Long version: Having quit drag racing 5 years ago and with our small business doing well, my dad and I decided we wanted fun street cars. I ended up buying a Cayman S after he had been checking out some Boxsters. My dad wanted something different at that point and the Lotus was a great fit for him! We went to Miami to pick it up - with a side trip to the Keys of course.
It was a awesome car. We had many good times. Until one day, while dad was driving spiritedly, soon after cresting a hill, a deer ruined it all.
Exited the road at roughly 70 mph. Hit a 6" pine tree square on, spun around and hit a much larger tree with the back. Emerged totally unscathed. Had no cell phone. Walked 1 mile home. Amazing.
We pondered what to do with the car for a while as it sat after the accident. We kept a battery tender on it always so the pesky alarm and immobilizer didn't hamper a future project. Motor ran, trans shifted. Ideas began flowing. Finally, insurance came back with a buy out price of only $1200! That meant we now had a new project on hand. From here on out called raceLotus. First order of business, strip it down to see what we got that's salvageable. At first glance, it doesn't look promising. But most the bones are intact, minus the passenger rear suspension. The car was stripped of all bodywork because basically every single panel had damage. Only the passenger front quarter behind the wheel survived and even it had broken mounting tabs at the top. We decided on a budget build based on our initial good fortune with the $1200 value. Total stripped down racecar with the bare minimum. That would be the cheapest route by far based on what we had to start with. Partially inspired by the show Roadkill's CorvetteKart, we began stripping all HVAC, interior, extra wiring, anything not absolutely necessary.
Valuable parts removed were then sold on eBay to cover the cost of replacements. My dad even met member LotusDan when selling the original wheels. The passenger rear of the car would still need a wheel, tire, hub with ABS sensor, lower frame mounting bracket for control arm, lower and upper control arm, tie rod, coilover, new bolts/nuts for all this and a brake line. Not to mention would any of this even come close to lining up after such a horrendous crash? Trying to save money, and with some careful filing, the axle splines were saved. The caliper was also saved but took a beating. The car also needed an oil cooler and radiator/fans plus a fix for the broken brake reservoir line to master cylinder fitting.
With this decided, and with our work really picking up, the car sat for a while. By this time, dad had purchased a 2007 Exige S. Got an awesome deal on it and loved the car. But it had a few minor issues. The second gear had a crunch to it. And the engine moved way too much under hard acceleration. And the paint was in unloved condition. We slowly amassed parts to fix it, with the idea being we were going to use the known good trans from raceLotus and buy a replacement for it.