Monday, May 27, 2013

Introducing our latest project Lotus Exige S: "Switchblade"

This past weekend we took delivery of beautiful '07 Exige S220 with 20k miles on the clock.  Our game plan with this Exige is to develop a very cool, street-friendly Lotus that is also safe to run on track.  We will reduce weight with various products but not make any drastic modifications.  One goal with this build is that all changes need to be reversible to stock.  We know this will limit the overall performance potential of the car but we've proven our ability to build fast track cars so we will display some restraint with this build.

We picked her up from Abe@Newport European.  Abe has been active in the Lotus community for many years and is a guy I know and trust - plus he loves these Lotus.  The previous owner of this car took excellent care of the car as it was in like-new condition.  The only modification he had made was adding one of our darthHOLDER to the car - even though it came with the nifty stock cup holder.  The car has had all the recent service/recall updates.  The front lip has the typical scrapes underneath.

I drove her home on the CA freeways and have been driving her for a few days to calibrate myself - before we start our mods.  The car is fun and definitely not as insulated or comfortable as the Evora.  The acceleration is good.  The rear visibility is non-existent as the intercooler blocks your view - though the previous owner had removed the rear view mirror.  Some wind noise comes through the side glass and the roof.  The sport suspension/forged wheels/A048 tires deliver plenty of fun handling on smooth roads but can feel a bit stiff in the bumps.  The freeways are notorious in LA for expansion joints that cause a very uncomfortable ride in stiff cars - especially those equipped with the Lotus Sport Suspension.  The car has an iPod connection so I enjoyed some of my favorite tunes.

Some of the lightening areas will include wheels, brakes, street-oriented uprights, roof, exhaust and seats.  We decided to weigh her to see what we are starting with.  2072 lbs full of fluids was the result.  We will weigh her periodically to see our progression.  The car will get a BLADE package for added power.  We think that 275hp should not annihilate the trans on track - especially if we forgo super sticky slicks and focus on smooth/slow shifts.  Restraint is key...

I really love the color of the car and am scheming some way to make it look a bit more distinctive but not too racy or aggressive.  I have always tried to innovate technically and aesthetically - this car will have something cool about it visually.  Here are some inspirations:


The Exige still garners more attention than you might imagine.  Lotus got the formula right with the Elise & variants.  I drove a track prepped Cayman yesterday and got out after a couple of laps.  It felt like a boat  with slow responses.  The Cayman was not as engaging as I come to expect from my track cars.  Even though these Lotus have been available here since 2004 (yes almost ten years!), the performance, size and shape continue to put smiles on the faces of the many - including me.

1 comment:

ExigeS2007NTX said...

Love to hear how this goes. I too have a pristine 2007 Exige S and am ready to maximize the mods to make this a "street legal" track monster through increased power and low-weight.