Lotus Elise S2 111S

Having got my car a couple of months ago, i feel its time i started a little thread. I'll try keep it brief, but i know i like to rabbit on :rolleyes:

Chapter 1. Finding the car.

This is a car id been saving for for over 7 years. Every month id been putting some aside into the lotus fund, with Birthdays and Christmases topping it up. However, as it wasn't a priority (to my wife anyway), the account was also dipped into for random house crap, Boiler breakdown, New dishwasher etc. So it took a little longer than planned, and with my wife managing all our money, honest truth is that i hadn't actually checked the account for over 18 months.
Then just after Christmas, one cold winter morning, i go downstairs to see the laptop on the kitchen island, open on our bank page with a massive cardboard arrow pointing at it.
My wife had been putting extra money into the account so i could get my realistic dream car......I think shes a keeper.

So the hunt began for the right one.
Having driven both a Rover and the Toyota engined variant, and as much as i liked the 6 speed box in the Toyota's, i love the low down power delivery from the Rover unit, plus with the added bonus that if i ever go K20 swap (the dream of the dream) its easier and cheaper to do with the rover variant.

I was hoping to buy from a reputable Lotus dealer, Jon seals sports cars, Allon White, Barry Ely and the likes, And had my eye on a Red one that Jon Seals had mentioned he had coming in. A couple days later he put on his facebook page a sneak photo of a red 111s he'd just picked up and was heading back to the workshop with. So i left it a couple of hours then called him about it. He'd already sold it before he'd even picked it up :(
So on went the hunt. I had feelers out absolutely everywhere, and had a few owners call to say they are thinking about selling, but nothing ever came from any of them.

Then one day i spotted a purple one on FB market place from a garage in Shropshire. 400 miles round trip away, during a stay local government order. low mileage, good price, and MOT history suggested just 800 miles in the last 7 years. Could i spend this kind of money on a car unseen? The garage also had a mclaren p1, several TVR's and the likes. So must know what they are doing, but the online reviews for them were not very good, especially for customer service.
Well after speaking to them, they assured me the car was as it seems. The low mileage was due to the last owner just not driving it, he'd get it out of his garage, drive it to a service and MOT every year, then take it back home and park it up till next year. They suspect he didn't actually like the car and probably found it hard to get in and out of, but didn't want to admit such to his wife, so stuck it out. They also informed me it had a hard top, something not mentioned in the add, and a tracker fitted. So decided to go for it. So thrashed out a price for the car with a service and delivery.

Then didn't hear anything from them for a week. So called them on a Wednesday and asked what was going on. 'oh, we are going to delivery it Friday. When we have two drivers available, one to drive it to you and the other to drive him back'
Nope, nope and nope. If i wanted it driven delivered id come collect it myself. I suggest you get a trailer delivery sorted. So they said they'll put it on the trailer for the Friday still.
I took half a day off work on the Friday, only to get a TEXT in the morning saying they cant make today, we'll deliver it Saturday.
Thankfully Saturday morning it arrived. Upon seeing it on that trailer. i was instantly in love.


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Chapter 2: The car

With it being mid March, and only wanting to tax the car for 6 months each year, i wanted to wait till April to get it taxed. Having it sitting in my garage for 2 weeks not being able to drive it was pain staking. But i did get a chance to have a closer look at the car and give it a good once over with a polish rag.
Several faults came to immediate notice. Very cheap ditch finder tyres on the back, obviously to get it through an MOT. One of the small front grilles has a snapped fin, and the interior light has had 2 high powered LED lights wired to it badly, meaning they sometimes stay on when you lock up the car. Causing battery drain. Which on a car like the Elise that has a very small battery anyway, thats not good. The seal on the hard top was in terrible condition with pealing and chips in it too. Having said all this, what the car did have was a full EP tuning induction kit fitted, One of the very best on the market, as well as having rare Lotus sports side skirts on, something which i hadn't noticed in the photos. So I was happy to let the indiscretions go.

Then a couple days later i was speaking to a mate about it. When he mentions the good thing about the 111s is the central locking makes it a lot easier to live with. Central what now? I certainly didn't have central locking. The buttons on the fob didnt lock the doors, only set the mobiliser. I needed to look into this.
Well it seems a common fault on these is whats called the CDL module. It sits within the dash board and controls the central locking. So manage to chase one down to a local lotus specialist, Hanger111. Who also advise me it should be a dash out job to change, however it can be gotten to via an air vent if you have small hands. So i go this route. (beautiful orange street legal racing Exige out side Hanger 111 when i went to get the module) £109 later ive got the module. They also advised me to take off the knacked trim on the hard top as it doesn't actually do anything, the seals that matter are on the inside, plus it looks neater without it.
I managed to change it through the vent after about 2 hours work, but I couldn't get the old one out, so have stuck the new one on top of it.
Try the locks, still nothing. Proper pissed off that ive brought a lemon, i sulk off to watch the rugby. (England lose, so I'm then in an even fouler mood) Once ive calmed down a bit i think logically. I hadn't actually checked in the doors to see if all alright there. So back out to the garage i go. And sure enough, the central locking had been disconnected.
My thinking is, the CDL failed on a previous owner, and if that fails there is no physical way of opening the door other than a lock smith. So rather than put a new CDL in, they disconnected the central locking and just used the key in lock drivers door.

April comes around, and i taxed the car and planned my first outing to Newmarket for the weekend. About 40 miles round trip.
I was like a kid at Christmas the night before. Finally i could drive her.
Got to Nemarket, done what i needed to do, then about half way home the EML come on. Cock
Drive her carefully home, plug my OBD 2 reader in, and it says failed to connect. :mad: try again, same thing. Manage to get hold of Stratton Lotus, a specialist about 30 miles from me, if they dont know, then it cant be done. They tell me to bring it in 1st thing. So i leave the car and go to a friends for a BBQ. Upon returning, i go to car, start it up. No EML on. So plug in OBD, it connects but says no faults or stored faults. So i go for a drive. Get 5 miles down the road, EML comes on. Plug in OBD, it cant connect to car. AAAHHHHHHH

Next morning, drive car to Stratton Lotus, no EML upon start up, OBD connects but again says no fault. Halfway to Stratton. EML on.
They take the car out back . Come back 20 minutes later and say they are having trouble getting their computer to connect. But they keep plugging a way, excuse the pun.
Eventually they get it connected with 2007 software, its a 2004 car. But it comes back with no fault, even though it had the EML on at the time. so they wipe all faults and clear all alarms, again, even though it says there arnt any.
They suspect its a 02 sensor, which looks relatively new. So think maybe someone else could have been having the same problem . They check 02 sensor on there test rig, it seems in good order. Check over rest of car, Say accelerator is slightly sticky and clutch feels a bit stiff, but put it down to not having been driven much for a long time. And im relieved of £165 and sent on my way.
Get few miles form home and guess what............EML comes on.
I'm swearing, cursing. Saying fuck the garage i brought it from, they can come collect it, shove it up their arse, i want my money back. Theyre a bunch of cun7s etc.
I've spent near on £300 getting the car working, and not once have i gone back to the original garage to get this stuff done under warranty. So now it's their turn to step up. However, its late Saturday so they are closed. I'll call them Monday.
Come Sunday morning, i decide to take the car to rugby practice. I dont care if it blows up, the wanky mcwank garage can sort it out, not my problem.
Driving there and back. no EML. So take it out for a longer drive in the evening. Nearly 100 miles. No EMl. In fact it drove faultless. And thats where this chapter finishes.

Fitting the CDL through the vent

Exige at hanger 111

Lotus Esprit at Stratton lotus
Chapter 3: I love this car

So, currently ive done over 600 miles since the EML last came on, and have had no problems at all. Having spoken to Stratton, they think it may have been it was run on crap fuel, plus having only done small journeys for so long. Then me putting proper fuel and driving it a bit more, the 02 sensor needed to re calibrate what it should be seeing.
So having got over any dashboard light watching, i feel i can finally sit back and enjoy the car like its supposed to be enjoyed.
I haven't changed the tyres yet, there is so much conflicting information out there, and i want to make sure i get the best ones, so a bit more research is needed.
It's not the fastest off the line or in a line. But you get to any twisty and it feels so planted. It really is a well designed car for being low and sticking to the roads like no other (Caterham besides)

It does get a lot of attention, i think due to the colour and you dont see many s2's about. Plus the hard top does make it look a little extra special i think. That will stay on till end of May. Then it'll be roof down motoring from then till October. The car also came with a Hardtop fleece lined bag, which is fancy.

The one thing of note from this whole buying my dream car ordeal is, Not once has the garage that sold me the car called me. Not the day after it was delivered to see if im happy, not a week after to check in. Nothing. I think that speaks volumes for their crappy service reviews they get online.

So here are some photos from this weekend. Including where i took out the full mat set and replaced with a half set. I like to see some aluminium. It's not supposed to be luxury motoring.

That is a lovely looking thing, sorry to hear about all your troubles but at least you got there in the end. Enjoy it man, they don't make cars like they used to anymore, especially since all 3 lineups ended production this year.
Nice read and what a lovely car. Sadly customer service is not what it used to be.

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