Archive for the ‘Lotus’ Category

In a followup to my complaint about MPG and how Hybrids don’t make financial sense, there’s an aspect to the argument that I didn’t cover which is environmental impact.

Of course our current “lineup” of vehicles is not great for the environment. Driving my Subaru 15k miles each year puts 9.3 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The Jeep is worse at 12.4 tons, and the Lotus is even worse at 13.3 tons (I drive the Jeep only about 500 miles a year, so my actual impact is closer to 0.4 tons, and the Lotus doesn’t drive right now, but would have a similar impact). Cara’s Corolla puts a meager 6.5 tons into the air (find your own car at http://www.fueleconomy.gov/). I care about the environment, and I know that my 9.3 tons is nothing compared to most SUVs and larger vehicles, but I’ll admit that 9.3 is pretty high (even though a newer WRX shaves about half a ton off of that).

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Filed away under “things that I’d really like to do some day”, has always been SSCA rally racing, or some kind of auto sport. Maybe it’s that excuse to modify my car, but with purpose. One race that happens once a year is the “One Lap of America“, which is like the Canonball Run, but completely legal.

I remember reading about the 2006 race in Car and Driver and thinking that it is totally something that I could do. The idea is simple, take one car and two drivers, then drive across the United States stopping at race tracks along the way to compete with others. The uniqueness is that your race car needs to be road worthy (and somewhat comfortable), and the car needs to be fairly reliable since you don’t have any support staff or vehicles.

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Meeting Yoda

Posted: April 29, 2006 in Automotive, General, Lotus

I agreed to take a look at an ’84 Esprit for someone who was interested in buying it (but they live in West Virginia). So Saturday Justin and I drove up to South Windsor to take a look at the car.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The email correspondence with the current owner sounded more like a High School cheerleader (every sentence ended with at least one exclamation point). Parking in front of the house I noticed that there seemed to be a number of car lovers in the area. Next door a vehicle sat under a car port, disguised with a car cover. In front sat a speed boat next to a modified 2G Eclipse. Across the street sat an Audi A4 and another car under a car cover, and in front of the small unassuming house that we were walking up to, sat a modified MR2.

The house was very zen, with a little sitting area and a bridge over a rock garden, all freshly painted a bright yellow-orange. I rang the doorbell and waited while this short Asian man opened the door. He said something about coming out through the garage, then closed the door.

The garage door starts to open and I see a yellow car… it continues up and I see the familiar curves of a late model Esprit. I begin thinking that the car I was to look at has been modified in some obscene way, that the owner had grafted a newer body on an older car. As the door opened further I realized that this wasn’t the case, and that what sat in front of me was actually an Esprit V8, in bright yellow.

I peered around the V8, expecting to see the older Esprit sitting behind it. There sat a car in pieces, not the Lotus, but something else familiar.

“Is that a Z?” I asked.

In slightly broken english he told us how he was putting a Skyline engine into the Z. One of his projects. He then led us around his house and into the back yard where we walked towards a pair of sheds with doors wide open. Certainly these were wide enough to park a car within, but they were both empty. He began telling us a story about the Esprit, and I began to wonder where he was going (and why he was showing us an empty shed).

Justin later phrased thought it was very zen, that we were seeing “absence of car”.

I started to wonder if perhaps the car was stolen (or never actually there), when he started to tell us that he also owned the house next door, and the house across the street (and that both of his sons lived in the houses). We walked across the street to the covered car, which started to take on a familiar shape as we neared. I noticed a car back of this car too. A late model RX-7. We walked around the RX-7 as he removed the car cover off the Esprit. This car had been heavily modified as well. Carbon fiber hood, obvious work under the hood, probably a real screamer.

Justin and I looked over the Esprit, the owner and I went for a quick drive, then we came back and parked the car. My “duty” done he showed us one last thing.

We walked over to the covered car next door. I thought perhaps it was a three wheeled bike or something of that sort at first, but he hinted at the fact that it was also a Lotus.

I said “Eleven?”. Showing that I knew just enough to be dangerous. I of course meant Seven, but never being a big Lotus Seven fan I was thinking of an “E” name, and not the grandfather of the Esprits.

He corrected me, as he pulled off the car cover. He began telling us about this car. He told us how he had put a Hayabusa engine in the car (which Justin and I both were a little clueless about). The car weighs just under 1000lbs and has about 370HP. For a comparison, that’s 2.7 lbs/hp. Compare that to 6.33 lbs/hp for the Ford GT, 4.19 lbs/hp for the Ferrarri Enzo, and 4.15 lbs/hp for the Bugatti Veyron. This car is a monster.

Let me check my wallet.

Posted: April 21, 2006 in Automotive, General, Lotus

Lotus announced today that they will be importing 15 Exige Cup cars to the US this year. $79,000 will buy you a life-time membership to the roller coaster ride called Exige. This thing will keep up with anything in it’s price range (0-60 in 5.1 seconds) and out handle anything in any price range. Of course, for those of you who might be fuel conscious it sips fuel with a 24MPG city/30MPG highway rating (try that with your Corvette).

I left Manchester taking the back roads to Cara’s place stopping by Danielson on the way. I haven’t been in the area since I moved away eight months ago. It’s interesting how some things change (there were a couple new buildings built), and other things haven’t (they’re still working on the roads around Brooklyn). I talked to the woman who now lives in our old apartment about the package that was delivered. She claimed to know nothing about it, which started to make me worry. I wandered down a couple doors to one of the neighbors who would occasionally accept deliveries for me, but no luck there either. On my way back to the car the woman from my old apartment told me that she talked to her son and he had it in is closet (hmm… that’s a little odd). Anyway, I don’t really care why or what happened, just that I have the engine parts (since they did cost almost $1200).

Cara and I walked around Boston yesterday. She wanted to show me her old stomping grounds, so we walked across the city through Suffolk University and by her old apartment (and the Starbucks she used to work at). We grabbed lunch and walked through Faneuil Hall Marketplace (where I picked up a toy for myself and a couple future gifts for others). It was getting late in the afternoon so we walked back to the car and went back to her place.

Overall I like Boston quite a bit, and It’s been a while since I’ve been there. If it were cheaper to live there I’d even consider moving into the area (it is on the list of potential places to move after the Hartford area right now, but if things were different it would be at the top of the list).

Lotus parts in limbo

Posted: April 6, 2005 in Automotive, General, Lotus

I finally called JAE about my parts for the Lotus that should have arrived already. Well it looks like they shipped $1200 in engine parts to my OLD address. I’m a little pissed because I made it clear that I had moved and given them my new address. So now the question is… where are my freaking parts? Obviously the worst case scenario is that someone got the package and decided to just toss it (although that’s unlikely). I tried to call the old manager of the complex that I used to live at, but she’s moved (and the phone number has been disconnected). It’s quite a drive out to Danielson from here, which I don’t mind doing as long as I know my stuff is there.

Boot & Gear Shift

Posted: July 17, 2004 in Lotus

I removed the center tunnel to swap out the boot to the new Momo boot. I ended up destroying one of the knobs and the control for the A/C (the switch wouldn’t turn off.) The previous owner had glued one of the knobs together and to the shaft. Basically it’s a mess. Although the new boot looks great, I screwed up the HVAC panel pretty bad.I’m not all that worried though. I’m going to swap the A/C knob for a switch (for on/off, and discard the thermostat,) and shrink the whole panel down to about 1/2 the size. I’ll do this with a little welding, and a new aluminum face for the HVAC controls. In addition I think I’ll move the switches for the headlights, hazards and rear defrost to between the HVAC and the stereo.Once this is all done I’ll be building a new gauge binnacle in fiberglass to house the new gauges (and update the interior a bit.)