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Discussion Starter #1
I've had the car for about three weeks and put on 1350 miles. Since I was involved in an accident in the M3, it just isn't the same to me anymore so a year ago, I started looking around. When I heard about the Elise, it seemed to be what the doctor ordered. My thought was that if I got in early enough, I might be lucky enough to get one of the first ones and I could try it out to see if I like it. Also, at the time of placing the order, people didn't really know how the colors would be so if I liked a different color, I could sell and get another one. So...as luck would have it, I was able to get one of the first ones and try it out.

After driving around for three weeks, I've tossed the idea back and forth. Right now, the M3 is kicked to the curb and parked outside. The only time it is able to take refuge in the garage is when the Elise was out...hehe. So...I already have no space for the car.

The next big issue would be...do I track the car or not? The M3 has already visited many tracks and has at least 4000 track miles on it. Obviously, the Elise is more a track car than the M3 out of the box, but it is a brand new car. I wouldn't want to stuff a 45k car into the wall, ya know? After getting the car, I was trying desperately to get the miles on to get past the first service so that I could take it the track. As luck would have it, all track schools were either sold out or didn't allow "convertibles". I've asked many local clubs about the eligibility of the Elise and they always say, "We'll get back to you," but never do. Being unable to attend the same track events with my friends is just going to suck.

Every time I get into the Elise, I know it's a special car. The attention it gets from everyone on the street is amazing. I'm kind of used to it now, but I took a friend on a trip to six flags and then to the beach this past weekend. She heard of the attention but didn't get to experience it first hand. As I'm cruising on the highway, I'd just tell her, "Check out those people checking out the car," or, "Look at the guy in the new 5 series fumbling in his backpack in the backseat while trying to keep the car in a turn to get a camera to take a picture of the car," or she would laugh in amazement as we cruised around the local streets and saw these two kids sitting on a bench and both of them just followed the car and craned their necks around as I made a turn. It's just that special. I always like it when people ask what is it and you say, "It's an Elise," and they say, "You leased it?" :D Going back into the M3, you blend in with everyone else. Not that this would necessarily be a bad thing. I also want a bit more power. To have a little fun in the M3, all you have to do is turn the steering wheel a bit and stab the throttle. That doesn't happen in the Elise. You have to rev the snot out of it in order for it to have any grunt.

So it would seem that I'm at a crossroad and am leaning towards selling the car. If they imported the Exige, I would be all over it as then my only caveat to attending a track event would be a request for slim instructors. Hehe. I think my biggest priority right now should be getting a house w/ a 2 car garage, lift, piped compressed air, etc.. :D So maybe next year I'll get another Elise (hopefully they will still offer Laser blue).

So? Any advice on selling it? Which places should I list it? How does one handle it so you don't get ripped off, etc... I think I paid $46.6k out the door with all fees/taxes, etc. If someone gives me say 50k for the car, how should I do it to make it a good experience for the buyer as well as myself? Any tips/advice would be greatly appreciated. Who knows...I might just keep the car :shrug:
 

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ekological said:
As luck would have it, all track schools were either sold out or didn't allow "convertibles". I've asked many local clubs about the eligibility of the Elise and they always say, "We'll get back to you," but never do. Being unable to attend the same track events with my friends is just going to suck.
I feel your pain; however, not to the extent of selling the car. Our local tracks (WGI, SP, LR, MO, BR, VIR) are all pretty tough on convertibles. However, I don't consider the Elise a convertable, it's a targa. Just like many Corvettes our there (and the new C6).

I only reason I got the hardtop was for the track. I think it will solve your problem too.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I tried to reason with the track people, saying that it's not a convertible and that it has a rollbar built in. No dice. I could run with the Porsche club, but a lot of my friends do the BMW CCA schools.
 

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When you say "track people", do you mean the brass at BMWCCA or at the individual tracks? At ACNA, we defer to the track for rulings such as these. . . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #5
O, I was referring to the club chair people...so they would be BMW CCA people. I wasn't aware that the tracks have a stance since Porsche CCA has events at those same tracks, no? Doesn't Porsche clubs allow Cayennes?!?! :crazyeyes
 

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Ekological --

The BMW CCA is notoriously anal about convertibles.

A big percentage of the people buying this car are buying for track usage.

Here in California we have gaggles of S2k's, Miatas, and other convertible type cars that probably wouldn't even pass the "broomstick test" out on track at every event I've ever been to. Maybe you need to find more reasonable groups to run with? I would think an Elise is probably actually safer than an M3 with a sun roof, given the light weight and integrated steel roll hoop.

While the CCA and others might want a hard top on the Elise, I'm not actually sure one would increase your safety. Extracting you from the vehicle would be a lot harder with one in place, and if anything significant comes into contact with it, it's likely to deform since it's not structural anyway. I'd say it's a toss-up. The roll bar is the important thing.

OTOH, you seem to have a lot of other doubts about the car. I track an E36 M3 as well, and I think it is a great track car. If you don't absolutely *love* the Elise, sell it, and use all that extra money for more track days and schools. That's really the debate I'm having with myself: whether this car is really worth the ever-increasing price tag.

If you love the M3, as they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

- John
'95 M3 w/ S50B32 conversion
 

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p.s. Funny you mention it, as my M3 was rear-ended about a year ago which also started my search for a new car.

I ended up getting the car fixed anyway and after much heart ache it seems to be more-or-less put back together.

But I understand what you mean -- for a few months I didn't even want to look at the car -- just bad memories and worries about incipient issues that might crop up down the road.

- John
 

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It all comes down to the clubs insurance. For example, if a track won't allow a car, but the club does, then the club is in essence accepting some liability. Looks like we should do some more research. . . . .

How does your club treat convertibles with hard tops on?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Heh...amazing what an accident does for your perception, eh? Before the accident, I washed the car very often, kept it clean, etc. Now, I've put 35k miles on the car in one year going to and from work. I also slapped a Thule rack on it that I had bought before taking delivery of the car but back then, just couldn't bring myself to installing. Last winter, it was the snowmobile...taking me snowboarding every other weekend :D

Ko, in terms of BMW CCA clubs and convertibles with hard tops, I think some of them required there to be a rollbar/cage under it. Having said that, I think a lot of clubs are starting to exclude that as well.

We were at the Glen back in July and the driver school chair of a different chapter visited and gave her speech on safety. She said that 95% of the cars that attend these schools should fail tech. We asked why...and she cited as a big #1 the use of the Schroth clip ins. Then she started rambling about how NASCAR is going to a seven point harness system and that she might want to require the club to use those if not using the stock three points. We kept trying to tell her that we all knew that 6 points with a rollbar/cage was better, but the real question was if the 4 points were better than the stock 3 points. Joe Marco of HMS motorsport was there and we all talked to him. It was a bit strange since we asked him if he knew of any concrete incidents where a car rolled and the occupants were wearing a 4 point setup. He said he didn't have concrete proof; however, a few hours later when we stopped by the trailer, he showed us some pics and sure enough, there was a car that rolled so bad, it was flat from hoodline to trunklid. The occupants were wearing the 4 points and survived. He said that if three points were worn, most likely the occupants' heads would have rolled out the window when the roof came down. We went back to the chair of the other chapter and she was still unsure....and yet still confused over making a distinction between 3 point/4 point and 3 point/6 or 7 point. Very difficult to reason with her...
 

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All the tracks in SoCal allow convertibles with factory rollover protection, like Boxsters, S2000s, Z4s, etc. I'm talking Willow Springs, Buttonwillow and Spring Mtn. (northwest Nevada).
 

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If you were going to track your Elise than why didn't you purchase the hardtop. If you show up to the track with the hardtop on they cannot argue that it's a convertible.

BTW I have been doing BMW CCA schools up at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen since 1993. I drove my vette up at the Glen from '93 to '95 and the Genesse Valley Chap. of BMW CCA never once gave me a hard time. The vette is a targa just like the Elise and as long as you show up to the track with the hard top on they cannot give you a problem.

Mitch
 

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Discussion Starter #14
GVC has been pretty lethargic in responding to me whether or not they would allow the Elise. The way most clubs have viewed it, the hardtop wouldn't be structural so it wouldn't offer any additional protection.

http://www.gvc-bmwcca.org/watkinsglen/faq.asp

"We are no longer accepting convertibles - this is primarily due to the fact that we can't find instructors who are willing to ride in them."

I think things have changed a lot over the past few years and everyone is getting skittish with insurance claims, etc.
 

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I guess I dont understand why someone would sell their whole car instead of buying a hardtop.

Looks like steadicam is already willing to buy it though? :(
 

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The key thing most track groups are looking for (except BMWCCA) is a rollbar with "substantial rearward bracing" -- which the Elise has. Show them a photo of the chassis with integral rollbar. They don't want full convertibles with "cosmetic" rollbars which don't offer any real rollover protection. Targa style cars such as Corvettes, Porsches, NSX-T's, etc. are not given a hard time at most track events.
 

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>>rollbar with "substantial rearward bracing" -- which the Elise has. Show them a photo of the chassis with integral rollbar.. <<

You can also personally show them the rearward diagonal braces for the rollbar as they are easily visible from the engine compartment when you raise the lid. You can see most of the tubing, and you can see where it solidly attaches to the frame. That should help out.

 

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The BMWCCA does not dictate the policy at a national level it is up to local chapters to decide about targas, convertables and removable hard tops. The Peachtree chapter allows removable hard tops. I have been told by the event co-chair that the Elise with the hard top will be allowed at Peachtree chapter track days. I run my Caterham 7 at Panoz track days at Road Atlanta with no issue.
 
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