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JohnnyQuest said:
... but the Elise reminded me of my Triumphs, except that the fit and finish of the Triumphs was a notch or two above that of the Elise. My 17-year old Alfa GTV6 was immensely better in production quality.
You're kidding right? :rolleyes:
 

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Had a 97 748, bought a 99 996S and couldn't believe the improvement in build quality!

I think the average person will be quite happy with the build of the US Elise. But as said by many it'll never be to the level of Merc or Porsche.

It's tough too, because many of us have had such a tremendously long wait (2 years + for me) and people tend to build up the elise to mythic proportions!!!
Chris:) :)
 

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Re: Re: The secret to happiness

babak said:
This reminds of the Ducaties of old, all through 80's. Handbuilt (still are) and quirky and crappy as hell. But as production proceeded it got much better. Duck's are still handmade, still quirky but a serious blast to ride.
Chris (zvezdah1) has good points about the build quality improving, perhaps that is simply a function of the maturity of the production line. However, it's still a handbuilt car. Built to be driven.
Good comparison. I sold my CBR900RR to buy a Ducati 998S. I wanted the ultimate in sportbikes. The Honda was a great bike and had more performance capability than I could ever realistically hope to use. The Ducati is wilder, sexier, and more raw and I like it better because I don't ride everyday or even all that often. When I take the Ducati out, it's a rare event and I am in the mood to harness the wild & uncomfortable bike. If I wanted to use the bike more often or if I wanted to ride in traffic, etc., I would have been far better off keeping the CBR900RR.

I think I'd want to use the Lotus a lot more than I use the Ducati. I want to drive it a couple times a week. I want to be able to rely on it. And rattles drive me crazy too. I think this thread has put me over the top and helped me to decide that I don't need the Ducati of sports cars. I can be fulfilled with the CBR900RR of sports cars. I'll be buying a new S2000. It also has more performance capability than I could hope to fully use -- & it'll be a lot easier to live with.

But if I didn't have the Ducati in my life, I'd opt for the Elise. Even though one has 2 wheels and one has 4 wheels, they seem a little too redundant for my needs. Your needs may be a lot different.
 

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The quality seems to vary from one car to another. I saw 2 euro cars and drove one of them. Both had excellent fit and finish and the one I drove was built like a tank, with no rattles at all, even over some very rough roads.
Quality can mean several things to different people. Quality falls into 2 catagories: Consistant quality or high performance design

The japanese are masters of consistant quality. They roll all their cars off the assemble line like Mcdonald's does with their big macs. They all have panels that fit together perfectly and a very low number of defects per vehicle.

European manufacturers are all about "high performance design": superior features, close tolerance, and greater durability (best paint, best leather, best materials)

If you read european car magazines, you'll see that a car like the Honda S2000, which gets good reviews in the USA, only got lukewarm reviews in europe. The S2000 turned out to be a real handful on winding, bumpy european roads. Lots of journalists found the rear end of the car breaking loose, with little warning, and heading for the hedges. In the USA, where all our roads are straight, it probably scored huge points for it's consistant build quality, where all the panels line up perfectly.

The Lotus is a great example of "high performance design": Extremely precise steering, and road manners that feel like almighty himself did the chassis tuning. You also get a lot of exotic materials, like a bonded and riveted aluminum chassis and lightweight fiberglass bodywork. There are also innovative features such as a a replaceable front crash structure.

The Lotus is a very high quality vehicle if you define quality by having a "high performance design". If quality, to you, means a bunch of look alike cars rolling off the assembly line that sacrifice passion for perfection, then the elise falls short.

I think, for 40K, you can have one form of quality or another, but not both. If you want both, prepare to spend at least twice as much money
 

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Joetz said:
The quality seems to vary from one car to another. I saw 2 euro cars and drove one of them. Both had excellent fit and finish and the one I drove was built like a tank, with no rattles at all, even over some very rough roads.
Quality can mean several things to different people. Quality falls into 2 catagories: Consistant quality or high performance design

The japanese are masters of consistant quality. They roll all their cars off the assemble line like Mcdonald's does with their big macs. They all have panels that fit together perfectly and a very low number of defects per vehicle.

European manufacturers are all about "high performance design": superior features, close tolerance, and greater durability (best paint, best leather, best materials)

If you read european car magazines, you'll see that a car like the Honda S2000, which gets good reviews in the USA, only got lukewarm reviews in europe. The S2000 turned out to be a real handful on winding, bumpy european roads. Lots of journalists found the rear end of the car breaking loose, with little warning, and heading for the hedges. In the USA, where all our roads are straight, it probably scored huge points for it's consistant build quality, where all the panels line up perfectly.

The Lotus is a great example of "high performance design": Extremely precise steering, and road manners that feel like almighty himself did the chassis tuning. You also get a lot of exotic materials, like a bonded and riveted aluminum chassis and lightweight fiberglass bodywork. There are also innovative features such as a a replaceable front crash structure.

The Lotus is a very high quality vehicle if you define quality by having a "high performance design". If quality, to you, means a bunch of look alike cars rolling off the assembly line that sacrifice passion for perfection, then the elise falls short.

I think, for 40K, you can have one form of quality or another, but not both. If you want both, prepare to spend at least twice as much money
I agree with everything you said. I still have concerns about "the high quality materials" falling off the car or rattling around. The design is high quality for sure, but the execution needs to be there too.

As for the S2000: The new '04 car has addressed the snap oversteer issue and the car is now also better planted over bumps mid-turn. But it's Japanese and it's not going to appeal to everyone. It is what it is.

As has been the case since last year -- we'll just have to wait and see what shows up in May/June. I just hope that people can review the early U.S. cars objectively.
 

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JohnnyQuest said:
I’m an absolute nut for details (misalignments and rattles drive me crazy),
Then you probably do *not* want an Elise.

Just the fact that many parts on the body can never be made to vey close tolerances (the fiberglass clams are always a little different from each other) means that a lot of other parts need larger tolerances and 'not so close' fitting to make it work.

Also, to save weight Lotus tends to go for the bare minimum when it comes to fasteners and panels. If 3 will keep it in place (albeit a bit rattly) they won't fit 6.

'But that only adds a few ounces!' I hear you say. True, but do this all over the car and hey presto.. here comes 3000lbs!

The gaskets of the headlights and turn signals were not entirely flush against the body.
Correct. And you'll understand why when you pop out an indicator or remove the headlight cover (yes.. to replace a bulb you need to take it off). The 'holes' in the clam are not very uniform.

All of the black finned pieces (front, side, and back) were askew and they looked so flimsy that I’m sure they could be snapped with one’s fingers.
MOst are fitted with just some mastic or one or 2 bolts. It's pretty durable stuff, but don't stress it too much.

Oh.. And it will probably turn grey in the sun..

If you run over a rabbit, the front louvers will be destroyed.
Hit a rabbit at speed and you will actually probably need either some significant fibreglass repair or a new clam. Fibreglass on the Elise is only about 2mm thick. (excluding enigne cover, which is thicker)

The louvres are the least of your problem..

The doors were not square with the body.
Again. Known issue with all fibreglass body cars. Also LOTUS are usually not too good at doing 'doors'. Watch the 'project-111' video and see how worried they were that the original Elise had to get doors to pass type approval.

The dash material is very cheep looking and curls up a bit at the joints.
This is probably a prototype issue, but... On early S2s there were loads of problems with the dash covers bubbling or coming loose.

So not such a surprise..

The plastic shift shroud (from the photos, I thought it was aluminum) looks like it's made of the same gage plastic used to make soda bottles. The thing is fixed by two small exposed Philips head screws, and the whole piece flops around when the shifter is moved.
Yup.. It's completely non-structural, so made as simple and light as possible. So it flexes.. Who cares?

Have you tried tapping on the floor under the seats? No solid 'thunk', but a sheet-aluminium 'doingggggg' sound.

The engine louvers are only glued in place. They were loose on the show car and glue was visible.
Expect visible fastening methods all through the car. Glue, rivets, screw heads, bolts. None are 'covered up'.

The leading edge of the soft top did not seal tightly against the corners of the windshield frame.
Because it's not designed to...

The soft top is basically to provide 'temporary protection from bad weather'.. Aka.. It does it's job, but it isn't designed to be 'pretty'.

The gas cap looked like it was fabricated in one’s basement with hand tools: the edges are rough and it flops around.
IMHO prototype issue. Euro cars don't have this flap thing (even the 111R), but use a motorbike style locking cap.

The car literally gave me the impression that pieces would fall off at 50 mph and the whole car would come apart at 150.
And that's where you may be surprised.. It's a noisy, rattly car, but most just keep going without problems.

Some LOTUS screw-ups here and there though, but that's pretty normal :)

What really amazes me is that no one has mentioned this. Even the road testers have ignored this.
Drive it. You will either 'get it' and love the car with all it's faults or you will hate it and can never understand why people buy it.

If you're shocked about this car.. How would you react to the original S1 I wonder... And those are pretty much the most fanatical owners, but they have to be!

Bye, Arno.
 

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We must not forget all these cars floating around the auto show circuits are show cars not production cars. If you find a screw loose here or there it's not a real big deal. I however feel that the real production cars will have a nice fit and finish when we all take delivery of them. I am not expecting a Bentley when it comes to fit and finish, but for $47,000 I am not expecting a hugo either:p

Best Wishes,
Mitch
 

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Having just sat in the RG Elise down in St. Pete, Here is my $.02

After reading about this car for months on end now, I had some expectations of the elise. I thought it would be as small as a Euro Mini, only super low to the ground and short. I was way wrong about that one. Also, I thought it would feel like it was made of sheet metal. I thought it would feel as if you poked it with your finger a little too hard, it would snap.

I can say, I was proven very wrong. The doors weighed about 10X what I thought they were going to. The interior is actually quite nice. Not up to lexus standards, but it completely and utterly destroys the interior of a 350Z. I loved it. When I sat down in the elise, I thought it must weigh much more than everyone was talking about. It felt solid and incredibly rigid. The seats were paper thin, but somehow were as or even more comfy than the seats in my Z. Legroom - plenty. Pedals were a little small, but not cheap. I felt that the exterior of the car was pretty stiff. A lot more rigid than that of the bumpers on the Z which are very thin plastic.

The doors shut with an almost airtight sounding thunk. Sometimes they were a little "clangy" sounding if you didnt shut them hard enough, or too hard.

Here is the real kicker though. After comparing this car to the immediate surrounding cars - 2 360 spyders, an enzo, and a gallardo - I cannot believe this car is only 40k. 200k for a gallardo, and 600k for an Enzo... Now try to justify the price tag on those things! If you get what you pay for, those cars fall waaay short of the elise. Pictures do not do this car justice. It is a beautifully crafted piece of machinery, that is for sure. I can only hope it drives as well as it looks - and from what I hear, I won't be disappointed.

-Whit
 

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I looked over the Euro elise I test drove and it seemed pretty good to me. Granted it isn't a Honda, but the fit and finish wasn't bad at all. I'm not too concerned with the little things. As long as the car is reliable in terms of starting and performing, rattles and slight misalignments don't bother me. My viper isn't perfect, and I don't expect it to be. I figure the lotus will be close, although I don't have much faith in terms of Lotus reliability. However, the elise is a relatively simple car, so I hope reliability won't be an issue. Also, Lotus knows Americans are going to demand a higher quality car than the past Elises. So, I am confident that ours will be the best model made.
 

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zcar222 said:

200k for a gallardo, and 600k for an Enzo... Now try to justify the price tag on those things! If you get what you pay for, those cars fall waaay short of the elise.
Lets not get carried away now ;)
 

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Well put Arno, dirve it, you'll either get for what it is or you'll be out of there. My Europa was a drive it 10 hours work on it 5 kind of car, yea I did a lot of modification to it, but I loved the car. Working on it was part of the fun. I built my Seven from a kit, I loved every second of the build. And now I am the OEM service for that car, I love it. I will enjoy working on the Elise whatever that entails. If something falls off or rattles, I'll fix it so it doesn't happen again.
Like I stated earler relaibility will be an upside for me, if I don't have anything to fix, I'll start modifing the car!
To paraphrase President Clinton "It's the handling stupid" (PLEASE note I am NOT calling anyone on this board stupid the paraphrase just seemed right!):D
 

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Hmm just like I think I could convince Cindy Crawford to lay off the Taco Bell, I think I could live with my Elise's downfalls.

I guess it goes w/o saying if you do get an Elise you should opt for the touring pack with more sound insulation, allegedly less rattly windows and definitely stay away from the LSS.
 

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I agree with Arno. I've had my S1 for 4 + years, tracked it, driven it all over Europe (read cobble-stones), and driven it hard. Nothing has fallen off, nothing has broken (that I didn't break !). Few rattles ? Sure, but you can't hear them over the exhaust anyway :D I am sure the build quality of the car you saw was not normal, and I know the Fed Elise quality is better than mine, so either you will forgive the Lotus foibles because it will give you so much more in return.........or the Elise is not for you.
I hope it is the former for you. Giles.
 

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I really like to hear from the folks like Arno and Giles that actually have experience driving and owning these cars, to help put things in perspective.

Comparing the build as being worse than a Tr-6, I'm speechless, having helped to restore one and also owning a spitfire, it's really laughable, my old 74 Europa was head and shoulders above the Triumphs in build quality! We all know how great the Alfas are, nuff said there ;)




Chris
 

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Why fiberglass? Is it lighter than poly? Or was it done for cost reasons? With no bumpers, they should have at least made the panels poly.
 
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