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erioshi

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  1. Back in the very early Danny days I had offered the opinion that VW might make sense if they wanted to move Porsche upmarket as a full range. Then Lotus could have filled the gap between VW utility and a Porsche tweaked more for upscale GT and Luxury, but still keeping the extreme high-end halo track and sports cars. Now with the Cayman really starting to come into its own, that doesn't really make as much sense as it might have a few years ago. While Toyota could probably bring stability, they have a long history of creating new cars that are "almost" sports-car enough for the purist market, and then slowly killing them by loading them up with excessive GT luxury features and a slow erosion of the model's core vision. The 80's and 90's saw their hot-hatch efforts go FWD and softer. Their MR2 started as a sports car, evolved into a GT and then turned into a secretary's cabriolet. The Supra never really was a purist's sports car, and kept waffling between a boulevard cruiser, and JDM Camaro or Mustang. The LFA was pretty much panned by the enthusiast community, aside from a few technophiles. Aside from the engine note, it failed to reach the soul. I think Toyota would slowly kill the Lotus brand by trying to broaden it's market appeal while loosing the brand's vision and DNA. One very off-the-wall thought I have had recently is that the Kia / Hyundai twins might actually make some sense. The twins could use a halo brand to bring them up-market, and they have recently been working very hard on quality, design and image. They are plugged into what younger buyers want today, generally have a somewhat performance oriented vibe, and their brands are growing. The big questions would be resources and the ability to not loose the core DNA that makes Lotus so special while blending the cultures. I also suspect that any new cars from such a parent, at least for a number of years, would probably need to be more closely related to the current Evora in spirit than many Lotus purists' long-standing dream of a re-tooled super Esprit or alternative Ferrari and Lambo fighter. Of course, if successful, the brand could probably be moved up-market over time. And if Lotus needs a sedan and/or crossover or two to pay the bills, so be it. As long as some proper cars with the right DNA also make it out the door. This idea is definitely out in flame-suit territory, but it just might be able to move Lotus' customer base away from gazing longingly into the (dusty) rear-view mirror, and get them looking forward again. And if Lotus were to loose a few potential future Esprit buyers, they would probably be replaced by younger buyers who would welcome a slightly more down-market purist's car with a proper Lotus name-plate.
  2. Having spent time flogging quite a few manual transmissions and a couple of cars with high quality, twin-clutch automatic gearboxes on a few race tracks, my opinion is that if Lotus were to use a top-notch twin-clutch with both auto and manual shift modes I'd consider that a plus. The very best of the DSG style transmissions are actually great to drive, and let you focus more on the actual corners than rowing gears. While I understand that shifting is essentially an unconscious activity once you internalize the process, even in track situations with enough experience, I did find there is a small but noticeable improvement in the level of focus I can apply to cornering when I don't have to worry about the gearbox. It seems like it would be a small thing, but that small thing does improve lap times. When computers were first introduced there were slide-rule purists. That analogy applies to thousands of areas in our lives where technology has moved forward and improved them immensely, even if we don't notice or think about those technological changes. I see the these new transmissions as just another expression of that inevitable chain of improvement. That said, if Lotus were to use a more conventional automatic disguised with paddle shifters or a low quality dual clutch that was more irritation than benefit, I think it could further damage the brand. Lotus seems to have always been about engineering minimalism and forward thinking technology. Regurgitating someone else's sub-standard technology would be a step backwards. Using good technology from someone else and giving it the Lotus re-touch would be simply honoring tradition.
  3. If you make the cars too tough, you end up with racing comparable to NASCAR, Rolex Grand AM Prototypes, any touring car series, Aussie V8 Supercars, or virtually all of the SCCA sedan classes. A style of racing typically conducted with lots of contact and very little incentive to discourage the use of cars as crowbars. This is where the "8 wheels are better than 4" mentality rules. And with money on the line for points and positions, the drivers would do whatever it takes to get results. That is essentially why, despite their differences, most of those series all end up being about the same to watch. I like the fragility of the cars in F1, it forces the drivers to raise their game and not just punt the car ahead of them to make a pass. It greatly adds to the risk vs. reward equation, and makes the racing more interesting for fans who appreciate the skill and courage required for the amazing driving and passes that make F1 the sport it is. As as long as that element remains, I'm fine with closed cockpits and other measures to reduce risk to the drivers. It's not the risk of life that interests me, it's the displays of driving skill and depth of talent; along with the willingness to risk an entire race result (or even championship result) on a well calculated move.
  4. I still think that Lotus should also consider replacing Coco. I respect his design abilities, but I also feel his work at Lotus was missing something. The (DB era) designs that were created under his direction seemed to hit all the right check boxes for "automotive fashion accessory", but lacked the depth of spirit and soul that truly purposeful designs seem to project. There always seems to be a significant difference between a design based on whimsy, marketing or image and a design based on real purpose, and that difference seems to tell the story of the car. I think the original link above really highlights this when you look at the difference in answers to the question "Describe Lotus in a word". Mark James replied "Inimitable", which I really think shows great passion and a real understanding of what Lotus seems to be about. Donato Coco replied with "Determination". I understand it, but I'm not sure that's how I see, or can relate to, Lotus as a brand. I would have expected a response more in line with Lotus' core values and traditions. Of course all of this is just my opinion
  5. The following list - not numbered because I feel all of these would be essential in a modern Lotus road car. While there can be some prioritization and juggling, not one of these items can be neglected. At a bare minimum: Basic levels of reliability, usability and assembly line quality that can rival a typical econobx from Honda, Toyota, or even the latest from Hyundai. It's not 1950, or even 1975, modern cars just work and (mostly) do not fall to bits on trips to the pub or weekend getaways. Modern cars also tend to work for years on end with just regular maintenance. Sublime driving experience. Nothing else feels like a Lotus. Lotus has a history of tuning suspension on their road and touring cars so that they deliver amazing road holding and cornering while still managing a good ride. Keep that tradition and build on it. Real performance - it doesn't need to be top of the supercar / sportscar 0 - 60 times or 1/4 mile, but don't leave owners feeling embarrassed and trying to explain "it's great in the corners" or "it's all about the driving experience". It's a Lotus - of course those are the priorities. But there still needs to be a real engine in the car. And yes, the brakes do need to be mind blowing. Innovative styling. New Lotus models have typically had styling that leads the industry, not follows it. That wow factor is a central part of Lotus DNA. This is something Lotus usually does right, and then messes up by not doing something really innovative again for another 10 years or so. Cut that to five. You can still sell the legacy models as long as demand and regulations permit. Restyling warm-overs do not count as fresh innovation, regardless of how good they look. Minimal weight. Again, a central part of the Lotus DNA. Innovative technology. I am not talking about fancy screens, adjustable seat heaters and cup holders that heat or cool your beverage. I'm talking technology that matters to performance. Things like active smart dampers (buy them from GM, they're available), twin clutch automatic gearboxes and other technologies specifically aimed at improving the car's performance and vehicle dynamics. You can still offer a "track day" option that strips the tech and cuts weight for the purists. Value. Basically a mix of the qualities listed that fits the price and market the car is being sold to. An expensive, low volume car that under-performs when compared to a less expensive, more mass market alternative is not going to stay market relevant. History is littered with hundreds of failed boutique auto makers that counted on exclusivity and prestige, and then were run out of business by "lesser" mass market alternatives. While you can count on a few individuals to choose exclusivity, the greater market always follows the more economic choice.
  6. A bit of historical perspective. According to the history I have for this document, the marking in the right column is attributed to CABC himself.
  7. This fits with everything we've seen so far. It wouldn't surprise me to see an attempt to shift the whole thing to Youngman with Danny retained as CEO. It even looks like this has been one of the possible escape routes he has been building towards for some time. My fear is that there may be a nasty bump waiting at the end of the line for Danny. I could see Youngman deciding to split the engineering and car building arms and then giving Danny a firm boot for all his efforts. Outsiders are not exactly preferred at the highest levels of authority in Chinese businesses. Hopefully none of this comes to pass. I would prefer to be wrong, and see Lotus kept where it is and still able to find a successful path forward for the future.
  8. This I definitely agree with. The brand definitely needed help, but I believe Proton has tossed Lotus an anchor instead of a life preserver.
  9. Positive about that? Here are some R8 references in rap & hip-hop links. I didn't bother to look for any Lotus content as a quick Google for R8 content seemed enough. The last one is particularly precious as it suggests rappers may want to look to the Russian underworld for prime examples of ostentatious displays of wealth. http://board.rapmusi...t-sinister.html http://euro-rap.com/...r8-v10-finally/ http://blodic.us/spo...monaco-25-0.htm http://www.ihiphop.com/?p=60602 And a link to a gunshot riddled R8 due to the owner's poor choices after a domestic dispute in Germany: http://www.mate1chan...-on-an-audi-r8/ The point of my original post in this thread was that the culture we are discussing is pervasive, aspirational and global, regardless of any personal opinions and prejudices we may have. Personally I think associating the Lotus brand with rap culture is risky, but perhaps by controlling how the brand enters the rap scene links like those above can be minimized or counterbalanced. I would consider preemptive image control a reasonable goal for a premium brand. I also agree, as others have opined, that Lotus might be better served by actually delivering some knock-out products and then carefully marketing them across whatever cultural boundaries are necessary to begin improving mainstream awareness and desire for the brand.
  10. I agree. While I appreciate the purity of engineering, lightweight ethos and extraordinary history of the marque, my personal view is this: I've pretty much always considered Lotus an "old guys" car. Most (but not all) of the owners I see are older guys (frequently graying guys) in wind breakers who look to be part of the same crowd found frequenting the vintage Jaguar, Jensen, Healy, etc. events. Sure there's an occasional splash of autocross, trackday or racing participation, and the Elise/Exige helped, but they didn't really punch through into the the tuner & lifestyle crowd of the time. While you may not like the fast & furious set, they have spent (and still do spend) huge money on cars. My Evo makes a good example, as a tuner car it's a pretty mild build; was bought new and then immediately had more money put into it. It's now about even money with an Evora and was built in a reasonably short time. Lotus missed out on that, they weren't even on my radar. Of course instead of measuring my car against the latest Lotus offerings, I hunt exotics, Corvettes and other fast cars on the track; unless it's built, a Lotus just doesn't measure up. In essence Lotus, as a marque, has become the Buick of modern sports cars; lost in "FOG" FOG = Friendly Old Guys; sports car lovers who usually can't afford a Ferrari or for whatever reason aren't interested in a shiny new Porsche. There are real enthusiasts in the current Lotus buying crowd, but there are just as many (or possibly more) real enthusiasts in the loyal ranks of other car marques as well. Lotus does not own the "real performance" banner, not anymore, and it hasn't for some time. At least not in the public eye. As a marque, Lotus is in desperate need of relevance to more than retired guys who love British cars, engineers and computer geeks. I understand this move by Lotus. I may not agree with their choice of spokesperson, but at it's core the move is needed; Lotus needs to find some pull in the younger market. Rap, video games and other popular media are burned into mainstream American culture, and have been for a while; I think now the average age of a video game player over here is somewhere in the 30's. Rap is now just as well established and popular as other forms of music like rock, alternative and country. It's an inescapable part of of the fabric of youth, and like other forms of music it's listeners include members from virtually every social and cultural background. Stereotyping rap listeners is no more accurate than doing the same for any other form of music. Doctors, lawyers and even policemen listen to rap.
  11. This may not count as I'm across the pond, but I'm actually in the process of rebuilding and modifying a type 65 Europa into a fully caged race car for ST1 racing with the National Auto Sport Association (aka NASA); details about the organization are available at nasaproracing.com.
  12. Really? I did visit that site out of curiosity and .. um .. yeah. Reminds me of those threads you see on the bad, cheesy import forums titled "hot car with hot girls" or other such silliness. Congratulations on bringing Lotus ownership into par with that of a 1995 Honda hatchback; well done.
  13. After reading the article, I came away with the distinct impression that the Malaysian president thought the plan was VERY ambitious, and will be keeping close tabs on how money is being spent and the plan progressing. I suspect Mr. Bahar had best not miss any important milestones.
  14. The following post appeared on the usa7s.com forum placed there by member BusaNostra, and I am interested in learning if there is perhaps any overlap in the development of the new GM Corvette engine and the the new Lotus engine? Having two different manufacturers create engines with very similar sounding specifications along the same timeline while both are producing halo cars that are scheduled for release into production for the 2014 model year seems a bit of an interesting coincidence. From the article in the link quoted below, the engine in question for the new Corvette is a light weight OHC (or possibly DOHC) turbocharged V8 engine of just over 3 liters fitted with a dry sump oiling system and designed with a rev limit in the the neighborhood of 10,000 RPM. All of that does sound a little bit familiar.
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