Diary September 2007


Preparing for the Sale

I really do not know why but I started listening to the rumors about the new Lotus versions of the 111 series.  There was a new Exige expected and there were persistent rumors of a super charged model.  I thought the new models would be announced in the fall and so I decided to sell my Elise and buy a new one. I wanted to sell my Elise before the new models were announced, as waiting might increase the depreciation. 

I started to return my car to stock, thinking it might be easier to sell.  I will be the first one to admit that many of my modifications are a bit odd.  I was surprised at how much effort was required to make my car normal again:

  • installed original wheels and new tires
  • replaced the original steering wheel with air bag
  • lowered the seat back to the original height
  • removed fire extinguisher
  • installed original plastic grilles and ordered replacements for the missing ones
  • ordered a replacement rear view mirror with the conversion kit
  • gathered all the old parts that I previously removed

I did not install the original horn as it was too difficult to reach and figured the new owner might appreciate the safety factor.

side of elise

The Sale

I advertised the car in EliseTalk and on Craigs List.  I did not expect to sell it either place and was pleasantly surprised when a couple of people were interested.  One fellow was very diligent in his research, brought along a friend as an objective observer, and came to look at the car many times.  We grew to be friends.  He eventually bought the car.  When he comes over now to talk about the car, to pick up the last bits of grille or other forgotten items, I refer to him bringing "my car.'  It is very strange to see it drive up and realize it is no longer mine.  I still miss it from time to time.

Ordering the Replacement

I tried to order the new car in all the right places and found that Lotus was not accepting orders.  It was very frustrating to not be able to get started.  Lotus sales in the UK suggested I should be able to order one and tried to help me.  Lotus was producing the 2008 cars, so I suggested they should produce one to fit my specifications.  Once it got here, I would be happy to buy it!  As before, the odd part about my specification was the lack of Touring Package.

I created a thread on EliseTalk, now LotusTalk, chronicling my progress.

Just ordered an Exige S 240

November 6, 2007

I just ordered a 2008 Exige S 240! I am so excited.

I have been without my Elise for a couple of months now and am suffering withdrawals. I want a Lotus in my garage again! It has been agony awaiting even the ability to order a replacement, let alone get it. For a while it looked like it might be next year before the new ones would be announced.

Most dealers have price lists and can order cars. I also understand shipments of generic new 2008 cars will be arriving shortly. Perhaps more information will come at the LA Auto Show next week?

My car:

  • Exige S 240
  • Storm Titanium (I wanted something different but did not like the alternatives.)
  • Track Pack (This is just adjustable shocks as the other goodies comes standard on the 240)
  • Limited Slip Differential (Yes, I know, I was the one saying it has a down side.)

Notice there is no touring package or StarShield ordered. (Yes, I know, you would never order a car without StarShield. My Elise did not have it and it looked better without it, personal opinion.)

I want to thank Paul Gaudette (636-577-5859) at Mid-River Lotus. He made me an great(!) deal. Now I have to wait for it to arrive. At least it will not be like 2004, when it took nine months to get here. (Paul can arrange shipping since they have access to a transport company, so do not let his location discourage you.)

There will be another Lotus at the Sands Mechanical Museum! Can you tell how happy I am?

(Since I ordered the car before the official November 15 announcement, many people wanted to know the price and features of the car.  There was also a management change at Lotus Cars USA and this explained the inability to order a car until now.  Arnie was back!)

My car was built on December 1, 2007!

January 5, 2008

I keep my notes in a Harry Potter lab notebook and came across a bunch of information about the Elise USA introduction. I interviewed Nick Adams, Tony Shute, Roger Becker, and Steve Crijns at the LA Autoshow. I even have chassis drawings by Roger and autographs! We sure have come a long ways!

According to Paul, the list price of my car is:

  • Exige S 240 $64,890
    • transportation $925
    • metallic paint $590
    • Track Pack $1,650
    • LSD $1,790
  • total $69,845

Paul has to add a $145 charge for new car documentation for the government.

However, I want to emphasize that I am not paying list and am in fact, paying much less. Also, for those of you remote to MidRivers Lotus in St. Louis, we will have to pay transportation costs to where ever we are.

I read with interest the posts about shipping versus driving the car home. I agree that driving the car is much more fun. I bought my Elise in Palm Springs and drove it home to Northern California. I took two days and drove it up Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway. It was an amazing experience. Best of all, the car was broken in when I arrived home.

Unfortunately St. Louis is on the opposite side of the Rocky Mountains from me and trying to cross them in winter is not something I want to do in a brand new Lotus. I could try the southern loop, down through Texas, across New Mexico and Arizona, and then back up, but this greatly lengthens the trip. And right now California is in the grips of a large storm. (I was afraid the wind was going to blow my house down!)

I ordered my car just before the LA introduction of the 2008 model line. Some people were lucky to find a car already in the country and built to their specifications. MidRivers had a car delivered four days later! I was not so lucky. No cars were available without the Touring Package. Having to wait a couple of extra months because I did not want leather seats was very frustrating!

Lotus is able to tell us what month the car was built. I pulled some strings to find out my car was built on December 1. Now the question is how the Holiday Break will affect the shipping of my car. How long will it take to get here?

Paul has been trying to keep me informed. He called this week to let me know the news about when my car was built. He is new to the dealership and is trying to make Lotus things run smoothly. I was impressed. He will overnight papers to me as soon as they arrive, I will wire transfer funds, and send back the papers. We will have to arrange shipping to the West Coast, the only unknown left. I am excited.

For you ol' timers, does this remind anyone about the wait for the first arrivals back in 2004? My fault I know, but it sure feels the same.

(Remember, I ordered it the first week in November and had not heard anything for a month and a half!  It was painful waiting.)

got the teaser call...

February 1, 2008

Paul at MidRivers just called and gave me the teaser news!

Back up a minute: Based on Lotus USA status, a shipment was arriving last Friday and my car was not going to be on it. My car is in line for a subsequent shipment. Based on the fact the status was old, the expectation was that my car was on the water somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. Big Ocean....

Today, Paul calls and tells me my car should be arriving in port now and will hopefully be at the dealership Friday, a week from today. (I just read the Autoweek review of the S 240 last night, a premonition.)

I have been watching the shipping discussions. One of our members just bought a used Elise and had it shipped. It arrived yesterday. So it can be done. While Paul insists they will be able to provide the shipping I want, I will have a back up plan. The timing is better because the auctions are finished and hopefully the car transports have all delivered the cars to points back East and will be ready to find a car or two to take West on the return. Maybe my car will be shipped by itself, door-to-door, as soon as it is ready. One can only hope!

I did a quick calculation on my costs and they came just over $70,000 including transportation and registration in California. I am sure it will slop over a bit but hopefully not much. I looked at my notes regarding the purchase of my Elise. I got it at the original base price of $39,985 and added metallic paint, LSS, and hard top, which all brought the price to $49,177, which included transportation and taxes. Given the drop in the dollar and the addition of 51 hp, I figure $20,000 price increase is something I can afford. Do not forget that I am also getting a new car, an upgrade from an Elise to an Exige, and a few tasty bits (as Shinoo might say) added. Then there is traction and launch control, a Mohawk, and having the latest and greatest developed by Lotus.

Yes, I am excited!

got the call...

February 19, 2008

Remember the good ol' days? Each one of us on the list, awaiting the first Elise deliveries, would shout, "I got the call!" Then we still had to wait for the order to get to Lotus, for Lotus to build the car, and for it to be shipped back.

Well, I got THE call. My car arrived at the dealership last night. Now it is a matter of doing the pre-delivery inspection (PDI) and finding a shipper. Oh, and I have to pay for it...

As I mentioned to Paul at MidRivers, the car is finally in the hands of someone I can talk to. That means I know it exists, instead of being somewhere in "Lotus Land".

lots happening, too fast to comprehend

February 22, 1008

I got an overnight package from MidRivers Lotus, signed all forms and put my check in the pre-paid overnight postage envelope. That sure was easy.

Paul took the time to find a reasonable shipping company but I had already spent some time at it as well. I decided to use a company that was $100 more but that recently shipped another Elise out this way. So shipping is arranged!

Paul is taking good care of my car. I will post details later... Right now I am trying to get used to the idea that my car will be picked up by the shipper on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Yes, I am excited...


March 1, 2008

The car arrived. Created quite a stir with the neighbors.

As my son said when he was younger, "Wheeee Ha!"

It is interesting. I thought I could just get in and drive, especially since it is not that different from the Elise that I owned for three years. There are so many things that are different, I just did not feel comfortable. Maybe I will just park it and not drive it, a nice garage queen.

So I will sit here and read all the documents (RTFM) and then take it for a spin. I have to have it broken in within a week. Smog and registration is early next week. I will complete this thread with thanks to the following people.

Thanks to Paul at MidRivers for making it such a great purchasing experience. Paul gave me a great deal. I paid a bit extra for transportation. If Lotus comes through with the Owner Loyalty program, the car will cost me a tiny bit over $60,000.

Thanks to Arnie at Lotus Cars USA. He calmed my fears when the order took so long.

Thanks to Robert and Sorinne for talking with me. They were good sales people and talked to me even though I did not ultimately buy my car from them.

Haakan for buying my Elise, thus making room in the garage for the new car.

And to some of you ol' timers who supported me during the wait.

exige on transporter
backing into driveway