrys, and some other more common cars. This means that if you do come across any major mechanical problem after purchase, they aren’t going to break your bank to fix.
When you’re considering buying a rebuilt car, you want to know that it’s done right, but you also want to know that if something goes wrong you can still afford to fix it, and that’s what makes the Lotus Elise such a unique car.