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Old 18th September 2012, 01:50   #31
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Default Re: ‘vette Dreamz - My Corvette C4 – LT4

The DeTomasos weren't well engineered cars though nor well built. The very best of the Euro-american hybrids (not counting the Ford engine in the AC Ace, that became the AC Shelby Cobra) were the Facel Vegas. Do you know about them? Superbly engineered and built French cars with Chrysler engines, the best of them being the Facel II with the Chrysler 6.3 or 6.7 Litre V8. Absolutely magnificent machines!
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Old 18th September 2012, 02:01   #32
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I may have seen them in some shows on tv. Not really familiar with them. Looks beautiful.

Lets face it, very few sports cars from the past are ever going to hold up against modern cars. So let's bother with that. But they can still provide awesome adrenaline rush. That's why I think, they're still sought after so badly.
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Old 18th September 2012, 08:32   #33
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Default Re: ‘vette Dreamz - My Corvette C4 – LT4

I know i am going to get warned by the admin. What the heck.

DROOOOOOL
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Old 18th September 2012, 22:21   #34
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My Lotus lived on the race track despite its phenomenal cost and the brutal punishing environment of the track.
I'm assuming the lotus in your avatar is the one you're talking about. Must be phenomenal on the track. That's were it truly belongs in my opinion, never looked too street friendly.

Is it fully race prepped with substantial modifications or just beefed up suspension, steering, brakes etc? Just curious.
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Old 18th September 2012, 23:28   #35
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Default Re: ‘vette Dreamz - My Corvette C4 – LT4

Finally managed to find some time to read your thread. Once again, congratulations!
And thanks for the wonderful thread with nice pictures and entertaining narration!!
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Old 19th September 2012, 00:40   #36
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Default Re: ‘vette Dreamz - My Corvette C4 – LT4

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I'm assuming the lotus in your avatar is the one you're talking about. Must be phenomenal on the track. That's were it truly belongs in my opinion, never looked too street friendly.

Is it fully race prepped with substantial modifications or just beefed up suspension, steering, brakes etc? Just curious.
Yeah thats it. The motor racing division of Lotus, called Lotus Sport created a track special called the Lotus Sport Elise. They made 50, all of which were identical except one that was red. Mine was #47 of 50. The engine was untouched, but otherwise it was quite radical. Made the regular Elise feel like like a luxury car, and every other car I have ever driven feel like a 1970s Cadillac.

It was factory prepped and quite different from normal Elises and Exiges. What follows is all that went into the prep for the Lotus Sport Elise. It had special lotus spec Ohlins coilovers similar in design and size to a rear shock on a sportbike, and very different from car dampers. They were independently adjustable for damping, rebound and spring preload at each corner. I had the car corner weighted with me in the drivers seat, which basically means putting the car on 4 scales, one under each tyre, and adjusting the preload at each corner, to get the car as close to a perfect front to back weight balance as was possible for the tail heavy mid engined design and nearly perfect left to right (reducing preload extends the spring, lifting that corner and transfering weight away from it, and vice versa). The car also had an adjustable anti roll bar that allowed the handling balance between oversteer and understeer to be shifted around. But messing with damper settings also affected that. Between the ohlins and the adjustable anti-roll bar, the handling balance could be adjusted to near perfection depending on the track layout and conditions. And as anybody who had ridden an ohlins equipped ducati will attest, the suspension action of the ohlins is amazing in its refinement and feel.

The suspension was braced to support the control arms under heavy lateral loads. the car had twin oil coolers, a racing clutch, steel brake lines, ultra light forged aluminium wheels, R compound tyres, fibreglass shell race seats, strengthened half roll cage with harness bar (I install 5point harnesses), a janspeed stage II exhaust that wailed made the engine sound like a wailing superbike engine 2 inches behind your ear (not road legal, offered by lotus as a dealer fitted track part), and all carpeting and sound insulation stripped out. The interior was a bare metal tub with the only concessions to civilization being a pair of small floor mats and plastic on the aluminium frame where your foot would hit during entry and exit.

The car wasn't all that fast on the straights compared to the corvettes and vipers that howled around the track, but it drove like a race car and was absolutely brilliant on the track.

On the road, it was punishing but terrific fun anytime you encountered a corner. It was an absolute blast. The ultra low weight and the track bred design and tune meant the car had MIND WARPING responsiveness and agility, and MASSIVE overdose of feel and communication. The intensity, immediacy, and the richness of the sensations in the car is unlike anything I've experience in any "normal" car.

I do not exaggerate when I say that it felt like a miniature Porsche 962, such was the feel and view from inside the cabin, the intensity of noise, the lightening fast reactions, the endless grip, and the hard wired to the brain feeling of the car's steering, engine, suspension, and frame.

It was an awesome awesome car.

But it was also a very very punishing car. Heat soaked into the cabin from the radiator plumbing in the side sills. the AC was ineffective. Hot air exhausting off the radiator poured into the cabin. The heat really cooked you and caused tremendous fatigue. On the track, lots of fluids and the intensity of the focus would make you forget about it, but on the road, it was torture when the temperature soared above 90. Once on the rough freeways around new york city, after a 10 hour interstate drive from virginia, I was about to burst into tears as the car banged and crashed in the potholes, and its noise and vibrations pounded into my brain like a jackhammer. I kid you not, I was really ready to cry. I was making involuntary crying sounds, just no tears.

But for all that, it was awesome, because the day, till I got to NYC, had been such an orgasm. It was a really phenomenal piece of work. I have gigabytes of pictures of it at the track but they're all on DVDs that are at my farm. On this computer I have just this picture, but there are a few low resolution shots in my team-bhp garage: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/vbpicg...do=view&g=1270
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Old 19th September 2012, 00:53   #37
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Absolutely phenomenal, Harbir. 10 hrs!! I'm pretty sure I would have been crying after 10 minutes on regular road in that car. Heck my Duc made me curse if I had anything more than 10 minutes of straightaways. Funny, you could ride that 999 for hours on end as long as they're twisties, before fatigue set in.

Ohlins on a Lotus, well whaddya know?

Thanks a lot for the info. Awesome, is all I can say.

Let me know if you ever visit the Sin City. There are some awesome drives around this city.
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Old 19th September 2012, 01:23   #38
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Thank you. I almost came to las vegas for the Lotus company organized school at the speedway there. When I am in the US next and can make it out there, I'll let you know.

I think its fantastic that you got to rail a 999, especially at the track. I fell in love with the 916 when it came out. I was determined to buy the 996 as soon as I was out of college. But but my dreams were smashed when I found my 6'3" body and size 13 feet just too large to fit on it without twisting like a pretzel. Since I rode on the street only, it wasn't going to work. So I bought a 3000 mile old 900SS. It was quite ancient technically and underengineered, but it was bursting full of charisma and personality and I enjoyed it a lot.

I really liked the design direction ducati took with the 999. Initially it was a shock because after the 916/996/998, the expectation was slinky italianate curves, and the very technical machine look of the 999 was very surprising. But I soon came to really love it. But I guess it didn't work and with the 1098 and Panigale, Ducati return to the 916 inspiration.

Do tell me about your 911. My first love as a teenager were porsches and I still reserve a very soft spot for the air cooled 911s. Never warmed to the water pumpers. THe first time I saw a 911 close up was in rural virginia at a rundown used car lot that had only 4 or 5 trashy 1980s american cars, and a red 1972 911T. It was drizzling and the look of that car with the water beading on it, was just breathtaking. Lovely lovely car.

I'm thinking if and when I come back to the US on a long term basis, I'm going to get a C5 Z06 as a track day car.

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Old 19th September 2012, 02:04   #39
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@ Harbir , Nice car.

I thought My s2000 was stiff & spartan, Till I rode in a buddy's Lotus. Amazing car on the track But a few minutes on the freeway, It will make you cringe. Proper sportscar with only driver focus in Mind. Always had respect for them Elises'

Had a few questions on the Lotus though, Is it true that if you scrape the Bumper or so, you need to change the entire front end structure??

What is maintanace on a Lotus, How expensive is it and where do you do it?? I know the toyota engine needs very little maintanance , but is there something else to be done on the rest of the car??


I heard rumours and my buddy has left Indy, so I could not ask him.
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Old 19th September 2012, 02:16   #40
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Funny,

Mine is a red 1971 911T but, with completely modified engine, now at 2.5L with much higher compression and the beefier 2.7L crank and still air cooled. I kept the mechanical fuel pump but went to the large 911S size instead of the usual carb route everyone took. I also kept the 4-speed sportomatic tranny, not much preferred by the puritans. I must be an even more purist because I simply refused to go to a standard 5 speed. Obviously, ported and polished intakes and exhaust ports. I am a stickler for uprading a car within the original characteristics. Most guys just plunk in a 3.0 L and a 5 speed and call it done. It's a completely different car at that point with much heavier engine and tranny and all. Like you, I don't really have much interest in the water cooled 911s.

I really loved the 999 look. I think it was revolutionary and light years ahead in its design. If I wanted the 916 look, I would rather just buy an Agusta and be the absolute king of the road. To me 999 is delicious, period.

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Old 19th September 2012, 02:37   #41
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Thanks Jomz. scraping the bumpers doesn't need the entire front end structure to the be changed. But small incidents CAN cause expensive damage because of how the car is built. Unlike conventional cars that are monocoques, the Elise has a construction similar to what you'd find on an F40, for example. The car has a tub that forms the passenger cell (made of bonded Aluminium extrusions in the lotus, bonded carbon fibre sections in the case of the F40). This tub is extremely light (just 150lbs in the lotus) and unbelievably stiff. In this tub are the seats. To the front and back of this tub are bolted the front and rear subframes to which are mounted the engine, transmission, suspension, and steering rack. Its all covered up by a fibreglass body that is not a load bearing member, and serves only aerodynamic purpose, and clothing to hide whats underneath. The car is fully drivable as normal with the body removed.

The car's body has only 5 major pieces. The entire front of the car's body, ahead of the doors is one piece. The entire rear behind the doors is one piece. They are called the front and rear clams. Add two doors and the engine lid and you've got the entire body of the Elise, save a few smaller bits and pieces. if you get into an impact that causes either of the two the fibreglass clams, front or rear, to crack, the whole clam has to be replaced. That can get expensive (a few thousand dollars).

The aluminium tub is another danger spot, but a much lower risk. While it is extremely tough, if you damage it, such as driving over something in the road like a block of hard wood, you have trouble because the but cannot be "unbonded" to replace the damaged extrusion. Sometimes, the whole tub will have to be replaced. And thats pricey too. but this is a rare occurrence. Unless you get into a serious smash that totals the car anyway, or you are unfortunate enough to drive over something in the road thats really large and hard, its not a big issue.

Maintenance on the lotus is very easy apart from the issue of access to the engine bay through the top of the small engine cover. Anybody intending to do DIY on the lotus will typically buy clam hinges. These basically allow the entire rear clam to swing up and out of the way towards the rear, fully exposing the entire mechanicals and then service is extremely easy. (see picture)

Service on the engine and transmission is inexpensive because its the engine out of the Toyota Celica GT-S (also used in the Matrix GT-S) and parts are very cheaply available from Toyota dealers. If you buy the same parts from Lotus dealers, you'll a lot more than you would at the Toyota dealer.

labor rates at Lotus dealers tend to be high.

The car is not very expensive to maintain. Obviously more than an S2000 since its an exotic of a very unusual design, and has the construction and engineering that is commensurate to a tiny company, not a multinational giant, but not disastrous. Mine was served at the Porsche/Lamborghini/Rolls Royce dealer in manhattan who was VERY expensive, and when the car did have to go in, the bill would always hurt, but it was never so much that I thought I can't afford this, and the costs in a typical year were never enough to make me think that it wasn't worth it.

In summary, pricey but appropriately so.

You do have to be careful though. The Lotus/Porsche dealer in Virginia charged me $275 for an oil change that involved a 25 dollar oil filter change kit from toyota and 5 quarts of Mobil 1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VLOCT View Post
Funny,

Mine is a red 1972 911T but, with completely modified engine, now at 2.5L with much higher compression and the beefier 2.7L crank and still air cooled. I kept the mechanical fuel pump but went to the large 911S size instead of the usual carb route everyone took. I also kept the 4-speed sportomatic tranny, not much preferred by the puritans. I must be an even more purist because I simply refused to go to a standard 5 speed. Obviously, ported and polished intakes and exhaust ports. I am a stickler for uprading a car within the original characteristics. Most guys just plunk in a 3.0 L and a 5 speed and call it done. It's a completely different car at that point with much heavier engine and tranny and all. Like you, I don't really have much interest in the water cooled 911s.
Good lord. I would LOVE to experience this car. Now I'll have to make it a point to come see it when I am in the US. I am so envious of you.

An instructor at an HPDE used to run an ex racer 1975 911S at the tracks, full roll cage, race spec engine, huge fender flares and much wider than normal track. A really hardcore machine. and he drove like the blazes. 1970s 911s are probably most honest and proud of the 911s. I love that you've still got the 4 speed in there. Which reminds me that I am really keen to buy and track an early 911 Turbo (maybe a 1978 or a 1984). I've always believed that if you can master one of these on the track, only then can you claim to be able to really drive well, because at speed the car lives on a knife edge between terminal understeer and terminal snap oversteer. If you can walk on that knife edge, then you can really drive.

By the way, I also have noticed that porsche construction solidity has really gone down after the 964. Up to then the doors shut with the precision and heft of a bank vault, for exampe. Really, I am nutty about old 911s. Color me really jealous.
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Old 19th September 2012, 07:02   #42
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@ Harbir, that was informative on the Lotus. I see quite a few old ones around 25k-35k around here, But I tend to put a lot of miles on my cars ( both city and highway). The clam construction may not be ideal in city traffic.

I'm surprised how you managed the lotus in Manhattan traffic without fender benders.
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Old 19th September 2012, 11:06   #43
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I understand. It falls short on so so so many fronts compared to what people have come to expect from their cars, that the only way it can satisfy you is if you are willing to suspend nearly everything you have come to expect from a car in terms of comfort, usability, and practicality of usage and ownership in order to get at what it has to offer.

Frankly, the Elise is suitable only for the borderline insane. But what they get from it is, for them, absolute worth it and not available anywhere else. The Elise/Exige has held its own in comparisons on welsh and english roads against Challenge Stradales and F40s. But that kind of purity, feel, and capability at such a tiny price (relatively) comes with huge shortfalls in things that any normal car is supposed to be capable of.

So to buy and enjoy an Elise, you have to be pretty nuts, fanatical and extremist in fact.

Most people are too sensible, too reasonable, and too sane for an Elise. And here is the thing. Most people who buy an Elise think themselves purist enough for one. and then they buy it and live it and find out they're not. And they are not pansies or sissies or chicken. They just find out that they aren't are stupid as they thought they were. But the few who click with it, for them its like having angelina jolie as your wife. She'll make you hurt, but its so so so good!

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Old 19th September 2012, 11:24   #44
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Good lord. I would LOVE to experience this car. Now I'll have to make it a point to come see it when I am in the US. I am so envious of you.

An instructor at an HPDE used to run an ex racer 1975 911S at the tracks, full roll cage, race spec engine, huge fender flares and much wider than normal track. A really hardcore machine. and he drove like the blazes. 1970s 911s are probably most honest and proud of the 911s. I love that you've still got the 4 speed in there. Which reminds me that I am really keen to buy and track an early 911 Turbo (maybe a 1978 or a 1984). I've always believed that if you can master one of these on the track, only then can you claim to be able to really drive well, because at speed the car lives on a knife edge between terminal understeer and terminal snap oversteer. If you can walk on that knife edge, then you can really drive.

By the way, I also have noticed that porsche construction solidity has really gone down after the 964. Up to then the doors shut with the precision and heft of a bank vault, for exampe. Really, I am nutty about old 911s. Color me really jealous.
Compared to your Lotus it's a veritable Caddy.

I know very few people who can claim some mastery over a full blown early 930s.
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Old 19th September 2012, 23:25   #45
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A shot of the interior. Note the bare unpainted uncarpeted aluminium tub, and weight reductions measures such as a manual winding windows. Even the cranks for winding the windows up and down were aluminium and drilled to minimize weight (the regular elise had power windows). The car, unlike any other elise, had light weight hollow aluminium turn signal and wiper stalks because those are lighter than the standard solid plastic items! No power windows, no power mirrors, no power seats, no cruise control. The passenger seat had no adjust whatsoever. the driver's seat slid back and forth, but no other adjustments.

Thats a Momo steering wheel, only 11" across. It worked brilliant on the street, but not so great on the track. On the track I used an 11.8" alcantra Sparco that worked much better due to being perfectly centered. THe momo was offset from the hub so it wasn't linear as you turned it and that made fine inputs tricky because you were never sure what you were going to get. But on the street, the 11" momo felt much quicker and meatier, but its non linearty was not an issue. So it was the sparco for trackdays and the momo for street use. The steering was mounted on a quick release hub. Pull on a collar behind the wheel and it would pop off the steering column. It made getting in and out of the car much easier, and it was the perfect anti theft device. get out of the car, take the wheel with you.

DOn't miss the ear plugs in the cubby below the start button. I didn't notice them when the picture was taken. They were absolutely essential to use at all times to keep me from going insane and shooting myself. And don't miss my MX-5 miata towering over the Elise.
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