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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys =D

I'm the proud new owner of a 2005 Ardent Red Lotus Elise (pictures incoming). I first have to say - wow, what a rush. This car is amazing. I would have bought a 2006 Lotus Exige from one of our forum members, Yeti, but unfortunately my funding fell though. However, I was lucky enough to have a Lotus dealership nearby, and so buoying my spirits, I went inside to see what they had in stock. There sat before me a beautiful car - all for a great price. 7000 Miles, Hardtop, Stage II exhaust, and well maintained by the looks of it.

But, there was a problem you see - I knew that all Lotus' were Manual transmission, and I had never driven one before. So I took a risk - I bought it without test driving or ever sitting behind the wheel (salesman wouldnt let me test drive it, for obvious reasons). Knowing the parts that made up the engine, I decided to go for it. Overseas Motors in Dallas treated me like a serious buyer, even though I was 23, and they were a great group of people to deal with.

I took delivery of the car today. I couldn't drive it home, so I had a friend (who, coincidently, also has an elise) get it back from the dealership. Tonight I made my first attempt at driving the car. It was horrible at first - learning how to start the car, and learning the positions of the gear shift. I stalled so many times in a local parking lot. Finally, I was able to screech a launch instead of stalling. And now I can somewhat regularly start normally (I still have some learning to do). This car empowers you to do better, as though you have a reputation to live up to.

Anyone that was in my position - don't be afraid that it is manual. It has a very resillent transmission from what punishment I have given it. It's an absolute blast to drive around and it gets looks like no one's business.

Honestly, I'm just waiting for work to be done tomorrow so I can practice my driving skills some more. I want to thank everyone on this forum that have given me information and advice. I don't regret this purchase one bit.

Hopefully, I'll get to see you guys at some meets in a few months (I would be ashmed to show up now with my skills).
 

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I'd prob rent some cheap manual and drive it to hell for a day if I were in your shoes. Elise isn't exactly known for their superb transmission. Couple that with limited view that you are not used to and it could be unhealthy.

But congratulations on your new purchase. Drive safe.
 

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bought my 03 cobra with no manual experience, had a friend show me a few times, I was able to drive it very confidentally after about 3-4 days
 

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Nice! Always good to learn something new. I love driving a manual, as every limb is doing something, and you have to use all 4 limbs of your body to drive.

Makes me feel more "plugged in" to the car, and it's very interesting to see how "second nature" it becomes after some time. You almost integrate it as another part of your body (like a 3rd arm?), and the lotus just amplifies this "plugged in" feeling.

You know, there's this old japanese anime I saw with a friend back in college. Showed an advanced plane that plugged directly into your brain.

edit: found it: YouTube - Macross Plus clip

I feel like driving the lotus is like that. :D I thinks it sums up pretty much what we strive for in a sports car.
 

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Congrats on your new car, and new-fangled manual skills.

I'd prob rent some cheap manual and drive it to hell for a day if I were in your shoes. Elise isn't exactly known for their superb transmission. Couple that with limited view that you are not used to and it could be unhealthy.

But congratulations on your new purchase. Drive safe.
You'd be surprised how difficult it is to rent a car with a manual transmission these days. Only specialty rental companies that rent exotics and the like stock manuals anymore.
 

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Congrats!

Once you get use to it, you'll never want to buy a car with automatic gearbox... :)
 

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First, congrats!

Are there hills in your neck of the woods? One of the most intimidating things for a manual newbie to learn is how to start the car moving on a steep hill. You seriously don't want to roll into the car that is behind you with your Lotus.

Here's a trick to help you get started on a steep hill without rolling backwards:

1) When you're ready to move forward, and before you release the brake pedal, press in the clutch and put the car in 1st.
2) Use your right hand to pull up the emergency brake while keeping the release button pushed in (do not lock it, hold it up with your right hand).
3) Release the brake pedal... you should not move at all.
4) Now, release the clutch, and as soon as you feel it bite, release the emergency brake and give it some throttle.
5) Off you go...
 

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I'm sure you'll be fine. Many years ago, I went into an Acura dealership, looking at Integras. I told the salesman that I wanted a manual transmission but didn't know how to drive stick. He said, "Don't worry, just get in and I'll teach you!" I seriously learned the basics in about 30 minutes, well, after stalling a few times. I ended up buying a car from him the next day. But I obviously didn't buy the car that I test drove! Thinking back, I can't even believe he let me drive a brand new car when I told him I've never driven manual!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm sure my car thanks me that I am a quick learner =D

Nature seems to be conspiring against me though - cloudy and rainy here in Dallas this week, so I havent been able to drive it much or take some good pictures that don't come out rediculously dark.
 

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Congrats. Hadn't driven manual myself for some time till I got the Elise and was ready to go with just some practice. The advice about practicing pulling out while going up a hill is right on--the hardest thing to do. And the reduced visibility issue in general --I'd stay out of congested areas for a while yet.
 

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oh wow, they finally sold that car.

glad to hear you got a deal.....
 

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The good thing about the elise, is it is super easy to hill start because it is so light and low to the ground. On slight slopes the car doesn't roll either.

When I first had my elise I stalled it about 5 times in the first week. I wasn't used to the clutch (It's pneumatic right?) because it felt the same no matter how far I pushed it in. My old car I could feel the bite point pretty easily.
 

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Congrats. The first step in dealing with driving slush is admitting you have a problem. ;)

The Elise is really quite easy to drive given its very light weight, very little torque and pretty sturdy gearbox. As you've already got the basics down, I'd just recommend you drive a lot. Stick to highways at first, then venture into back roads and twisties once your confidence increases.

In a month or so of regular driving it'll be second nature and you'll not even think about it.
 

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Welcome to the world of the man pedal. I predict you'll be asking these questions....

So how much is a replacement transmission in one of these fancy Lotus cars anyhow? Or clutch :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Welcome to the world of the man pedal. I predict you'll be asking these questions....

So how much is a replacement transmission in one of these fancy Lotus cars anyhow? Or clutch :)
After searching on it a bit, I reckon it would be about a grand for a replacement clutch. =D
 

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You aren't going to tear up the transmission (or even the clutch) learning to drive it. Presumably all the torture you're giving it is in the two to three thousand rpm range. It's not like you're bouncing it off the rev limiter and dumping the clutch.

Sure it's going to get a bit more wear and tear than if driven proficiently, but it's not going to grenade or anything.

xtn
 

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Some things I learned in HPD classes

Seat placement is crucial, your knee should be just slightly bent when the clutch pedal is pushed in all the way so you have maximum leverage when shifting gears quickly (this is a racing- hpd tip ) Full clutch in you should not be at tippy toe length or stretching

Keep your foot off of the clutch pedal when not in use and on the dead pedal to the left .Don't drive around with your foot resting on the clutch pedal

In a parking lot with a lot of room, start the car in neutral, push the clutch in, put it in first, and without using the gas pedal at all, gently smoothly slowly lift the clutch pedal in one confident move engaging 1st so it moves forward slowly but not lagging or lurching, ( again no gas pedal involved here ) then let out and coast to a stop, now do it again, coast, repeat until it is a fluid confident motion.

If you have to brake very hard in an emergency situation try to remember to put both feet in, one on the brake pedal one on the clutch so you don't lurch into a wall or stall after stopping.

Smooth, confident fluid are all words that describe a good shifting technique - I think I read someplace that Jimmy Clark was described as having a shifting style that was so casual and smooth that it looked like he was arranging items on his desk.
 

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No worries, it my my first manual too. Drove it out the dealership, got passed la jolla's windy and steep-y(sometimes) roads and drove all the way to the bay area. Next day I was in BMC in SF, really scary but awesome too. i remember I was so psyched that I got the car there without crashing it.

But to be fair i wasnt new to manual, I grew up in India and for fun I used to play with cars in the driveway (usually park them). Guess that really doesnt make me new, yeh?
Just remember, its not a Jeep clutch, pivot rather than push, rest will follow.
 

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Hills can be quite daunting at first, so avoid them as much as you can until you get the hang of it.

If possible, find some hills to practice on a bit, both using and not using the parking brake method.
as even with many years experience, there may be a time on a VERY steep hill that it may require the use of the parking brake.

Driving in stop and go traffic can get a bit tedious with manual, but an ideal environment to gain experience in.

After some time, driving stick will feel like second nature to you.
 
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