A very big newbie mistake is to avoid cars that have been near a track and to look for the lowest millage possible never driven cars.
The problem with this is that all to often the 'Garage jewellery' cars often are the ones to avoid with none of the normal 'niggles' fixed and items perishing with age, also with this watch out for cars that are 'unserviced'.
Servicing is ever year or when mileage dictates.
Indicators popping out
Resistor pack on heater
There are two very good external Elise buyer's guides:
Elise FAQ: (This one is Technical)
MLOC Wiki: (This one is everything else)
Use this site to check whether any car in the UK is insured.
Use this site to check a cars recent MOT history (dates, mileage). You need the registration number and V5 document number.
Value your car
The vehicles covered by the valuation service shall be car models introduced into the UK market during the last 9 years, excluding cars under six months old. Cars outside the age and mileage ranges, some specialist or limited edition vehicles, vehicles in short supply or rare vehicles will not have a value.