Surprise surprise, it’s Lotus bonanza for Norfolk’s favourite customer this month![Not a valid template]
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What a Lotus masala month! First up was a track experience at Dubai Autodrome organised by Lotus Al Futtaim to demonstrate the Evora . They’d even decked-out a stock Evora with Lotus F1 colours, similar to my Cup 260 – nice welcome! Within the slickly managed event, each invitee drove a few laps alongside a professional instructor, then you’d swop places and he’d show you how it should be done. It’s a great way to safely experience what an Evora is capable off and I’m sure Al Futtaim will be organizing more events if you fancy getting your name down.
Next –up was a visit to MSW to get the alignment done on Meany Greeny. I’d fitted an uprated toe link kit to the rear suspension a few months back and aligned it by hand. As Elises are very sensitive to set-up and the steering was off centre too, it seemed best to hand it over to the professionals. Amazingly, the laser alignment confirmed I’d reassembled the rear suspension within specification (pure luck!) but Robbie at MSW had to strip off the front suspension to correct the set-up with different shim sizes. With Meany now tip-top, I felt confident to lend it to fellow crankandpiston.com scribe Osie, whilst his Cayman R was out of action.
For the rest of the month, I was in Europe but took the opportunity to test drive the 2014 Exige S, which isn’t currently available in the GCC. There’s a certain déjà vu driving the latest iteration, and that’s because a good chunk is similar to my 2010 Exige Cup – cabin, major controls, silhouette, even the trademark spoilers. The big change is in the middle, where the supercharged 1.8-litre four-pot has been replaced with a supercharged 3.5-litre V6. 345bhp in a small car that’s under 1.2 tonnes wet, is always going to be a giggle to drive and so it turned-out. If you’re in the market for a Cayman S, you really should try the Exige S before handing over the cheque.
When I’m in the UK, I always try to nip to an independent Lotus specialist called Paul Matty. It’s polar opposite of a clinical modern showroom, and their richness of Lotus knowledge and stock is as overpowering as the whiff of Castrol R. You feel you’ve been transported back to Lotus’ old days and Colin Chapman may pop his head round the corner. This visit didn’t disappoint – they had the parts I needed on the shelf and there was a lovely collection of circuit and hill climb cars being prepped for the season ahead. Two stood out for me: a replica of Lotus’ original delivery van and a rare 340R that had just arrived from Hong Kong.
Last but not least was getting Sara Auto to professionally polish my 1998 Elise, which I’m putting up for sale. I don’t write much about this Elise on crankandpiston, but as I’ve decided to slim-down my Lotus collection, something’s got to go. This car really is a beauty: very original; low mileage; and a great example of an early build car. I’ve already had interested parties contact me from Europe and Canada, but there’s still a chance it remains a Gulfy.
Bon voyage mon ami.
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