I'm not tired enough tonight so I had these thoughts I wanted to share with all of you. After months of the discussions about wether the Elise is worth +/- 45K and wether the Noble is a better car or not and now the new C6 I came up with a few thoughts about the Elise to keep the discussion going some more:
First to get things out of the way: All cars have their strenghts and weaknesses, no vehicle on earth can be everything to everyone so lets not argue about that and all three vehicles mentioned above are awesome cars and there is no argument about that.
So here is my thinking on the Elise and its virtues, once again, It is a Go-kart for the street. It is light, nimble and sooo sexy! It is refined while at the same time being stripped to the bare minimums ( probably a contradiction but I hope it makes sense to somebody out there, people see a cool looking car and interior).
Light weight costs a lot of money! Could Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, GM, Ford, Etc build a light weight car? yes they could but they realize the major costs involved in producing such a car and the price it would have to be sold at to turn a profit and realize that these would be very low production models selling for high prices (when compared to their full weight brothers) and they choose not to get into it.
Think of the Ferrari Challenge Sttradale versus a normal F-360, same car, same engine, lighter weight stripped down and it costs a whole lot more, not less than the regular model. Look at a Porsche GT2 compared to a normal Porsche Carrera Turbo, just about same car minus several systems such as stability management etc and it costs a whole lot more. Yes I know the cars get some different systems etc but not as much as the difference in price paid for the lighter weight models. Look at any version of Porsche in the past such as the RS models and they all cost more than their full weight brothers.
As further proof of the cost of low weight look at how much money people spend to buy a car than mod it by removing every conceivable thing they can out of their cars to make them lighter. There is a cost to removing stuff such as carpets, interior, insulation, speakers, etc and adding Carbon Fiber hoods and lighter windshields, etc and they get a car that looks like it has been left in the worst part of town and they broke into it and stole the interior
, now most nutcases in here see beauty in that and so do I because we understand the reason for doing it and we get our little Elise that already comes stripped and built with light weight panels all around and light weight chassis that you can never duplicate on a regular car and the interior looks great!. The Noble is the same in that respect, and it costs a lot of money as well and yes it is faster thanks to its more powerfull engine. The New C6 is also the same in the GM way of thinking, why is the Corvette made of Fiberglass instead of sheet metal like all other cars in the GM lineup? because its lighter!
Now here is where I may be mudding the waters again but here it goes. The Elise is also an exotic but at a cost that middle Americans can afford, I think this is something highly desirable, can't put a dollar value to it, its an intagible but it adds value to the car IMO. The brand has a Heritage, a history associated with motorsports and that also has an intangible value to it. People all over the world are willing to pay more for certain brands and models because of their association with their particular form of competition, think of Air Jordans sneakers and Tiger Woods Nike clubs, etc, etc. teh elise has some of the same.
So to sum up and get some more interesting discussion from some you fine Elise waiters, owners and lurkers: Yes the Elise costs a fair amount more than something like an RX-8 (1.5 times as much probably) and the performance isn't 1.5 times faster around a track but as I see it there is a reason for the extra cost that comes from Lotus' efforts to give us a car that is light weight, handles like its on rails, its exclusive, rare and has a heritage and prestige to go along with the package. Lotus realizes a vehicle like this will never be for the masses and they will never sell 100,000 copies of it in a year or probably even the entire production run of the vehicle for the whole world but they still do it and we are lucky enough to get one if we want to (and can stand the wait!). A more powerfull engine in a car is a relativelly easier goal to reach but lower weight and better handling are much harder and expensive objectives to aim at and the Elise has them both covered in spades!
All Comments are welcome!