By on July 18, 2009

This week’s Your Shitty Economy (YSE)™ Car of the Week: the 2005 Lotus Elise. Somewhere along the line responsibility took over your life, leaving no room in the garage for fifty-thousand dollar track toys. It’s amazing how five years and $5,000 a year in depreciation can help rationalize the need for a weekend toy. Let’s face it, the street legal go kart Elise isn’t good for much else. The ride will make your STI feel like a Town Car. And the noise? Even if the radio (if it has one) isn’t capable of drowning out the engine, who cares? Pop the top and let the wind rush and exhaust notes assault your senses. If you are flexible enough to make it into the driver’s seat the purity of it all will overwhelm you. Don’t even think of using the word luxury in its presence. Want to talk numbers?

Tell the muscle car guys you have a whopping 190 horsepower engine yanked out of an economy car and you’ll likely get some chuckles. Remind them you are hauling less than a ton of weight . . . or, better yet, show them. This used 2005 example is yours for only $23,995, does have a radio and even A/C. What a steal. For some vintage Farago-ness, see this review of the 120-horse 2002 Elise that Robert penned for a British audience.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

66 Comments on “YSE Car of the Week: 2005 Lotus Elise...”


  • avatar
    ZCline

    I *think* the Elise has a lightly modded version of the engine in the now defunct Celica GTS … so not quite an economy car, but it certainly isn’t a big block chevy.

    I had said Celica, and I would love to have an Elise. The Celica was also light for its class, and once you hit the second cam, the engine was a screamer … pity it was so wimpy when off it though.

  • avatar
    paul_y

    Yes, the Elise has the Toyota 2ZZ engine. It’s a fantastic little mill that also happens to withstand forced induction well. High revving, makes a great sound, stupid-reliable, and …efficient.

    The 2ZZ is similar to the 1ZZ 1.8L used in the Corolla, base Celica, xD, and is related to that in the new Prius. However, the 1ZZ isn’t capable of the hotrodding (for one, the head is different, and not interchangeable with the 2ZZ, and I think the 2ZZ has somewhat stouter internals) that the 2ZZ is.

    In the Lotus, it’s what the MR2 Spyder should have been (other than that the Lotus costs twice as much, even used).

  • avatar

    RF’s vintage review of the vintage Elise is the best of vintage.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Looks like I just found my next car.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    48K miles in 5-6 years. Doesn’t sound like it was used as a weekend toy.

  • avatar
    troonbop

    I had never seen one of these until I was watching a Brit sci fi show called Primevil a couple of nights ago, some guy was tearing around a warehouse trying to get a giant bug off his car. That’s either an imaginary car, I thought, or some kind of Lotus.

  • avatar
    RichardD

    The US market Elise came with CD player and AC standard (you pay $500 as an option to delete the AC). The radio unit has the fidelity of an 80s-era Walkman and the AC is about as powerful as a USB-powered fan plugged into your PC.

  • avatar
    twotone

    The Elise isn’t the only car that falls of the money cliff. How about a 2002 Maserati Coupe GT — $90k+ new now $25,000? Or, a 2004 MB CL600 — $140,000 new, now $30,000. Many examples of these two with very few miles (owners had four or five other vehicles in the garage) now going for a fraction of MSRP. Keep in mind they will still be $90k/$140k cars to maintain and fix.

    Twotone

  • avatar
    lw

    twotone:

    You can definitely get some sweet deals if you fell for a dream car that was made 5+ years ago. My only concern would finding qualified mechanics and the $$ for upkeep…

    The Lotus intrigues me.. A Toyota engine… Parts would be easy to find…

  • avatar
    speedboatsteve1

    Does anybody know how robust these things are? Such lightness must mean that some pretty featherweight components were used and this thing was designed for England where folks just don’t do the mileages we do here. I bet the ball joints, lower control arms, and steering rack are toast at this mileage.
    Cool car though, my rich neighbor’s son just got a blue one for his 18th birthday…

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Much much much more fun than any Viper.

  • avatar

    I bet the ball joints, lower control arms, and steering rack are toast at this mileage.

    Since they started building road cars in the 1950s, Lotus has scavenged parts from other manufacturers. My Elan has a steering rack and other front end parts made for Triumphs.

    My guess is that the rack is an off the shelf unit, perhaps modified by Lotus, the ball joints are standard issue as used on other cars. As for the lower control arms, I could be wrong but I think the stock units are forged aluminum.

    The Elise is light not because Lotus scrimps on components but rather because the chassis is made from bonded aluminum extrusions, a technology that Lotus supplied to Aston Martin, btw.

    Lotus is justly famous for making cars that are among the best roadhandling cars made. You’re not going to pull .9g or better on the skid pad with weak suspension components.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    @Ronnie

    Does your neighbor have a life insurance policy on his kid?

    18 y.o. + Elise = trouble

    Though one major contributing factor in accidents involving young drivers is the number of other young people in the car, so maybe they’re doing him a favor.

  • avatar
    Stu Sidoti

    LOVE IT…now if I only could fit in it. But if Jezza Clarkston can sort-of fit in it, maybe I should give it a second try…$25K eh? Schweet.

    Quote Clarkston…” Stuff sold by the gram is always going to more exciting than stuff sold by the pound”

  • avatar

    The Elise is, to put it mildly, a piece of shit.

    Anybody seriously considering owning an Elise should join EliseTalk and read about the problems the cars have. They are disposable items, great for one-make club race series, plenty of fun for people who can’t quite make the gap to a real track-only car, but in no way are they serviceable alternatives to a Corvette or Porsche.

    @PeteMoran: A Viper is more fun than an Elise. Anything an Elise can do, a Viper can do with the speedometer turned further around the dial. Elises can barely keep up with Vipers and Vettes in A Street Prepared autocross; on a road course, it’s never even close. But “fun”, I guess, is not always a function of raw speed.

  • avatar
    Stu Sidoti

    @ Jack Baruth….Jack you’ve driven a lot of great cars so I’ll ask…If you had $25,000 to spend on a fun to drive car, what might you suggest? I’m thinking of it as a third car, with not a lot of road mileage, no long trips, mostly as just a fun-to-drive sporty car, hit 5-6 autocrosses each summer, maybe a few track days as well…What do you like?

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ Jack Baruth

    I’d spend $25k on an Elise to play at the track and have TENS OF THOUSANDS spare every year over running a Viper or Corvette P.O.S.

    I know at least a dozen Elise (and Exige) owners and they have nothing but excellent ownership experiences as weekend track racers.

    Anything an Elise can do, a Viper can do

    Maybe if the track is a rectangle of four straights and you have an UNLIMITED tire budget.

  • avatar
    commando1

    I’d take a Panoz Esperante over one of these. YSE has kicked the %^$# out of these, too.

  • avatar
    niky

    Don’t Vipers eat money for breakfast? Uncle had one… used to go through serpentine belts like oil, had trim issues like an Aveo and qualified for lemon law until they traded it in for two SUVs.

    They loved the car, but it was a pain in the ass.

    A non-supercharged Elise should be a relatively painless trackday car… that Toyota 1.8 is a pretty good engine, and I don’t think you’ll be seeing much sludge on a car that will be spending most of its time revving its nuts off and not sitting in traffic.

    Looking through the site, seems like a bunch of minor annoyances, like most anything you’d get with any import or small run sportscar built in a shed…

    At least they’re not catching on fire…

  • avatar

    troonbop
    I had never seen one of these until I was watching a Brit sci fi show called Primevil a couple of nights ago, some guy was tearing around a warehouse trying to get a giant bug off his car. That’s either an imaginary car, I thought, or some kind of Lotus.

    That episode had both the Elise and the Exige. The orange car he was driving inside the warehouse was an Exige; there’s an Elise in the background of some of the warehouse scenes. Both were shown tearing around the track in the opening scenes.

  • avatar
    DrBeets

    “Anything an Elise can do, a Viper can do

    Maybe if the track is a rectangle of four straights and you have an UNLIMITED tire budget.”

    x2 lol

  • avatar

    @Stu:

    Three answers.

    $25K cash: CMC-prepped Mustang ($15K), trailer ($2K), older pickup ($8K)

    $25K finance with a reasonable budget to fix and run the car: 2005 987 Boxster 2.7

    $25K finance, not too much flexibility for repair: leftover 2008 Subaru STi, or 2009 Cobalt SS.

    @PeteMoran:

    This may interest you. Robert is going to kill me for pimping my day job over and over, but I happen to have the info there. Here’s Traqmate data traces of an Elise and a Mustang GT500. Note how they achieve almost identical lap times:

    http://www.speedsportlife.com/2008/06/24/speedsportlife-imaginary-internet-millionaire-track-test-ferrari-f430-v-lotus-elise-v-dodge-caliber-srt-4-v-ford-mustang-gt500/

    Now, to put it in perspective, on that same track, run the other direction, a droptop Viper was more than six seconds faster than either the Elise or the Mustang.

    People who think Vipers aren’t track superstars irrespective of power have never driven one on a track.

  • avatar

    Looking through the site, seems like a bunch of minor annoyances, like most anything you’d get with any import or small run sportscar built in a shed…

    The Hethel facility is hardly a shed.

    BTW, speaking of Lotus, Mike Kimberly, who has run Lotus in a couple of stints since the death of founder Colin Chapman, recently announced his retirement. Kimberly, is 72 and would rather not retire but he has a painful back condition that was only partly relieved by surgery.

    Auto enthusiasts owe Kimberly a debt of gratitude for keeping on of the world’s storied marques alive through some perilous times.

  • avatar

    The comment about Primevil made me think. Considering that they’re a low volume mfg, Lotus has gotten their product placed in a number of high profile tv shows and movies.

    Emma Peel drove an Elan in The Avengers
    #6 drove a Seven in The Prisoner
    The James Bond Esprits including the submarine.

    It looks like Tesla is taking a page from the Lotus book. So far I’ve seen the Roadster on TNT’s Leverage (which has a big cross promotion deal with Hyundai’s Genesis and has all the bad guys driving Detroit iron), and on FX’s Royal Pains. And yes, both shows mention how its electric.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    There’s a local example of 2006 with very low miles for 28k. It’s british racing green with orange stripes and black wheels. Sooooooo tempting.

    The elise also has that wacky grin I love. Mazda had to copy that, too. :)

    These things are typical british hand made, so some level of tolerance is expected.

  • avatar
    stevenm

    @ PeteMoran

    Much much much more fun than any Viper.

    No, I’m afraid they are not. Ignoring the service requirements of either car, the Viper is more fun more of the time in more places. It’s more fun on the street, more fun on the track, and more fun loping along in sixth gear on your way to meet the girlfriend. It is just simply an all-together more enjoyable car, and I find it very hard to believe that anyone, who isn’t personally biased against the car for whatever anti-domestic or anti-big-muscle-car shoulder chip may exist, would reach a different conclusion after having honestly driven both.

    That’s not to say the Elise isn’t a fun car. It is. Just in a completely, totally different way.

    The Elise is, short of a few gotchas with the early cars (like poorly hardened camshafts), reliable on the street. However, it’s also more or less disposable. Run over a large object in the road, or slide one sideways into a curb, and you run the risk of totaling the car should you damage the suspension mounts or chew up the aluminum tub.

    Do the same in a Viper, and you’ll probably crack an A-arm or bend a wheel, assuming you don’t just break whatever you ran over instead. The car is a tank, put simply, which takes a beating and keeps going. The Viper is probably the most reliable supercar you can buy for love or money.

    The Viper certainly has its issues, at least in non-ACR trim. The wheels are boat anchors, the tires hockey pucks, and the factory suspension setup feels like it honestly was designed by someone who had a few too many three-martini lunch breaks. However, that’s really about it. Put good coilovers, light wheels and sticky tires on it, and it’s simply epic. It will out-handle and out-perform virtually anything that comes its way short of a flat out race car on slicks.

    The Elise has more issues out of the box, even though it’s often harked as a track car for the street. It has the previously mentioned cam hardness issues, though to be fair that isn’t a terribly expensive or complicated fix. But it also has oil and fuel starvation issues, which is kind of a big deal if you’d not like to be buying new engines on a regular basis. It is also dog slow in naturally aspirated form, and while you can fix that with forced induction, doing it in a proper, no-holds-barred manner is quite expensive.

    In short: The Elise needs $20,000 worth of custom go-fast parts tossed into it to be an all around enthralling, enjoyable car to drive all the time everywhere.

    The Viper needs a set of wheels, tires and some shocks. Though, to be fair, by the time you’ve bought a Viper and sorted it out, you’ll have just as big a hole in your wallet as you would having bought a cheap Elise and set it up properly. As such the only metric that remains, for me, is the fragile nature of the Elise’s aluminum construction and composite body. One little mistake can total the car, or require a ~$5,000 clam replacement. That is not the case with the Viper, since they got rid of the $12,000 hood anyway.

  • avatar
    lw

    The Elise has a key quality that no Viper, Mustang or Corvette will ever have.

    It’s unique. Drive one down the road and most folks (even most car people) will do a double take. Even after two looks, most will wonder what it is.

    I’m a Corvette guy… Maybe buy one of these for the wife in a couple years..

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Viper not unique? Put down the crack pipe.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    on that same track, run the other direction, a droptop Viper was more than six seconds faster than either the Elise or the Mustang.

    Really? What does that prove? Nothing.

    Here’s another example; the “old” M3 CSL ran the same time as the Viper SRT10 on Top Gear’s track driven by “The Stig” (Michael Schumacher??). (@ niky the SRT10 caught fire too).

    And then there’s Top Gear video of an Exige TOYING with a GT500. Clarkson was in the Exige, while The Stig was in the GT500.

    What does that prove? Nothing.

    We have two Viper SRT10 runners in our club and they spend the most out of all of us over about 5 regional tracks we go to in a year. The five or six Elise owners check their tire pressures and change their oil…….oh, no sorry that’s wrong, they put fluid in the washer well, sometimes.

    The Viper owners have the advantage at one track (long straights and the twisty bits are a bit uphill) but their tires are dead after ten or so laps. Pile on the $$$. LOL.

    BUT, we have a GT-R owner spanking us all (911 GT’s included), but he’s also spending a bit he discovers.

    Hey, we all have ENDLESS fun! That’s the only point to it.

    I’d have an Elise (or an Exige) in a heartbeat.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    I have a good friend with an Elise. I helped him drive it back from the dealer in CT and still drive it occasionally. It is a blast! A 2006 purchased in 2007. It has been bullet-proof. On it’s second set of tyres (the original Avons were softer than gum on late-August blacktop). And my friend does not go softly on it. (RF, it is the burgundy one about town).

    More fun – to me – than a Viper as it is far more tossable…and I bet most Viper guys hate it because well, if you can’t fold up, you can’t get in…or out! Jack?

    But, take it for a weekend trip that includes 3+ hours of driving each day and you’ll be wanting an STI instead.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Always wanted an Elise, however insurance in Chicago was way higher than an Sti. The STi is also more practical in winter, less exotic ( you really want to attract LESS attention in Chicago, esp when parked) and more practical than an elise.

    I still think as far as looks, elise > viper > sti, but ah well, my STi is paid off :)

  • avatar
    niky

    Ronnie Schreiber :
    July 19th, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    The Hethel facility is hardly a shed.

    ‘Twas meant in jest.

    I would love to have an Elise.

    Preferably with a Honda K20 in it… much more torque, much more top end… lots of fun. None of the nasty complications of supercharging.

    Eating oil on track (which is what I assume is the oil consumption issue Jack is talking about) isn’t a big deal or a rare thing for transverse engined cars (or actually, any road car) that are taken on track. It’s merely amplified by the long service intervals specified for the Toyota engine and the fact that high revs can speed the process up.

    Just add a little more oil if it starts to happen… and once the engine becomes a card-carrying lifetime member of oiloholics anonymous, swap it with either another Toyota unit or the aforementioned K20.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    No, I’m afraid they are not. Ignoring the service requirements of either car, the Viper is more fun more of the time in more places. It’s more fun on the street, more fun on the track, and more fun loping along in sixth gear on your way to meet the girlfriend. It is just simply an all-together more enjoyable car, and I find it very hard to believe that anyone, who isn’t personally biased against the car for whatever anti-domestic or anti-big-muscle-car shoulder chip may exist, would reach a different conclusion after having honestly driven both.

    Judging by that post, the commenter was mostly concerned about power and maybe absolute lap times (kind of silly in a track _toy_). Well, if that’s the case, an elise is not the ideal car any.

    Might I suggest a GT-R? :)

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/review-2009-porsche-gt2-%e2%80%93-switzer-performance-p800/#comment-1512568

    Viper not unique? Put down the crack pipe.

    There are less elises in the US, maybe 5k, and they are less likely to be bought as showpieces so they’re about as commonly driven around as ACRs.

  • avatar

    @dgduris: The Elise isn’t that difficult to get in and out. I’m 6’2″, 220lbs, effectively crippled by multiple injuries sustained in a singularly unrewarding pro BMX career, and I can get in and out without difficulty, so I’d imagine nearly anyone else can. My Seven clone was much tougher.

    For the record, I reviewed a turbocharged elise for TTAC a month ago:

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/review-2009-lotus-elise/

    @PeteMoran: Top Gear is entertainment, plain and simple, and the video you see reflects that. I don’t know how your friends in their SRT-10s run through tires in ten laps, given that the current Viper runs competitively in the SCCA’s T1 class, where races are longer than ten laps.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ Jack Baruth

    Top Gear is entertainment, plain and simple, and the video you see reflects that.

    Did you get to the bit where the M3 CSL is faster than the Viper SRT10? What a shame. Hard to take I guess.

    The point remains. You give me example Track A where car X is faster than Y, and I’ll give you example Track B where car Y is faster than X.

    The Elise/Exige can be competitive and heaps of low cost fun compared to dozens of other “supposedly” faster low-tech dumb-brawn cars (Viper etc…). Which leaves those dumb-brawn car owners sucking their thumbs/dummies.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Petermoron,

    How convenient you forgot to mention the Viper time was in the rain. Yawn… Not that I put much faith in Top Gear ‘airstrip’ times anyway, as the show is self-acknowledged for entertainment purposes. The reality is ‘you’ seem to have bias towards American performance cars, and it is painfully apparent by your comments. The REALITY is the Viper + Corvette ZR1 spank everything you’ve mentioned, and are dead reliable and easy to maintain regardless of the nonsense you spat. And everyone knows it, and is secretly laughing at your silly assertions. Even the Euro-Mags ‘now’ acknowledge this… I suggest instead of spatting off lies about performance, you focus on interior quality or fit & finish issues. This is the route most others go, as the performance/handling argument is ‘old-hat’ and had been proven to be a ‘big lie’ to the uninformed.

    For those that are ‘truly’ looking for the performance bargain of the century, may I suggest a lightly used (low mileage) Corvette C5 Z06. An under-rated 405 HP motor, and a 3,000 curb weight! For about $20,000 it will utterly destroy any Lotus Elise, in ANY event. Even a lame parking lot autocross, where the Elise should excel. The C5 Z06 has many SCCA rings under it’s belt. It will be dead reliable, cheap to repair, and is daily drivable. There is NO better performance buy at $20,000.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Agenthex,

    There are less elises in the US, maybe 5k, and they are less likely to be bought as showpieces so they’re about as commonly driven around as ACRs.

    And your point is? Mine was that the Viper is very unique, not that the Elise isn’t. They are both unique and rare. Seeing either on the street is EXTREMELY uncommon.

  • avatar
    stevenm

    @ agenthex

    Judging by that post, the commenter was mostly concerned about power and maybe absolute lap times (kind of silly in a track _toy_). Well, if that’s the case, an elise is not the ideal car any.

    No, I’m not mostly concerned about absolute power. However, I’m also not a “this car is slow as hell but handles awesome” apologist, and hence I refuse to gloss over the fact that a stock Elise is painfully slow, especially on the street, to the point of it being a chore to drive. I don’t like having to drop two gears and drive something like a Radical with a bike engine to achieve an acceptable amount of acceleration.

    Likewise, I’d rather walk than drive a 500+ horsepower Mustang or Challenger, with otherwise stock suspension and brakes. Power is important, but not absolutely, and not at the expense of handling. The reverse is also true, and it’s something that Lotus has been unfortunately forgetting with everything since the V8 Esprit. You need both for a well-rounded, enjoyable car.

    Might I suggest a GT-R? :)

    Not my thing. I like cars, not video games. I’d take an Elise over a GT-R any day and twice on sunday, even if it is slow.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    They are both unique and rare. Seeing either on the street is EXTREMELY uncommon.

    You know, there are places where flashy cars are more commonplace. The viper has been around a lot longer and sold more in such places.

    No one is saying your car is not unique at all, it’s all relative.

    Not my thing. I like cars, not video games

    It’s kind of telling the lengths folks have to go through to hate on that car. I thought the GT-R was pretty cool to include comprehensive telemetry like higher end racing cars. I guess the part where they designed the car for the best possible stability is also bad, since that kind of thing also made the awd lambo a video game car.

    and hence I refuse to gloss over the fact that a stock Elise is painfully slow, especially on the street, to the point of it being a chore to drive. I don’t like having to drop two gears and drive something like a Radical with a bike engine to achieve an acceptable amount of acceleration.

    It’s funny when people say this. Were they hoping for an automatic? (hey the GT-R has that, LOL. or about half of corvettes).

    Also, we want some vids of the kind of street driving where a lotus is too slow. That’s usually the kind where cops are in pursuit or will soon be.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    stevenm,

    No, I’m not mostly concerned about absolute power. However, I’m also not a “this car is slow as hell but handles awesome” apologist, and hence I refuse to gloss over the fact that a stock Elise is painfully slow, especially on the street, to the point of it being a chore to drive. I don’t like having to drop two gears and drive something like a Radical with a bike engine to achieve an acceptable amount of acceleration.

    Likewise, I’d rather walk than drive a 500+ horsepower Mustang or Challenger, with otherwise stock suspension and brakes. Power is important, but not absolutely, and not at the expense of handling. The reverse is also true, and it’s something that Lotus has been unfortunately forgetting with everything since the V8 Esprit. You need both for a well-rounded, enjoyable car.

    Couldn’t agree more, although I hear the latest Mustang (2010) isn’t half bad. I have my doubts until a test drive… The mistake some people are making is comparing the Viper to these ‘muscle/unibody’ cars. The Viper is an EXTREMELY ridged full steel framed car with coil-overs on all four corners. Absolutely no body roll with ‘almost too quick’ steering. Even comparing these cars (to a Viper) shows ignorance beyond belief. This is the first time I’ve EVER heard anyone do so… Similar to saying the STR10 tires only last 10 laps, when in reality they are very sturdy Michelin Pilot Sport PS2’s. A VERY durable tire with a treadwear rating of 220. Normal street driving yields you about 20,000 miles, and they also wear very well on track.

    Also agree with your analysis on the Elise. On the track at full boil, I could see it being a fun car. On the street it is a dog. I had about 2 hours with the car (on the street), and came away with the following conclusion: Wow, this car would be sooooooo much better with a different engine. No throttle response unless your RPM’s are above 6,000, and that is too tiring on the street. It’s not so much about the ‘ultimate limits’ of a car, but how the car arrives at those limits. The primary reason we don’t see ‘bike’ engines in cars. The Elise also has dual personality upon enter/exit. Top off, no problem. Top on, hope you’re flexible. I never thought my Viper could feel like a Cadillac, but the Elise made that happen.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ onerareviper

    How convenient you forgot to mention the Viper time was in the rain.

    Did you get to the bit where the M3 CSL’s time was also “in the rain”??????????????????

    (They use “W” for Wet Track).

    Geez.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    My point being you’re not exactly going to get a time representative of a 500-600 HP RWD car in the rain, especially one with no electronic nannies. I believe the latest Z06 did what, a 1:22 or so in the dry?… The base Viper is a quicker car. Again, though, Top Gear is a fun program to watch. But defending a cars performance based on their airstrip times is not a good idea, IMHO.

  • avatar
    stevenm

    Were they hoping for an automatic?

    No, a useful power band. Try driving the cars in question sometime, and perhaps you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about.

    Similar to saying the STR10 tires only last 10 laps, when in reality they are very sturdy Michelin Pilot Sport PS2’s. A VERY durable tire with a treadwear rating of 220.

    The SRTs didn’t get the PS2s prior to MY 08, and hence most people have experience with the previous Pilot Sport run flats, which are, to be kind, junk. “10 laps” is pushing it, but I’ve seen the run-flats melt after about 3-4 sessions (100-120 laps). The PS2s are a different animal entirely, and are awesome. I find it extremely hard to believe that anyone tracking a 3rd gen SRT would be doing so on the stock tires. I have seen it happen, but generally by people who are new to track driving, and quickly throw them in the trash following their first event.

  • avatar
    stevenm

    @ PeteMoran

    Did you get to the bit where the M3 CSL’s time was also “in the rain”??????????????????

    Here’s the key piece of information your CSL fanboyism, vis-a-vis Viper bashing is missing: Tires.

    The CSL came out of the box with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup rubber. The Viper Top Gear tested was one of the first generation SRT cars, which came with Pilot Sport run-flats. The difference of available grip between the two cars, and relative ability to cane the thing to a quick lap time, is not exactly slight.

    While even the 3rd gen’s 500hp gave it a significant power advantage over the CSL, it was at a massive traction disadvantage given the tires both cars were equipped with.

    You’re also glossing over the fact that the CSL ran on a “damp” track, whereas the Viper ran through significant amounts of standing water.

    In short: Apples to Oranges, and none if it has a thing to do with buying an Elise.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    stevenm,

    ;) Oh yeah, I forgot about those runflats. Probably because most people dumped them ASAP. Matter of fact, if you look on Tirerack for 2003 Viper tires it shows Pilot Sport PS2’s.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    No, a useful power band. Try driving the cars in question sometime, and perhaps you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about.

    That’s exactly what I commented on. It’s why they put in a transmission, and they even make automatic ones for cripples (or very fast shifting in some cases :)).

    BTW, where’s the street hoonage/arrest video?

    Again, though, Top Gear is a fun program to watch. But defending a cars performance based on their airstrip times is not a good idea, IMHO.

    How about ‘ring times? All around 7:50ish, fair enough? Make sure to look at the non-ACR, too.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    I agree, ‘Ring times are not the greatest indicator either. It all depends how much time/effort ‘whomever’ spends at the track to achieve a maximum lap time. Dodge never spent any with the non-ACR. Matter of fact, I believe it was the Viper Club of America that went with the ACR. Far from a full factory effort. One afternoon and 5 or 6 laps to be exact. What’s funny and worth talking about is they broke the production record that so many internet warriors + Euro/Jap. companies hold dear, in a couple hours and sub-par track conditions (wicked head wind). This is really the only reason I mention this from time-to-time. I wonder what the GTR’s times were the first few times out? 7:50’s come to mind… That might be optimistic, probably not even sub-8’s.

    As for non-ACR track times, the car is showing to produce similar lap times as the ZR1 (in the real world). So figure with enough effort similar to GM, the base Viper could pull a similar ‘Ring time. The ACR would easily be in the low teens with enough time/effort + ideal track conditions. But I doubt Dodge will ever do this (or specifically Viper Club of America), as they proved their point IN A BIG WAY. Especially if you watch the entire lap where missed gears, banging rev-limiter, staying in lower gear due to headwind, etc… are all apparent. Anyone with an ounce of racing experience knows that lap could be improved upon, big-time. Imagine if they spent ‘months’ like someone we know (ahem, Nissan).

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Back on topic – YSE. Forget the Viper, as a Gen II with ‘no stories’ + ‘no accidents’ is still 40K+. Has anyone actually went and looked at a 30K Viper? I have. “Did I mention it is an R-Title?”. “Did I mention it’s been painted?”. “Yes, I’m the eighth owner.” etc…

    Staying in the 20K ballpark for a car with ‘no stories’, I’m still waiting for a worthy competitor to the Corvette C5 Z06. That is if you like a little track time along with your street car. Can drive daily, cheap to maintain, very reliable, decent fuel economy, and a track monster. Toss a good set of tires + coil-overs and you’ve REALLY got a beast.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Matter of fact, I believe it was the Viper Club of America that went with the ACR. Far from a full factory effort.

    That’s what their fanbois like to believe. Dodge paid but didn’t ship out the factory. They ran two cars, logistics by folks who run vipers at the full ring races plus their ring specialist, and a half day of empty track.

    Not exactly a half-hearted effort.

    I wonder what the GTR’s times were the first few times out? 7:50’s come to mind… That might be optimistic, probably not even sub-8’s.

    People seem to forget this is a new car. The last sport auto supertest is a 7:38; all of their times are higher than best possible manufacturer. They logged ~7:50 for many fast cars. The earlier viper tests were all 8:00+.

    Especially if you watch the entire lap where missed gears, banging rev-limiter, staying in lower gear due to headwind, etc… are all apparent.

    You obviously didn’t watch the lap, or have no idea what to look for. Some of this stuff is because of the car, like holding at the limiter instead of shift because shifting takes time and may bump the engine to a less ideal rev.

    You’re comparing a car w/ race coilovers and race aero, racing size tires and quite a bit more power, to standard production cars, and you’re boasting it’s somewhat faster? Really?

    Imagine if they spent ‘months’ like someone we know (ahem, Nissan).

    Nissan has done more “speed” runs during the manufacturer pool days (few times a year). It’s true they spent a lot more time around the track, and that’s because they develop there, thus a part of the reason why the car has excellent stability and control under difficult track conditions.

    You realize that they weren’t going for a “record”, right? If they were, the car would certainly have more power and thus speed down the long ring straights. Just putting ACR size tires on would cut seconds, but track times are a bonus, not prime objective, which is why it’s even more amazing.

    The “not enough power” for a street car is always amusing. The WRC runs tarmac rallies and had about a 300hp limit with pretty affable drivetrains because more was found to be dangerous. The question is whether the wannabes really think they have skills that demand more.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ onerareviper

    My point being you’re not exactly going to get a time representative of a 500-600 HP RWD car in the rain, especially one with no electronic nannies. I believe the latest Z06 did what, a 1:22 or so in the dry?… The base Viper is a quicker car.

    But it wasn’t, and they weren’t using the base Viper they were using the SRT10! The CSL has near-slicks in the damp and the SRT10 was run after some rain, but not wet, but a little worse than “damp”. It wasn’t faster than the M3 CSL.

    So you’re saying the Viper is crap in the wet/damp??

    But defending a cars performance based on their airstrip times is not a good idea, IMHO.

    WTF? As long as the tests are back to back, it doesn’t matter where does it, or are we heading back to “The ‘Ring answers ALL questions….” carp.

    @ stevenm

    I find it extremely hard to believe that anyone tracking a 3rd gen SRT would be doing so on the stock tires.

    So the costs of running a Viper for track work skyrocket?????????????

    Tires are the thing that kill my budget and I try hard not to use too many up, but the SRT10 owners in our club literally CHEW through them compared to me. I have no idea what they use; Chrysler recommended maybe???

    I don’t see them achieving anything more than me in lap times apart from one of five tracks we go to, BUT, they’re having the fun they want to. Good luck to them.

    My point has been (continuously) the Viper (any of them) is not the LAST WORD in cars as yourself and the unfortunately user-named onerareviper would have everyone believe.

    From my point-of-view they have nearly no advantages, should perform much better given the weight, power and expense and are less fun than the Elise/Exige.

    your (M3) CSL fanboyism

    Absolutely. One of the finest cars ever produced. Balanced in every way and extremely entertaining on track. Like the Elise, it out-performs (rather than under-performs = Viper) your expectations when you get in and go.

  • avatar
    ZCline

    I still really want an Elise. As I said, I had a celica with that motor, it does kind of suck going down two gears to pass someone in traffic. Still, the engine is a gem when “on cam” and in my mind, not much looks better. I live not too far from this particular example either …

  • avatar
    agenthex

    But it wasn’t, and they weren’t using the base Viper they were using the SRT10

    What’s sort of sneaky about the viper claims is that the fanboys only want to use the ACR to compare. It’s known that the 500hp srt-10 is not that fast, nor the fairly new 600hp srt-10. It’s kind of embarrassingly close to fairly mundane 911’s. Only when you get to the track special ACR do the time really drop. Not exactly surprising considering the race setup.

    You can compare rough times at fastestlaps.com

    I actually agree that the chassis has potential, too bad dodge didn’t do a very good with it.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Agenthex,

    OK. 5 laps in one afternoon is a full hearted effort, without having ‘hundreds’ of laps to test/tune like other manufacturers we know – whatever… LOL. I’m also sure the driver missed a gear on purpose and kept the car in fourth all the way down the backstraight due to perfect conditions (bad day/horrible headwind)… Even Dodge claimed a mid-teens would not be a problem with more time, but closed with “we proved out point.”

    BTW – I’m not claiming the Viper ACR is ‘somewhat’ faster than a GTR, I’m claiming it is WAY WAY WAY faster (on track). Let me be more specific. By WAY WAY WAY faster, I mean 4-5 seconds a lap faster on a normal road course (approx. 2 mile course). I’ve seen it first hand… Believe what you want, but time will prove this statement correct. Here’s where we agree. You’re right, IT SHOULD BE THAT MUCH FASTER. And it is… Mission accomplished.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    OK. 5 laps in one afternoon is a full hearted effort, without having ‘hundreds’ of laps to test/tune like other manufacturers we know – whatever… LOL. I’m also sure the driver missed a gear on purpose and kept the car in fourth all the way down the backstraight due to perfect conditions (bad day/horrible headwind)… Even Dodge claimed a mid-teens would not be a problem with more time, but closed with “we proved out point.”

    5 laps is clearly a lie. They pay all the costs to get to germany, for the track, an expert driver, pro team support, and do five laps total, yeah right. You also don’t seem to understand the ACR very well for a devout fan. It’s aero limited at the top end, and 4th is where the top speed comes in that setup they used. As mentioned before, shifting may not produce a faster time.

    Is it capable of more? Probably, which is same I’ve said for other cars. But let’s hope they’re not taking you on as an advisor because you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    By WAY WAY WAY faster, I mean 4-5 seconds a lap faster on a normal road course (approx. 2 mile course). I’ve seen it first hand…

    That’s entirely possible, but also reflect on your lack of knowledge of track times. Some tracks favor certain cars. Did you take a look at that website? You also underestimate the effectively of the aero pieces, and a fully adjustable track suspension.

    You think that other companies can’t figure out how to put them on their cars or they don’t bother since they are not selling track specials?

    So here you have the normal srt-10, nothing special, and you put on circuit racing pieces and it goes faster around a track. Crazy, huh?

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    But it wasn’t, and they weren’t using the base Viper they were using the SRT10!….

    So you’re saying the Viper is crap in the wet/damp??

    Petermoron,

    1.) Do you even know what a Viper is or who makes it? First, you bantered on for pages about how the ACR was some specialty vehicle that Dodge shipped to some magical aftermarket tuner. “That’s not fair, it’s not a production car. Boo-hoo” LOL. When in reality it is a full production vehicle. Now, you’re going on about how an SRT10 is somehow different than a base Viper at the time Top Gear tested the vehicle. Let me make this easy for you…. All Vipers have been SRT10’s since 2003 – LOL. Matter of fact, if memory serves they tested a convertible which was the only Viper available for purchase at the time. The Coupe was released a year or two later. New flash: Convertibles are a bit slower than the Viper Coupes around a track.

    Due to the amount of trash you talk on the Viper, I’d expect you to ‘AT LEAST’ know the car. Let me help. The latest Viper comes in these flavors:

    SRT10 Convertible (Performance options – Aero package)
    SRT10 Coupe (Performance options – Aero only package or ACR package which includes aero/softer tires/lighter rims/adjustable coil-overs/two piece rotors)

    Therefore, when we’ve been referencing ‘base’ Viper it is merely a non-ACR.

    2.) Yes, I’m saying any street car with RWD, 500-600 Ft lbs of torque from off idle, no tech nannies, and 345 snow shoe/hydroplaning tires is not going to be an ideal candidate for fast ‘wet’ lap times. The Viper is not an ideal car to track in the wet, not even close. Matter of fact, I can’t think of a production car where the difference from wet-to-dry would be greater. The Viper never claimed to be an all-weather car, do everything car. It is what it is… That being said, at street speeds it is fine in the rain.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ onerareviper

    All Vipers have been SRT10’s since 2003

    SRT10 or RT/10, geez big deal (for someone else).

    By WAY WAY WAY faster, I mean 4-5 seconds a lap faster on a normal road course (approx. 2 mile course). I’ve seen it first hand…

    I’ve seen the OPPOSITE, now what do you do???

    The problem with your desperation is generalising way too much.

    Due to the amount of trash you talk on the Viper, I’d expect you to ‘AT LEAST’ know the car.

    I honestly don’t care. Just stop desperately trying to defend it as something we should worship. Rather unfortunate for you with your username I guess.

    I won’t worship it, I think they’re pathetic given the power, the remarkable low weight and the expense of running them. The SRT10 ones I see are track pigs, the previous versions EVEN WORSE.

    They under perform given the desperate fanboi claims made about them. When I spend money on a car on track or personally, I want it to exceed my expectations. The Viper (any version) does not qualify. It’s my opinion.

    Elise any day, otherwise, what Agenthex has said.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Agenthex,

    1.) HELLLOOOO…. I’ve been a Viper Club member for 8 years. I know people that went to the event. It’s not about ‘being a fan’, it’s about KNOWING the facts. 5-6 laps, period. Do you think making adjustments/analyzing results takes 5 seconds between laps? You my friend are the one that doesn’t know… Also, fourth gear IS NOT the top speed for any Viper, including the ACR. Top speed on the ACR is limited due to downforce, but is still around 170 – 185MPH (depending on who you talk to + settings you use). Fourth gear does not approach those speeds. It was CLEARLY explained to the Viper Club the reason for not shifting into 5th was a severe head wind. On a different day 5th gear would have been plausible.

    2.) LOL. I never said different tracks don’t produce different results. By ‘normal’ I meant ‘typical’, if there is such a thing. A track like Mid-Ohio that has a little bit of everything.

    3.) Of course I realize the aero bits + tires + adjustable coil-overs improve performance. Isn’t that the point? That being said, the ‘normal’ Viper Coupe isn’t exactly slow around a road course. It has pretty aggressive settings from the factory + produces downforce at speed. Of course it’s not going to be as fast as an ACR (mainly due to tires), but they are not as far apart as you suggest. Am I willing to say it will beat a GTR around a ‘typical’ road course? Yes. And again, it should. Of course this can be debated, and that would be valid. The ACR, no debate. That car is a monster at the track (and it should be).

    * Not to you specifically, Agenthex. (below)

    4.) I love how everyone cries when the Viper produces a production version that is ‘track capable’. Doesn’t Ferrari? Doesn’t Porsche? I know Porsche has been selling cars for years with Pilot Sport Cups, huge wings, and adjustable suspensions. I’m sure you’ve heard of them… Don’t know all the specifics of Ferrari’s offerings, but I recall super soft tire compounds were used on their ‘track capable’ versions (ie – Scud). Heck, even the GTRs performance can be largely attributed to super-soft gumballs and in-cockpit super agressive track setting. Point being none of these cars are 12,000-mile-a-year drivers.

    5.) Oh yeah, Dodge does offer a ‘true track’ car. Or did, not sure of the current status due to auto biz craziness. Notice, I said ‘true track’ not ‘track capable’. It’s called the Viper Competition Coupe. None of the cars we have spoke about throughout all these posts are ‘true track’ cars IMHO.

    http://www.vipercompcoupe.com/about-viper-competition-coupes.htm

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Petermoron,

    I honestly don’t care. Just stop desperately trying to defend it as something we should worship. Rather unfortunate for you with your username I guess.

    When you stop spatting mis-information about the Viper, I will stop posting. I am not trying to convince you (or anyone) the Viper is the be-all-end-all, or even to ‘like’ the car. I could care less. Seriously. What I despise is the lies you keep spouting on a website that claims to be dedicated to ‘the Truth’. Like I said, I’ve owned everything from a 88HP Hyundai Excel to my current Viper. I dig MANY makes, not just the Viper. They all have pro’s and con’s. A MATURE car fanatic will acknowledge this, but you keep spatting blatant lies about certain makes due to some ‘insecurity’. Or ‘something’. This tells far more about a person than any car they own. I believe it may take several sessions with a psychologist to figure it all out. And I don’t have the degree to pursue this….

    Although I don’t agree with everything Agenthex has to say and we may have thrown a dig or two at one another (all in fun on my part), he does make points that can be debated. I can respect that, and like going back and forth. Maybe you should just let him take over from this point forward… You are your worst enemy.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    It’s not about ‘being a fan’, it’s about KNOWING the facts. 5-6 laps, period.

    So basically you’re claiming to know the people involved. Did they lie to you about the size of their undertaking, or are you just lying to us about it?

    Tell us again how it was just a few good ‘ol boys having a go.

    Fourth gear does not approach those speeds. It was CLEARLY explained to the Viper Club the reason for not shifting into 5th was a severe head wind. On a different day 5th gear would have been plausible.

    Again, why make it seem as if “bouncing off the limiter” was some other sort of problem? Do they have data on that straight for when the wind wasn’t blowing in the time they were there? These guy clearly have a willing audience, so again, how much did they have to embellish and how much of it is yours?

    Am I willing to say it will beat a GTR around a ‘typical’ road course? Yes. And again, it should.

    Too bad it doesn’t. The GTR about straddles the two versions. Kind of sad really it takes a car with 600hp and all sorts of compromises a load of race kit to beat a car targeted for drivability.

    I love how everyone cries when the Viper produces a production version that is ‘track capable’. Doesn’t Ferrari? Doesn’t Porsche? I know Porsche has been selling cars for years with Pilot Sport Cups, huge wings, and adjustable suspensions.

    Sure, but it seems only viper owner have to make excuses for the base version, and only use the track version to compare against others’ non-track models.

    Heck, even the GTRs performance can be largely attributed to super-soft gumballs. Point being none of these cars are 12,000-mile-a-year drivers.

    The GTR also does fine on its runflats. Even on the very long ring, it’s about 5 sec. I believe some of the magazine ran on it.

    Oh yeah, Dodge does offer a ‘true track’ car. Or did, not sure of the current status do to auto biz craziness. Notice, I said ‘true track’ not ‘track capable’. It’s called the Viper Competition Coupe. None of the cars we have spoke about throughout all these posts are ‘true track’ cars IMHO.

    OMG, LOL. How many ACR’s total do you think are out there of all the vipers, never mind GT racers? Let’s try to keep it within the realm of the sane, ok?

    You may want to realize cars like the GTS coupe are full bore race cars and run tens of thousands of dollars a race weekend.

  • avatar

    Again, I’ve driven the current 600hp SRT-10, the previous 500hp SRT-10, and the ACR. All of them will easily handle any production Exige/Elise.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ onerareviper

    A MATURE car fanatic will acknowledge this

    But YOU haven’t, and you carry on with various immaturities like Donkeyvoot, moron…..

    The specific allegation is that despite it’s ridiculous engine and being lightweight, EVERY version of the Viper is beatable. You don’t seem to accept that.

    I further suggest, that it SHOULD perform better. It takes the ACR package to out-run the “regular” GT-R which you’ve previously claimed ends the “debate” as to which car people SHOULD aspire to. Go ahead and tell me again what I SHOULD desire……

    The M3 CSL (E46) outperforms the SRT10. Check the data. The M3 is a surprise every time I have a chance to drive one. I like that.

    My personal experience in my Caterham is that it’s child’s play to out flank our SRT10 owning members who spend WAY MORE $$$ running than I do. They only have an advantage at one track we go to out of five, even then, the SRT10s suffer tire problems.

    For me, that would mean an Elise is a wise choice, while the Viper is for wannabe’s or pre-teens pretending to be superheros, claiming everyone else needs to see a psychologist. Or the other version is “Because the Viper is so RAW, only a select few know HOW to appreciate it”.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    I’ve driven the current 600hp SRT-10, the previous 500hp SRT-10, and the ACR. All of them will easily handle any production Exige/Elise.

    Errr, who claimed otherwise…..?????

    EDIT: (It’s also another HUGE generalisation).

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Again, I’ve driven the current 600hp SRT-10, the previous 500hp SRT-10, and the ACR. All of them will easily handle any production Exige/Elise.

    With 3 times the power and tires twice as big, I certainly hope it can.

    To be somewhat fair to the viper, the Koenigsegg’s an example of a car that is pretty terrible for its supposed power due to instability. A 900 hp version reportedly crashed while ringing 7:33’s. Maybe they can borrow that wing and splitter from the ACR.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    OMG, LOL. How many ACR’s total do you think are out there of all the vipers, never mind GT racers? Let’s try to keep it within the realm of the sane, ok?

    You may want to realize cars like the GTS coupe are full bore race cars and run tens of thousands of dollars a race weekend

    No, no, no…. You missed my point. I was only suggesting Dodge does make a true ‘race’ Viper, if that’s your thing. $140,000 can get you one… Also to show the ACR is still pretty far from a ‘race’ car. I had the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with a Comp. Coupe. You quickly realize the production Vipers (including the ACR) are not ‘race’ cars. That was my only point, as some people speak of the ACR like it is a race car (ie – unusable on the street). Far from it…

    Yes, professional racing is expensive. We finally agree on something. Although the numbers you are quoting are a bit high, at least for a Comp. Coupe. Now the GTS-R, which won all the titles in mid-late 90’s + early 2000’s (not the GTS Coupe, as that was a production car from 1996-2002), that’s a different story. The GTS-R was a 750 HP monster that competed at the highest level. I’m sure the cost to do such a thing (ie – win 24 hours of Lemans 3 years in a row) is astronomical. Team Oreca is the search you want… The Comp. Coupe was released in 2003 and provides a more ‘affordable’ racing experience, if there is such a thing. Mainly for privateers. I’ve watched them race on the weekends with only an extra set of tires/brakes.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Back on topic. The best YSE street/track weapon. I’m still waiting for a worthy competitor to the Corvette C5 Z06. I don’t think there is any, at least in the $20,000 – $25,000 range. crickets…….

  • avatar
    agenthex

    No, no, no…. You missed my point. I was only suggesting Dodge does make a true ‘race’ Viper, if that’s your thing. $140,000 can get you one… Also to show the ACR is still pretty far from a ‘race’ car.

    Tell me, what does the ACR stand for? Just because it’s not a GTx racer doesn’t mean it’s not a track car.

    There are many levels of racing a car around a track, the ACR is designed for club racing, hence the name.

    Although the numbers you are quoting are a bit high, at least for a Comp. Coupe.

    Sure you can scrap by on lower cost (maybe less than than 10k) if you’re not being competitive anyway. But then why buy a comp. coupe anyway. At the very least you need a transporter for a such a car. You need at least a mechanic, pit/radio, parts get damaged/worn, cars touch, tires for practice/qualifying/race in addition to any fees. At the level of racing where comp coupes apply, the cost of the car is only a part of the endeavor.

    Perhaps you’re not aware of how much real racing cost, but a big-time team like oreca is more than tens of thousands of dollars which is only how much the “privateer” racing costs.

    I’m still waiting for a worthy competitor to the Corvette C5 Z06.

    It doesn’t really matter what club racers use since there’s rarely wheel to wheel anyway. Just get whatever you like. Driving skill and not cars separate folks at that level. And if you want to develop real driving skills, do karting.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Steve Biro: I’m not telling the world to stop trying. But, regardless of the actual level of greenhouses gases,...
  • Flipper35: Ralph is unique. He also raced Vipers and made nice looking cars.
  • NigelShiftright: We’ve been told “there are only ten years left to save the planet!!!!” since,...
  • Astigmatism: “But now, I am beginning to suspect that, whatever society does, it is already too late to...
  • Dan: “It’s reminiscent of how the European Union handled air pollution by assuming that prioritizing...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber