Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Elise rear towhook installation

Alright folks, heres another highly difficult Lotus Elise modification!

If you recall one of my recent posts you'll see that I recieved a rear towhook from Sector111 for Christmas but had to exchange it for a different style that would work with my car. The new one arrived yesterday and today after washing my car in the freezing cold I had a chance to toss it on the car. The entire installation took about 10 minutes at the most and might have actually been easier than the Zoom Carbon Fiber rearview mirror install. Read on below for the walkthrough.

Lotus Elise rear towhook
This is the "Boomerang" rear towhook from Sector111. It's design allows it to clear exhausts that exit through the rear diffuser, such as the stock exhaust.

Circular felt pads
Some folks on have used pieces of Velcro to prevent the towhook from rattling against the rear diffuser. I picked up these circular felt pads from Target, I think they will work just as well.

Elise towhook with felt pads
This is the area that you might consider placing felt or something else to prevent rattling.

Elise diffuser bolts
You will be removing two 13mm bolts like these from the rear diffuser.

Lotus Elise rear towhook bolts
Click this photo for a detailed shot showing the two bolts you will remove. This is where the towhook mounts to. Simply remove the bolts & washers, run the each bolt through the towhook, place the washer on the other side and tighten them back down in their stock position. Thats it. You don't even have to jack the car up.

Lotus Elise rear towhook installed
The finished product. Hopefully I'll never have to use this but I think it looks kinda neat and if I am in a sticky situation it should help out.

Boomerang towhook installed
View from behind the Lotus. You have to step back about 3-4 feet before you can even tell the hook is there. It sits about flush with the stock exhaust.

Lotus Elise rear end
View from the ground, several feet behind the Elise.

Lotus rear towhook complete
The final shot. The Lotus Elise rear end is already pretty racy but this just adds to it.

Thats it for this update! I'm itching to go out and have a little photoshoot with the Elise so hopefully there will be some cool Lotus Elise photos in the next post.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Top 10 photos, Lotus Elise desktop wallpaper

Due to the overwhelming response from the comments of the last post I had to choose the 10 photos of the Elise from the last year using my own judgement, hopefully you all will like them! I've shown each photo below with the story behind each one and why I chose it. Click on the photos to see a larger version of each photo. Right click on your desired size below the photo and choose save as to download a high resolution wallpaper for your desktop. I made the wallpapers in the 5 most common sizes of the machines that browse this site...

  • 1920x1200 (an iMac resolution I belive ;)

  • 1440x900 (Powerbook/Macbook resolution, good people ;)

  • 1280x1024

  • 1280x800

  • 1024x768

This was taken on a beach alongside a causeway in Clearwater Florida, about 15 minutes after we took delivery of the Elise. This was truly one of the most surreal moments of my life. The whole thing didn't really hit me until a few days later. I've had a few more moments where it kinda hits me but this still stands out as one of those unique moments where you don't have a care in the world, I was just happy with no extra baggage.
Lotus Elise on the beach in Clearwater Florida

This was taken at the public beach in Gulf Shores Alabama during the journey back to Louisville. This has always been one of my favorite photos, I love the perspective and the birds flying above. If I remember correctly this was taken just minutes after my wife realized you could have a 100 seagulls hovering around you if you threw out a little food.
Gulf Shores Alabama Lotus Elise

This photo kinda shows where I'd like to live one day. In parts of the Alabama Gulf Shore you can find clusters of these brightly colored beach houses, each colored differently than the next but always bright and bold. I think a Krypton Green Elise is a good fit for a scene of these houses. The really neat part is that almost all of these neighborhoods were more or less abandoned, made for a very cool feeling as you drive around.
Lotus Elise at Alabama Gulf Shore

This photo might be self explanatory. On the road between Gulf Shores Alabama and Fairhope Alabama there is a large house with a unique gate on it's driveway. The gate consists of a pair of lips, a saxaphone and some other brightly colored stuff. This was taken in front of that gate. The owners, who seem to have it figured out, made their address sign read "The point of it all". I think its pretty fitting.
Lotus Elise in Fairhope Alabama

Just outside of Gulf Shores is an old Fort, Fort Morgan, this was taken on the road out of there. I love the how Elise stands out from the background a bit and that you can make out the curve in the road.
Lotus at Fort Morgan

This just barely made the 2006 cutoff. My favorite pizza place in Louisville, Spinellis Pizza, is opening a new location just up the street from my house and have already brought some color to the place. The graffiti around this place is awesome in person, the photos really don't do it justice.
Elise alongside graffiti art at Spinellis

I almost didn't throw this photo into the mix but it really is one my favorites. Something about the perspective and how it shows a view of the car that is rarely seen. The artwork in the background is pretty cool too!
Lotus and Graffiti Art

I had been wanting to get some cool "Car reflecting in water" shots for a long time now, the opportunity presented itself this year the day after a big storm. Not all of the photos turned out well but there were a few cool ones, this was one of them. If you look closely in the reflection you can see some detail of the Elise' underside.
Lotus Elise reflection

This is the only photo in the bunch that shows the Elise in it's convertible / roadster state. This was the first day that I took the top off. It's not the best photo (quality wise) but I love the stance and feel of the photo. This is also the photo that Autoblog used when they chose the Elise as reader ride of the day.
Lotus Elise convertible

This is yet another photo from Orange Beach Alabama, taken in the state park. Something about the trees reminds me of the ones in those old Dr Suess books. I think the scene in the photo just works, something I rarely manage to do.
Lotus Elise and Trees

Well there you have it, the top 10 photos from this blog over the past year. Hopefully you'll find some nice new wallpapers for your desktop from this collection. This blog will be going through some changes over the next few days. It already has a new url,, soon it will also have a nicer layout as well as some new artwork. Check back in a week or so for Lotus Elise rear towhook installation walkthrough.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christmas for my Lotus Elise!

Santa hit the jackpot this year! He (through my wife) brought me an Xbox 360 and managed to bring the Lotus a carbon fiber rear view mirror and a couple of tow hooks! The mirror is a Zoom carbon fiber convex rear view mirror from Sector111. It looks cool, provides a better range of vision and is lighter than the stock unit. The tow hooks consist of this package from Sector111. Santa brought me the standard rear tow hook which unfortunately will not work with a diffuser exit exhaust, like the stock exhaust. I've put in an email to Sector111 to ask about exchanging it for the "Boomerang" style tow hook which will work with any exhaust setup, hopefully I'll be able to swap it out within a week or so.

Today was yet another nice, non-freezing day, in Louisville so I took some time to pop some of the new parts on and clean the car up. You can see the walkthroughs for the very simple installs below. Click on the photos to see larger more detailed images.

This is what the Zoom carbon fiber mirror package consists of. The mirror, installation instructions, two allen head wrenches and a cool sticker.

The Zoom mirror seems to be very well crafted. The carbon fiber looks perfect and the mirror is blemish free.

Zoom carbon fiber mirror for the Lotus Elise / Exige.

To remove the stock mirror you need to pull the plastic base surround down a bit to expose this little retaining clip. Once you have it exposed you can compress it with a paint can lid tool or a modified flat head screwdriver like the one below. Just press the clip down as much as possible and slide the mirror towards the front of the car. Be careful to not use too much pressure, a few folks have cracked their windshields doing this.

"Modified" flat head screwdriver.

This is the metal base on the windshield that the new mirror will mount to.

Slide the new Zoom mirror on from the front of the car towards the back and tighten down the allen head screw using the supplied wrench. Thats it, you're done! Pretty easy.

The new mirror takes some getting used to, the convex mirror surface allows you to see almost completely from one side of the car to the other. The objects behind you seem a little further away and the tinted surface gives it a somewhat unnatural look. I like it though, just takes some getting used to.

Zoom carbon fiber mirror from outside the car (excuse the dirty windshield).

The Zoom unit is quite a bit smaller than stock. This really helps in seeing traffic lights and whatnot without having to duck down.

The convex mirror in the Zoom unit makes up for its small size, visibility is greatly increased.

The rear towhook may not be the correct piece but the front one certainly is. Installation of the front tow hook involves unscrewing the plastic plug piece and screwing in the new hook. Hopefully I'll never have to use this but I do think it adds kind of a neat look. Probably won't leave it on all the time but will toss it on for shows and cruises.

Sector111 larger diameter front tow hook.

Freshly washed Lotus Elise.

Finally had a chance to wash and vacuum the Elise. The poor Lotus had sat dirty for about two weeks because of crappy weaher and the holiday rush.

Felt good to get out and get the car cleaned up.

You can see just how much this color changes, just look at the difference in color from the daytime to dusk.

The european 111R decal.

Goofy artsy shot of the car, you can see the 111R decal in this photo as well.

Shot from above the rear showing the Apple decal on my Lotus.

If you are a regular reader then you might remember that my wife and I got an English Bulldog about 4 or 5 months ago. The puppy had been nothing but problems and had been through about $5,000 in treatment. Well, shes still with us and is doing much better! Check out the photo in that post and the one below, look at how much she has grown!

So aside from the Christmas goodies I don't have much to report. The Elise didn't win Autoblog's Reader Ride of the Year, that title ended up going to a very nice Saab 900 convertible. Check back in a few days or so for a post containing my 10 favorite photos of the Elise from last year. If you have any requests feel free to leave them in the comments. I'll be making wallpapers for your desktop out of these photos so be sure to check back!

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