Everything went as planned when signing the paperwork. No hidden costs, no shady dealings. It was effortless and straight forward. After the signings, Vincent took me back up to my Elise and gave me a brief but thorough overview of the vehicle, it's operation, and what to expect when driving it. Nothing I hadn't read in Elisetalk before, but it was nice nonetheless. Within 1 1/2 hours of my arrival I was on my way home, the proud new owner of a 2005 Lotus Elise.
Needless to say, the drive down PCH left me breathless, and traffic on the freeways were not nearly as bad as earlier warnings had suggested. I made it home in nine twisty and scenic hours, just in time for the family Christmas Eve gathering.
My initial observations are as follows, in no particular order (I know what I'm about to say has all been said before, but I'm still going to say it . . . 'cause this is MY write up, damn it!
• Wow we're low. I've been in other Elises, but when you're driving your own for the first time and you really don't want anything bad to happen, how low you are really jumps out at you. You're staring at door handles and the lug nuts on big rigs.
• When the top is on, I look really stupid getting in the car and even more stupid getting out. It doesn't help that I've developed this nasty habit of grunting "Oh God" as I'm doing it. I'm getting better though. I'm working on an entry that involves a running start (video soon to follow).
• People do love to hang out in your blind areas to check out the car. On the positive side of this curiosity, people seem to have no problem letting you in their lane when you signal.
• I have size 8 1/2 feet and, for me, the pedals are set up perfect for heel and toe. For some reason I find it very easy to heel and toe in this car.
• It's torquier in the first cams than I was expecting. Feels like a Boxster S to me.
• The shifter is pretty stiff on initial delivery, but really loosens up after a bit of driving. By 1000 miles it does not require much effort at all to shift. I found the shifter to be more precise than I expected. Not as great as the S2000, but still good. I have had no problems with shifting into R, shifting into 1 from R, or distinguishing between R and 1.
• My headlights were adjusted perfectly. I would still prefer HID, but I can see the edge of my headlights and I would not want them any higher.
• The stereo system sucks. 'Nuff said.
• My windshield wiper works better than expected. It streaks a little at the fastest speed, but I was scared to death to use it at first. From what I've read in other posts, I was expecting it to smear tar and feathers over the windshield and poke me in the eyeballs. It, in fact, squeegees the water off of the windshield. For that, I am happy.
• I'm a coupe kind of guy, that's why I got the hardtop. I like to hide and I like to feel protected. But, when I took the hardtop off, I fell in love with this car all over again. I actually find my self driving with the top off if it's a light enough rain/sprinkle. If it starts to rain harder, I'll put the soft top on. But then, if I suspect that I may have, say, a 30 min window of no rain, I'll take the top back off. What can I say? I like to pretend I'm in a F1 car. Is that so bad?
• The heater sucks. I would love heated seats in this car.
• I'm not claiming any driving ability here. I'm well aware that there's plenty of room for my driving technique to improve. With that said, when the A048s are warm, I find that overstear and understear is easy to control with the throttle. The car's balance seems very predictable.
• The A048s rooster tail water in the rain like a speed boat. It's kinda cool.
• So far, I've come to the conclusion that I have made the perfect choice for me. There is something about efficiency that elevates the soul, and this car has it. I take pride and comfort in knowing that the money I have put in this car has gone to everything that I care about and, for the most part, bypassed everything that I do not. Props, Lotus, for your consummate allocation of resources! IMHO and all things considered, you've engineered an almost perfect $40,000.00 - $50,000.00 sports car for export to our shores.
I would like to make a point here about British Motor Cars. My experience with Vincent Golde at BMC has been exceptional. From the first time I spoke with him to place my order, to him running out of the dealership onto the street to give me last minute directions and a kind goodbye, my dealings with him have been chalk full of integrity and professionalism. He bent over backwards to help me change my order from a base Ardent Red to a fully optioned Graphite Gray. He always courteously answered all of my questions and made it a point to remind me to never hesitate calling him for information. He even ate the cost difference when he mistakenly quoted me the old destination charge. Everything was as agreed upon, and there were never any surprises. Granted, $2500 over MSRP isn't the best deal in the country now. However, one year ago when I placed my deposit, that price wasn't so bad. What's more, my experience with Vincent and BMC has made it worth every cent. Hell, the ability to change my order was worth it alone I think.
Well, I just got the phone call from the Newport European Service Center to pick up my car. Gotta get back to driving.