Monday, August 25, 2008

The grand finale...

So I haven't updated the blog in a while, guess I was waiting for a BIG update... The Elise is officially no more. Earlier this year while driving through rural Indiana we came around a tricky corner that sent the car into a spin & into a guardrail. We weren't going excessively fast, nowhere near my or the car's limits, it really was just an odd turn. You come into it after leaving a right hand corner and going uphill, just as the hill crests you are pushing into the left hand section. As we crested the car got really light really quick, enough so to push the rear end out far enough that I couldn't recover.

The photos tell the rest...

Lotus Elise Wrecked

Wrecked Lotus Elise

Lotus Wreck

Lotus Elise Accident

Rear Damage

Rear Elise Damage

Lotus Elise Wreck


Wrecked Lotus Elise

A picture perfect definition of irony...

If you look closely you can see my right turn signal stuck in in the guardrail.

This is the opposite side of the road, you can see just how lucky we are that we didn't go through the rail. The arrow is pointing to a piece of the car which must have been thrown across the road as we spun. You can also see some remains of a Chrysler Crossfire that wrecked here as well as several other random car parts from previous accidents. This is proof that it really is just "one of those bad turns".

So, with all of that said & shown I can officially say that the Lotus Elise is a very safe car. My wife & I both walked away with no injuries whatsoever aside from some expected soreness. Lotus did well when designing the crash structure and other safety bits of the car. The Elise still ran just fine and could have been driveable with the exception of a sheared rear toe link which was caused by the impact. Insurance declared it a total loss after several experts came in to evaluate it. When I stopped in to grab some personal items I noticed they had never removed the rear clam, the front damage & visible rear damage was enough to total it. I guess the high bodywork & labor prices were to blame.

My Lotus Elise with the front clam removed.

Did I get another Lotus Elise? Regrettably, no. I ALMOST ended up with another Elise but after searching for a few weeks I decided that I wanted a bit of a change anyway. Whenever I drove the Elise during the week, in not absolutely awesome weather, I would fee bad about doing so. The Lotus didn't mind but I just had some sort of complex about driving "A Lotus" in anything but the absolute best of conditions. I still drove it, probably way too much, but I still had those thoughts in the back of my mind. But no, no more Lotus Elise for me. I was checking out "options" online, consisting of E30 M3s (an old love of mine), when I came across an E46 BMW M3 in Laguna Seca Blue with black BBS LM's & blacked out trim. Ahh yes, I had forgotten about those...

To make a long story short I chased down a few different Laguna Seca Blue M3s only to find they had been sold or had some accident history. Finally I found a nice example of a 2001 M3 in Birmingham and after a few phone calls and some photos I was on my way down to pick it up. I've now been living with my 2001 BMW M3 for about 4 months now and I can say it's a completely different beast than the Elise. It is quite a few notches down on the "fun factor" but surprisingly it seems to turn as many heads as the Elise did. The M3 makes a nice daily driver and I imagine will be a load of fun during the winter, but I still miss my Elise....

I really really really miss my Lotus Elise.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lotus Elise Intake installation

Last week I mentioned that I had a Green Filter on order from Blackwatch Racing and that I'd be using it in conjunction with a slight intake modification. Well, it arrived yesterday and I was able to get it installed this morning. Aside from the airbox not wanting to snap back together easily it was a very easy install. No dyno numbers or reliable tests to suggest any power increase but it does feel a bit stronger and sounds a LOT meaner on the second cam. Below are some before/after videos and some photos detailing the installation.

Crummy cellphone videos

Installation of the Green Filter and modifying the Elise intake system...
1.Start out by jacking the car up (be careful, don't want this to happen) and removing the rear driver's side wheel. You'll need to remove the back wheel well liner.

Lotus Elise Suspension

The liner is held on by six plastic screws like the one in the photo below...

Click on the photo below to see the location of the 6 screws you'll need to remove. The liner fits in the wheel well pretty snugly but with a little work you can work it free.

2.Once you have the wheel well liner off you can see how the factory airbox gets it's outside air. The snorkel thats attached to the airbox is pretty restrictive, we'll be removing it to free up the intake and hopefully add a bit of power.

Lotus Elise Intake Airbox

To remove the snorkel you need to pop a clip (similar to the screw/plug pieces that hold the wheel well liner on) off the top of the airbox. The clip is actually a screw in piece but due to its location and its tendency to just spin I went ahead and pried it off. I couldn't snap a photo of it on the car but you can see the clip you need to work with by clicking on the photo below.

Lotus Elise Intake Snorkel

3.Once you have the intake snorkel off you can go ahead and open the airbox using the two silver clips, click on the photo to see detail of the clips.

Lotus Elise Airbox

Pull out the stock Toyota airfilter and see just how dirty it is.

The Green Filter is obviously quite different. It's reusable and allows air to flow a world better than the stock air filter. It comes pre-oiled so its ready to pop in right out of the box.

Lotus Elise Green Filter Airfilter

Put the new airfilter in and work on getting the airbox closed again. Because the new filter's gasket is a bit thicker this is a lot tougher than it sounds, work with it though and you can get it to seal correctly. Once the airbox is back together you can work on getting the wheel well liner and wheel back on the car, their installation is the reverse of their removal.

Once you're done go ahead and take the Lotus out for a quick run through the gears. The new sound is pretty cool. The Lotus Elise / Exige isn't exactly quiet to begin with, but this intake modification gives it a really throaty sound once it hits the cam changeover at 6,200 rpms. I've still got the stock Lotus exhaust but I can only imagine how great this will sound with an aftermarket exhaust in the near future. I don't think this netted a big power increase, but it does feel just a bit stronger.

Thats it for now. I don't have any plans for the Lotus right now but I may go out and mess with it a little bit in the next couple weeks.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Deals Gap Lotus Elise videos

Here are the videos that George shot at deals gap using a prototype ChaseCam. Big thanks to Randy (owner/creator of Chasecam) for helping to clean these up and host them. (please "right click->save target as" these)

George in the Chrome Orange Elise chasing my Krypton Green Elise

Me chasing George (this run also had the red BMW Z4 behind me trying to keep up)

George leading in the Orange Elise with Jennifer in the Saffron yellow Elise following and me following Jennifer

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