Saturday, February 17, 2007

One year later...

I have now officially spent one year with my 2005 Lotus Elise. We bought it one year ago today (yesterday actually, posting this late late at night) from Dave Hampson at Dimmitt Exotics in Clearwater Florida. The sales process consisted of me finding the car online through, contacting Dave and then flying down with a check a few weeks later. I was extremely worried that there would be some complications but it really was, and has continued to be, a painless process. We flew into Tampa late one night, Dave picked us up the next morning and an hour or so later we drove off with our new Lotus.

The car had right around 110 miles on the clock when we bought it, one year later it is at 14,040 miles. Aside from a few adjustments and a pair of rear tires the Elise has been trouble free. At the first service (Lotus of Atlanta), after much trouble and BS, we were able to have the headlights adjusted under warranty as well as the windows although they didn't really complete the window part. The second service was completely standard with the exception of replacing a lost center cap from one of the rear wheels. The car has been very reliable and has performed flawlessly throughout "mild daily driving" and a few road trips.

Our Lotus Elise has seen a couple of different beaches, some very quick & tight roads, a few tourist traps and even some concrete corn. My wife and I prefer driving it over our other two cars (VW Bug & Jetta). We've both found the Elise to be very comfortable and more than accommodating when you pack wisely. It's road manners are very well sorted and it feels very solid at speed on the expressway. The car draws attention from everyone every time it hits the road, I can't begin to imagine how many camera phone shots there are of this green Elise floating around. Most reviews paint a mixed picture of the Lotus Elise, always praising it's handling & performance but harshly criticizing it's boot space & ingress. This little Lotus isn't for everyone, but it's definitely for us!

Lotus Elise on the beach
We've come a long way since this visit to the beach, about 15 minutes after taking delivery of the Lotus.

Sooo, one year later and these are my thoughts:
What do I love about the Elise?
Simple, the pure connection that it offers between the road & the driver. The car communicates everything with you in a way that had previously been forgotten by everything else on the road.

What would I change about the Elise?
I'd like a bit more power out of the car. It's "just right" now, but another 20 - 30 horsepower would add to the fun without compromising the easy drivability it offers. A supercharger is in this car's future. I can't say when, but this car will definitely have some air stuffed into it's intake manifold before it leaves my hands. Other little upgrades will eventually include aftermarket wheels, a few carbon fiber bits, some drivetrain pieces, etc... My next project is installing XM radio. My wife gave me an XM radio subscription for Valentines day and since the Elise is my roadtrip car of choice it only makes sense to install a cradle for the receiver in it as well.

What is the most common question from onlookers?
"How much does that thing cost?". I get all sorts of questions, the majority of which are inquiries about what it is and who makes Lotus but the one common question thrown into almost every set is the price question. I don't really mind, it just amazes me though how easily people can ask something like that.

Do I still love Krypton Green after living with it for a full year?
Yes. This color never ceases to excite. I think there are some other nice colors (Orange, White, Laser Blue) that fit the car well but this color just looks so amazing in person.

What do I look forward to doing with the Elise in the year to come?
If we end up moving to Orange Beach Alabama then I fully expect to become active in that region's SCCA events. I don't really care for our region (too competitive, too much judging) so a fresh start elsewhere would be great for me. I'd like to head down to Deals Gap / Tail of the Dragon again, maybe run through the Blue Ridge parkway as well. Another Alabama plus is that Barber Motorsports Park is not far from Gulf Shores, if we move then I may be able to attend a couple of events there and finally get some much needed track time.

Any regrets about getting the Elise instead of a turbocharged G35 or Porsche 911 Turbo?
Nope. The only thing close to a regret is that I wouldn't feel "as bad" driving one of those as much as I do the Elise. Since the Elise is a specialty car in a world of special cars it instills a sense of guilt when you get caught in a rain storm or you realize that you're driving it as much as a "regular" car. It's still very much worth it to me though.

Lotus Elise alongside some Graffit art

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Long time, no post...

Well, I guess its obvious that I've been too busy driving the Elise (and working two jobs) to keep this blog updated. Hopefully that will change now though! The car continues to amaze me with how enjoyable it is to drive. I've actually been driving it quite a bit since returning home (4,000~ on the car) and have had almost no problems at all. The car gets fantastic gas mileage, not sure on the exact figure but it seems to be a lot better than our Suzuki Aerio. No new squeeks or rattles have shown up but the exhaust has opened up a little bit, which really helps the driving experience.

The only problem I have to report is the windows, both still leak. I managed to fix the passenger side window (remember, the Atlanta dealer "broke" it) to where it will move up and down with no trouble but both sides do still leak. I took the hardtop off a couple of weeks ago and quickly noticed that there is a big difference in where the window should stop between the hard and soft tops. With the soft top on the drivers side window has about a 1/4" gap at the rear of the window. No big deal, I just have to be kinda careful about driving when storms are rolling in. Hopefully the new dealer will be able to help me get both adjusted to a point where they will work reasonably well with both tops.

Ok, so I've had both tops on (and off) the car now. I LOVE the way the car looks with the hardtop and with no top, but I really really don't like the look of the soft top with the color. The result? The soft top only goes on when its raining or I'm leaving the car out of my sight for an extended time. The car continues to get stares and questions wherever it goes. Little kids jump up and down and older folks get big grins whenever they see it. Hell, it gives me a big grin when I see it ;)

Anyway, on with the photos.

Took these at Cave Hill cemetery in Louisville, KY
Lotus at Cavehill Cemetery

Lotus Elise Cavehill Cemetery

Lotus Elise in Cemetery

Louisville Cavehill Cemetery

Louisville Lotus Elise

Lotus Cemetery Photo

Lotus Elise Cemetery Photo

Took these while I was washing the car one day...
Lotus Elise Car Wash

Lotus Car Wash

Rear of Lotus Elise

These were taken a day or so after a storm...
Lotus Elise Reflection

Lotus Elise pool

Lotus Elise art photo

Lotus Elise in Louisville Kentucky

Lotus in Louisville KY

Lotus Elise Louisville

Elise Louisville

Took a trip up to Madison Indiana a couple of weeks ago and got some great pizza at "Chicago Pizza"...
Lotus Elise in Madison Indiana

Lotus Madison

And finally, some topless shots of the Elise...
(you can see the infamous PacMan in the background)
Topless Lotus Elise

Lotus Elise Roadster

Convertible Lotus Elise

Lotus Elise Topless

Lotus Elise Interior

Lotus Elise Fender

Lotus Elise headlights

And to finish it off... A self portrait that makes me look an idiot (or maybe its just me in general ;)!

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

The day after delivery (and the day after that!)

Alright, so we ended up staying at a little mom and pop hotel in Perry Florida after picking the car up in Clearwater Florida and driving for a couple hours. These photos are from the next morning.

gimme a break, you try holding a digital SLR and taking a photo with the wrong hand! ;)

Niki demonstrating how to pimp a Lotus ;)

My initial impressions of the car are that its very similar (power wise) to my old G60 powered VW Rabbit. This will change once the break-in period is over though because I'll be able to make use of the second (power) cam and will feel the real power the motor has to offer. While driving the past couple of days I've tried to have a few bursts of going through the available rpm range and even some backroad overtaking with slow RV's and woodchip dropping logging trucks. Even just staying in gear and laying into the throttle a little bit impresses me. This could be a result of one of two things, either the car is more powerful than often given credit for or I've just been out of a fast car for waaaay too long! I'm going to go ahead and assume the latter since I'm already starting to lust after the 2nd cam power.

This car is MUCH easier to drive than I had imagined. Getting in and out is a pain (just ask Niki!), but once you are in you find that its very comfortable and everything is setup perfectly. The deadpedal is a little hard for me to grab without scraping the clutch pedal but aside from that I have no gripes whatsoever. The steering wheel is a perfect size and, in typical MOMO fashion, has the perfect indentions and grips built into it. The shiftknob is much smaller than I expected (everything inside the Elise is to a point) but fits my hand perfectly. I think I was probably just imagining that it would be similar in size to the old sumo ball I had in my drag car. Direct rear visibility is awesome and the side visibility is by all means livable all though I suspect it will improve once I figure out how to adjust the mirrors (yes, I'm dense).

Its rainy and in the 40's here in Orange Beach so I haven't had a chance to wash the car off yet but I will be doing so at the first opportune moment. For now though I have some drizzly 40 degree weather "at the beach" photos for the family back home. Hope you enjoy!

This is at Perdido Dunes, my mom's second condo that is actual beachfront. The open space behind the pool is where two very large condos used to sit, they actually blocked the view for the rest of the community. This is what is left of that area ever since Dennis tore through the area.

Niki at the ocean collecting shells. There were lots of jellyfish along the coast, something I don't remember from previous trips.

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Friday, February 17, 2006


Well, the color is nothing but amazing! The car looks like its got electricity flowing through it. My salesman kinda drove us around the lot to build us up a little bit but it was all I could do not to run to the car the second I saw it. I absolutely cannot believe how beautiful the color is in person. It changes at every angle and looks amazing with each change.

So anyway, I'm now the proud owner of a 2005 Lotus Elise in Krypton Green. The car has the touring package (power windows, leather, extra sound insulation) and a removable hardtop. I was amazed that we were able to squeeze all of our crap into the trunk. The dealer helped a bit by shipping our soft top and hardtop's bag home for us, which cleared up a bunch of space. This car drives like a dream and finally gives me a new "favorite car", beating out the long favorite VW Rabbit. We picked it up yesterday morning and just now made it to Orange Beach AL where we are staying until Wedneday. I'll post more tomorrow, I'm off to get some dinner now though. Check out the photos for an idea of what our week has involved :)

Lotus Elise at Dimmitt Motors

Krypton Green Lotus Elise

Lotus Elise at Florida Dealer

Lotus alongside Ferrari Cars

Lotus in front of Dimmitt Motors

White Red and Black Lotus Cars

Lotus and Rolls Royce

Bentley Cars

Ferrari 360s and Lotus at Dimmitt

Chili Red Lotus Elise

Lotus Elise in Chilli Red

I'm such a dork!

Niki and myself in our new pride & joy :)

Lotus Elise on Clearwater Florida Beach

Lotus Elise on Beach

Lotus Elise on Florida Beach

Rear of Lotus Elise

At the hotel last night. This color changes in every light and at every angle. I love it. I've got my dream car :)

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