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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of you who welcomed me to the community the other day I want to say thank you. I decided that I wanted to document my steps moving forward as I hunt for an Exige that I can eventually call mine. I will call this the “journey to the Exige”. If anyone has a better name I’m more than open to input.
Anyways, two days ago I set out to find myself a lotus to sit in and feel because at 6’4” I was curious if I would even be able to squeeze myself into an Exige. I had scoured the internet looking for a used car dealership near me that I could look at an Elise, since the Exige’s are nowhere to be found. I figured if I can fit in an Elise I can fit in an Exige. I headed to central jersey after finding a dealership that had not only an Elise, but also a Evora that I could drool over as well. I walked into the dealership (which happened to be a Aston Martin dealership) and was created by an older man who immediately questioned what a greasy 19 year old such as myself was doing in an Aston Martin dealership. After explaining my situation and clearing up that I had called earlier about the Elise, he reluctantly brought me over to a 2021 Evora. Although I have absolutely no way of purchasing an Evora, I figured why not and I managed to squeeze inside. I immediately realized why the man was reluctant to bring me to the “expensive” selection of cars. Just sitting in it I immediately got nervous because it was substantially too nice for me to be sitting in. After talking for a few minutes I managed to climb back out of the Evora and head over to the real reason why I was at the dealership. The Elise. For everyone who has told me that they are super small cars, I was not expecting this level of tiny. As someone who not only has a 1964 VW beetle that I slammed to the floor that I occasionally like to rip around, I also have a Suzuki Samurai that is equally as tiny. I figured that a lotus would be nothing new since I was intrigued by the small things, but I did not realize that these cars were SMALL. I mean the thing was barely higher than my thigh. I quickly realized why people compared the car to a “street legal go-cart”. It was a beautiful cherry red and the contours were just perfect. I almost laughed when I saw the cute little 16” 4 lug wheels that could probably fit on a smart car. From the front the car almost reminded me of a ladybug with the red pains and bug eye alienistic headlights. I could see why my mom loved the Elise. Although cute, the Exiges sharper body lines and more aggressive look still holds my heart. Regardless, I can see the craze for these cars as they are unique in most every way. I had made my way around the car a few times, looking it over before I decided it was time. After I had finished walking around the car admiring it, I got to test my luck at sitting in it. I opened the door and performed what seemed like a Cirque du Soleil act to try to get inside and eventually plopped into the seat. To my surprise I immediately felt comfortable. I was not crammed inside at all in fact It almost felt perfect. The way everything seemed to be aimed at the wheel and the bucket seats that cupped me perfectly. The all aluminum finish that I have never seen before in any other car that I have been in. I knew that this car was definitely going to be the car for me. A true drivers car that I can not wait to call my own.
Now what’s next? I’m not sure. The man at the dealership had told me that there was a 2006 Exige at the dealership at one point but it didn’t even last one full day before someone came to get it. So I know that Exige is seemingly impossible to come by, BUT I would fit in one so my determination has now doubled. So where do I go from here? What should my next steps be? I am open to anyone with information to try to help me find out what I should do next. This is only post one about my journey to the Exige and I hope for there to be many more to come.
 

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2005 Lotus Elise
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Yup, the Elise and Exige are pretty roomy inside. Get your 10 posts and 3 days so you can reply to for-sale ads on the forum, then have your funding situated so you can fly across the country to inspect and buy one when it comes available. Especially for an Exige you may not find one local. Search on BaT, Lotustalk, autotempest, Wirewheel, etc. Enjoy!
 

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. Although I have absolutely no way of purchasing an Evora…
A decent supercharged Exige is going to cost you Evora (other than GT) money.
 

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2005 Saffron Yellow Lotus Elise; 2008 Porsche Cayman S Porsche Design Edition 1; 2011 Audi S4 Manual
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I opened the door and performed what seemed like a Cirque du Soleil act to try to get inside and eventually plopped into the seat.
Getting into an Elise with the hardtop on definitely requires a certain technique to enter (while maintaining dignity while doing so). Once you figure it out though, it actually is pretty simple! Hopefully you can fin a car for yourself and can get the technique down for yourself. 😉👍

With the Elise you can make it even easier by taking off the soft top then the sky is literally the limit when getting in. Just food for thought...
 

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2011 Exige S260 Sport
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584 Posts
Lotus brought in something like 1200 Exige into North America. So there are not a lot of cars to start with. It may take some time for all the pieces to fall into place.
When the right car becomes available be ready, you will not be the only one wanting it.
Best of luck, these are special cars.
 

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Getting into an Elise with the hardtop on definitely requires a certain technique to enter (while maintaining dignity while doing so). Once you figure it out though, it actually is pretty simple! Hopefully you can fin a car for yourself and can get the technique down for yourself. 😉👍

With the Elise you can make it even easier by taking off the soft top then the sky is literally the limit when getting in. Just food for thought...
Did the mod on both of my Exiges that allowed using the Elise soft top. The air flow through the roof scoop isn’t all that much to begin with. Street and highway driving roof off/soft top on made no difference.

Also installed “always on” rear view cameras.
 
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2005 Ardent Red Elise, Touring Pack
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Hey, these cars are all about passion so I totally get that your heart is set on an Exige. Like others have said, get your finances in order and be ready to jump and make it easy for a seller to work with you. Watch all the sites and get notifications if you are able to set those up. Some have even done a bit of coding to make custom software to alert them when an Exige comes up for sale on all the websites and forums. Not kidding. They don't come up often. You may also never get the chance to get the exact color / year / version you want.
You'll also pay double compared to the equivalent Elise, so you've gotta be sure you really won't be happy "settling" for the Elise and that the differences between the two are worth $40k to you.
I am lucky in that I prefer almost everything about the Elise over the Exige or I could never have justified owning one. It would have remained a dream forever.
Good luck! When you find your car, we'd love to see you post about it and have you come hang out with other members.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey, these cars are all about passion so I totally get that your heart is set on an Exige. Like others have said, get your finances in order and be ready to jump and make it easy for a seller to work with you. Watch all the sites and get notifications if you are able to set those up. Some have even done a bit of coding to make custom software to alert them when an Exige comes up for sale on all the websites and forums. Not kidding. They don't come up often. You may also never get the chance to get the exact color / year / version you want.
You'll also pay double compared to the equivalent Elise, so you've gotta be sure you really won't be happy "settling" for the Elise and that the differences between the two are worth $40k to you.
I am lucky in that I prefer almost everything about the Elise over the Exige or I could never have justified owning one. It would have remained a dream forever.
Good luck! When you find your car, we'd love to see you post about it and have you come hang out with other members.
I have come to accept that when an Exige is on the market I will have to jump at it regardless of year/color/version, but this doesn't bother me. Although there are cool packages and colors that certain ones had come in, I would be ecstatic to own any of them.
 

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2008 Exige S240
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Welcome @Jsabs17 - Others can add or correct as necessary. As a relatively small company with limited resources, Lotus spiced up their offerings with "special" models. Some just have appearance changes, some have a combo of particular available optiions, some have more signifcant changes. Model year (MY) production usually began around September or October of the "preceding" year.

1. The first Elise imported to US, 2005 MY, was designated "S2;" the S1s were lighter and simpler and didn't pass US safety requirements. The S2s are beefed up and heavier, but may still have required a waiver or two. The first imported Exige, MY 2006 (a variation of the S2 Elise) is termed S1. S1 Exiges ran into 2011. All of these US imported "Eliges" had 4-cyl drivetrains from the Toyota Celica GT.

As the Evora was developed, it had some effect on Eliges. S3 Elises began in 2010 and have some body updates (front clam in particular) and other updates throughout. S2 Exiges began in 2011 and have V6 power like the Evora - from the Toyota Celica. There are track-only versions of these cars which are not street legal.

The 2006 MY Exige has a scoop in the middle of the roof and a wing attached to the engine cover, but no engine changes, 190 hp. From 2007 the "Exige S" scoop begins at the front of the roof and feeds cooling air through the intercooler; a supercharger sits on the "front" of the engine and along with ECU and other updates provides increased horsepower (220). The Exige S240 started in MY 2008 and the S260 in MY 2009, with further updates to approx 240 & 260 hp.

The "Elise SC" began in MY 2008. It has a newer design supercharger but no intercooler, so the view through the backlight (the back window) is not blocked as it is for the Exiges. It has a low-profile wing at the very back of the top of the rear clam. They have approximately the same hp as the 2007 Exige S. It's not uncommon to see non-"SC" Elises that have had a supercharger added, ideally with upgraded ECU and other complimentary changes. Some of these have been well done; a number of the aftermarket suppliers provide kits.

DMVs in states with stricter emission laws (eg CA) have begun checking ECUs for updates or replacements, along with the traditional visual, OBD, and sometimes tailpipe checks.

Approximately 3/4 of the US Eliges are Elises; 1/4 are Exiges.

The chassis is formed from bonded aluminum extrusions. The body pieces are a variation of fiberglass and are bolted to the chassis with shims. The front and rear "clam" sections are removable. Several aluminum undertrays form the "clean" underside.

"Salvage" or "rebuilt" cars typically sell for significantly less. Some of these truly have sustained minimal and easily repaired damage, e.g. to clam fiberglass. Repair shops tend to be leery of starting work on a damaged Elige (etc.) if it looks like the composite front "crash structure" or the chassis may have been damaged. Similarly, insurance companies tend to "total" them thus relegating them to Salvage. Caveat emptor.

2. https://www.automobile-catalog.com/list-lotus.html
... Scroll down about 7/8 of the way to find the section on the Exige S1.

3. Lotus Model List; Every Lotus Every Year / SC
...Scroll down about 3/4 of the way to find the section on the Exige.

4. I'm attaching the Intro section of the Lotus Service Manual set. It has a lot of useful info and history. Become familiar with the VIN fields and values - it should be available for all cars being sold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Welcome @Jsabs17 - Others can add or correct as necessary. As a relatively small company with limited resources, Lotus spiced up their offerings with "special" models. Some just have appearance changes, some have a combo of particular available optiions, some have more signifcant changes. Model year (MY) production usually began around September or October of the "preceding" year.

1. The first Elise imported to US, 2005 MY, was designated "S2;" the S1s were lighter and simpler and didn't pass US safety requirements. The S2s are beefed up and heavier, but may still have required a waiver or two. The first imported Exige, MY 2006 (a variation of the S2 Elise) is termed S1. S1 Exiges ran into 2011. All of these US imported "Eliges" had 4-cyl drivetrains from the Toyota Celica GT.

As the Evora was developed, it had some effect on Eliges. S3 Elises began in 2010 and have some body updates (front clam in particular) and other updates throughout. S2 Exiges began in 2011 and have V6 power like the Evora - from the Toyota Celica. There are track-only versions of these cars which are not street legal.

The 2006 MY Exige has a scoop in the middle of the roof and a wing attached to the engine cover, but no engine changes, 190 hp. From 2007 the "Exige S" scoop begins at the front of the roof and feeds cooling air through the intercooler; a supercharger sits on the "front" of the engine and along with ECU and other updates provides increased horsepower (220). The Exige S240 started in MY 2008 and the S260 in MY 2009, with further updates to approx 240 & 260 hp.

The "Elise SC" began in MY 2008. It has a newer design supercharger but no intercooler, so the view through the backlight (the back window) is not blocked as it is for the Exiges. It has a low-profile wing at the very back of the top of the rear clam. They have approximately the same hp as the 2007 Exige S. It's not uncommon to see non-"SC" Elises that have had a supercharger added, ideally with upgraded ECU and other complimentary changes. Some of these have been well done; a number of the aftermarket suppliers provide kits.

DMVs in states with stricter emission laws (eg CA) have begun checking ECUs for updates or replacements, along with the traditional visual, OBD, and sometimes tailpipe checks.

Approximately 3/4 of the US Eliges are Elises; 1/4 are Exiges.

The chassis is formed from bonded aluminum extrusions. The body pieces are a variation of fiberglass and are bolted to the chassis with shims. The front and rear "clam" sections are removable. Several aluminum undertrays form the "clean" underside.

"Salvage" or "rebuilt" cars typically sell for significantly less. Some of these truly have sustained minimal and easily repaired damage, e.g. to clam fiberglass. Repair shops tend to be leery of starting work on a damaged Elige (etc.) if it looks like the composite front "crash structure" or the chassis may have been damaged. Similarly, insurance companies tend to "total" them thus relegating them to Salvage. Caveat emptor.

2. https://www.automobile-catalog.com/list-lotus.html
... Scroll down about 7/8 of the way to find the section on the Exige S1.

3. Lotus Model List; Every Lotus Every Year / SC
...Scroll down about 3/4 of the way to find the section on the Exige.

4. I'm attaching the Intro section of the Lotus Service Manual set. It has a lot of useful info and history. Become familiar with the VIN fields and values - it should be available for all cars being sold.
I appreciate it a ton man, you gave me a ton of useful information to look into, I will definitely be checking all of this stuff out.
 

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2005 Elise
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1. The first Elise imported to US, 2005 MY, was designated "S2;" the S1s were lighter and simpler and didn't pass US safety requirements. The S2s are beefed up and heavier, but may still have required a waiver or two. The first imported Exige, MY 2006 (a variation of the S2 Elise) is termed S1. S1 Exiges ran into 2011. All of these US imported "Eliges" had 4-cyl drivetrains from the Toyota Celica GT.

As the Evora was developed, it had some effect on Eliges. S3 Elises began in 2010 and have some body updates (front clam in particular) and other updates throughout. S2 Exiges began in 2011 and have V6 power like the Evora - from the Toyota Celica. There are track-only versions of these cars which are not street legal.
I believe youre a little off on the Exige generations:

S1 Exige 2000-2001, never in US, 604 produced: (shared chassis with S1 Elise)
Vehicle Wheel Car Tire Hood


S2 Exige 2006-2011 in US: (shared chassis with S2 Elise)
Sky Automotive parking light Tire Vehicle Car


S3 Exige 2012-2022, never in US: (different chassis from S3 Elise)
Tire Wheel Vehicle Car Hood
 

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The 2006 MY Exige has a scoop in the middle of the roof and a wing attached to the engine cover, but no engine changes, 190 hp. From 2007 the "Exige S" scoop begins at the front of the roof and feeds cooling air through the intercooler; a supercharger sits on the "front" of the engine and along with ECU and other updates provides increased horsepower (220). The Exige S240 started in MY 2008 and the S260 in MY 2009, with further updates to approx 240 & 260 hp.
Another correction, so we can limit the spread of misinformation…

2007 Exige S has a scoop in the middle of the roof still but with an additional trim piece added on. 2008 Exige S240 and later have what’s known as the “full mohawk” hardtop with scoop extending all the way to the front of the hardtop.
 
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