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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was driving up PCH in Newport Beach today (May 4, 2004) and had an encounter with a Bordeaux Red Pearl Elise. It was either a 111R or a Federal with standard suspension rims and tires. It had Georgia Dealer plates, so it might have been one of the cars from the Dealer Launch. However, I was under the impression that there wasn't a Bordeaux Red there? Not able to overcome the temptation, I followed the car for awhile. There were two men in the car and the top was off. The car looked gorgeous in Bordeaux, especially driving up PCH with the sun setting against the Pacific Ocean. Thank God I live in Southern California! At one point, the Elise made a quick sprint past me then slowed down to cruising speed right in front of my car. The exhaust note was inspiring and the car had an aggressive presence on the road. After the sunset, it became quite apparent how difficult it will be for other drivers to see the Elise. I was directly in front of the car for a bit and the headlights were considerably less bright/noticeable than the surrounding cars. I suspect this is because the Elise headlights are so low. For reference, I was driving an Audi A4. For this reason, I am definitely getting the Driving Lights option from my local dealer and I suggest everyone else does as well for safety reasons (either it's driving lights or stringing Christmas lights around the windshield frame). On another note, why was the car here? I know the Road and Track offices are in Newport. Road test maybe? For those that know the area, it was heading north on PCH then took the clover leaf loop quick and flat onto Newport Blvd toward Balboa Island. The display of handling gave me chills. DAMN, my friends, this is THE car. I can't believe I'm going to have one for my very own! Somebody pinch me.
 

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shay2nak
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balance, your report is going to have Newport crawling with Elisetalkers. LOL Thanks for the report and your observations. We'll all experience this great car for ourselves soon enough when the demos arrive.

I for one am getting tired of hearing all these wonderful comments and not be able to drive or even see the car. I haven't seen one in person since the la auto show.
 

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The Lotus dealership in Costa Mesa (Newport Motorsport or whatever it's called) has that car, I believe. It's the mule that Tony Shute and crew drove around a bit while they were in town for the LA Auto Show in January, and that Clyde had driven around a bit prior to that. It has the Toyota powerplant / transmission, but a basic euro-style interior (i.e., the non-airbag steering wheel, etc.) So it's more like what a 111R would be than a federal car, although probably not nearly as well "sorted" because it was a pre-production car.

As of a few weeks ago, the dealer was not allowing test drives in the car, they said Lotus had told them they weren't permitted. So I was only able to look at, not drive, the car.
 
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