My Elise:A Diary of Ownership Over the Years
(The dates are links to pages with explanation and pictures. Please let me know if this was not clear and you needed this pointer to read more. I use the blue without the underline to indicate links and wonder if this is confusing.)
September 2007I sell my Elise and order a replacement.
May 2007My daughter and I co-drive the Elise at the Duel at Deanza, a local autocross.
March 2007The shifter frame is reinforced and new speakers installed.
January 2007New brake pads and a trip to Laguna Seca.
December 2006New Rota wheels and Toyo RA-1 tires, and a visit to Thunderhill Raceway
October 2006I take another trip to Washington State and move the key fob electonics to a key.
August 2006I autocross with the top off.
July 2006I attend the car gathering at Santana Row and muse about what constitutes an exotic car.
May 2006I document some of my modifications. My daughter enters the Duel at Deanza autocross and gets first place in her class.
April 2006I take apart the dash, looking at more Lotus engineering. I also polish the shift knob.
March 2006I install a TurboXS Intake, watch an Exige be delivered and try to slow down.
February 2006I write an article about how to shift the Elise.
January 2006I replace the steering wheel with a 111R wheel. I get a sewing of an Elise from my son.
December 2005My daughter, Elisa, learns to drive the Elise at an autocross. I finally get to drive the Elise at Laguna Seca.
November 2005I perform yet another oil change and document the proceedure for other new Elise owners.
September 2005One year anniversary! I celebrate by taking another 2000 mile trip to Washington State and have to replace the second set of rear tires.
July 2005I remove the front clam, protect the oil coolers with wire mesh, and put in a new air horn. I instruct at an autocross intended for new Elise owners.
May 2005I enter a local autocross. I remove the rear grilles.
March 2005My wife and I travel 1000 miles to see the opening concert for the band, U2.
January 2005I replace the steering wheel with a Lotus wheel from an original S2 and my son makes a great Lotus theme present.
October 2004I drive to Washington State along the coast and return. Lots of rain, some nice backroads along the Cascades, Hood Canal and the Olympic Penninsula. I take lots of pictures and have lunch at the Three Crabs.
September 2004I get my car! The drive home along the Pacific Coast of California. My wife takes it for a drive and is gone over an hour! I spin in the first turn of my first autocross in the Elise.
April 2003 to
August 2004The Federal Elise is committed to by Lotus, manufacturing starts, the car appears at the LA Autoshow, and the first car is delivered. I get to interview Roger Becker and Nick Adams.
1996 - 2003
March 2003The car is introduced in Europe. The company changes owners several times, the car continues to evolve, and the Series 2 is introduced. While plans to introduce the Elise in the United States are frequenly implied, no action occurs
Where I started:
Where I am now:
What I like about the car
- It corners! It communicates with you and tells you exactly what is happening.
- It brakes!
- It accelerates!
- It is small.
- You sit close to the center of the car so that all corners are visible. It helps integrate you into the car, making it an extension of your own self.
- The controls fall readily to hand. The steering wheel, various ancillary controls, and the shift lever are all close and required little extra motion to manipulate. The 111R steering wheel is even better than the Federal wheel with the air bag.
- The seats provide exceptional support and have very little padding. I use my body and my derierre to help sense what the car is doing. Exceptional support, both side-to-side and front-to-back, help move my body the same direction the car is moving. The minmial padding provides a direct link from the car to my body and helps give me a direction impression of where the car is going and its response to my commands.
- (more to come)
What I would change
- No styling comments are included. It is what it is and I generally like it. Steve Crijns and I had a discussion about the apparance of a car and he softly corrected me. The car catches the attention of a very diverse audience, even people that previously never noticed my NSX or Super Seven.
- Put a logo on the key. Put the immobilizer in the key. I prefer to carry only the bare necessities in my pocket. Right now I am carrying the key, the immobilizer and a logo plate in my pocket.
- Gauges need a lot of work. The temperature is too small and there is not enough contrast. I cannot read it under normal lighting conditions. The tach and speedometer lighting at night is poor. Rather than lighting the background as is the current fad, the numerals should be lit. Adjusting the eye from the light of the road to the gauges should be minimal. I want oil temperature and pressure. I like the lack of color and do not like the red and now blue fads.
- The start button is an after thought by marketing. Make it a real button by having the car recognize your arrival, unlock and arm the engine. The car can sense the key fob and unlock and disarm the car. Then just enter the car and press start. Or let the third ignition key position start the car like normal. Why do I have to use two hands to start the car? The edges of the start button bezel are sharp.
- Head lights are poorly aimed upon delivery. Not a big problem as they can be carefully aimed and once pointed down the road, do an excellent job of lighting. There are many who claim the lights do not work well but I suggest this is an aiming problem.
- The sun visors are poorly implemented. I removed them.
- The seat was too low for my body type. I raised it.
Trivia: The thumbnail in the index is a picture of my very pregnant wife leaning on the hood of our NSX, along the meca of all drivers, Highway One in California. At the time, we suddenly realized we would soon be three and could not fit in the car!