Piston Slap: The Geographic Luxury of Bespoke Motorcar Ownership?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap the geographic luxury of bespoke motorcar ownership

TTAC Commentator arach writes:


I need some car buying advice, and I’m not like one of those lame buyers who ask if they should buy a Honda or a Toyota, so you should definitely give me your 30 seconds of direction. (Fine, maybe this isn’t pointless. – SM)

You see, I finally bought my DREAM car two years ago, a Ferrari 360 Spyder. I love it — BUT there’s two things I hate about it:

1. Despite just living in the US of A, there’s no dealership or shop anywhere around me that can service it.

2. Its so FREAKING EXPENSIVE. A new clutch costs me almost six grand, it costs me $600 just to get it to the shop for a $400 oil change, etc.

I was thinking about selling it and buying something else, like a Lotus Evora 400 or a Porsche 911, but the latter seems too common.

Sajeev responds:

Question back to you: is a Lotus really any better? I assume [s]not everything[/s] nothing Lotus can be serviced at a Toyota dealer; that’s one reason why they have a Lotus dealer network.

You have way too much faith in the parts/technology sharing of Lotus and Toyota. My knowledge of the 1993 Lincoln Mark VIII and that engine stealing bastard (a.k.a. 1996 Ford Mustang Cobra) in mind, I bet the Evora’s camshafts are also bespoke Lotus bits. I’m likely correct.

This is turning into a good Piston Slap!


That is a great question. I presume since it’s Toyota-based that an independent shop can work on them, but I falsely assumed the same about Ferrari. I live where indy shops have no problem with Porsche. There is a Maserati and Jaguar dealer nearby, while BMW, Porsche, and mainstream dealers are in reach. I was hoping for something that can be serviced at indy shops.

I called some indy shops before I bought it who “claim” they can work on them, but does Lotus lock down buyers to the dealer network?


I bet Lotus locks ’em down hard: even John Deere does it.


So I made the post up at Lotustalk.com, I got nothing that gave me a ton of confidence, and it appears some Lotus dealerships may not be as wonderful as one might hope. I decided to dig into the Lotus computer systems. Hoping it was a Toyota based ECU, I did find out they are proprietary Lotus units.

I dig a little further, and it looks like the Lotus Techcentre Dignostic Computer runs about $4,000 with an annual $9XX dollar charge on top of that. This replaced the old cheap scan tool.I fear this puts things right back to the Ferrari situation. While the Ferrari computer is way more expensive, there’s so little demand for the Lotus in any geographic area, and the idea of an indy shop ponying up $4k + 1k/year for a diagnostic tool is unlikely. This unfortunately makes me think your initial thought was correct, that the Evora is probably just as bad as the Ferrari.

Thanks for guiding me in the right direction, even if I didn’t find the result I wanted!

Any other ideas, or does this lead towards the mundane choices — a run-of-the-mill 911 or a Corvette? Any other ideas of cars worth looking into? Nobles emerge occasionally!


Noble? NOBLE?

Son, how many times does it take you touching the waffle iron before you learn it burns?

Go buy a Vette, a 911, a GT350 Mustang (with all the track-focused options) or maybe wait for the new Supra. Because you don’t have the geographic luxury of buying bespoke, premium sports cars!

[Image: Lotus]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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2 of 89 comments
  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Aug 18, 2018

    What you really need is a track-day car like a Radical and a Lexus LX tow vehicle. There, i fixed it.

  • Manu06 Manu06 on Aug 18, 2018

    Just get a 2019 Mazda MX5. Not an exotic but you need some bang for your buck.

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