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Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
9/10/12 9:46 a.m.

I got to autocross a Lotus Elise yesterday. Great googily-moogily!!!!

That car shall forever haunt my dreams until I own it. The ability to squirt out of corners was epic and the controls were just oh so right. Steering and rotation weren't as good as the full-prep 914 I drove earlier in the day, but still extremely good. I can definitely see the draw to one of these things.

So, uh, Dr. Hess, if I find you one up here and pick you up from the airport will you let me drive it once? Pretty please?

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH PowerDork
9/10/12 9:58 a.m.

I'll tell you a secret. I don't really want an Elise/Exige anymore.

Why? An FF 818 looks like a much better deal. Lighter than an S2, more powerful and about half the price of a used model.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
9/10/12 10:25 a.m.

In reply to GameboyRMH: I might love the 818 but arranging for a proper test drive won't be possible until someone gets a few built. I wonder if they have one you can wail on at the FF factory in NH.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UberDork
9/10/12 10:27 a.m.

Elises do tend to haunt you - I'm still missing my S1. They're brilliant cars, although having to drive to a track 200 miles away with the hardtop on gets old very quickly, at least in the early ones.

But every time you drive it, you just know they were build with pure driving pleasure in mind.

NOHOME
NOHOME HalfDork
9/10/12 10:39 a.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: I'll tell you a secret. I don't really want an Elise/Exige anymore. Why? An FF 818 looks like a much better deal. Lighter than an S2, more powerful and about half the price of a used model.

I would not be so quick to jump on a kit car.

I bet you very few people put one of these together under 25k. Plus the time to do so (figure years for most of us) and results that are going to be based on the individuals skills, tool arsenal and experience.

Take the 15k you figure you are going to use for the FF 818, get a paper route and put in the number of hours it is going to take to finish the kit, and with the money you earned you can buy the used Elise with predictable results.

The other issue with kits, and one that seems to mentally overcome a bunch of kit builders, is that they have huge depreciation the second they drop off the truck. If you have gone ahead and bought all the bits to complete your project, and the kit gets dropped off, you are going to have a substantial investment. However, not until sometime in the distant future does that pile of bits acquire more than scrap value.

Me, I would love to build a FF 818, (or any other number of projects) but I would not be going in with the rose tints on full force. I would buy for the project aspect first and the driving experience a distant second.

turboswede
turboswede PowerDork
9/10/12 10:51 a.m.

The wife and I want one as well. She sees one on the street, etc. and she calls it "her car" though she will have to learn stick if we get one, which she said she would if we got one :)

Although as a cheap MoFo, I might try to build a X-1/9 with a Chrysler 2.2 turbo in the back. Not quite the same, but it should be fun none the less, I don't think she'd dig the styling quite as much though ;)

belteshazzar
belteshazzar UltraDork
9/10/12 11:01 a.m.

the plastic shell aspect of them bothers me. am i making too much of it? it just seems like they'd be too easy to total and hard/expensive to repair.

at the SCCA nationals there were several. they all had pieces broken or cracked here and there.

alex
alex UltraDork
9/10/12 11:03 a.m.

Yeah, my girlfriend's saving her pennies for one, too. If I can ever get my shop built out and running so we have two incomes again, it's a pretty realistic goal. I've promised to remodel the garage into an actual workshop and be her mechanic if she gets one.

I find it funny that she's so drawn to it, as she usually doesn't go for "fast-looking" modern cars (and I tend to think the Elise is a bit overstyled if I'm being honest). Not that I'm discouraging her desire, by any means.

alex
alex UltraDork
9/10/12 11:05 a.m.
belteshazzar wrote: the plastic shell aspect of them bothers me. am i making too much of it? it just seems like they'd be too easy to total and hard/expensive to repair. at the SCCA nationals there were several. they all had pieces broken or cracked here and there.

No, I think you're exactly right. Often bodywork damage comes close to totaling the things, which is why you find plenty with salvage titles and no significant damage. I don't fully understand why a good body guy can't repair them - it's just fiberglass after all - but I'm no body guy, so that's a fairly uninformed question.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
9/10/12 11:08 a.m.

In reply to belteshazzar:

The one I drove seemed like the best idea. The owner bought a wrecked one and repaired it himself (bodyshop owner) and just keeps it slightly scruffy (some scratches, etc) as it only gets driven at the track (HPDE, Autocross, etc). If it gets stuffed again it won't hurt the value at all and he's already figured out how to put the thing back together.

Flight Service
Flight Service SuperDork
9/10/12 11:20 a.m.

Hey isn't that the thing that we had the contest to design?

What about a Smyth Performance version?

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UberDork
9/10/12 11:26 a.m.
alex wrote:
belteshazzar wrote: the plastic shell aspect of them bothers me. am i making too much of it? it just seems like they'd be too easy to total and hard/expensive to repair. at the SCCA nationals there were several. they all had pieces broken or cracked here and there.

No, I think you're exactly right. Often bodywork damage comes close to totaling the things, which is why you find plenty with salvage titles and no significant damage. I don't fully understand why a good body guy can't repair them - it's just fiberglass after all - but I'm no body guy, so that's a fairly uninformed question.

I've seen people repair them and repair them well, but I think part of it is that the insurance companies still price up the replacement parts as Lotus basically tells you to replace the clamshell.

The big issue is that you have to make absolutely sure that the chassis isn't tweaked after the car hit something to damage the clamshell. The chassis - being glued and all that - is pretty much non-repairable and as far as I am aware, cannot be straightened. Well, at least Lotus says it can't and they should know.

belteshazzar
belteshazzar UltraDork
9/10/12 11:35 a.m.

it's a turnoff for me that i could hit an autocross cone and break a chunk off my car.

imirk
imirk HalfDork
9/10/12 11:41 a.m.
belteshazzar wrote: it's a turnoff for me that i could hit an autocross cone and break a chunk off my car.

then dont hit a cone?

or do this:

Sidenote: I saw one on the road yesterday, every time I do it gets my heart rate up, and one time I saw two on the way to work, I almost had to call in because I needed some alone time.

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 Dork
9/10/12 11:45 a.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: In reply to GameboyRMH: I *might* love the 818 but arranging for a proper test drive won't be possible until someone gets a few built. I wonder if they have one you can wail on at the FF factory in NH.

Not sure about the NH location, but the MA location had one that Tim test drove a little while back. Maybe they would let a prospective buyer do the same.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/10/12 12:16 p.m.
NOHOME wrote:
GameboyRMH wrote: I'll tell you a secret. I don't really want an Elise/Exige anymore. Why? An FF 818 looks like a much better deal. Lighter than an S2, more powerful and about half the price of a used model.

I would not be so quick to jump on a kit car.

I bet you very few people put one of these together under 25k. Plus the time to do so (figure years for most of us) and results that are going to be based on the individuals skills, tool arsenal and experience.

Take the 15k you figure you are going to use for the FF 818, get a paper route and put in the number of hours it is going to take to finish the kit, and with the money you earned you can buy the used Elise with predictable results.

The other issue with kits, and one that seems to mentally overcome a bunch of kit builders, is that they have huge depreciation the second they drop off the truck. If you have gone ahead and bought all the bits to complete your project, and the kit gets dropped off, you are going to have a substantial investment. However, not until sometime in the distant future does that pile of bits acquire more than scrap value.

Me, I would love to build a FF 818, (or any other number of projects) but I would not be going in with the rose tints on full force. I would buy for the project aspect first and the driving experience a distant second.

Factory Five actually polls their customers on a regular basis. One of the questions is the actual cost to complete. The results are on their site. At the time I wrote my Locost book, they were quoting an average of $18k, including the kit price at $12k. Of course, with the Cobra kits there's a huge variation in what people pay for the engine.

You can also get an idea of resale from looking at the vast number of FF cars out there.

I've never driven an Elise. I'd like to someday, as I suspect it's the sort of car that would push a bunch of my buttons. An Exige would be even better.

Nice use of "Berk" in the subject line, ten points to Gryffendor.

dj06482
dj06482 HalfDork
9/10/12 1:33 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: Factory Five actually polls their customers on a regular basis. One of the questions is the actual cost to complete. The results are on their site. At the time I wrote my Locost book, they were quoting an average of $18k, including the kit price at $12k. Of course, with the Cobra kits there's a huge variation in what people pay for the engine.

A lot of the original FF Cobra cars used the donor concept, which kept the costs really low. However, I'd say the majority of the current builds are partial donor (with a growing number of non-donor builds). From the last time I was on the forum on a regular basis (about 5 years back), I'd say the average build cost was roughly 25-35K. Back then, there was a lot of bodywork involved and a decent paint job was at least $4K. I know they've improved the molds since then, but I'm not sure how much labor is saved.

In the FFcars.com classifieds, a good number of the postings give you the build costs, and there are plenty of builds that were documented down to the penny. On the used market, the owners are lucky to get what they put into it in parts, forget their labor.

NOHOME
NOHOME HalfDork
9/10/12 3:09 p.m.

Keith:

Can't put a lot of faith in those numbers. I am not sure why people understate the cost and effort to complete car projects, but I find that most people do. I bet I have $500 into gas just running around to get crap for any one car project before I finish it. Did that get included?

As both you and I are well aware, building a car is a bit birthing a child in that it is imperative that amnesia set in immediately after completion or we would never pick up another wrench. When asked, we all reply: "It was not so bad."

Plausible deniability in front of the wife unit being a close second.

I don't think you can get a car painted for under 5k anymore if you are using a shop to do the work. Maybe 2k if you do it yourself and already own all the tools.

imirk
imirk HalfDork
9/10/12 3:22 p.m.

This thread needs more pictars

S1?

Keith Tanner wrote: Nice use of "Berk" in the subject line, ten points to Gryffendor.

heh turning berkeley back into a 4 letter word

imirk
imirk HalfDork
9/10/12 3:35 p.m.

oh hai a 2-11 or two

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
9/10/12 3:39 p.m.
imirk wrote:
Keith Tanner wrote: Nice use of "Berk" in the subject line, ten points to Gryffendor.

heh turning berkeley back into a 4 letter word

I try my best! (I actually use Berk in real life, too...)

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
9/10/12 3:41 p.m.

The Lotus I drove:

I do love this color.

imirk
imirk HalfDork
9/10/12 3:57 p.m.

In its natural habitat:

And an unnatural one:

imirk
imirk HalfDork
9/10/12 4:16 p.m.

una mas? ok!

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
9/10/12 5:03 p.m.

This one is for sale near me. Aaaaahhheartaflutter...

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