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It's almost 1 p.m. here. I'm stuck at work wishing I were at the LA show. :(

For those fortunate to have gone, what are your impressions?
 

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Lotus at LA show

I was quite impressed with what they did for a small manufacturer. They brought a nice selection of cars in a good variety of colors. They brought over knowledgeable people from the UK operation as well as making sure some of the key US people were on hand. They were happy to answer most technical questions in great detail, although the US business guys were pretty cagey about dealer allocations etc. They really wanted to get people to come and sit in the cars and touch them so buyers would understand what they were (and weren't) getting.

On the down side, the full brochures were tied up in customs the day I was there (12/30), so documentation was a bit sparse. BTW, if anyone going to the show later in the week can grab me a spare copy (if the brochures ever show up), I'd be more than happy to cover shipping costs or, if you're in Arizona, love you long time...:)
 

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Just a quickie, gotta eat dinner ! I was there today, it was awfully, awfully good, I'm not worried anymore about any of the issues like reflectors, etc., Lotus has IMO done a fantastic job of integrating all of the things into the car to satisfy the fed.s etc, without diluting the soul of the Elise. It's going to be an amazing car !:) :) :)
 

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I too was there today. After about 30 seconds of looking at the "offending" reflectors on the rear and on the wheel wells, they just became transparent. They are so minor compared to everything else on the car they just fade away...at least they did for me.

The display was very impressive. They only allowed a limited number of people inside the ropes at one time so you could easily get in all the cars, take pictures and talk to all the Lotus folks there. Very, very well done, IMO.

The seats are bigger than the Euro versions I drove. They almost touch each other. They also must have more padding or are mounted a little differently. This may be of importance to those above 6' 2". I'm 6' 1" and, in the Euro car, I had to move the seat forward one notch. In the Fed car I felt about the same with the seat all the way back. BTW that was in a car with the Touring Package seats...I didn't try that in a car with the standard seats.

The Ardent Red was a little more of a tomato red than what I had expected from the photos I had seen. However, the photos were outside and the lighting in the convention center was a combination of warm flourescents and spotlights. What was a pleasant surprise, was the LRG car with the Biscuit leather seats. A great color combination.

One of the Lotus officials stated that all the dealers have the ordering information and have been asked to place their orders for the first 10 cars. The first one will be their demo car, which they must not sell for 90 days. If you are #9, or lower, your dealer should either have contacted you, or very soon will. They were also very careful to say that the cars on display are not necessarily exactly like the production cars. Some details were still being worked out.
 

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What an amazing experience. I haven't stopped smiling yet. If you have a chance to go to the auto show, you owe it to yourself to see the cars in person. The photos just don't do the cars justice. And even the indoor lighting is misleading apparently; Nick told me that natural lighting will give the cars a different appearance.

All did not go as planned. It was rainy and cold in LA this morning, so I decided to skip the Pantry breakfast. I hear that it was quite crowded, so the Elisetalk group was rather fragmented. I arrived at the convention center at 10 minutes before the 11 am opening, and was amazed to see the crowd lined up for tickets. Made it to the Lotus display at 11:15 am, only to find out that there was a short line to get into the area behind the ropes. However passed the time chatting with Chris and others. Met Mike, Lillie, Chris and his friend from Georgia, among others.

The Lotus reps were a bit taken aback by the crowd and the feeding frenzy atmosphere once they had let quite a few people into the car area. Arnie kept saying he was going to clear the whole area, so I thought that I might be booted out after a brief 10 minute inspection. However, things calmed down a bit, and I managed to spend 2 hours amongst the cars, chatting with various Lotus reps and fellow Elisetalkers. I was able to chat with Clyde one on one for about 15 minutes, and had a few 5 minute chats with Nick, among others. Also met Randy downstairs at this booth and picked up the Rendezvous DVD.

Believe it or not, all of the Elisetalkers seem to be fairly normal people. Would never know it from some of our posts and issues with the car!!
 

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Chris, you worry me with the "tomato red" statement. I have not seen the car in person but everyone tells me that it is a very rich and brilliant red like a ferrari red. Please comment.
 

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Managed to sit in all five cars and tested both the driver seat and the passenger seat. Its quite a sight to see tall people trying to get into and out of the car. I'm 5'8" and could get in pretty easily, but getting out is a challenge. However, Clyde assured me that after several tries you will develop a system that works for you. And Nick mentioned that his 82 year old grandmother is able to get in and out of the car.

The hard top and soft top make it a lot more challenging to get in and out than when the car is topless. And the passenger seat is much more difficult to enter and exit, I think since I was using the steering wheel for support on the driver side (not sure if this is a good thing to do).

The colors look much better in person than in the photos. Red, green, blue, yellow and silver all look great. I also saw the Bordeaux Red Pearl car, which Clyde mentioned was parked in the garage outside the entrance to the show - Nick and Tony drove it in and Nick said that it handled beautifully in the rain on the freeway as they zipped in and out of traffic.

The mini models look great. Even bronze and purple. Only the lime green seems a little weird, but even that probably will appeal to some.

I'm sold on Saffron Yellow. It looks just like the car on the brochure from last year's show and the shots on the official web site. However, as Chris mentioned, the green/biscuit combo looks great, much better in person than in the photos. Red, blue and silver all sparkle.

Clyde mentioned that the recommended color pairings in the order guide will be the only combos available to simplify the production process, which will save money for Lotus.

The first cars should arrive end of May, but likely will cover the 1 demo per dealer allotment (dealers must keep them for 90 days, then could sell them, although Lotus would prefer that the dealers keep them for display). The cars at the auto show will not be sold; eventually they probably will be shipped back to England and destroyed.

Lotus guys were telling people that the first two years' production is already spoken for by depositors.

The reflectors don't look that bad. They don't exactly enhance the look of the car, but aren't as bright as the photos seemed to indicate. In natural light, probably much less conspicuous.
 

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Nick emphatically stated that the U.S. Elise is by far the best Elise that Lotus has ever built. He said that the concerns about added weight are misplaced. The car has been designed and tuned to perfection.

Lotus is very proud of the forged LSS wheels. They are 4 pounds lighter in front and 6 pounds lighter in back than the standard wheels. However, Nick mentioned that a lot of work went into designing those standard wheels and they are much lighter than you would find in most cars.

Nick told me that if you are planning to use the car as a daily driver, he would highly recommend getting the touring package. The extra insulation in the top and the body cuts down on noise and also cuts down on heat from the engine and from the aluminum chassis, which apparently radiates some heat. The weight gain is really insignificant. However, the padded soft top does roll up into a rather larger package than the standard soft top, so it would take up much of the trunk space.

I asked Nick about the break-in procedure. Lotus will provide guidance. Basically, Nick said to take it easy during the first 1000 miles. During the first couple of hundred miles, keep it in the 3000 to 6000 rpm range, then take it to higher rpms occasionally. The thing to avoid is jamming it up to high rpms for extended periods during the break-in period or lagging it in 6th gear and such. But it's not necessary to totally baby it. As I said, they will provide guidance.

Asked about the driving lights in the front grille. They do not meet California standards if installed by the manufacturer, but it appears that if the dealer's install them and they can be switched on and off, they will be legal, so the cars will be wired for them. They have cars with and without them, and I'm not sure which is more desirable.

Lotus is not pleased that Symbolic is moving from the Beverly Hills location. They want to sell more cars in the west and saw that as a marquee location.

Lotus is eager to succeed with the Elise, because they plan to use the money to develop another car (not saying what). I don't think they have to worry.

It's been 11 months since I saw an Elise in person and the car looks incredible. Visited the rest of the show, but had a hard time paying much attention to other cars. Spent a fair amount of time with the Honda S2000 and it just doesn't measure up in terms of excitement. Even the $440,000 Porsche Carrera did not look as sexy as the Elise.

Lillie had her SELOC calendar with her. Looked pretty cool!

I will probably need to go back next week. But I would suggest picking an off-peak time and going early. I'm sure that I've forgotten some stuff. It was great to meet so many fellow enthusiasts. We are going to have a great time with our cars!
 

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ulmpharmd said:
Chris, you worry me with the "tomato red" statement. I have not seen the car in person but everyone tells me that it is a very rich and brilliant red like a ferrari red. Please comment.
It totally reminded me of Ferrari Red, I wouldn't describe it as anything else. The other colors were all great, too. The Magnetic Blue car is still my favorite, though it had a tint of purple under some angles and lighting.

I liked the Lotus display area, though was dissapointed that brochures were not available. The Lotus reps were helpful, but there really wasn't much I didn't already know after reading this message board religiously.

I ended up skipping the Pantry breakfast, which ended up being good, as the line for tickets was long.

Here's a link to some pictures I took at the show (note - the first couple of pages in that album are pictures I did NOT take, I grabbed them from elsewhere on the 'net. This link takes you directly to the page that has new images from today that I took).
 

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I would agree with Matt. Ardent Red seemed pretty bright and brilliant to me. It pretty much screams out "give me a speeding ticket", even when the car is standing still. I don't think you could go wrong with red. I've just been brainwashed staring at the yellow car on my screensaver on the computer at work, wallpaper on the computer at home and brochure posted under my desk at home. Saffron Yellow is quite bright as well, perhaps just a little less of a screamer than Ardent Red.
 

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jml1952 said:
The cars at the auto show will not be sold; eventually they probably will be shipped back to England and destroyed.

Too bad they can't keep them here in the states to use at the Lotus driving school that was mentioned in the Autoweek article. Seems a shame to destroy them when they could be put to good use. Or they could keep them at Hethel for use when those of us with LHD cars come over for driving schools.
 

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Lumn8r said:
Too bad they can't keep them here in the states to use at the Lotus driving school that was mentioned in the Autoweek article. Seems a shame to destroy them when they could be put to good use. Or they could keep them at Hethel for use when those of us with LHD cars come over for driving schools.
I think they are for show and not totally driveable or tested. Clyde or Nick mentioned that the red car "exploded" when they drove it off the truck and needed repairs to the rear end.

I asked Nick about the driving school (by the way, he is one of the instructors at times in England). They are thinking about establishing something on the east coast and on the west coast, but probably would have to use local talent as instructors, perhaps with occasional guest visits from Hethel folks. No ETA for this, though. However, Nick thought that if a bunch of Americans wanted to arrange a group visit to Hethel, something could be worked out for us.
 

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MattG said:
It totally reminded me of Ferrari Red, I wouldn't describe it as anything else. The other colors were all great, too. The Magnetic Blue car is still my favorite, though it had a tint of purple under some angles and lighting.

I liked the Lotus display area, though was dissapointed that brochures were not available. The Lotus reps were helpful, but there really wasn't much I didn't already know after reading this message board religiously.

I ended up skipping the Pantry breakfast, which ended up being good, as the line for tickets was long.

Here's a link to some pictures I took at the show (note - the first couple of pages in that album are pictures I did NOT take, I grabbed them from elsewhere on the 'net. This link takes you directly to the page that has new images from today that I took).
I wouldn't worry too much about the brochures. It's the same single sheet that's been scanned and posted here a while ago that has the specs outline and dealer list. There is another sheet for the "colour" chart which does not have the updated list of colors. The dealers will probably have copies of these, anyway, if not nicer ones.

I was more disappointed with the press kit, which was in a plain white folder compared to the green folder w/Lotus logo from last year. No nice prints were included like last year, although Lotus still included a nice yellow/green CD-ROM of 3008x2000 photos taken w/a Nikon D100.

I like the pictures on your website. The photos from the first few pages look quite familiar for some reason ;).
 

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I went yesterday and agree with the previous posters. They did a great job with the booth. Unlike most of the other booths, they had the people who designed the car, managed the project, etc and they were very willing to spend time answering questions and talking about the cars. A few things that I did learn:
* the touring pkg seats do have cloth on the bolsters to help with the wear and tear that leather gets when you slide in
* the tach will be a little different than the ones in the car--graduated scale from 3k up to expand it
* there will be no substantive changes to the car as the parts and materials have been ordered
* they will start producing in March and first delivery in May
* they DON"T yet have final sign off from the government on the waivers; they are confident in getting it as there have been no comments, but it has not happened yet primarily due to the holidays, but it is important to note that something could still go awry--we are dealing with the government here!
* they are working on an Esprit replacement, but have not decided exactly what direction to go; sounded like it would partly depend on how much $$ they make from the Elise
* the devaluation of the US $ caused a big debate internally over the pricing; sounds like the US really had to go to bat to keep the base price under $40k; the devaluation did cause some of the extra color and option pricing
* it sounded to me like they had not made final decisions on allocations, but that they would consider the market and also how well a dealer had taken care of them on Esprit sales

An overall observation of the people from the UK factory is that they were down to earth folks who loved cars and knew their stuff--left you with a good feel for the company.

I also agree with others that the red is a nice deep "ferrari-like" red. I had a red 355 spider and now a red maserati and it is fairly similar--Arnie indicated that one of his goals was to finally get a good looking red Lotus for the US--I think they did it.
 

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martinm1 said:
* they DON"T yet have final sign off from the government on the waivers; they are confident in getting it as there have been no comments, but it has not happened yet primarily due to the holidays, but it is important to note that something could still go awry--we are dealing with the government here!
I don't doubt what you heard, but I was told the opposite when I asked - that everything was approved and there were no more roadblocks to US sale. I think what you heard is more likely true, though... :(
 

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ulmpharmd said:
Chris, you worry me with the "tomato red" statement. I have not seen the car in person but everyone tells me that it is a very rich and brilliant red like a ferrari red. Please comment.
Ardent Red always was, and still is, my color choice. I was just initially taken back by the difference in the real car versus the pictures. I immediately looked at the lighting and assumed the outdoor photographs were probably closer to how this car will look in natural lighting. But, since it surprised me, I thought I would mention it. I would also agree that Ferrari Red would be an appropriate description...and a good color, though at least in that lighting, I would not call it a deep red. I wish they had the Bordeaux Red on the floor, in that lighting, for comparison.

I had initially decided on a red interior, as well. However that is not an option. Looking at the red interior in the silver car, I was left with the feeling that the two shades of red might not look that good next to each other...as in the door panels. It did look great in the silver car, though.
 

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jml1952 said:
Nick emphatically stated that the U.S. Elise is by far the best Elise that Lotus has ever built. He said that the concerns about added weight are misplaced. The car has been designed and tuned to perfection.

Lotus is very proud of the forged LSS wheels. They are 4 pounds lighter in front and 6 pounds lighter in back than the standard wheels. However, Nick mentioned that a lot of work went into designing those standard wheels and they are much lighter than you would find in most cars.

Nick told me that if you are planning to use the car as a daily driver, he would highly recommend getting the touring package. The extra insulation in the top and the body cuts down on noise and also cuts down on heat from the engine and from the aluminum chassis, which apparently radiates some heat. The weight gain is really insignificant. However, the padded soft top does roll up into a rather larger package than the standard soft top, so it would take up much of the trunk space.

I asked Nick about the break-in procedure. Lotus will provide guidance. Basically, Nick said to take it easy during the first 1000 miles. During the first couple of hundred miles, keep it in the 3000 to 6000 rpm range, then take it to higher rpms occasionally. The thing to avoid is jamming it up to high rpms for extended periods during the break-in period or lagging it in 6th gear and such. But it's not necessary to totally baby it. As I said, they will provide guidance.

Asked about the driving lights in the front grille. They do not meet California standards if installed by the manufacturer, but it appears that if the dealer's install them and they can be switched on and off, they will be legal, so the cars will be wired for them. They have cars with and without them, and I'm not sure which is more desirable.

Lotus is not pleased that Symbolic is moving from the Beverly Hills location. They want to sell more cars in the west and saw that as a marquee location.

Lotus is eager to succeed with the Elise, because they plan to use the money to develop another car (not saying what). I don't think they have to worry.

It's been 11 months since I saw an Elise in person and the car looks incredible. Visited the rest of the show, but had a hard time paying much attention to other cars. Spent a fair amount of time with the Honda S2000 and it just doesn't measure up in terms of excitement. Even the $440,000 Porsche Carrera did not look as sexy as the Elise.

Lillie had her SELOC calendar with her. Looked pretty cool!

I will probably need to go back next week. But I would suggest picking an off-peak time and going early. I'm sure that I've forgotten some stuff. It was great to meet so many fellow enthusiasts. We are going to have a great time with our cars!
Next Lotus car, according to the Commercial Director - Tengku Hasmadi
of parent company Proton, will be on the level of a 'supercar', replacing the
dicontinued Esprit.
 

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Cloth vs. leather seats

There has been a lot of concern expressed by those interested in tracking the car about leather seats being too slippery. It occured to me that everyone may not be aware that there are no pure "cloth" seats being offered. The base car has leather in the center section of the seat back and bottom. The area surrounding that is cloth. The Touring Package adds leather to the surrounding areas (bolsters, headrests, etc.). The Touring Package does have a heavy fabric on the seatback bolsters where your arms might rub on them during spirited driving. It looks a little strange and it's not clear why they chose to do that. I would be surprised of cloth wore any better than the leather.

Those in hot, sunny climates might want to consider a Biscuit leather interior versus the black partial leather base seats. Most of your body contact will be against the leather of the base seats.
 

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MattG said:
I don't doubt what you heard, but I was told the opposite when I asked - that everything was approved and there were no more roadblocks to US sale. I think what you heard is more likely true, though... :(
I asked the same question (not sure if it was Clyde or Nick), and the answer was that the person wasn't sure, but didn't think the waivers were finalized. However, he didn't expect any problems based on previous discussions between Lotus and govt regulators.
 

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Just ONE simple question to the folks who sat in the car and are SIX FEET tall: When you sit in the car does any part of your head/hair extend above the imaginary roof line of the car? Is any part of your head above the windshield?

We have an MR2 and I have to slide low in the seat to prevent wind from buffetting my forehead.
 
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