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Whippet

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  1. I guess my friends here will already know that I am fiercely against modifications on cars. No matter how much you may rant about "personal choice and freedom" or "I don't want to sell my car anyway". Comming from a Porsche back-ground, and having been involved with researching of old 911 and 356 cars, and other classics in general, I cannot convey to you how intensely I now hate aftermarket un-original modifications. Luckily I see this sort of thing less and less on old 911's, many owners having to spend thousands to return a mongrel to an original. These unoriginal bastards are being punished in the market-place too. I also now see chavs getting their dirty paws on old M3's (which are now becomming classics) and early Cosworths. The worst thing is, whenever I had to meet the owners of these modified cars, they are the sort of characters that give you the creeps anyway, without even seeing the car. I hope I don't sound snooty or elitist, but I guess I belong to an era where people respected the original builders, their ideas, and the like. Beyond just keeping it original, I always feel that it seems like an insult to the original; the designers and builders to modify their car beyond what it originally was. I am going to Villa D'Este on Lake Como next week for the Concorso D'Eleganza, just to inject me with renewed hope about classic car owners again.
  2. They're brilliant - sounds like an old Audi 5-cylinder too. Quirky design - just the way I like it. For the life of me, I do not know why Fiat has stopped making these (or evolutions thereof). My daily driver is a Fiat Panda Cross (in bright orange)- brilliant too, with a minature 1.3 16V turbo-diesel. Since owning this excellent little 4x4, I have become a huge Fiat fan. Not a single fault since I bought it new more than a year ago.
  3. I think the best policy is to be careful but trusting. . . . . . Just don't mention the war.
  4. You are right Scott. Except the way in which Mark has probably meant it, is that it is likely the Ferrari owner genuinely misidentified the Lotus as a Ferrari. I am sorry to say but a lot of Ferrari owners are notoriously disinterested and uninformed in their own cars and classic/sportscars in general, except as a token billboard of status or wealth. Gosh, I know that is a massive generalization, but this has been my personal experience time and time again. I am not talking about fine minutae of the mechanical workings of their own cars, but if I comment on the "4.3 litre in their 430" and I get a confused, dazed look, I get a bit worried. Tsk, tsk, tsk....
  5. Wow, very interesting, thank you for sharing! Looks a bit like a Lagonda from the side, doesn't it? Wonder why it wasn't persued further?
  6. Brian I think the problem is one of consumer perception and brand image. It is an etherial and a difficult thing to quantify, and even more difficult to manage. The extra cost associated with a fancy brand engine may not make sense to you and me on a dollars and cents basis. However, the ruined brand image can spell the end of a carmaker. That is how "real" and powerful this etherial thing is. Everybody is also aware that any small kit-car manufacturer can pop a cheap 'Vette engine in their product and make it go like hell. Consumers do not make rational choices (thank goodness for that). They will continue to buy Astons, Ferrari's, Porsches, Maserati's all of which are much more expensive and less powerful than a Corvette. Value for money, especially in the top-end sportscar realm does not feature here. With all that power and value for money, I have not one single day in my life dreamed of owning a Corvette. And I never will.
  7. Unfortunately the issue about an engine for the Esprit has already been decided "by force" as it were by the engine choice for the Evora. By default, the Espirt now will have to have an 8 cylinder engine. IMO the 3.5 litre V6 twin turbo for the Evora is a bit over-engined for such a tiny car. I have seen it in Geneva, it is tiny, but I guess it needs all that power to haul all that weight.
  8. Paul makes a very good point, one which we should all follow. I do however, always answer questions of those interested in the car. I can't remember who, but a sportscar enthusiast (I think it was a Lotus owner) developed on his website a "creed" of a sportscar owner: something along the lines of you have a responsibility to 'share' your car with the public, be curtious, answer questions, how not to be a twat etc. I wish I can remember the site. It is very good. Except, I refuse to wave at Honda drivers. I have to draw the line somewhere.
  9. I still think Mark's reaction is funny. I mean, we have to start working on building a snob image for Lotus too. On a Sunday here in spring in Switzerland, every second car is a Porsche, Ferrari etc, so it will become a bit tiring to wave. Back in SA, I also used to drive a Land Rover Defender, and ALL Defender drivers waved at each other. Maybe it is shared misery, or something. I loved my Landy though. But never would you find Range Rover or Discovery owners waving at each other. I also drove a 911 and a 944 in SA, and often waved at fellow Porsche drivers, only to be met with a weird, puzzling stare. But then again, Joh'burg is full of Porsches.
  10. LOL! Yes! That's happened to me too! Very funny, Mark. I've even had it in my red 944! These Ferrari guys, clearly all cash and no knowledge of cars! I wonder how many confused drivers of red Pontiac Fiero's and MR2's have been left in their wake.
  11. As you can see I drive a blood red SE. This car is often confused with a Ferrari, especially from an approaching distance. So much so, I see the following quite a bit: Whenever I do a bit of high-speed driving here in Switzerland, I often see drivers roll down their windows as I am approaching. This they will do even in ice-cold conditions. I can only think they do what I used to do whenever I used to see a Ferrari approach: to listen to that engine symphony at high speed. They always roll it up again as I pass, possibly a little disappointed. (I can't believe they are all just letting a fart escape just as I drive up. They don't do this when I approach in my Fiat Panda Diesel. ) Does this happen a lot to any of you? Or somebody thinking it is a parked Ferrari, only to read "Lotus" as they get closer. Do you see signs of disappointment? I usually see more interest: "Aaah, an Esprit", before they take a peek inside.
  12. Yes, you are right, we will disagree - those mags and wrong tires they're disgusting. Why do people always f%&k up Lotus Esprits like this? This in itself should be a warning sign about the DPO (Dreaded Previous Owner). To add my 2 cents, I have always owned and ran very reliably cars with high mileages. Porsches as well as my current mint-condition SE from 1990 has 150K miles on. The enigne is spotless with a FSH, and goes really well. Another aspect to consider, in my case both my Carrera and my current SE had high-speed motorway miles on them. I would say a car with 50K city miles is a disaster waiting to happen, whilst 150K highway miles is a different story. Of course you would need an honest previous owner(s) to know this! Generally sportscars are used as second cars, hence it is unlikely they would've been abused in stop-start traffic. The Esprit looks very restorable, even just for the sake of saving it by somebody who obviously appreciate Lotus Esprits
  13. There is an interesting point to be made here. This guy has never spent more than $13 000 on any car before. Clearly then, not really a petrolhead. His statement says nothing of the exciting acceleration or the looks. More a "head" decision, rather than a "heart" decision. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but this is exactly what I saw in Geneva. You could not get any where near the exciting petrol-sportscars. The booths around Prius, Honda and Tesla where all practically deserted. These were probably the most important cars at the show, yet they were simply not exciting.
  14. Hey Roger, good to see you here again: Yes, as an ex-South African I felt quite proud seeing this at the Geneva show. I had a long chat to the Zagato representative there. It will be the first ever "pure" Zagato car. All other efforts were coachbuiling exercises. Now let me assure all here: I do NOT say this out of misplaced patriotism; it is a really, really stunning car. I am very sensitve to design crimes, but this was really for me, the star of the show. I would not have pulled my punches if this was crap, regardless of origin. The BEST part of this is the price: according to the representative, it will go on sale at about $60 000. I will type that again: $60 000! For a sexy-as-hell Zagato body, a LS3 Corvette engine, and its own designed chassis! The detail and built quality is similar to any Ferrari, Jaguar and the like. Bravo!
  15. I have started a sort of similar thread on the General Motoring/Lotus/Esprit about the new era of internal combustion engines. After reading this, and some of the news events from the last few weeks, as well as visiting the Geneva motor show recently, these are my thoughts: 1) Car manufacturers are developing interesting high-power, small capacity turbo-charged engines. All the major firms are involved. We will see this sort of thing on a broad front before hybrids and EV's. How this translates into day-to-day driving torque is another story. 2) Four cylinders have an unfair image problem for high-end sports cars. No matter how powerful they are. HOWEVER, it CAN become an interesting (but risky) differentiation for a company like Lotus to develop a 4 pot with F430 power. Let us not forget the Porsche 944 was a hot and sexy seller; nobody ever complained much about THAT image problem. (Ok, that wasn't really "top end"). 3) Despite major developments and advancements in alternative hybrid and electric technology, people may think cognitively that is a good idea, however, people are simply not "excited" about it. This may be a very interesting marketing and consumer psychology issue that could be the key: it is an ethereal quality of consumers to sometimes reject the rational and go with their hearts. 4) The Evora is a V6, so it will be weird if the new Esprit has a 4-pot. By the way, I saw the Evora for the first time in the flesh, it has left me cold. It is a bit bland compared to a 20-year old Esprit. It is also quite small, looks like a new Europa, or a large Elise. It just doesn't tickle me. It looks better in photos though. 5) Crazy prediction time: Formula 1 will go back to turbo-charging and small capacities in the next decade. Ferrari and Porsche will both develop a 4-cylinder model. Anyway, these are just my own crazy musings. Etienne Botes
  16. Engine downsizing happening at Renault too; strategy explained. Loved the last line: 'These new engines will rewrite the badges on rumps of cars driving our streets in remarkably short order. Perhaps the pub banter will now become focused on how small we can go, not how big.' Best, Etienne Botes
  17. I saw that yellow thing in the flesh in Geneva. It sure is striking and pretty, but in real live that ass is huge, in fact the whole car is quite big - you can't really judge by the picture. It is amazing how pictures somehow creates an impression in your mind that isn't true - for example I always thought a Porsche 917 is a huuugge car!
  18. This is an old post to revive, but the news is now that Audi will replace A6 and A8 engines with four cylinder units in the future. That is not a typo, the A8 with a four cylinder. Oh, and by the way, I went to the Geneva Show last week; the new Honda fuel-cell car was standing lonely and abandoned, no interest from the crowds, the new Prius, lonely with no interest. Tesla had a booth in the basement with a single car, lonely and abandoned. This anecdotal perception tells me that developments and technology is one thing, winning the hearts of people, another.
  19. ...except it is still a Boxter. Zzzzzzzz.... It might be a brilliant car, but has the brand appeal of a fridge. Like all Porsche's other products. All brilliant, but no soul. Let us not even talk of the style crime of the century, the Cayenne. PS: I am actually a huge fan, but of that other company called Porsche which closed their doors after they stopped the 993. And appointed Wendeling Wedeking.
  20. Very true - it is interesting that none of these manufacturers quote rpm figures for these power outputs. Be sure I will find out in Geneva from the horses' mouth so to speak. But what if they have achieved this at "normal" rpms? They will be showcasing this engine in the 407. This is a pretty middle-class type saloon. Surely they won't have gone down this road if they are impractical "screamers" like the RX8? Ah - and don't forget a lot of this is achived by so called new technology: variable compression control and petrol-direct injection.
  21. Quite right - which is why (unfortunately) rotary engines don't feature anymore too.
  22. Hi Andrew, The quoted figures for emissions for the Peugeot are as follows: The 220 hp engine consumption: 6.7 litres per 100 km and 158 gm CO2 per km. The direct injection 270 hp model: 6.1 litres per 100 km and 140 gm CO2 per km. They believe they can get 120 gm eventually. No rpm figures are quoted. It is a whole new world then, isn't it? Hi Pete, I think the objective is small capacity but power in low rpm's. Hayabusa is all brrrm, brrrrrrrrrrrrm, brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrm 200 hp!
  23. Hi, In the space of two weeks I have picked up on two news releases. As a car-enthusiast the new developments in hybrids and EV's have left me cold and uninterested. But this really interests me: The first is the announcement by Peugeot of a 1.5 litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with variable compression control and 220 hp and 420 Nm!! They also have a petrol-direct injection engine which develops 270 hp and 460 Nm!! (These are all turbo-charged of course). The second is the new Alfa Romeo Mito GTA. That has a 1.7 litre four and develops 240 hp (turbo-charged)!! Both of these cars and engines will be shown in Geneva. I am going to the show, so I will see it first-hand. This may ring the bell for the start of a new era in engines IMO. The implications could be staggering: it puts a question-mark on the justification for large V8 and V12 engines, even in sports-cars. The incredibly low emissions of these engines, if produced in even smaller sizes, puts a whole question mark on (expensive) hybrid and EV developments. In a way, and more personal to us, it also affirms that Lotus was on the right track (20 years ago)with their small-capacity turbo-engines in the Esprit. This development may also affect the New Esprit in engine choice - who knows where this development takes us. I fully expect another drop in cc's in F1 with turbo's allowed in the near future. All I can say is "long live small capacity" and "long live the turbo"!! ...oh yes, and "long live internal combustion!" Best, Etienne Botes
  24. Very nice Cly, very professional and clean, yet warm and friendly looking with the wood and rock-detail. What "European cars" will you be selling and servicing?
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