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Hi all! New member and Lotus owner here. I purchased a 2006 Autumn Gold Lotus Elise from a fellow member here on Lotus Talk back in the end of July.



My love for Lotus has been in my heart ever since I can remember. Growing up in a household of British sports cars, I guess it was inevitable. Spending my childhood free time (well, not “free time”, this pulled me away from my Gameboy) I helped my dad work on his cars. Ok, I didn’t really help, other than handing him wrenches, and spending what felt like a eternity, hearing “down” called from somewhere under the car, pushing down brake/clutch pedals, waiting for the “up” command, releasing the pedal, and waiting for the next “down” command.

The car I remember most vividly is my dad’s Valencia Blue 1970 Triumph GT6. This was the car I liked most. Small, lightweight, and the sound of the British straight six trumpeted through a monza exhaust that had the little prancing horses on the tips, I always thought it was a Ferrari. When I turned 15 and a half, it’s the car I learned how to drive a “standard” transmission on. Years later, after I graduated highschool, I found my very own 1968 Triumph GT6, and went to work getting it back on the road to compete with my dad in club rallies, car shows, etc. A picture of my (red) GT6 next to my dad’s after I got it back on the road below:


I spent my childhood going on rides, visiting Road America, and car shows (British shows and shows for all cars). My family had MGs, Triumphs, Jaguars, Austin Healey, among a few Alfa’s and an Opel GT (my mom’s, we call it the bastard child of the family). I spent most of my time admiring the brands we didn’t have: TVR, Lotus, Sunbeam, mini coopers, etc.

Fast forward to 1997: top of the birthday list is Gran Turismo for the Sony PlayStation, second on the list is the actual Sony PlayStation (can’t play the game without the system). I spent the whole summer working at my grandma’s canoe rental cleaning and putting away canoes for $1 a canoe, to save up enough to pay for 1/2 the cost of the PlayStation. I chose the PS over the N64 for 1 reason and 1 reason only: Gran Turismo. A chance to race with real cars, cars I’d probably never be able to own in my adult life. One car became my “go to” car in not only Gran Turismo, but in every racing game from that point forward: The series 1 Lotus Elise! Not as powerful as the other cars, but it was lighter, cornered faster, braked faster, I was in love. I still use a Lotus Elise in racing games to this day, see below!


Now I’m 15 and a half, looking for my first car, it’s 2001, and the Elise isn’t sold in the US (yet), but it never left my mind. What 2 door sports car can I afford on a dishwasher’s wage?! My list of must-haves: manual, 2 door, rear wheel drive, wide range of modifications available, something that would fill that Elise sized hole in my heart. Pontiac Fiero GT? Nope! 1992 Toyota MR2, the poor man’s Lotus Elise (or NSX) which is the poor man’s Ferrari. I ended up owning 2 MR2s, they were the closest thing I could find that was like the Elise I’d always admired. I knew this was just a stepping stone to my dream car, and someday I would finally own one!

Just a few years later, the Elise finally arrived in the US. It would only be a matter of time until I’d finally see one in person. While on a family vacation in Sarasota FL in 2006, I finally did. Not only did I get to see one in person, the dealership actually let me sit in it. Then they handed me and my dad the keys and said “take it out for a spin”. No request for a license/insurance card, no credit check, just “take it out for a spin”. Then my dad let me drive, and it was over for me. I had to “make it” in life and be able to get one!



When we returned from our joy ride, the salesman came out to meet us and asked “how was it?”, i was speechless. He then said something that will forever stick in my brain, and I will always remember him as an influencer on me to share my passion with kids, they will carry it with them for life. He said “we’re closing soon, why don’t you guys take it over the weekend”. My eyes lit up, a whole weekend in my dream car?! Before I could finish the list of places I wanted to drive the car to over the weekend in my head, my dad unfortunately had to decline. My sisters were flying into the Tampa airport that evening, and we would need the SUV for picking them up. Stupid sisters! I tried to think of a way to change his mind, “you could pick them up one at a time, then go back 2 more times and pick up their luggage, the car gets great gas mileage”, I thought.

Little did I know, I had instinctively began doing what every Lotus Elise owner must have done in their own heads. I was making excuses for what the car could not do. I began coming up with ways to make the car work for me. I was coming up with life decisions that would enable me to have this car in my life. Seat padding? I don’t need that stuff. Trunk space? I can fit everything I could ever need in a gym bag. Not a whole lot of room in the drivers seat, especially with the only adjustment being the ability to slide the seat fore and aft about 2 inches? I’m 6’3”, how much room do I really need?!

13 years later, I have finally acquired my dream car, and it has been worth the wait. I purchased it from a member here on Lotus Talk. Flew from Milwaukee to Oklahoma City to buy it. After the purchase, I did what I told myself I’d do if I ever got one. I drove it all the way home, the whole 900 miles over 16 hours straight through. No trailer for this car, I wanted to drive/own one for 21 years, I’m sure as heck not gonna put it on a trailer and look at it in my rear view mirror. After the 16 hour drive, that list I made to myself in the above paragraph, well maybe those things would have been nice on a long drive like that, but I made it without dying or needing a spinal adjustment. I get why people say “don’t road trip an Elise”, but I would totally do it again! My Elise has the “premium” seats, included in the “touring” package. If those are the premium seats, I’d hate to see the base seats!

Since buying the car on July 25th 2019, I’ve put on a total of 3,846 miles. It’s been my dream car for 21 years, and now that I own it, I’m gonna drive the wheels off it. From car shows, to driving up for the races at Road America, to club drives/rallies/scavenger hunts, to driving it to work. I’ve looked for any reason to drive the Elise.




Over the last 3 months, I have had a blast in the Elise. Every gas stop, or any time I come out to get in the car, there is always a group of people around it, wanting to know what it is, how fast it is, how expensive it is, where it’s from, it isn’t a brand new car and it’s 13 years old? It is definitely a conversation starter. I’ve met a lot of great people that I wouldn’t have met if they didn’t come to inquire about the car.

The car has cemented itself in my life, alongside my GT6, as a part of the family. The garage is finally complete. I cannot wait for the opportunity to get behind the wheel.




To finish this post, I look back at the title, now that I have my dream car, the car that has been driving my life choices for the last 21 years, what now?!



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Discussion Starter #2
Not sure how my introduction got uploaded twice, once only with half the content, so I’m bumping this one above the incomplete one.

Beginning mileage when I bought it on 7/25/19: 72,218
Mileage when I put it away for the winter on 11/3/19: 75,237
Total miles over the first 3 months of ownership: 3,019
The permanent smile on my face: PRICELESS


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Awesome story. Congrats and enjoy. You have bought one of the best 'smiles-per-mile' car you can buy! They can be very reliable, just keep the nuts and bolts tight, fluids fresh and make sure you warm it up properly before engaging second cam. Check out our 60pt Prep to keep her tight: HERE

That color has actually aged well - I was not a fan initially when it came out. I'm now a believer! You've got a rare and cool color.
 

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Great story indeed. Congrats and welcome to the forum. I’m sure Gil will greet you soon with his list for new Lotus owners.
 

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Thanks for the warm welcome everyone! Yes, keeping those nuts and bolts tight has already come up, I had the driver side window stop going up on me. Thank god for this forum. Was able to fix it with a simple turn of a screwdriver.

I’ve already checked out some of the items from the “common things Elise owners should know” list. And I always let the car warm up before trying to go into the +6,500 rpm range. I understand it has a lockout and early redline when the water temp doesn’t show up on the gauge cluster.

Living in Wisconsin, I’ve noticed that when it’s not 80 degrees out, my car never actually warms up to display a water temp in the gauge cluster. So I’ve bought a new water temp sender unit to install this winter. Not sure if it needs it, but figure it’s my first step.

I’ve also had quite a bit of oil on the top side of the skid plate (flat bottom plate) with the 3 triangular vents during my first oil change. Much more than I’d expect. I’ve noticed that the oil dipstick tube can be moved around. It’s not tight. I’ve tried to see where the oil is leaking, but no clear source, so I’m going to replace the o-ring on the dip stick tube and the one on the pull of the dip stick and see if that fixes it.

I’ve had a few other little things, like the door pull being worn out and having to glue in a new one. And I turned off the immobilizer so I don’t have to hit the big button on the fob to start the car. The fob just stopped working after a week of owning the car. So I’m glad someone figured out that little trick to disable it.

Can’t wait for the snow to melt in roughly 9 months so i can once again get behind the wheel of my dream car.


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Now what? Are you kidding?? Go racing, obviously~!!! 😁

I, too, was a kid growing up on Gran Turismo franchise, and I found myself gravitating towards lighter cars for handling rather than absolute power.
When I bought the Exige, the fanfare sound effect from GT when you acquire a car in-game literally went off in my head. 🏆🏁😅

Congrats on your purchase and enjoy the car!

PS: Your thermostat is probably stuck open. With the stock thermostat, the inner rubber gasket degrades over time and deforms so it never quite closes fully. It certainly happened to mine, and the car took forever to warm up or won't get up to temps unless it's driven with some effort.
 

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Now what? Are you kidding?? Go racing, obviously~!!!

I, too, was a kid growing up on Gran Turismo franchise, and I found myself gravitating towards lighter cars for handling rather than absolute power.
When I bought the Exige, the fanfare sound effect from GT when you acquire a car in-game literally went off in my head.

Congrats on your purchase and enjoy the car!

PS: Your thermostat is probably stuck open. With the stock thermostat, the inner rubber gasket degrades over time and deforms so it never quite closes fully. It certainly happened to mine, and the car took forever to warm up or won't get up to temps unless it's driven with some effort.
Hahaha! That happened to me too! I did not, unfortunately, have the “3 cars under covers revolving around the screen when you won a championship” animation go off in my head when I got it though. That would have been amazing!



Thanks for the tip on the thermostat. I’ll swap it out this winter.


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