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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hate to post another "I'm new here and need Elise advice" post, but here we are. But I'll try to make this as painless as possible...

I'm narrowing down an Elise purchase and would really appreciate any feedback on what I'm looking for. I've done a lot of research and think I've made up my mind on key issues - please shoot holes through anything I'm way off on. I've read a ton of posts already and your input is already invaluable! Here goes:

Background - live in SoCal. Trying squeak in a purchase before getting engaged. I would mostly use it for canyon runs, with probably 2 or 3 track days/year (trailered). Currently have an '11 WRX, race Lemons (Chump soon), and will take race school early next year. Obviously love analog driving and want to keep getting better/challenged. Spent a bit of time in a Krypton Green '05 Elise, so know what I'm getting into (best color ever, by the way).

Year & Model - 2006+ Elise NA (stock). Want LSD and having ProBax seats wouldn't hurt. I love the power of my WRX and am tempted by SC, but think NA is a better option until I get seriously into tracking the car. I know LSD is controversial, but I'd rather have it than not. Also, why is it so damn hard to tell if a car has LSD??? I read all the posts about it, but most dealers have no clue what cars actually have it... very frustrating.

Option Packages - I don't really care about the Touring Pack, though leather seats w/b nice. What is standard seat material - cloth?? As for the Sports Pack, twin coolers w/b cool, but wouldn't a baffled pan solve that also? Am I off base here?

Hard Top - Pretty sure I want this, as I think it looks better and I have a garage where I can store it when needed. Plus, buying one if I want it later sounds like it is a huge pain in the butt and crazy expensive...

Please let me know your thoughts or if I left anything out that I should be considering. I really appreciate your input!!!
 

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IMO if your planning on doing any track days, a supercharger would be far more valuable than a LSD. This is my current setup. For the first year or so, I was all all gung ho on upgrading to a LSD, but soon I realized that there hadn't been a situation where I thought I needed it. Obviously, I wouldn't complain if I had one though.

The supercharger on the other hand, I appreciate nearly every time I'm in the car. I think it makes it easier to drive on both the street and the track. Also the fact that a fast chump/lemons car can beat a stock Elise on most tracks, despite running harder tires, doesn't help.
 

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V EQLS IR
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2006+ Elise NA (stock). Want LSD and having ProBax seats wouldn't hurt.
I didn't realize how great the ProBax seats are until I sat in the other ones. If you plan on doing long drives, you may want to give some more weight to this. If you're only doing track days and whipping around town, maybe not as big of a deal.

As for the Sports Pack, twin coolers w/b cool, but wouldn't a baffled pan solve that also?
As I understand it, yes - the twin coolers are overkill most of the time, and having two adds weight anyway - I wouldn't make a buying decision based on it, however the sport pack came with LSS wheels and suspension which many people prefer due to the weight and the more common tire size. (Then again, you could always pick up wheels down the road anyway...)

Hard Top - Pretty sure I want this, as I think it looks better and I have a garage where I can store it when needed. Plus, buying one if I want it later sounds like it is a huge pain in the butt and crazy expensive...
If you plan on tracking, you may want to look at the local track rules to see if a top is required - most places it isnt, but still good to check. I had planned on getting a top originally but ended up never doing it because i found I only drive the car topless. If it's raining or too cold, i'd rather take my daily out anyway : )

Speaking of, I hope you don't take for granted your location - It was 22F on the way into work today for me :mad:

Good luck on your purchase!
 

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Welcome to the club... almost. A few reccomendations from my experience. Dont get hung up on the year as there is not a huge ammount of differences and you may snag a better deal on an 05. Call me old school but I like the throttle cable. I am in the process of installing a LSD and made the decision based on excessive wheel spin on tight turns during auto X . It didnt help that my tires have a tread wear rating of 420. I am also supercharging the car because I feel its performance should match the looks ( and I gave up motorcycles and want to retain some of the power). As for the top. I have driven mine with the top on 5 times in 7k miles. Its a convertible sports car.... I only drive in nice weather. also, the car as you have seen is tough to get in and out of. Its funny until you have a passenger kick the dash, shifter, windshield, radio, me, roof trying to get in. Much easier with top off, less kicking.4
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
MotoGeek - thanks for the input! In all likelihood my track days would be in the desert somewhere (i.e., hot!!!). An old coworker said the SC can fall pretty flat when the car is hot and the air temp is high - is that true/have you encountered this? I imagine this would just be during prolonged summer thrashings and isn't really much of a real world issue (plus track days I've been to tend to have relatively short 20 min runs).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Afex - good points, especially tire size and track reqs on roof - didn't think of that. Good call. I try not to take SoCal for granted (originally from VA) - it will be a great place to own an Elise. But I bet your first drive every spring after the car has been off the road for a few months is pretty special too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ziker - if you had to do it over again, would you get a stock Elise SC with LSD or would you save money on the front end and do the mods yourself? And I hear you on the roof. I imagine the same would be true for me. I actually liked the convertible top's convenience and how much easier ingress/egress was. Just not as hot on the looks. Hey I'm superficial!
 

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Welcome aboard. I agree with the above comments that the year shouldn't matter. A lot of your considerations come down to your desire. Having owned every variant, I'd say the following: If ultimate track times are the intent, then get an SC'd car. If you'll do a lot of autocrossing, then get a factory LSD. If general (analog as you put it) driving fun is the primary goal, then I'd suggest a NA car. Check with your clubs for the hard top requirement. Personally, I don't feel much difference with the Probax seats, and I have numerous 1,-3,000 mile trips in every factory seat variant.

You really can't go wrong with an Elise purchase for your described usage. The differences in purity and fun between the configurations are minor.

EDIT: Oh, as to your question about the standard non-Touring seats. In 2005 they had black leather sides with a nice gray cloth center section and the door panels were leather with cloth teardrops. In 2006 they changed to completely cloth seats with odd silver painted plastic door panels. Then for the 2009 Purist edition they had the black leather seats from the Touring Pack and the silver door panels. I still think that the 2005 non-Touring was the best interior setup save for the Sport 260s. I should also note that the Touring Pack includes some extra carpeting and sound deadening - none of which I care for.
 

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Speaking of, I hope you don't take for granted your location - It was 22F on the way into work today for me :mad:
13 here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
JWA - Knowledge like that is exactly why I posted... invaluable! I really haven't been considering 2005s, but I think I have to expand the search now. That will really open up my search and save me a lot of money. Really appreciate it!!!
 

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Happy to help! It's easy to get distracted by various items, but in the end the Lotus engineers knew best and the standard Elise is the best driver's car you can find for the street. Super chargers and difs and whatnot take it toward slightly different directions. Not bad directions, but it's good to be clear about what's important to you. Whatever you do, buy the cleanest car you can find/afford and you'll be a happy man.

By the way, congrats on the engagement.
 

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An old coworker said the SC can fall pretty flat when the car is hot and the air temp is high - is that true/have you encountered this? I imagine this would just be during prolonged summer thrashings and isn't really much of a real world issue (plus track days I've been to tend to have relatively short 20 min runs).

I can't say for sure, as the highest temp track day for me has been about 85F with low humidity. From what I've gathered though, the intercooled setups with the exchangers in the side (vision function, BOE) don't seem to be as prone to heat soak as the OEM Exige exchanger, sitting on top of the engine.
 

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Happy to help! It's easy to get distracted by various items, but in the end the Lotus engineers knew best and the standard Elise is the best driver's car you can find for the street. Super chargers and difs and whatnot take it toward slightly different directions. Not bad directions, but it's good to be clear about what's important to you. Whatever you do, buy the cleanest car you can find/afford and you'll be a happy man.

By the way, congrats on the engagement.
^ yup. I'd actually go 2005 (again) if i was starting over again.
 

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Other's have mentioned it; the '05 pedal cluster/drive by cable are a big plus for me. Simple, direct response, and once adjusted, is the best pedal set-up of any production car I'v ever driven, perfect placement for downshifts. I'm in the midst of a 40 year quest for my perfect car, and after having re-engined Sevens, 914-6's, 914-V8's, NSX's, other Loti, etc, etc. my '05 Elise has been the keeper. Impracticle, but when you'r banging into twisty corners with the engine up around 8K, you'll be a happy man!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, I have to admit that this isn't the collective response I expected, but I'm so glad I asked! Now I just have to find the car. And I'll admit there's something kinda liberating about focusing on the simplest version of the car (which was apparently designed to be as uncomplicated as possible). Thanks everyone for the direction!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Btw, MotoGeek - went back thru my emails and that's exactly what my coworker had said. Sounds like I need to start NA and see where're that takes me...
 

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The LSD used is a Gleason Works Torsen differential... it is quite ease to find out if it cam with it or not....that is if the serial number sticker is still on the gearbox. The 3rd character will either be an "O" for open differential of "L" for LSD. Look for it...sometimes you will need a mirror but a flashlight is a definite necessity.

As for the twin oil cooler...don't! Install the Mocal (Laminova) heat exchanger on the firewall.
 

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Don't get hung up on the year.
Don't get hung up on LSD
You can buy a hard top in the classifieds here or get a BWR track top. I bought one of the first carbon fibre ones and love it. Literally 5 minutes to remove the soft top and install the hard top. Try that with an OEM top. You won't.
If you want a supercharger, get it later unless you find a car with a later one for not much more money. Do you plan to compete on the track or just screw around with lapping days and HPDEs. If you're competing, you want to be intimately familiar with the rule book for the class you're aiming for. I'd rather run a N/A and find my times mid pack than run some bumped class and be 3 seconds a lap slower than the slowest competitor with the supercharger.
 

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Don't get hung up on the year.
Don't get hung up on LSD
You can buy a hard top in the classifieds here or get a BWR track top. I bought one of the first carbon fibre ones and love it. Literally 5 minutes to remove the soft top and install the hard top. Try that with an OEM top. You won't.
If you want a supercharger, get it later unless you find a car with a later one for not much more money. Do you plan to compete on the track or just screw around with lapping days and HPDEs. If you're competing, you want to be intimately familiar with the rule book for the class you're aiming for. I'd rather run a N/A and find my times mid pack than run some bumped class and be 3 seconds a lap slower than the slowest competitor with the supercharger.
Good advice. If you have tons of power people expect you to be really fast at the track. You don't want to be the guy with the really built car who can't drive it yet.

The hard top makes the car harder to get into than NO TOP. The only time i have the top on the car is if it might rain, or it's burning hot mid day sun. The car seems louder with the top on, than it does off. I only have the touring soft top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I looked at the Sector 111 tops and they were like $3k and didn't come with hardware. That's part of the reason I was looking to buy a car with one, but in reality I'd probably not use it very much at all. Thanks for the advice Jack and Sprocket! It's clear I need to start basic and settle into it as I learn the car. Not planning on setting the world on fire at track days, just want to enjoy some good drives and turn some fun laps. Definitely don't want to be the guy with the fast car and no skills!
 
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