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2005 Ardent Red Elise
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We were in Michigan for Thanksgiving and decided to come down I-75 through the States rather than return across Canada and wait 3 hours at customs. So, as we approached Ann Arbor on Rt. 23 we got off at the north end of town and swung by the Lotus Engineering facility. It was Sunday so locked up tight, but we poked around to see what might be sitting outside behind the buildings. Thought you might enjoy a few photos of some of the early test cars: a black hybrid with federal exhaust but 111S interior and the brake blister on the cowling, complete with I believe 5th wheel plumbing, and alternate rear wheels; an ST 111S with euro exhausts and interior (both cars have euro antennae); a neat little Proton Satria GTI with handling by Lotus; and a Lotus F350 flatbed! There were a few other Proton coupes around. The front office looks just like ACBC's British showroom in the 50's (should have taken a picture), and behind the more modern facade are low-lying old quanset hut type buildings full of what look like engineering computers (cad-cam, etc.). Would love to have been there when they were open (as if they would expose much!). Here are the photos:
 

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2005 Ardent Red Elise
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297 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I'm only getting one of the 6 photos to load -- still working on it.:(
 

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2005 Ardent Red Elise
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Discussion Starter #3
Rear of black car:
 

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2005 Ardent Red Elise
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Discussion Starter #4
rear of black car:
 

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2005 Ardent Red Elise
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297 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
cowl blister:
 

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2005 Ardent Red Elise
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Discussion Starter #6
ST 111S:
 

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2005 Ardent Red Elise
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Discussion Starter #7
Protn Satria GTI:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
and finally the F350 (I'll figure out how to string them under the same reply next time):
 

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I had a test drive of one of those Protons about 5 years ago. Engine was a total D-O-G! Couldn't have pulled the skin of a rice pudding...........But the rest was pure Lotus!

Better still fail save handling.........Proton GB did say it was about to get a Supercharger to give it an extra 60 bhp.......but like so many things Lotus..It just NEVER happened.........Shame

Cheers
Mega
 

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2005 Ardent Red Elise
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Discussion Starter #10
Half expected to see "Handling by Lotus" on the F350 flatbed! (Then again maybe it's a mule for the revamped Elise that meets all DOT standards . . . .):D
 

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2005 Ardent Red Elise
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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks. Just realized the side view of the black hybrid car, which shows the alternate rear wheels, did not get transfered. The black car also had the final federal standard cloth/leather seats, with the leather on the headrest and side bolsters and cloth in the center cushions (rather than the reverse as at the L.A. auto-show), even though the rest of the interior was the Euro 111S style. The seats must have been retrofitted since the cars with the brake blister on the front cowl pre-dated the L.A. auto-show as I recall (prior to working out final seat style -- thank God they got it right).
This is also the view that shows the plumbing coming out of the driver's side air intake. I assume this is the wiring attachment for a fifth wheel for testing, but could be wrong (are these even still in use with GPS, etc?). Anyone else know?
Here's the missing picture:
 

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