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Discussion Starter #1
Well...

I drove one. My first Lotus experience. Not my last.

I've got a deposit well down the list at Fox Valley Motorcars and called over there today to ask about a test drive and got the thumbs-up. As always, the sales staff were friendly and courteous and I was soon riding shotgun while Mike drove a short circuit on the streets around the dealership. Soon enough it was my turn...and I'll never be quite the same. :)

The car did not have the LSS package that I have been thinking I want. After fooling around a bit in the car, the LSS package is definately something I want. The standard car is great, but I did find that I could provoke understeer a bit easier than I'd like, especially in slow-speed maneuvers (which matter to us autoxers of course). With that said, there is plenty of grip from the front (and rear for that matter) end and with less ham-fisted driving it just hangs on. Despite all that I've read, I was surprised by how much the car rolled during cornering...again, more evidence to me that the LSS will be a fine addition to the car.

It took me a bit to feel comfortable with the heaviness of the steering, but within a few corners I was OK with it. I kind of felt like I'd like the steering ratio to be a bit quicker though; it seemed like there were a few too many times where I had to either shuffle or drop a hand. I don't usually tend to shuffle steer that much, but I found myself doing it a lot more in the Elise. Possibly my driving just needs to improve. Ya think? :)

I was able to provoke some inside-rear wheel spin in 1st gear accelerating while turning right from a stoplight, so the LSD option will also be something I will continue to be interested in. As with the understeer talked about above, I think this issue is probably avoidable with appropriate driving, but the fact that I could get it as easily as I did makes me think the LSD is a good idea.

Acceleration was quite nice of course. At one point I stayed with a motorcycle that had noticed us and seemed to want to see if he could run away. OK, the speeds didn't go that high, but still...it was neat to see what the Elise will stay with. The noise from the motor surprised me...it sounds great. I wouldn't spend $1 to upgrade the sound.

Oh, speaking of sound, I had the radio off the whole time...who needs it?

The shifter was fine. I have read enough reports on Elise shifters to be a tiny bit concerned about it, but I found it to be quite pleasing. The pedals are very close together and for my size 10.5, normal width feet the dead pedal is useless. You can't rest on the dead pedal without hitting the clutch. However, the pedals are great for driving where you aren't resting your left foot. Even from the first heal-toe downshift my shifts were smooth and positive. I'm very happy with the shifter/pedal setup.

I didn't get the ABS to fire so nothing to report there.

Driving the car wasn't as huge a revelation as getting back into my Spyder was. The Spyder feels huge and cooshy compared to the Elise. The feeling of coosh continues into the driving. Everything is just a bit softer and a bit more wooly and the overall level of grip and communication just isn't there. I love my Spyder, but...

On another note, I chatted with the FVMC sales staff a bit about EliseTalk. I saw at least one Elise (Magnetic Blue) in their showroom that is being sold over sticker. They did not want to tell me which dealer the car came from since they don't want to go dragging other dealers' names through the mud. However, the VIN is there for all to see, so if someone wants to check their story I can't imagine that it would be hard to do. FWIW, the car does not have a sticker in any of its windows. I was told that the car was bought from dealer in a southern state for $10K over sticker and that FVMC is selling it for $13K over sticker.

I got the feeling that FVMC's reception here on EliseTalk may have made them gunshy from posting. Their description was, "We posted straight talk and got hammered over there." I have always found them to be straight shooting folks and I'm a bit disappointed that our community can chase good (as far as any of us can really tell so far) folks out with accusations that aren't based on facts. Like a lot of people, I like to question things (and given how many Elise enthusiasts feel like they've been treated like mushrooms, this makes sense) but I think we might want to consider questioning things in a somewhat more friendly way in the future.

Anyway, I have now been bitten and it is good. :)
 

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noch

they told me the mag blue came from matheny
 

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I haven't seen this posted anywhere, so I'll mention that I got an e-mail response from Frank at Fox Valley (not a personal response to my e-mail, but a response that he sent to an individual that he likes, who then rebroadcast it to a larger group.

The most significant fact in the e-mail was that Lotus thought that the Ebay auction of the krypton green car was tacky and asked Fox to pull it, which is why the auction stopped before a sale was realized.

The dealer is gunshy about posting here because "they posted straight talk and got hammered"? They posted some bits of information which may or may not have been straight talk. I appreciate the info, but I reserve the right to make my own judgements about the spin they put on it and the bits they chose to leave out. Some of us may have gone a bit overboard in our criticism of their behavior, but others praised or defended them, so I'm not sure I buy that they got hammered.

Fox may be the #1 Lotus dealer and really a great bunch of guys and their customers may be thrilled to be associated with such a stellar example of a car dealership. However, I haven't heard a good or legitimate explanation for why a dealer would be selling a car off to another dealer when less than two dozen cars had been delivered.

I'm only bothering to post these comments in the hopes that Lotus indeed reads this stuff and may be inclined to exert some control over its dealers. This type of behavior may be acceptable to some, but many potential buyers find it reprehensible and it will tarnish the Lotus image just a little bit for myself and other like-minded customers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I guess it's a bit of a dead horse already but I haven't put all of my $0.02 in yet and I can't resist...so my apologies in advance. One caveat: what I put in quotes in my original post is my memory of what they said and might be regarded as paraphrasing...I think it's pretty close though.

Anyway, the part of the EliseTalk reaction to FVMC that really bothered me was the intimation (and stronger) that they were lying when they said they had bought the car off of another dealer and were reselling it. To me that qualifies as "hammering" them. Fron their reaction to me bringing up EliseTalk to them, I suspect this was what they were referring to as well.

Other criticism (on selling over sticker, etc) was rather energetic but maybe not quite as potentially offensive. Not that anyone asked, but my opinion on the matter is: whether the dealership wants to go buy other cars from a second dealership and try to resell them above sticker to me is a buisness decision that is driven by the two dealerships' assessments of the market...I don't see it as any sort of moral question (although publicly posting information received privately is a moral question...unless there was specific consent of course). In any case, I specifically asked the FVMC guys why the original dealer had sold them the car, did they somehow think they couldn't sell it? The answer was something along the lines of, "Well, the dealership made $10K over sticker off the car AND they aren't taking a beating on the Net." Seems like a good reason to me. If the original dealership didn't mislead any of their customers and deposit holders, I don't see any reprehensible behavior.

In any case, I don't like to see cars like this sold on eBay either and I like hearing the Lotus would step in and try to stop it. I'm not sure why I don't like to see it...I suspect it is purely my selfishness kicking in and saying, "Well, I couldn't afford to buy it off of eBay so I'd rather they didn't sell it that way." Beyond my own selfishness, it does make Lotus look more like an enthusiast's company...and that's good for their buisness in the long run.

So, I guess I see all of this as purely buisness decisions. Of course, I am happy to put pressure on a company to do things in ways that I'm happier with but I don't think us calling them liars is going to help us get what we want. It's probably only going to make them go into a shell and our already limited information flow won't be helped.

Anyway, the car was fun. :) Hopefully we all get our cars at reasonable prices and Lotus and the dealers make a profit and Elises and similar cars start pouring into the country. A guy can dream can't he?

Peace,

Nochmal

PS/Edit: Oh! I totally forgot to say that the demo car had the clear bra on it. I don't know how people can say they don't see the clear bra. It's just like every other clear bra I've seen...you totally can see it, especially at the edges (this particular one was on the dark green paint). Maybe I'm just pickier than most but I simply can't understand how people say it isn't visible. Still, after seeing the number of chips in the clear bra of the car that had only 1700 miles on it, I think it's probably a good idea...even for picky ol' me.
 

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Nochmal said:
PS/Edit: Oh! I totally forgot to say that the demo car had the clear bra on it. I don't know how people can say they don't see the clear bra. It's just like every other clear bra I've seen...you totally can see it, especially at the edges (this particular one was on the dark green paint). Maybe I'm just pickier than most but I simply can't understand how people say it isn't visible. Still, after seeing the number of chips in the clear bra of the car that had only 1700 miles on it, I think it's probably a good idea...even for picky ol' me.
The green car I saw, it was easy to tell the clear bra. But on the SY, I could not tell. Can you? These are only 25% of the origional photos. I can post the hires ones if you want, but I'm sure you can't tell the lines on this car.

 

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Thank YOU. I love that yellow. Great pics.

Nochmal, I had an interesting experience going directly from autocrossing a shifter kart, to autocrossing a Spyder. Wow.
The Spyder felt like it could have a Buick. :eek:

I think the Elise is in between the shifter kart and the Spyder. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Clear bra in pictures: I've NEVER been able to see a clear bra in a photograph but I've always been able to see one in person. I'd love to have the chance to see if I can see one on a SY Elise. :) However, as I said, I still think it's worth getting given the damage the demo car's clear bra had already protected against.

Shifter kart vs. Spyder vs. Elise: I agree with your assessment Randy. I've driven Dan Cyr's kart at autocrosses on a few occasions and moving from the kart to the Spyder is certainly eye opening. The Elise is definately somewhere in the middle. One of the funny moments was when the salesman (who seemed to be a true enthusiast and was fun to talk to in general) actually appeared slightly jealous of the fact that I've gotten to run a shifter kart. This from a man who sells (and I assume gets to drive) Lotuses, Lambos, Ferraris, etc. :)
 

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Nope, but the green was much easier to spot than the SY. You know you can't duplicate lighting in photography! ;)

Seriously, I've had a lot of one on one time with the green and the SY, and the green in a lot of lighing showed the lines. I'll go back to Dimmitt this weekend and look at it in direct sunlight and see how it looks.

Hey, I never said it was the same lighting. You just said you could never tell from a photo, so I showed it to ya. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I guess most people don't post pics to prove you CAN see a clear bra...they only post the pics where you can't see it. :)

Never said you'll never see it in photos...just that I never had before and wondered if you could ever see it. I guess the answer is yes. I'm curious to see what your SY research turns up. My wife currently is down for arctic silver...not sure where that lies on the "easy to see the clear bra" spectrum but the more info we have the better.
 

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What I noticed

I can't see the bra on the yellow at all, but notice the vents on the hood compared to the green car. What can we do to prevent the wash out on all of the black bits?
 

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Re: What I noticed

Buck Dharma said:
... but notice the vents on the hood compared to the green car. What can we do to prevent the wash out on all of the black bits?
I've questioned whether or not some of those plastic inserts are charcoal gray on some colors (ST, Green) and black on other colors (SY, CO).

Nobody has provided me with an answer yet. So I figured it was just my perception.

And the "black" inserts on this green car are really discolored while the rest of the car looks clean.

So the question remains: Are the plastic inserts black for some colors, and dark gray for some other colors?
 

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It's probably lighting. They seem to start off dark grey, but they will inevitably fade with sunlight. If you want to keep them as dark as you can, try a rubber dressing and UV protectant. I hate doing minor detailing...argh.
 

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Vantage said:
It's probably lighting. They seem to start off dark grey, but they will inevitably fade with sunlight. If you want to keep them as dark as you can, try a rubber dressing and UV protectant. I hate doing minor detailing...argh.
Thanks for responding Justin.

And you hit on why I have raised the issue too -- because of my experience with the flat-black items on the X1/9. I also hated trying to keep them looking good without having to do so much work. The roof was easy compared to the side vents and the engine cowl.
 

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I have a 1987 911 with lots of black venting on my whale tail spoiler. I have had great success with a product called "Black Magic," that is much more durable than Armorall or other spray protectants. The only problem is that I no longer find it in my local auto supply store. The main thing is to keep all car waxes and polishes off the matte black finish. Maybe some of our detailing experts can suggest some useful products.
 

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tidalwdave said:
Can you see this one?
I saw this car in person. It was incredibly dirty. All the edges of the clear bra were covered in dust. That is why it is so visible in those pics.

-Whit
 

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