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JohnnyM

Considering a return to the fold....

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Well its been 9 years since I sold my last Elise SC and 17 years since I had my first S1 Elise, cant quite believe its been that long.

I've been through M BMW's. AMG Mercs and all manner of other stuff since then.  Looking back now, cars have been getting dumbed down and heavier and heavier. Nothing seems to quite give the same sense of engagement as fizzing a lightweight small car around, even though some of the cars I've had have been massively quick compared to the lotus's I had, you're never as much part of the driving as you'd like.  I watched that episode of Car SOS where they restored that white Elise S1, which despite the tragic end to the episode reminded me of my own S1 from back in the day and how much fun it was to own and tinker with.  Secondly, I live about 800 yards from Paul Matty who have what looks to be a mint 135R in the window, and it got me thinking again about having one in my garage.

I see that time has been very kind indeed to prices, in fact all of the 5 Lotus cars I had between 2002 and 2010, they would all be worth considerably more today (not considering inflation) than the price I got for them when I sold, particularly sport 160's and S1.  I tried to look up some of my old cars to see if they were still around, but most of them seem to have been exported!

I'm trundling around in a V8 Mustang at the moment which is a big wallowy cruiser, and an event in its own right in a totally different way to a Lotus, if you can look past tyre and fuel costs its a great daily, cheap to own/tax/service for what it is and loads of room (I dont have kids).  

I'm currently torn between getting rid of the Mustang and getting an Exige 350 and a cheap runabout for car park/shopping duties, or keeping the Mustang and getting a cheaper Elise SC of some form (if I could find one, they don't seem too common).  I like the idea of having an Elise as well as a decent daily driver, but I don't know whether I'd want a bit more power these days and having a shed daily would make it more likely that I'd want to take out the Exige if I went that route. (I had a Focus RS and Exige S2 together back in the day which lead to me not driving the Exige very much at all as the Focus was such a giggle).

Either way, I'm lucky enough that its a nice problem to have....

I remember joining MLOC when it was a Yahoo group mailing list (remember those?), back in the days of the old British cars BBS. Hi to anyone that remembers me from those days, although I suspect the membership might well be quite different these days.

So for those of you that have driven both an Exige sport 350 and an Elise sport 220, I'd be interested in your thoughts on how much quicker the Exige is in the real world. I need to go and drive the cars myself obviously and see how the game has moved on and if a current Elise sport 220 is much better than the 2008 SC I had or if Im better off looking for an older car.

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Hi Johnny, welcome back :clap:

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15 minutes ago, Mark H said:

Hi Johnny, welcome back :clap:

Hi Mark! Still here! Glad to see its all still going, site has changed a bit since my last visit!

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Hi Johnny. Another welcome back and get out that lardy car into something lighter. :)

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Welcome back, quite a few of us still around.

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Posted (edited)

Hi, welcome back, it's clearly taken a while but you've finally seen sense :lol:

I can help on the comparison questions...

An Elise 220 is no faster than an SC. Probably a little bit more refined in the squeaks and rattles department and a little bit more frugal on fuel but that's about it, apart from the S3 styling of course (there a few SC engined S3 cars around but not many) They all handle pretty much the same but the power delivery is quite a bit different - the 220 is a bit more torquey but doesn't rev as high, as you know the SC is a screamer :)

The V6 Exige is a different beast altogether. It's faster, quite a lot faster. It handles beautifully, feels totally planted and shrugs off crappy road surface in a way that the Elise cannot match. The exhaust note is fantastic and the brakes are stunning. However, there's a trade off for all these positives - it's less chuckable than the Elise, the steering isn't as playfull (and is downright unpleasant at parking speeds!), you can tell the car is quite a bit heavier and wider, it's definitely more expensive to run. The interior is virtually identical to the Elise 220 :lol:

Over the last few years I've gone Elise 111R, Exige 350 Sport, another Exige 350 Sport, now have an Elise 250 Cup, but I keep looking at Exige 350s and 380s on pistonheads - I can't help it :)

Whatever you decide be quick about it, you only have 6 weeks before Lotus in the Peak 2019! :drive:

 

 

 

Edited by duncx

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Good reply Duncx, Appreciate you taking the time to write all that down.

My initial research is leading me down the Exige 350 path i think.  Purely on the basis of it having more go, and that the v6 Powertrain would be something I’d not experienced in a Lotus before, i need to have a go in one i think and also refresh my memory on the Elise SC/Sport 220.  I’ve had an an 08 Elise SC before, so fairly comfortable that i know what an Elise sport 220 would be like then if its osentisibly similar (aside from the gearshift in the newer cars, which looks to be better).

i also stumbled upon the the changes between Exige V6 S and Sport 350, which also look mainly gear change related with the exposed shift mech.  I’m sure there are other tweaks.   Have to say, i always felt the shift quality in the elise cars and my exige s2 was probably one of its poorest attributes. I found it to be imprecise compared to the sharp feel of the rest of the package.

I do like the look of the Elise Cup 250, i imagine they are great fun on track, but i think my usage will be more fast road than track, so i dont really want to be one of those “fake cup” guys with everything super lightweight and then sticking an AC compressor and a radio in it...! Hence the sport 220 being where i’d Probably look if going Elise.

So, what is it that leads you to look at Exige 350’s when you’ve previously owned them, and now have a cup 250. What is it you miss? The sound/Powertrain or something else?  Interesting stuff.

Quite enjoying getting back up to speed to be honest, its a bit like re-connecting with an old friend and catching up on what you’ve missed...

Was hoping to get time to go and look at some cars this weekend, but sadly other things have gotten in the way.

 

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Posted (edited)

To be fair, I am one of the 'fake cup' guys you speak of - my 250 Cup is dripping with lightweight carbon parts but has never been on track and I quite often listen to Radio 4 when driving it :lol: However, in my defence there is no Aircon fitted, which was a massive plus for me when I bought the car :tup: 

Dunno why I keep looking at the Exige V6, the engine note is fantastic and in some ways I much prefer the looks of the thing. The Elise looks like a pretty toy car whereas the Exige looks like a thouroughly mean brute. I look at the Elise in my garage and I think 'ah, pretty car', but I used to look at the Exige in my garage and think 'f*****g hell look at that monster, it's going to come over here and rip my knackers off just for the hell of it'. Then, when you start it up it growls at you 'think you're man enough WHIMP? Well do you, do you....GRRRRRR!'  :lol: I have a vivid imagination :lol:

If you haven't already done so, have a look here for a good write up on the 350 Sport.

https://www.thelotusforums.com/latest-news/lotus-cars-news/driven-exige-sport-350/

P.S. It's no secret that the powertrain (gearbox) in the V6 is a bit naff, it's the Achilles heel of the car. The gearchange action on the 350 Sport is improved over the V6S but it's still noisy in a not nice way. If you go for a test drive make sure you get the car thouroughly warmed up to be sure that you can live with it. The noise is well documented elsewhere if you search on the forums.

Edited by duncx

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Posted (edited)

Welcome back Johnny, I wasn't here 9 years ago but I'd like to think MLOC will still be going 9 years from now.    In your shoes I'd go and drive a V6, for as long as possible - on your favourite roads.   I expect the power and torque (and sound) will have you doing man-maths in no time!     When I bought mine (a 2013 Exige S Roadster) about 18 months ago, I had two long drives, and it wasn't until the end of the second drive that I was absolutely sure I wanted to part with my mint black Elise S160 for one.....they are very different.   I've subsequently got another S160 (well, a part share),  which probably tells you how much I missed it!   The Exige isn't going anywhere though - they are both awesome bits of kit.

Dunc, it sounds like you are a whisker away from chopping in the 250 for another V6  - and I totally get your reasoning.   To an extent I have the same thoughts about the Elise and Exige V6 - one is somewhat 'cute', the other looks like a total beast - and that's a grey Roadster with no spoiler & splitter of course.   However, whilst the V6 is a hugely capable thing, which os always an event to drive, I still take great pleasure from wringing out our S160, there's something about the chuckability of an S1 for me, coupled with the relatively linear NA throttle response.

I agree about the gearbox in the V6- it's far from ideal - but I do think the performance, noise and junior supercar feel you get from driving it more than makes up for it. 

Edited by Daveb99

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Posted (edited)

Cheers for the replies Duncx/Daveb99.

Dunc - i echo what Daveb just said about you being on the bring of an Exige lol.  It sounds like you’ve a particular affinity for them.  Good review you linked to I hadn’t seen that so thanks.  I know what you mean on the looks, the elise looks “junior” next to an exige if that makes sense, even though its a downright capable car in itself, and no doubt better on tight technical roads.

Daveb - Yes, i was here a long time ago, when i had my first yellow S1, cant believe where the time has gone, scary really.  i hear you on the S160 - i had one the very same, pics in my profile  if they’re still here after all those years.  I guess the extra mass of an exige must show somewhere, and compared to an S1 i imagine the extra few hundred kg is pretty obvious on familiar roads.

I have to say having done a bit of reading this weekend, I’m heavily leaning towards a sport 350 exige, subject to driving one and liking it of course!  More expensive than the Elise path by quite some margin, but having had 5 elise based products before, i think a V6 exige might be different  enough to hold my interest for a while.  I quite like the idea of roof off driving, not sure what i think about that in Exige form yet....

In respect of the gearbox, noise I’m ok with. I had an original S1 with a gearbox that was really quite chattery on the overrun (sounded like you’d emptied your pocket change into the gearbox half the time) and an S160 that was a lumpy idling unrefined thing, but great with it.  I was more interested in knowing if they have made the shift action more precise, which it sounds like they have.

Going to start looking properly at what cars are out there for sale in the next week or so and work out what my plan is and what i actually want to spend to get there.  I think i need to get back to having a cheap crappy daily for shopping and work trips, and then a proper car in the garage for weekends and blasts out.  My original thought coming into this was to maybe keep the mustang and get an elise sport 220 as well, but i think i’m headed towards crap car for chores, more expensive lotus for weekends/drives out.

Cheers for the feedback, its all good food for thought.

Edited by JohnnyM

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Posted (edited)

No worries Johnny - glad to help (a bit).   Whereabouts are you based?   We have the Lotus in the Peak event coming up in late June, so if you can get yourself a nice 350 before that it would be a great way to start your second bout of Lotus ownership....!    I had a couple of S1's from 2000-2004, then a ten year gap, then another S1 (160) and taking it to that year's LitP was definitely the best day out of the year in the car.

Are you looking to use it on track at all ?    If not it would be worth considering the Roadster - it's a little bit more road-orientated, but still no doubt great on track (haven't tried it yet).   

In terms of running costs, I've now taken to SORNing mine for a few months of the year (winter) to save a bit on tax - that's the only bit that seems extortionate to me at almost £600 / yr.....

Edit - just looked at your profile and your S160 pics.  Makes me miss the black 'look' as our current one is somewhat brighter 😂

Forgive the gratuitous pics 😉

B0aErSv.jpg

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Edited by Daveb99

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Posted (edited)
On 07/05/2019 at 12:50, Daveb99 said:

No worries Johnny - glad to help (a bit).   Whereabouts are you based?   We have the Lotus in the Peak event coming up in late June, so if you can get yourself a nice 350 before that it would be a great way to start your second bout of Lotus ownership....!    I had a couple of S1's from 2000-2004, then a ten year gap, then another S1 (160) and taking it to that year's LitP was definitely the best day out of the year in the car.

Are you looking to use it on track at all ?    If not it would be worth considering the Roadster - it's a little bit more road-orientated, but still no doubt great on track (haven't tried it yet).   

In terms of running costs, I've now taken to SORNing mine for a few months of the year (winter) to save a bit on tax - that's the only bit that seems extortionate to me at almost £600 / yr.....

Edit - just looked at your profile and your S160 pics.  Makes me miss the black 'look' as our current one is somewhat brighter 😂

Forgive the gratuitous pics 😉

Cheers. I live in Bromsgrove, very close to Paul Matty sports cars if you know where that is.  I've got holidays and what not coming up second half of June, so am thinking realistically about after then. But if I find something I can't resist in the meantime you never know.

 

I'm still not 100% on the Elise vs Exige thing just yet either.  Maybe this weekend I can find some time to go to a dealer that has stock of each and have a nose about. Someone else I know also mentioned the Evora as a compromise between running a lotus and a daily.  However, part of the appeal of having a regular daily is being able to leave it parked in places I wouldn't leave a lotus (or any nice car)..... and for the inevitable garden centre/ikea duties that life throws up.....  I've done Ikea in the Mustang which was entertaining, I did feel like a bit of a plum loading flat pack into it!

I think my usage will mainly be road, but I'd like to think I had something that does work on track as I'd like to get on circuit with it in the medium term.

your 2 look good! Exige roadster is an interesting thought!

Edited by JohnnyM

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I really like Dave's Exige roadster. It looks great - even better in real life - and being able to have the roof off makes it more fun on nice days.

 

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Hi Johnny - everyone always comes back in the end ;)

Just to add my 2p - personally I'd not have another manual V6 Evora (or Exige, as it's the same setup). I don't rate the manual box at all, and the transmission noise isn't acceptable IMO for a car of this cost or caliber. My next Lotus will see me back in an Elise, although I'd still consider an IPS Roadster as a possibility.

Try one for yourself, but if you read about it on SELOC I'm not alone in that one. The manual Evora 400 and later Exige 350's have improved the mechanism, but the transmission noise remains.

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On 13/05/2019 at 00:18, MattyB said:

Hi Johnny - everyone always comes back in the end ;)

Just to add my 2p - personally I'd not have another manual V6 Evora (or Exige, as it's the same setup). I don't rate the manual box at all, and the transmission noise isn't acceptable IMO for a car of this cost or caliber. My next Lotus will see me back in an Elise, although I'd still consider an IPS Roadster as a possibility.

Try one for yourself, but if you read about it on SELOC I'm not alone in that one. The manual Evora 400 and later Exige 350's have improved the mechanism, but the transmission noise remains.

Hi Matty, good to see your still here, I seem to recall you owned a black s160 more or less the same as the one I had back in the day.... I'd love to still have that car now....

I've kind of come full circle on the Elise/exige debate.  I hear you on the gearbox, I've read and watched a few videos about this. I like the idea of the performance and noise of the Exige, but as principally a weekend B road blaster I think I'm better off with a supercharged Elise with the revised gear shift if possible.  I never found my last Elise SC to be slow on the road which is where I'll do the bulk of my miles in it.  I ran a Mk4 MX5 for a short while. 2 litres and 160bhp, and while it was never what I would describe as fast, you could really push it without worrying that you were going to lose your license or kick the back end out in every bend.

So where do you Birmingham area guys go for servicing on in warranty cars? there seem to be no dealers around Birmingham anymore!

 

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