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Hey guys. New member here. My name is Shane and I live in San Francisco. I’ve just become the owner of an ‘05 Elise by the worst of circumstances. Unfortunately, my father-in-law and longtime LT member, Chris (ChrisH), died a couple months ago at age 58. He was diagnosed with cancer in the fall, but his death was months or years sooner than expected and quite a shock. I’m sure some of you knew him online and maybe a few of you even met him in person, probably at an autox at Qualcomm in the mid-2000s. Side note, when Chris was sick he got a visit from a local Melbourne, FL Lotus owner who I assume is an LT member. I don’t know who you are, but I’m told that the few hours you spent with Chris was some of his happiest in those last few weeks. This will be an unusually long and personal intro post.

I’ve been dating Chris’s daughter since I was in high school. We met in ‘04 and one of the first conversations we had was about her dad waiting for his newly ordered Lotus to arrive. And so from the start I’ve always associated Chris with his Elise because I’ve never known him without it. We lived in the foothills in east county San Diego at the time and he’d steal me away from Merissa to go for a drive with him on one of the incredible mountain roads in the area. The Elise was, by far, his favorite possession and his four kids always referred to it as his fifth kid. Chris was a brilliant but awkward guy so cars were my saving grace as the common topic we could always bond over. We became closer than I am with my own dad. Cars, the Lotus specifically, played a good part in that. Suffice it to say there was a lot more to Chris than cars, but this is a car forum so I’m keeping it somewhat relevant.

When Chris was diagnosed he asked me if we’d want the Elise if he died. Of course my wife and I said yes. The intention was for me to fly out and spend a week learning everything about the car and how to wrench on it with him. Unfortunately, we never got the chance. The good news is that I’ve been around the Elise for 15 years and I’ve been studying up since his diagnosis in order to be a good caretaker. So I’m not going into this entirely cold or unaware, but I have a lot to learn.

I knew he loved that car, but I was blown away when I saw that he had clocked 142k miles on it. He drove the hell out of the thing and I’m looking forward to seeing 200k. I shipped it across the country last week and just received it here in SF a few days ago.

About the car:

It’s a 2005 Elise in Bordeaux Red Pearl over tan leather. Off the top of my head I believe it’s chassis #2478. It has a clam hinge (not BOE) and REV300 which he installed a couple years ago. Aside from those mods it is stock as far as I know. As I continue to dig through his paperwork in addition to the car itself I’ll be able to figure out exactly what he had done.

It runs and drives well, but it also comes with a few issues, most of which are typical Elise or 15 year-old car problems. The front clam needs to be repaired due to cracks, as does the rear clam which broke completely through near the deck lid hinge. The clear bra is faded and needs to be removed or replaced. Paint needs touch ups. No air blows from the vents so I have a resistor pack replacement ahead of me. The radio seems to work, but no sound comes through the speakers.

When he died, he was in the midst of an immobilizer bypass of some sort. Unfortunately for me, in classic Chris fashion, it seems like he was doing it is own way which he no doubt thought was superior. This means I encountered a stripped interior with a complete rat’s nest behind the seat. Wires are everywhere with some added and seemingly going nowhere and there is no indication of what he was doing precisely and I can't get it to match with any wiring diagrams. With only a limited time to get the car buttoned up, I wasn’t able to get this sorted as I’d hoped. This wiring mess may also be the cause for the radio issue because he had installed an amp behind the passenger seat. I’ll have to dig into this more and potentially get pro or amateur help. It’s really difficult to jump into someone’s project and try to get into their head. So I pieced the interior back together and called it a day for now. I’m still reading up on wiring diagrams, but so far I still don’t quite get his plan.

The only driving issue is a strange and incredibly annoying RPM drop from idle when you tap the throttle. For instance, when in traffic waiting for a stop sign if I tap the throttle lightly to move forward, the RPMs will drop from ~900 to ~5-600 which makes stalling a real possibility. No idea what is causing this yet and no issues with RPMs or throttle response at any other time. There is no drop when you very slowly add throttle. I’ll be digging into this more or having it looked at. Any insight on this one is appreciated.


Anyway, I miss Chris dearly. Having his prized possession is really meaningful and cathartic to us and I’m looking forward to getting it back to those mountain roads he loved so much. I’ll also be joining the GGLC soon and hopefully I’ll be meeting some of you in person. Thanks!
 
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