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Discussion Starter #1
I hate to steal lumn8r's glory, but...I will (actually, I saw the damage to the front end of the car...I can't believe that was done with a cone. The whole front clam shell needs to be replaced).

I won't go on to mention the elise part...as lumn8r described it well. Although I do have to mention that there was a room full of yellow elises, all lined up and facing forward...very strange. Don't know what that was about.

I got a more personal tour of the factory...as I knew one of the gents working there. So I did see the Esprit line...yes it is quite fascinating that they build the car up from scratch in this tiny little room. It takes something like 600 man hours to complete one car. They are only building 23 more...almost entirely for the US. Each one is special ordered...and some even have the owners name printed on the engine. It's a totally different process from the elise...a rigid unibody structure is bolted onto the underframe, and every component in the car is actually fabricated at the factory (unlike the elise where most is outsourced). I even got to see them building an esprit engine.

It was an amazing experience...its a small factory, so it felt like a family business. I got to touch and feel all sorts of components, and speak to engineers and line workers about all sorts of things. I even got some tips about rebuilding my engine from the esprit engine builders.

But after all of that...after nearly 3 hours of tours and meeting and chatting with all sorts of employees...including motorsport engineers, I got the tour of my life around Hethel in a 111s.

It was a short journey around the track...the driver only took me out for 3 laps. And these three laps did not break any time records for sure...as the majority of the time we spent in this car was...sideways. Every corner of the track the driver drifted the car...it was soooooo sweet. I'm sure we went through a set of tires. There was one corner that took us into a round about in which we took entirely sideways, and there was so much tire spoke that the car was barely visible from the tower. It was the coolest thing ever. I'm still smiling, 24 hours later.

As for answers to specific questions:

Q: How easy will it be to customize the elise?
A: Not easy, as it would be too costly due to their production line set-up. It's not like the esprit at all. You may be able to order a specific color for a fee, but I think they were talking about different model options (like a touring package with leather).

Q: Will there be a european delivery program?
A: Probably not, as it requires a lot of modification to a left-hand drive car to get it registered in England. But they know people are interested.

Q: A/C as option?
A: Maybe

Q: Lotus letters on back rather than badge?
A: Still working on it...a lot of people want to see LOTUS printed, but it's an executive decision.

Q: Will we get our cars in April?
A: A manufacturer cannot sell a 2005 model year car until May, and it may not be registerable until June.

Q: Will the motorsport division have aftermarket parts ready for our car.
A: they are working on all sorts of stuff, including engine mods.

Q: What colors will be available
A: They just made the brochure. It should be available at dealerships very soon (next few weeks).

I asked many more questions, and I'm sure I'll think of them after I post.

Racing Dynamics: I have a keychain for you.

I ahve a few other extra things I bought if anyone else is interested. I'll post later with picks, and could give them to you at the Auto Show.
 

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The great thing about the Elise is that it is relatively easy on tires. I have a set of A048's that I used this season (8-9 track events) and they still have plenty of life in them.

My tour also wasn't "stock". We met with Tony Shute (sp?) who was Colin's right-hand man and one of the people responsible for bringing the car to the States (worked extensively with Arnie).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I did meet up with one guy with a 340r. We spent a good 3 hours chasing the sun and touring the country side. It is such a fun little car. I will be sure to post pictures as soon as I get them.

I plan on meeting with more eventually. I've got 2 months to sort it out. They all seem like fantastic people, and I think we all could create a huge lotus community. They are all absolute fanatics of the car, but completely down to earth. My kind of people!
 

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Modern Wedgie said:
Q: Will we get our cars in April?
A: A manufacturer cannot sell a 2005 model year car until May, and it may not be registerable until June.
Great answer, that's the sort of rumor that's most valuable - an explanation of the rational behind a rumored date.
 

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Modern Wedgie said:
[...]
Q: Will we get our cars in April?
A: A manufacturer cannot sell a 2005 model year car until May, and it may not be registerable until June.
[...]
Is this a U.K. law? People were taking delivery of the 1999 Miata here in the U.S. as early as March 1998.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Dan-

I dont know. I believe it has to do with the US. Laws may have changed since 1998. It does make sense that there is a date limit to when manufacturers can sell the next model year car. If there was not, then there would be no validity to a model year.
 

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Mostly for being female. It gets a lot of owners excited it seems. Not got a problem with her at all, but find the fawning tiresome. You'd think most of these people had never spoken to a woman...

As to the big line of yellow cars, if they all had the Oz motorsport wheels on (which I suspect) they would be 135Rs which only come in yellow at the moment.
 

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In addition to being female, Christine is young and cute. If interested, you really should go check out the SELOC forum. Her Avatar has an interesting old Victorian feel, and she is into a gothic look. Quite striking, in my opinion! She's also married, by the way. There are other women on that forum (and this one too, of course), but Christine seems to have a flair for exhibitionism (nothing wrong with that!).
 
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