PH FLEET INTRO: LOTUS ELISE SPORT 135
A Lotus joins the PH Fleet - but will it prove lots of trouble?
Specifically, I've narrowed down my target audience. They are the ex-hot-hatch-owners-running-a-RWD-sportscar-on-a-shoestring-that's-not-an-MX-5. If I can't engage with them I'm in serious jeopardy, and I'll just have to resort to mentioning Mazdas in every paragraph. Apparently this is recommended for 'search engine optimisation' purposes anyway.
Now I can't match Dale and his project RX-(sub)8 when it comes to a long-term goal for my Lotus, but I do have a few plans for the coming months. All of these are catalogued on my L-O-T-U-S list. That stands for Laughably Optimistic Trackday and Upgrade Schedule. Top of the list, and booked in for next week, is a big treat for all the tucked away bits that you can't see. I've dubbed it the suspension vajazzle.
I've got to say I'm very excited about the whole thing. Fitting those new one-way adjustable dampers, in place of the 30,000-mile Bilsteins, would be considered a substantial upgrade on their own, but refreshing all these teenage components together should add up to something really significant. And with so much of the undercarriage cleaned up and looking spanky at the end of it, I'll no longer think of my Elise as a bit of an armadillo.
Which neatly brings me to where I'll be driving it. As a weekend toy on a limited mileage policy, I'll have to be a little miserly with the epic road trips, nevertheless the first bon voyage I have planned is next month in northern France for a Lotus on Track day at Abbeville.
This is attractive for several reasons. Firstly at £99 it is cheap. Even factoring the cost of the crossing it's good value for money as the track is only an hour from Calais. It'll also make a change from the tedious journey to Bedford or Oulton Park. Then there is the French disdain for rules. Well, not at the behest of safety I hasten to add, but from the videos I've seen, they don't seem to take too much offence to a bit of skidding. Which is a bonus. And finally with so many Elises having made an exchange-rate inspired one-way trip to new homes on the Continent in recent years, it will be immensely satisfying to reverse that trend and bring mine back home again.
Car: 1998 Lotus Elise Sport 135
Run by: Danny Milner
Bought: October 2010
Purchase price: £9,500
This month at a glance: Triple whammy of cambelt service, tax and a Lotus owner's number one possession (a valid AA card) dents bank balance, but cash clawed back by saving money on tyre upgrade. Although not quite sure how that works out.