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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

early last year I bought a 08 Elise SC in UK and imported it to Switzerland. I instantly fell in love with the legendary Lotus handling, but for my taste some other things about this car were simply not adequate for a genuine sportscar of this class. In other words I bet not all details on an Elise are the result of Colins philosophy of lightness. If money (and production feasibility) would not matter any stock Elise would sure use higher quality components in many areas and that's what I wanted to improve. What started with only a few mild modifications turned into a complete makeover of my Elise during the course of almost one year.

As bit of background info about this project, I mainly plan to use my Elise as fun ride for weekend tours through the windy mountainroads where I live. I will also take it on occassional trackdays, but let's say about 95% of my driving will be on public roads so I'd like my Elise to be somewhat comfortable inside. Tastes differ of course but I always liked the full leather interior of the Europa S and I wanted it to be all black.

When I bought my Elise it was blue and RHD. We took it apart completely, repainted it Phantom Black and used this chance to clean the unsightly production slits on the front and rear clam (the ones the Exige doesn't have). We converted it to LHD, lowered it with Eibach springs, replaced the plastic grills with mesh grills all around, installed black tinted Ferrari sidemarkers on quarter panels (the tiny round ones) and added some other nice details such as black logos, a front spoiler, CF mirrors etc.

Next was the engine bay where we put in a Radium aluminium coolant tank, powdercoated the valve cover, painted the engine "beauty covers", added a black washerbottle and billet caps, full Larini exhaust system with headers, sport cat and clubsport muffler, an Odyssey drycell battery, engine hood damper and some other goodies. The next step will be a supercharger upgrade to BOE or VF and a new tune as I am aiming for 280-300 rwhp, but for the moment I am just happy with what we already got done.

Finally we took care of the interior with a complete new leather upholstery made of genuine "Beluga Black" Bentley leather. Almost every part inside this Elise got leather wrapped including the dash, complete floor, doors, firewall, pillars, hardtop, center console... even the floormats are Bentley leather now! :cool: The stitching pattern on the seats, doorpanels and hardtop is actually inspired by that from a Bugatti Veyron. We removed the sunshades, added a micro mirror and tinted the rear window (good for nothing but I like the looks ;)). An especially nice glovebox cover from Lotushii got installed and leather wrapped as well. To top this off we added plenty of nice carbon parts. The doorsills, doorhandles, dash vents, heater console, rear center console, steering column, steering wheel ring, airbag cover and instrument cowl are all CF now. Anodized aluminium arms for lights and wiper replaced the plastic stock ones. Same goes for the handbrake handle. The goal was to remove all the cheap plastic from the interior. Leather, carbon and metal should be the only visible materials. A huge thanks to Charles aka HKFever at this point, as many of these awesome carbon parts are his work. He also sent me a pair of beautiful CF side skirts, which I will install in the coming days. Later on a Difflow 5 element diffuser will add the finishing touches in terms of ground effects.

As I wasn't too happy with the stock Alpine sound system, we replaced it with a brandnew Pioneer moniceiver (MVH-8300BT 1Din) and four Pioneer speakers. The rearspeakers get powered by a Rockford Fosgate Punch 4way micro amp behind the passenger seat, which also fuels a Rockford Fosgate Punch subwoofer sitting in a carbon enclosure between the seats. To reduce exterior noise we insulated the complete Elise with Zealum ZN-Finish noise insulation. After a first testdrive I can say that this really upgrades the driving experience and makes the Elise feel more like a real car and less like a gokart. Stones hitting the underfloor and wind noises at higher speeds are much less of an issue now, same as the exhaust noise at higher RPMs (the Larini clubsport with headers is LOUD).

Don't ask how much all of this cost me, but the result looks, sounds and feels awesome and was definitely worth all the effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This was at the leathershop. These guys are incredibly talented and do everything from luxury yacht interiors to oldtimer restauration.
They have all the original leathers available as used by brands like Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Porsche etc. but i opted for Bentley leather because of it's nice smooth feel.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
And finally some pictures of the complete interior after it has been put back together.
The aluminium front tunnel will be replaced with a CF one too, but I'm waiting since weeks for this seller from the Neatherlands to send me that part.
The "shine" in the footroom comes from LED stripes that we installed on both sides, which are connected to the doorswitches to enhance the courtesy light.
 

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Holy WOW! That looks amazing man! It's not only a rare car, but now very specialized in a GREAT way. I wish I could see it in person... Too bad I'm on the other side of the planet :p

Also, is that a custom sub box?
 

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WOW!

How much was the respray if you don't mind me asking? The black looks absolutely gorgeous.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here's my Elise already repainted but before we redid the interior.
As mentioned before HKFevers carbon side skirts and a Difflow diffuser will come next.
All these pics were taken with my phone so the quality is somewhat poor.
I will take better pics with a real camera soon and put them up.
 

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That's amazing. Your shop's leatherwork looks excellent.

Did you weigh the car at all before and after?

How much does that sub box restrict driver's seat movement, or can it still slide all the way back?

The CF+Black look is nice and I look forward to seeing it with the remaining CF aero pieces as well!
 

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holy crap that is nice! very tastefully done.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the compliments guys! I'm glad that you also like it same as I do.

derrek: The subwoofer box is custom made for Elise and Exige, but you can find it on Ebay. Just type in "Lotus carbon subwoofer" or follow this link: Lotus Elise Exige Carbon Fiber Subwoofer Speaker Box | eBay

Scottycali: Hard to tell how much the respray alone cost, as it was done in one step with some other bodywork but I would say around 5k.

bri3d: Maybe my car gained a few pounds from the leather and insulation, but then again it lost some because of all the carbon. ;) Frankly speaking I drove the car before and after the makeover and did not feel any weight difference at all, only improved comfort and looks. Even during trackuse I doubt the added leather would hardly create measurable laptime differences.
The driver seat loses the last one or two clicks of movement through the subwoofer, but that should only bother you if you are really tall (in which case the Elise is not for you anyway :D)

darkSol: Wow, yours looks fantastic too! Nice carbon seats and center console! What would also compliment your interior well is a carbon airbag cover (instead of the plastic one). Here's the part I got for my interior: Carbon Airbag-Lenkradtopf für Opel Speedster, Lotus Elise, Exige, Europa, Melkus | eBay
 

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did you also swap out your power windows for the crank type? oh wait that's darksol's car nvm!
 

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bri3d: Maybe my car gained a few pounds from the leather and insulation, but then again it lost some because of all the carbon. ;) Frankly speaking I drove the car before and after the makeover and did not feel any weight difference at all, only improved comfort and looks. Even during trackuse I doubt the added leather would hardly create measurable laptime differences.
The driver seat loses the last one or two clicks of movement through the subwoofer, but that should only bother you if you are really tall (in which case the Elise is not for you anyway :D)
Between battery and exhaust you probably lost a lot of weight before you added it, so I think you might be hovering somewhere close to stock anyway - that's the only reason I was curious.

For a DD it's definitely worth it regardless of weight - that looks awesome and I'm jealous.

I'm quite tall (6'1" / 185cm) but my Elise actually fits me well now I've removed my subwoofer box to get the seat back space back. I even fit (barely) with the hardtop and a helmet on, which is better than I can say for any other car I've ever had with a roof on it.
 

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Very nice work. My prior Elise had a full custom interior (leather/alcantara) and I miss it.

That being said, a couple things:

- I see what you were going for - all black - but can't help feel that that it could have used some sort of contrast. For example, mine was done in black and charcoal. Maybe some alternating stitching in white or grey?

- The dash is going to be a problem. Both me and Yellow99s had covered dashes. He's an interiors wizard - and we both had the same problem. Apparently it has to do with the inferior grade plastics Lotus uses, but the net is that it pulled away - specifically near the defroster vents - in the sun exposure in the summer. That could very well happen to you.

The guys who did your car did a very nice job. Enjoy!
 

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Would you say the car is alot quieter or a little with the insulation ? i would reduce the noise in mine to be able to talk

Ed
 
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