Lotus Exige S1: PH Carpool

Name: Andrew Quick
Vehicle: Lotus Exige
Owned since: Feb 2011
Formerly owned: Honda Social Type R (EP3), Lotus Elise 111R, Peugeot 306 Rallye, various company cars, also presently possess a Porsche 997.1 Turbo

Why I purchased it:
I hankered after an Elise for several years before finally going for it and getting an attractive 111R from the fellow PHer nine years back. This fell into duty as my daily driver and performed admirably for many several weeks. The novelty rather used off, though, following a particularly savage soaking throughout a sudden rain storm while commuting home from use the rooftop off. I purchased an inexpensive Clio like a commuting vehicle and upon the market the Elise to weekend work only.

Lotus Exige S1: PH Carpool

After 2 yrs and 20,000 miles of perfect work, I discovered my ft becoming itchy and my eyes checking the classifieds. The Elise was wonderful but because a toy it had been really beginning to feel too competent and – dare I only say it – normal. It had been this type of lovely example which i was loath to consider it on the right track something I truly quite wanted. I made the decision to cast around for something sillier than my 111R.

By sheer fortune, Mike Stripe had made the decision to place his beloved S1 Exige available on the market. Mike and that i shared several common buddies through his roles in the Vintage Sports Vehicle Club and also the Lotus Drivers’ Club though we’d in some way conspired not to meet personally. He was unwillingly selling the vehicle because of ill-health. A fast passenger ride confirmed not just that Mike and that i would become firm pals, but additionally that the S1 Exige is a reasonably device – along with a machine more aggressive character than my Elise. An offer was rapidly concluded and that i grew to become the proud who owns Lotus Exige #447.

Lotus Exige S1: PH Carpool

A Few Things I love:
Beyond my curiosity about road cars, I’m a motorsport enthusiast. My desire for Lotus was sparked by my father, an engineer who’d always respected Colin Chapman. Watching Modsports Esprits inside my local Oulton Park growing up turned on a pursuit that was piqued once the brilliant Elise premiered within the mid-90s – here would be a roadgoing Lotus that the standard man could aspire.

The truth that the Exige is directly produced from the Motorsport Elise belongs to its particular attract me. This is a drivetrain and the body passed lower from the genuine Lotus race vehicle – something the later Exige variants, as amazing because they are, cannot boast. Like a racing nerd, the excitement of piloting something with this type of sporting pedigree is really a critical area of the pleasure of owning #447.

In a totally superficial level, I additionally believe that it is the very best-searching road vehicle Lotus has available. It is a huge claim when one might cite the Esprit Sport 300 or Elan Sprint however i never tire of just looking in the factor. The bodywork seems shrink-wrapped within the internals, with this huge wing jutting to your view with the wing mirrors. It’s small in comparison with modern cars, seeming almost to become a different species. It appears comically incongruous when parked inside a suburban setting – as though a shrunken LMP2 vehicle switched left at Tertre Rouge rather of right.

Obviously, race pedigree along with a daft wing could be irrelevant when the vehicle drove poorly. Mercifully though, it is a hoot.

Lotus Exige S1: PH Carpool

I have fitted a harness bar and 4-point harnesses, together with Kevlar Corbeau seats. This adds a theatrical element to each drive, even when oblique junctions really are a massive discomfort within the backside. Pulling tight the harnesses, using the grumbling, lumpy VHPD K Series just behind your mind and individuals wheel arches highlighting the leading extremities never will get boring. It’s pure escapism every drive: way too noisy to listen to the stereo and too physical to permit you ever to allow lower your guard.

These cars never received ABS, traction control, power steering or servoed brakes. This really is indulgent, analogue motoring and also the perfect antidote to my wilfully synthetic (but very competent) Golf GTD company vehicle.

I do not make use of the vehicle frequently – possibly a couple of times per month averaged within the whole year – however i make certain each drive counts. I am fortunate to achieve the fabulous roads of North Yorkshire and also the Peak District in spitting distance in our home and my in-laws and regulations survive the fringes of Snowdonia. Which means plenty of morning hours ruling a few of the country’s finest driving roads. Treat an S1 Exige like a conveyance, only transit device, which is pretty woeful, but because a distilled dose of intravenous driving, it’s mesmeric.

That VHPD is really a proper, screaming, raging little engine. Mine continues to be fitted by having an Emerald ECU, vernier pulleys, graphite airbox (small trinket in reality), sports exhaust and decat. It can make exactly 182hp and revs to eight,000rpm. Pretty good to have an 18 year-old motor of rather prosaic origin. Many proprietors have searched for greater power and versatility by swapping their VHPDs for Honda or Audi motors. These cars are very fast and my old shed wouldn’t see which way they went however i still love the type from the raspy K Series. There is really a complete rage about the actual way it surges round towards the red line and that i maintain that 250hp/tonne is the best balance for that Elise platform. You are able to with confidence use wide throttle openings on the highway without scaring yourself.

The reality is this alchemic mix is hugely addictive. Each time I drive it, my frustration at commuting and ambivalence about driving within the United kingdom generally just floats away. I am lost within the immersion from the experience: the noise, the throttle response, the resistance from the brake pedal and exactly how it forms the right fulcrum for any heel and foot downchange. I am a typical driver at the best but each journey in #447 makes me seem like a racing driver and that is the real magic from the vehicle for me personally.

Lotus Exige S1: PH Carpool

A Few Things I hate:
No Lotus owner ought to be unaware of their car’s problems. Which you have plenty.

As I love how a Exige makes me seem like an ambitious racing driver, additionally, it makes me seem like an ambitious racing driver. And couple of situations are more tragic than the usual would-be. That big wing, roof scoop and megaphone exhaust conspire to help you look a berk. Everywhere, all the time. You decide to go nowhere subtly within an Exige. Don’t even consider picking onto your nose inside a traffic jam: a young child may have you recorded or more online before you have had opportunity to get rid of evidence.

It’s also not really a device of sophistication or engineered depth. These cars were built lower to some cost using many parts bin products and often that informs. I have endured numerous minor reliability gripes, though mercifully that fragile VHPD continues to be perfect during 40,000 miles. I have two times needed to wave it away on the flatbed after maladies made it not able to maneuver under its very own power.

It is also a dreadful vehicle for passengers. While a fast thrill ride may be fun, most visitors will rapidly tire from the noise, pervading stench of fuel and unyielding seats. This can be a vehicle for motorists only and my spouse virtually will not travel inside it, citing her Kawasaki motorcycle like a better ones machine for covering distance.

Lotus Exige S1: PH Carpool

Mike stored a log of each and every cent he allocated to the vehicle, including every tank of super unleaded it chugged. While I have been slightly less rectal, I’ve got a file that contains each and every receipt or invoice for that car’s entire history. I daren’t add everything as it might doubtless trigger an anxious tick.

Inherently, though, these aren’t terribly costly cars to keep. Insurance coverage is around 300 each year including six track days. Road tax is 20 monthly on direct debit and servicing through reliable independents is affordable.

Keeping on the top of upgrades and preventative maintenance may be the pricey bit and I have spent thousands onto it during the last seven years. I would not begrudge that though – this can be a rare and special little vehicle, something to become treasured and enjoyed.

Lotus Exige S1: PH Carpool

It is also impossible to go over price of possession with no thorny subject of residuals raising its mind. Genuine Exiges in RHD still using their VHPDs are rare meat indeed. Mine has already established only three proprietors, a couple of us for those bar six several weeks of their existence, also it could legitimately be referred to as getting probably the most transparent histories associated with a Exige on the planet. I honestly don’t understand how to value it but would suspect which i could possibly get double the amount purchase cost basically was ready to wait for a right owner. That’s great to understand however i bought the vehicle they are driving and revel in, never fear about capital value. I’ll still drive it without track of the odometer utilized.

Where I have been:
I have explored good chunks of Britain in #447. Its Northern Border Yorkshire Dales remains the best place for pure motoring however the Llanberis Pass in Snowdonia is magic if you’re able to catch a obvious operate on a Sunday morning.

Early within my possession, I required part inside a couple of track days and found it a really intuitive tool. Regardless of the dire warnings of S1 oversteer, I have completely enjoyed stretching it around Anglesey, Blyton and Silverstone. I’ve not taken it on the right track for any couple of years and can certainly achieve this again – that is what an Exige should do. I would not pretend to become a gifted track driver however i love the feeling of feeling the vehicle approaching its boundaries.

Lotus Exige S1: PH Carpool

What next:
I keep pondering whether or not to reduce my toy chest to simply one vehicle. I can not stop searching at 997 GT3s however that means selling both Exige and my 911 Turbo. It’s simpler to think about after i haven’t driven the Exige for any couple of days however i suspect the mighty GT3 wouldn’t make me flutter such as the Lotus. There is something really magical about this with no other vehicle I have driven imbues such a feeling of raw driving pleasure. I’m afraid I might be tied to the rattly old factor for some time yet.

Knowing that, I ought to most likely jump on and revel in it as being intended.

It’ll make its first visit to Scotland within my hands next weekend whenever we visit Duns for that Jim Clark memorial weekend to commemorate half a century because the great man was tragically wiped out in Hockenheim. (Sorry we could not utilize it sooner Andy! – MB). I am really searching toward exploring a few of the legendary Borders roads. Doubtless, you will see a couple of little jaunts to the Dales and you never know where else we may finish up? If you notice a sweaty chap who smells of gas and appears just like a would-be racing driver within the paddock of the United kingdom track, it’s most likely me – dazed and confused but living the dream in an exceedingly silly, but instead special, little Lotus.

Wish to share your vehicle with fellow PHers? Course you need to do! Send us an email at [email protected]