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Brand new memeber here. Just sold a Ferrari 328 and looking for a less costly car to maintain. Obviously, its hard to beat the simplicity of the Cobra's Ford V8. Looking for comments on maintenance costs for the Elise and Exige.

thanks.
 

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There are TONS of threads on this if you search for them.

General premise is:
- Powertrain reliability is pretty good (it is a Toyota engine after all). Maintenance is at least on par with a Ford Modular v8 there.
- The Lotus parts are so-so. There are some issues with oil lines, turn signals popping out, etc. etc. Ford has the edge there. But considering the Elise/Exige is a low volume semi-exotic its not *that* bad either.
 

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You talking about a real Cobra or the Superformance replica? I looked at a replica Cobra and that is pretty much dictated on what parts you use to build one so you can have a reliable Chevy small block or a temperamental Ford drivetrain.

The Lotus has not been too bad, but I have a late 2009 so it doesn't have the same issues plaguing the 2005 and early 2006 models.
 

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The Lotus is fairly cheap to maintain. There's not much to break. The brakes are small, the engine is toyota, consumables are cheap. The expensive part comes when you damage a body panel. Though, fiberglass repair is cheap, new panels are expensive. And there are no Lotus approved repairs for the aluminum tub, they suggest replacing it. And that means $$$$$$$ or totaled. Insurance varies, I think it's usually on the high side unless you get collector's insurance.
Tires are cheap-ish - think $700-1100 a set.
 

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I'd like a Superformance myself as a future car. If you order one you can have LS3 or Coyote engine mounts, but most are SB Windsors.

FYI:

Cobras have less interior space than an Elise.
Very few have AC, it is possible, but rare.
They are even less watertight than an Elise.
Tires; if you want accurate 15 inch rims, tire choice is limited.
Fuel economy favors the Lotus.
 

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I briefly considered the cobra (and also looked at Detomaso Pantera, V8 Esprit).. went with the Exige because of 1. Driving feel (nothing can touch the Lotus), 2. Safety (aluminum tub, ABS, Airbags) 3. removable top (I converted to soft top asap) 4. AC/heater (that sorta works), 5. warranty (at least for the first couple years of ownership for me)

They are pretty baddass though. I got a ride in one, a replica but had the real 427 with Toploader trans. Let just say my neck hurt afterwards.... and I burnt my calf on the side pipes lol
 

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I briefly considered the cobra (and also looked at Detomaso Pantera, V8 Esprit).. went with the Exige because of 1. Driving feel (nothing can touch the Lotus), 2. Safety (aluminum tub, ABS, Airbags) 3. removable top (I converted to soft top asap) 4. AC/heater (that sorta works), 5. warranty (at least for the first couple years of ownership for me)
I'm a huge Cobra fan but listen to the dark knight...
 

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Do you want something that can stop properly and go round corners? Elise/Exige
OR do you want a stupid fast straight line car that cant do much else? Cobra
 

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I have both a 2005 Elise and a AC Autokraft Cobra. They are very different cars..one is a modern sports car... AC, side windows, fuel injection, it's much more usable. The Cobra is a classic, vintage sports car...crude, side window curtains, a choke to start, a top that takes 10 minutes to assemble, a rougher ride. Both are great fun to drive for a while but I've taken the Elise on thousand mile trips that I would not want to take in the Cobra.
It depends on what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
What years of the Elise/Exige had glitches, and what were the glitches?) I am assuming the early years (05-06)
 

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I have both an Evora and a FFR cobra replica(I built it in 2000 and have over 75Kmiles and countless track events on the car) Very different animals both a blast to drive on the street and track. Maintance costs are about the same. The big difference is in cost of parts for other than the toyota sourced items.
There is also a huge difference in build quality between the different replica's You have to be very careful when buying. The one thing I see frequently is the cobra's are built for bragging rights more than practical use which means you typically find a 600hp car than can't turn or stop. Also there is a much steeper learning curve on driving the cobra which requries a lot of track time to learn how to go fast without spinning.
Stay away from the fiberglass on tub frame replica''s
I am fond of the FFR design granted there are lots of poorly built ones but if you match equal dollars with quality build the FFR will be as good if not better than the others.
ERA and superformance also make great cars but if you find a FFR for the same money (without a delusional seller who thinks a cheap build is worth big bucks) you will be happier in the long run
 

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I briefly considered the cobra (and also looked at Detomaso Pantera, V8 Esprit).. went with the Exige because of 1. Driving feel (nothing can touch the Lotus), 2. Safety (aluminum tub, ABS, Airbags) 3. removable top (I converted to soft top asap) 4. AC/heater (that sorta works), 5. warranty (at least for the first couple years of ownership for me)
That is pretty much why I did not go the Cobra route. If it was only a street car, I would consider it, but I wanted to track my car, and Cobra replicas just do not seem safe enough for that use. See the following video.

Cobra Crash Willow Springs, Short version 130 mph - YouTube

You can have them built up with full rollcages, but it ruins the lines.
 

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I have both an Evora and a FFR cobra replica(I built it in 2000 and have over 75Kmiles and countless track events on the car) Very different animals both a blast to drive on the street and track. Maintance costs are about the same. The big difference is in cost of parts for other than the toyota sourced items.
There is also a huge difference in build quality between the different replica's You have to be very careful when buying. The one thing I see frequently is the cobra's are built for bragging rights more than practical use which means you typically find a 600hp car than can't turn or stop. Also there is a much steeper learning curve on driving the cobra which requries a lot of track time to learn how to go fast without spinning.
Stay away from the fiberglass on tub frame replica''s
I am fond of the FFR design granted there are lots of poorly built ones but if you match equal dollars with quality build the FFR will be as good if not better than the others.
ERA and superformance also make great cars but if you find a FFR for the same money (without a delusional seller who thinks a cheap build is worth big bucks) you will be happier in the long run
Can you give me more details on FFR versus ERA/Superformance? I was looking into the Cobra replica and got catalogues from them all but what is your practical experience?
 

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FFR uses a 4" round tube backbone frame with a bonded/riveted aluminum tub. Both ERA and superformance use a square tube frame which is structurally inferior. If you are looking for a show queen ERA or SF are clearly nicer looking more historically accurate replica's. If you want something to beat on the track all day and drive home that night you really can't beat the FFR. My times with the FFR are about equal to my evora times and better on several occasions. The problem with the cobras is what i mentioned earlier they really take either a very experienced inital build or years of sorting out to make them a good track car. An elise/exige is mostly sorted when it leaves Hethel this is clearly not the case with a cobra.The beauty of going with FFR over the others is a signifcantly lower starting cost so you can spend your money on important safety/handling upgrades. Also the FFR design team races and races alot they design the car so they can race they others are designed to show IMHO.
Don't let the idiot at willow springs sway your preceptions. Watch the vid and you'll see he should have never been on a track at any speed with his driving skill.
Some specifics to look for in a cobra are good brakes the cars are rear weight biased and the stock mustang spec brakes don't work well. I run 6piston willwoods in front 4p rears and the car stands on its nose.
2 rear end if it's a solid axle it needs to be either a 5 link suspension from Gordon Levy or a 3 link stay away from any 4 link rear end cars. As for IRS make sure its an 8.8" ford based IRS not a jag unit the jag rear can not stand up. Also Torsen T2 diff's are a huge plus
If you want to autox make sure you look for a powersteering car it can be very fatiguing muscling around with a non power rack sitting under neath a v8
I dont know if ERA has changed their design but they were using a nonpowered pinto rack held in place by Ubolts. always had lots of slop in the steering. My car with a 2.25 LTL rack and Jones racing power pump along with sways bars and SAI upgrades has a similar steering feel as my lotus.
Go small block ford stay away from the big block cars. also for track use try to stay under 400 rwhp. I just ended up down tuning my car as I just couldn't use the hp and it ended up getting me introuble more than it helped.
Stay away from cars with 15" wheels usually were built to show and brag also you can't fit big enough brakes with little wheels
Also good to get a car with a fuel cell both for safety and to hold more fuel than most stock tanks.
 
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