Wednesday, December 24, 2008

FIA Race Seat from Cobra

We're fitting a new FIA tested race seat from Cobra into an Exige.  This seat was built specifically for the Lotus.  It will become a new affordable, <$700, option for the race & track day enthusiast. We're sorting the brackets now.  Should have some pictures shortly.

Friday, December 19, 2008

ProAlloy Chargecooler Update

Proalloy has changed up the fan configuration on their Chargecooler for the 'S'.  We anticipate this relocation to the top of the rad stack should result in better cooling to the engine radiator.  The new fans will 'pull' the air through the stack.  They have designed new brackets to mount the fans.  We expect to get one kit in shortly to test out.  


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New A/A Intercooler

We've been working with an intercooler manufacturer to test out a new Air to air intercooler that is a direct bolt-on solution for the Exige S.

This design promises a nice improvement in Thermal Transfer rate and dP.  See below:

Transfer rate (BTU/hr): 77,000(stock) vs. 105,250(new)
Pressure Drop (PSI): 1.9 vs. 1.4
Temp out (deg F): 198 vs 161
Efficiency (%): 84 vs 91.3

The intercooler has been dynoed and currently undergoing testing on road & track.  We expect it to be very affordably priced at around $800.  ETA: 1Q09

Monday, December 8, 2008

Exige graphics refresh

Hello All,

We decided to refresh the Exige and the dead line was the Wine Run '08 held last Saturday (Dec.6th)

Previously the Exige had twin stripes running from nose to tail. Retaining the previous color scheme, a sketch was produced, signed off on and we taped the design on the surface. A local graphics company was able to apply vinyl to the surfaces.

All in all a great way to update the car utilizing the existing body lines and shapes.

If you're close by in SoCal, you just may see it at a future event or feel free to stop by!

stellaCORSE Wheels on the Tesla

We had a stellaCORSE fitment built for the Tesla earlier this year. Here is a picture of it on the car. Yes, I think it looks way better than stock - but what would you expect me to say. ;^)
I think it would look even better if our stellaCORSE were silver. The fitment is a 5 lug and the offsets and wheel widths are different. I wonder if it would fit the Dodge EV as well (assuming it ever see the light of day). The internal Tesla folks loved the wheel and we know many of their clients and dealers also raved about it. We hope to have these available if the demand requires it!

Friday, December 5, 2008

ProAlloy Chargecooler Update

We continue to refine the ProAlloy Chargecooler solution for the Exige 'S'. We made some great new progress that I believe will allow us to introduce the kit soon. The troubles we have been having relate to the insufficient engine rad cooling we are experiencing. The intakes temps are fantastic but engine cooling was reduced.
We tried the new 3 Pass ProAlloy Radiator and realized some improvement in water temps BUT still not enough. The current & stock fan set-up actually impedes airflow to the engine radiator. We've now moved the fans to the top of the radiator stack. This allows the air to reach the engine rad without having to follow such a tortuous path. We should have results early in Jan.
We expect this should give us acceptable engine water temps to go along with the awesome intake temps the chargecooler delivers!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Well I have seen the Evora in person while attending the Los Angeles Auto Show yesterday (Thursday Nov.20th). During the press launch I listened to Roger Becker and the lead designer speak about the short lead time for the car and the expected start of production for the US market. The Evora is quite stunning and in fact pictures do not do the car justice. There are subtleties in form and details that are not quite translated in a 2D image. One has to walk around the car taking in forms from varied heights and angles as well as allowing light to dance across the surfaces to see just how much thought and refinement went into the design. No small feat, again considering the 18 to 24 month gestation period.
Unfortunately I could not get too close to the interior (they allowed no one within 10 feet) but the doors were open. When reviewing images of the interior I was skeptical of the large touch navigation screen just above the HVAC control , center of the IP. Well, in person it is better but I think they refined the surfaces along the way. Brushed aluminum is used a fair amount and Recaro Sportster CS seats are used for keeping the occupants in place.

Even though this car is still a prototype I would think most of what was view Thursday will remain in production.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Larini SE

Recently I replaced my OE exhaust with a Larini SE twin exit exhaust. The type of configuration is standard in Europe. When the Elise was approved for the US the style of exhaust was a center exit located under the diffuser. Personally I thought the size and location of the tips were a bit weak in appearance.
After installing the Larini SE the rear of the car appears more muscular and effectively make the car look wider in the rear.

The installation was pretty straightforward. The OE exhaust did separate without a hitch but I may have been lucky. In some cases the OE system may be a bit stubborn. If this is the case when removing your exhaust a hard rubber mallet will aid in removing.
I elected to use the euro style grills which have the holes already for the exhaust tips. The grills are pop rivited to the center license plate mount so this will require drilling out the rivets and riveting the new ones in place..

The sound is deeper then some competitors (which I prefer) and is pretty quiet at low idle. Once over 6000rpm the system sounds great and really makes a difference at passing speeds. I would definately recommend this system!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

DBW Pedals for the '06 and up Elise Exige!

Need Better Heel & Toe Control? Try these pedals for your 2006+ Elise and Exige to make that critical throttle blip each and EVERY time you downshift. Our crossdrilled pedal kit replaces the stock pads with grippy and adjustable aluminum pads. The wider accelerator makes a tremendous difference when every second counts. Tailor your Lotus to fit you.

Visit our website to view more details for the '06 and up Lotus models. The 'o5 cars have the award winning design so new pedals are not necessary. The pedal kit addresses some concerns on heel and toe issues some users have with the 'o6 and up cars.

"DBW" by the way stands for "drive by wire" which the '06 and up cars utilize now over the the direct throttle cable of the '05 cars.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Winterizing Tips from WT Roadsters

Winter is coming up quick. Bill Thomas was kind enough to put together a list of items he does with his Elise, Triumph and supercool motorbikes:

  • Wash and if possible wax/detail vehicle. Make sure vehicle is completely dry before permanent parking. If it is not possible to wash and/or detail car then at minimum it should be wiped down. Remove all items such as paper, food, etc. from interior. The less clutter the better as this will help prevent rodents from wanting to move in.

  • If vehicle is to be stored throughout the winter without any chance of being driven, inflate all tires to 5 psi above maximum inflation pressure stated on tire sidewall. This will help reduce flat-spotting of tires during extended imobilized storage. You can go one step further in preventing flat spots by parking vehicle on dense rubber pads large enough to cover contact patch of tire. A 12''x12'' square one to two inches thick at each wheel is sufficient.

  • Change oil and filter if possible. Clean oil sitting in the cooler(s), filter and sump for upwards of six months is better than dirty oil!!!

  • Fuel tank should be completely full. This will prevent condensation from forming on the inside of the tank walls should there be a rapid change in temperature and humidity.

  • Check all fluid levels (coolant, brake, clutch, wiper resivoir) and adjust levels as required. Be sure to verify freeze protection of coolant/antifreeze solution in both the engine and windshield reservoir.

  • Remove battery from vehicle and store in a warm, dry climate utilizing a battery tender. Make sure windows are fully closed first. If a warm, dry area is not available such as a basement or garage, place battery on a wood plank with tender attached. The wood will act as an insulator between the ice cold floor of an unheated garage and the battery. The current flow created by the battery tender will generate a slight amount of heat in the battery. This is a good thing and will help prevent freezing.

  • If storage area has a tendency to become damp or experience rapid temperature and humidity changes (an uninsulated garage is a good example) you should spray a light mist of WD-40 or silicone in engine bay completely covering everything. This will prevent corrosion on some of the aluminum and steel engine-related parts (ECU, Air Flow Meter, misc. fittings and fixtures). Do not over-do it with the spray. Make it shine, not drip!!

  • Once you have completed the checklist, your final task will be to cover the car with a soft, quality car cover. It should be able to 'breath', meaning that moisture can pass from the vehicle surface through the cover fibers to atmosphere. This will help protect paint and trim from staining should the cover get wet or surface condensate.

  • Finally, if the vehicle is accessable during the storage period, you may check its well-being as often as you care to. I have stored vehicles for 8-12 month stretches without any problems.

  • One final important tip: DO NOT start the car and let it run for a few minutes at a time sporatically throughout the storage period. I know many people out there think this is a good idea but it is not. This practice will rapidly contaminate the engine oil and fill your exhaust with condensation (water!). BAD, VERY BAD!

Thx to Bill Thomas, WT Roadsters, NJ Sector111 Authorized Dealer & Katana Installer (908) 313-4482 or

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Seat Back Reinforcement & Head Net

In our pursuit of more safety, we've had a seat reinforcement fabbed. The ReVerie XRC-FIA seat we installed in the Atom has threaded inserts located in the back and is ready for reinforcement. Our friends at BurkeBuilt built the custom reinforcement bar that attaches to the chassis at the roll bar mounting locations. The seat is stiff to start with but is now unbelievably stiff.

A safety seminar I attended early this year, put on by SCORE, continued to advocate seat safety. Dr. John Melvin, a professor and noted safety industry expert, also promoted the use of HANs-type devices and head nets. We have been playing around with a couple of Head nets and looking for ways to secure them - somewhat easy on the Atom and fairly difficult on the Lotus. Watch our Schroth video ( ) if you want to see how violent a side impact can be! Head nets can help significantly.

We're chasing after ways to both reinforce seat backs as well as commercialize head nets. No timing on when we'll have them done for either Lotus or Ariel, but aim to get something sorted by start of track season next year.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Engine Mount Install Notes

I installed the mounts in our Exige and can say they are of great quality in both appearance and manufacture. The install was not a overly difficult job at all. The most difficult part of the install was the passenger side mount due to some of the configured attachment bolts. The rest of the install was uneventful. Use of a jack is required to support the motor and to adjust the motor for bolt alighment/removal. However the movement of the motor upward is not very much since it is recommended to install one mount at a time. I started with the driver side which has several accessories attached to it, then I installed the passenger side mount. I then moved to the bottom mounts, first completing the rear mount. The forward mount is also straight forward and easy to install. Removal of the diffuser and undertray is required.

Engine Mount Update 2

I have been testing the engine mounts and they are indeed awesome for shift & throttle response. At idle, the in-cabin vibes may be too much for street only cars. We are putting some more miles on the car to see if they will change. We've got a small batch coming in and a group of Beta testers who want to try them out. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, October 6, 2008

New harness

I've been testing a new harness from Schroth for awhile now. We installed it in my Atom before the Paladin Open House. This belt is a new design that is super easy to get into and out of. The adjusters are especially cool. I suspect this will become the choice for track addicts running HANs devices.

The following picture does not show the correct tabs or shoulder belts. We have ordered harnesses from Schroth (HMS) that will be specific for the Lotus and Atom fitment. We will have them in stock next week.
More info to follow soon...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Engine Mount Update

We've just received the street version which has the softest durometer. See below. It will go on our Exige immediately. I'll report back soon.

I met up with Tim last week and test drove his Exige 'S' with a very stiff (high durometer) PUR engine mount kit. The shifting action and throttle response was excellent. The vibration was.....too much for street use. Track focused cars will be happy with this kit as it great improves the response of the car.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pix from LCS

Chris and I enjoyed a few sessions with the LCS folk at Streets of Willow. We tested out a few new items: titanQR, 308BBK, Schroth Hybrid & Recaro HANs ProRacer.

Kelly's Exige...

Jack's 211...what a sweet machine.

Rob's race winning ride:

Quicker Lotus Steering? Oh Yes!

A few years ago, I bought an Evo8 after experiencing its quick steering response. What an amazing feeling - even though the feedback was too light. When I got my Elise, I revelled in the feedback but was a bit disappointed in the speed of the steering vs. the Evo. To make matters worse, I bought an Atom last year with lightening quick steering. The Lotus steering felt a bit like a Caddy in comparison..well, maybe an M-car(flamesuit on!).

So when I learned a quicker ratio rack was available for our Lotus, I secured one for fitment. It turns out to be built by the same company that previously supplied Lotus. They re-engineered their previous kit with a quicker ratio. The lock to lock was reduced from 2.75 turns to 2.5. This may not seem like much but what a difference it makes!

We installed the rack a couple of weeks ago. The installation was a straight forward bolt-on solution but is also a bit of pain. Working in the footwell of our cars is no fun. Disconnecting the pinion is especially a pleasure! We learned a few things the hardway... ;^) Luckily we have a shop manual, limited brainpower AND good resources - like AutoEurope! We called over to our friends in DTW and received the tips we needed to get the job done.

Unbolting the rack.

Stock on the left.

Chris and I took it to Streets of Willow for the last LCS ( event. What a blast! Our Exige turned in beautifully and the quickness was noticeable. I had other Lotus owners drive the car and the feedback was universally positive. BTW: if you've not checked out the LCS, it is really a good time. Please check out their website.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Engine Mounts

In early 2007 we began working on a solution for the severe engine rocking inherent in the Elise/Exige. Shifting problems and exhaust failures can clearly be attributed to this excessive motion - it has also maligned a LIDbone or two. I made the following post last summer:

We've been vexed by the large engine movement in our cars. To address this
issue, we're experimenting with transmission mounts. These direct replacements
have stiffer polyurethane bushings that reduce engine/transmission movement,
which results in more precise shift performance and better throttle response.
The pictures below show our second generation prototypes that we've tested in
our cars. As it turns out, we have much more work to do to insure that it is a
solution that can work for most of the community. We'll keep at the R&D
because this is one problem we aim to sort! No ETA on the final product....

Unfortunatley these caused far too much cabin vibration. I think most NVH engineers at Lexus would have had a coronary if they drove our car with these two mounts. Without question they improved the shifting action of the Spyder by dramatically reducing the rotation. But the high levels of shake & rattle sent us back to the drawing board for street driven cars.

Earlier this year we sorted a new solution which comprised of metal inserts that took up the recesses in the stock rubber mounts. It was another clever idea from our friends at BurkeBuilt but it turned out to be too expensive to produce. We tested this solution on track and it worked very well.

Enter Innovative Mounts: We've now found a solution that should meet our needs for dramatically reduced engine rotation AND minimal vibration into the cabin. Innovative Mounts has been building mounts for the sport compact market for over 10 yrs. Their kit includes mounts for all 4 locations. Though we considered changing only the front and rear mounts, Tim@Innovative highly discouraged us. They have found this will create more stress on the remaining 2 mounts as well as transmit too much vibration. One of the key features of their PUR bushing is the tapered end design which helps reduce vibration transmission through the attachment points.
We will be testing a set on our car this week or next. We expect to have them available in 2 flavors of stiffness: Street & Track.

Hi All,

We've started to blog again about some of our latest developments! Many of you have followed our Spyder Blog last year and have asked us to continue. I have developed many products over the 20+ years in this industry. It is definately one of my passions. So with that in mind, we have started this blog to review some of the items we are currently developing. Truthfully, we have probably killed as many items as we have launched!

Keep an eye out for weekly entries.

Thanks for tuning in.