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Discussion Starter #1
Any idea how stiff the Elise will be in the top on vs. top off configurations or how it will affect weight? I am guessing the Elise is pretty twisty given the weight. Perhaps the hardtop would handle better(stiffness allows suspension to do its job), but weigh more. Any thoughts?
 

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My thoughts without a lot of data to back it up. :)

1. The Elise is not twisty. The bonded extruded aluminum frame is not the same as the unibody construction you might be thinking of. If you lightened a unibody car that much, you might get a light car that can bend. The Elise is not. I expect the car to be very stiff.

2. My experience in the demo car was that the car was indeed very stiff. I didn't experience or notice much in terms of body flex.

3. The performance numbers from track testing seem to back this up also. The car handles well now.

4. The hardtop is bolted on. I do not think it will add significant structural rigidity, but it will add some weight up high, which is not as good for performance.


I would buy a hardtop for other reasons.

P.S. Welcome to the forum!
 

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The Elise chassis is one of the most rigid in production.

The hardtop on an Elise is not structural - just as the top on the Exige is not structural.
 

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Chassis

Short of a racecar, there aren't many cars in the same league as the Elise in terms of chassis stiffness / rigidity.

Those side sills that you have to step over to get in are the reason for the tremendously stiff chassis.

You could take the body off of the car and not lose any stiffness.

I used to be a chassis engineer, we did modelling on a supercomputer: FEA, crash testing, etc. The Elise is an absolute work of art re: the chassis.

No worries, whatsoever!

Thomas
 

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jrgibb said:
Agree with the comments above, the weight of the hard top is pretty low (at a guess 10 - 15 kg ??).
Weight is all relative. I took the wing off my MR2 because it weight 16 pounds and it 16 pounds too high and too far on the end of the car...the wrong end too. :)

This car reminds me more of the kart I race. Stiff. Maybe I should wear my rib/kidney belt in the Elise? :)
 

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Weight is a HUGE issue in the Elise. What appears to be a small amount of weight is a huge % in this car.

A passenger in my car cost me about 2-2.5 seconds per lap on a 1:36 lap time.
 

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It's my understanding that the framework of the car is so stiff that it can be driven without the clam shell. That it is one of the few cars that has that rigidity.

I believe there is a Top Gear video about the elise where they drive the car w/o the body. I'll try and dig up that video.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Many thanks!

Thanks to all for the comments! In that case, I think I would NOT want the hard top. Any reason, why it would be better to have a hard top on this car? BTW, I had my deposit down within 5 minutes of hearing of the federal release.
 

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Re: Many thanks!

fzust said:
Any reason, why it would be better to have a hard top on this car?
1. Looks
2. You park in an area where you might be concerned of theft or vandalism to your soft top.
3. Quieter ride. More insulation.
4. You ride on tracks that have special requirements for convertibles, but not if a hardtop is installed. Not that it makes sense.

Downsides would be extra cost and storage.
 

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Many valid points have been made that the top will not add stiffness. I am a mechanical engineer and can assure you that to gain significant torsional stiffness from a top it would have to be an "integral" part of the car. In other words it would require some body fit bolts (bolts that fit in the holes with essentially zero clearance) that would make it part of the structure.

I am assuming that the hardtop is bolted to the roll structure and fits into the existing holes at the windshield.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
follow-up

Does it bolt-on in such a way as to be convenient enough to take off and put on twice a year?
 

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Lots of bolts and some extra pieces that need to go on. Only took it off once (two weeks after i picked up the car when the sun started to come out) and it took me (with my dad helping) about 15 minutes or so. We we're extra carefull and first timer, so should be able to do it somewhat quicker.

The manual itself states it's intended for seasonal driving and not for regulary taking it off and putting it back on. Though the summer ended here and raining basically all day I still have to put on my hardtop, but just can't. This sunday there was about three hours of dry weather, and yes, I was blasting around country lanes with the top off :D
 

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Discussion Starter #17
More hard top questions

Does anyone know the cost premium to order the hard top? Will this version of the car come with a soft top also? Can we buy the hard top later?

Off topic. Anyone know how much to expect the Lotus dealers will try to gouge us for above sticker?
 

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Re: More hard top questions

fzust said:
Does anyone know the cost premium to order the hard top? Will this version of the car come with a soft top also? Can we buy the hard top later?

Off topic. Anyone know how much to expect the Lotus dealers will try to gouge us for above sticker?
Most or many dealers are agreeing to sell at sticker. Lotus has said that they are strongly recommending that their dealers not gouge the end buyers.

The hardtop cars come with the softtop also. Price is supposed to be $1500. I would think you could buy it later, but I don't think it would make sense to do so based on shipping.
 

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fzust,
The price quoted and still subject to change is $1500 for hardtop, you can always order later. The car comes standard with a softop.

Dealers gouging, put a deposit at a dealer willing to guarantee msrp in writing then you don't have to worry. I suspect demand will be such, they'll be a hefty markup on no waitlisted cars. At least for a while.

Chris
 
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