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Discussion Starter #1
I was just checking prices today. You can snag a 1998 Viper GTS w/ under 20k miles for just over $40k. It's safe to say that by the time the Elise arrives, it can be had for less.

Am I foolish for rethinking on the Lotus? I mean, I've never driven a Viper, but the GTS has been one of "those cars" for at least as long as the Elise. The only difference is that I hadn't considered being able to afford one this soon. Now that I've seen what they're going for, I'm shocked. I don't know what to do!

Can anyone tell me the advantages and disadvantages of each car and compare them (as best you can) to eachother so I can make a more educated decision?

Thanks :)
 

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I guess a lot of people are on lease and can't keep up the payments. I read an article somewhere saying that about 60% of new Vette are repo-ed within the first 12 months.
 

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Transio,

You are not foolish into looking at other cars. $40k is alot to spend on a toy.... at least for me, that is..... I NEVER spent more than 8 grand for a car in my life! And That was a race car! I too have looked into used Vipers. I've also looked into S2000's, Z06's, 550 Spyder Replicas. You need to exhaust every possible options and see what you come up with. I keep coming back to the Elise.

There was an article a while back in Road & Track that looked into the used Viper market.... what years to get, what to look out for and maintenance costs. You should try to find it if you get serious. The main issue with a Viper is that its an exotic. You can't look at it as an American Sports car.... Its very expensive to maintenance. I don't quite remember the costs for sure but I think an alignment, for example, runs about $700!

Thats why you always see Vipers with low miles. Its more in the realm of Ferarri than Dodge, when it comes to maintenance.

Keep looking at other cars. That way when you finally make up your mind, you'll have peace of mind!


Jose Soriano
 

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I have also contemplated a 96-99 Viper GTS instead of the Elise as my first high end sports car. Since the list for new elises is really long and my parents will not let me spend my money on a deposit until I am out of college and actually start a job (this is my last semester i graduate in may). I will most likely get a viper this fall and wait for elises to come down in price used and pick one up in a few years.

I have always realized that buying used is a better deal in the long run IF you plan to work on it yourself. Amahoser is right that taking a Viper to a shop for things will cost a good amount the folks over at the viper forums call that viper tax. But, they are not prohibtively hard to work on or require special tools the way a ferrari or lambo would. Many people that own them do basic maintenance and even sc kits and bolt ons themselves.

Not trying to say anything negative about ordering a new elise just thought i would present the other viewpoint.

And my decision would be to get both eventually as they are so different but both so magnificent and will attract attention if that is your thing.
 

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I have read these Elise alternative threads with more than normal interest. I've always felt that the Elise (and Lotuses in general) were somewhat like cult cars. They do not really have broad ownership appeal (as opposed to casual appeal, where someone says "that car is cool!") Few people would want to put up with the limitations that Lotus ownership entails.

To me, the Viper, and a lesser extent, the Z06, are as far removed from the Elise as sports cars can be. They are large and powerful cars, whereas the Elise is light and compact. The driving experiences by all accounts are quite different.

Most driving reviews always comment on the bulk and size of these cars. They of course are praised for their handling, but in the driver's comments they usually mention that the cars seem big and wish they were a size or two smaller.

For curb appeal (or as Car and Driver would put it, "Gotta have it factor") the Viper (especially GTS) even now seems like it would be at least the equal of the Elise, with the newness of the Elise maybe being the only factor in in potentially attracting more attention.

On the road, I think a driver will be able to enjoy the handling of the Elise more due to the smaller size and lighter weight. But it won't be nearly as fun at stoplights, I would guess.

In terms of refinement, I'm guessing (since I have not driven any Elise before!) that there will be little to choose from. The Viper is pretty loud and has a firm ride. It seems like it's a bit more plush inside, and I think it has a lot more luxury features. I'd expect the Elise to have a much better ride (with normal suspension) but not be much better from an NVH standpoint.

I don't know how long the Viper's warranty lasts, but they could be out of warranty by now (something to check.) The Elise will at least have a warranty, though I would not exactly trumpet reliability as a Lotus selling point...

So for me, these cars do not compete. I could see being torn between a Viper and Z06 - these seem to be more natural competitors. But I would have to say that if a person were really torn between a Z06/Viper and an Elise, then the decision is already made - get the Viper. Or the Z06.

I think the other threads comparing S2000 and Elise are a tighter call. Then you look at the details. Someone is concerned about reliability? Interior appointments? Build quality? If those are the concerns, then again the choice is made.

While I hope the Elise is good in all those areas, there's no way that I, as a prospective Lotus owner, have any illusions about the Elise being a standout in any of those areas. If it's a lemon or a turkey, I'll be pretty unhappy. That is true. But if it is average, or even if a few things fall off on the interior, I will not be shocked.

I do expect the Elise to offer sparkling, enjoyable handling - not just big numbers and fast lap times, but an experience that is exhilarating and most of all fun. I expect it to respond precisely and instantly, and give me what I think is a "pure" driving experience. If the Elise is not that, then I'll be disappointed.

So, while I can't really discern transio's true desires in a sports car, I'm going to guess (and it's only a guess, for discussion's sake) that you would not be ultimately happy with the Elise, especially if you're now ranking used cars against it.



DLY
 

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DLY,
The last paragraph speaks volumes I think. There are those however, that don't know what they want till they've tasted it.

Therefore...

Transio,
You have to go out and drive a Viper and tell us what you think. Comparing the two shows that you like a variety of different cars and aren't quite sure which philosophy you like best. You'll know whether you like it or hate it right away. Haven't driven one myself, but most people that I trust that have seem to think it's a pile of a car for a variety of reasons.
 

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James Bond never drove a Dodge did he? :p

Ok, I admit for one fleeting moment I looked at a very nice gunmetal grey Viper on ebay. Then I quietly clicked off the page and forgot about it.

The Viper owners I know got them because they're flashy and they crave attention. The cars are always rattling, falling apart or breaking. Several guys have very fast vipers, in fact a local guy has one ( twin turbo) that apparently broke some speed records recently. I see him and his car often, but it still doesnt do much for me. Of course teenagers wet themselves when they see a Viper and I admit I've been known to take a long look at them as they pass by usually sizing them up to see if I see a front mount or signs of serious forced induction..if not I'll race em in my miata! :) but it stops there.

As far as looks go the Elise is beautiful and exotic. The pictures of the Elise dont do it justice. In person, the low slung exotic looks are simply awesome. Viper? Meh. The Elise Handles like a race car on par with $600,000 Ferrari's. Power/torque? Ok, the Elise loses that one. BUT the Elise is much lighter then the Viper will ever be and quicker than most cars on the road AND the best part? The elise can be modded to make more power should you want to go FAST. In my book the Elise wins.
 

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Also, if you're really serious, the other Elise buyer near me in Lexington Kentucky owns two Viper GTS's. I think he's driven a few Lotus's and could give you an idea of comparison.

The fact remains, he has a Viper and he's ordered a Lotus...and looking forward to it eagerly.
 

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Just think about that name... "VIPER" ?
That doesn't sound very pleasant does it:confused:

What happens when a Viper bites you?
I've seen Elise wreaks and Viper wreaks and I can tell you the Viper looks less survivable to me.

 

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I owned GTS for two years and loved it. If you want facts on ownership check out the viper club forum at www.viperclub.org. In summary, it was one of the most exciting and fun cars I have ever owned. It was fast on the track (faster than the Elise will be by far, in the hands of a good driver, faster than my Exige when it was 190hp and stock), on the street it's a really fun car. It just feels like you cannot break it no mater what you do.

I loved mine and would still have it if there was a dealership network that could work on them. In Atlanta, I had some issues with finding a good Viper tech that ended when a dealer wrecked mine. The only problems I had with mine were minor warranty issues (window not closing correctly, rattles, etc). The only major problem I had was a front brake problem due to tracking the car. If you plan on tracking, you need to do some work to cool the front brakes or you can crack the calipers (I cracked the calipers and pads...:).

They are really great cars and contrary to popular belief, they do well in a straight line and in the corners:)

Roy
 

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I would definitely consider a Viper. But it's a completely different kind of car, and my motivations for purchase would be different. For me, potential deal-breakers are cost of maintenance, and the fact that I am not yet a good enough driver to take advantage of the Viper's silly power. I know it's been refined over the years, but it's supposed to be an unaplogetic beast, and getting the power down without oversteer is a learning process. I certainly know from driving instructors that it is not a forgiving car, or "a car that'll make you a hero" like my M3 for example.

That said, the Elise's repair/maintenance issues worry me too. I have worries that a simple bumper tap will put my car in the shop for repairs for weeks at a time.
 

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New hood on the viper is in the 10k dollar range. Engine is outrageous. Power is phenominal though, and what cant be solved by adding more power to the situation? :)

I have known people who have or had vipers. They all loved the car, except for one person. The car is loud, it attracts attention, and goes through tires like a sumo wrestler eating at an all you can eat sushi buffet. All round wonderful, but I did say there was one person who didn't like it, and he was the racer of the crew.

On the track it is incredibly fast, power everywhere. That is also its downfall for us mortals. It has so much power that if the elise is a knife edge, the viper is a very very sharp razorblade. It can go around the track at a speed you wouldnt think possible, but if you don't treat it absolutely perfectly, it will bite you harder than you can believe.

IMO if you are inexperienced, the viper is the WRONG car to learn on. True, you can extract more speed out of it, but at the same time the bodywork damage will extract a hell of a lot out of you.

Scot
(Lightweight mid-engined cars are sublime on the track btw)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
etypeiii[/i] [B]So said:
Also, if you're really serious, the other Elise buyer near me in Lexington Kentucky owns two Viper GTS's. I think he's driven a few Lotus's and could give you an idea of comparison.
Awesome... I'd love to hear what he has to say about each!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Vantage said:
You have to go out and drive a Viper and tell us what you think. Comparing the two shows that you like a variety of different cars and aren't quite sure which philosophy you like best.
The bottom line is this... I'm frustrated as **** already. I'm tired of dealer games and I just can't see paying over 50k for an Elise w/ hard top, touring pack, and sports pack and then going aftermarket and spending another 5k to tune it to my liking. That's just insane!

So anyway, I got my deposit back from Prestige today. I still have my deposit with PB Motorcars, but that Elise shouldn't arrive for another year or so. Gives me plenty of time to think about things and see how the market goes.

That's all. The Viper question is still up in the air. I guess I'll wait until June when I'm going to turn in my Honda and decide then.

Thanks for the input, everyone!
 

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I don't think you could go wrong buying a Viper. When you see one on the street, it's a real head turner, and parked in front of a restaurant, it gets as much attention as an Elise will, in my opinion. But as others have said, it's a much different car than the Elise.

If you can get a used Viper for $40K, that's basically the same price as the base price on the Elise. However, I've never seen one that cheap. My wife wants one and I cruised around on the internet a few months ago, and the cheapest ones that I saw in good condition were at least $50K.

As far as maintenance goes, I don't believe that the Elise is going to be cheap to maintain, so that might be a wash. My wife has a 560 SL and it's not cheap to service; just part of the deal if you want to own certain cars.

I always prefer to own a new car vs buying a used car, because you never know what's happened with the previous owner in the latter case. However, we bought a low mileage 1988 560 SL that was three years old because it cost about half what it would have when new (and still wasn't cheap), and that turned out ok.

Tough choice. As much as I want this car, Lotus is one price increase away from losing me as a customer. And the issues with Symbolic are not making me a happy camper.
 
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