Lotus Elan

Trip to Maranello

PostPost by: SADLOTUS » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:48 am

Just did a little trip in July to Modena, to Ferrari town. 1900 miles round trip.

Went via Reims (and a play in the woods with a couple of Willys Jeeps :D ). Reims is a bit half Disney, half spoilt, half not sure what it is - new paint and weeds. can't decide if it's good or bad. Prob good if it keeps it alive for a few years more. Had a wander round there ?til we were chucked off. (that?s new :( )

Only went on the Autoroute until Paris (deadly expensive these days! - I think they're trying to recoup the abolishment of road tax), then D and N roads through the Alps - unintentionally following the Tour de France route a week before they block it all up.
We purposely took the roads edged with green on the map ? pretty and twisty!
The little car was very well received wherever we went, we decided the Italians liked the car more than the Frenchies, maybe they just showed it more, always hooting and waving.
Hood down all the way except over the Galibier Pass ? 3C and torrential rain at the top and 38C sunshine at the bottom!

Maranello was, well, full of Ferrari stuff ? unsurprisingly ? this was only ever going to be a flying visit, we had five days and wanted to fit a few other things in as well. Wandered around the Ferrari museum, stood on the fence and watched a 550 being thrashed around the Fiorano test track, topped up with oil and headed back up towards Turin.
Stopped about ten miles outside Turin and parked up in a lorry park for the night. Son John - six foot two, sixteen and skinny, slept in the passenger side with no ill affects apparently. Myself, tried the drivers side for an hour or two, but you know what ? those pedals and steering wheel were never going to be good bedfellows! So I slept on the grass.

We got to Turin about 6.30-7 in the morning and the satnav took us straight to Via Nizza and the old Fiat factory. Nowadays it?s a shopping precinct and at seven in the morning the only people around were the cleaners. A handy open door showed the way and John and I followed the spiral up to the roof. Wow! The old Fiat test track on top of the Fiat production plant, opened in 1923, closed in 1970, once the largest factory in the world ? raw materials in at the ground floor and finished cars doing a lap on the roof then out down the spiral. Surrounded by mountains and that early morning light ? it was quite majestic. More importantly of course ? this was one of the locations in the Italian Job, in the distance we could see another - the dome thing ? the Arena for the Italia 61 Exhibition Park. John thought this was the best bit of the trip, and I agreed ? maybe jointly with thrashing around in 1940s Jeeps for two hours.

Left Turin and headed North(ish), not through the Grand St Bernard tunnel but through the pass into Switzerland. We didn?t have a Swiss motorway permit, so we kept to the little roads. Now wish we?d paid the ?30 or whatever. The little backroads of Switzerland were rubbish! Not how I remember them from years ago on the bike trips ? maybe we were unlucky ? oh well.
Another French pension, then caned the little car back to Calais ? and the obligatory filling up with crates of beer, wine and Cacolac at the Europark.

What a good little car ? no probs at all really ? kept an ear out for funny noises- no more than usual - one of the dash bolts dropped out onto my lap, a wiper disappeared over our heads when John was messing about in a bored moment, the water gauge rotated 45 degrees and it used nearly a litre of oil. The petrol consumption list went the way of the wiper much to John?s disappointment (not mine) and we forgot to take a picture outside the Ferrari Museum ? an American from san Diego and LotusBuzz did though ? so if he happens to read this?. Yes please, thanks.

Gotta go now, got to find a new wiper blade and wash a few bugs off.

...not flat out! still had to do a thousnd miles to get us back home :wink:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juppWmfJ ... r_embedded
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:57 am

Great pictures and a good read about your trip, well done!

Italians must have petrol running through their veins, they are always the most enthusiastic with the thumbs up and waving when it comes to a nice sports car, French and British are more reserved as you have found out, they still appreciate a nice car but can't bring themselves to wave or demonstrate appreciation, must be the Gallic shrug mentality and the British stiff upper lip.

Regards
Kindest regards

Alan Thomas
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PostPost by: gordont » Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:14 pm

sounds like a great trip and that is a great looking Elan, well done.

NB - the boot looks full, hopefully enough room to collect some Italian wine enroute?
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:14 pm

Great pics and looks like a great trip. And I love your wheels. Can you tell me what they are?
Thanks.

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PostPost by: ardee_selby » Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:44 pm

Excellent! Like the vid. Headlamps at the ready!

But surely, with that trip under your belt, it's time to change "SADLOTUS" to something else! :)

Cheers - Richard
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PostPost by: SADLOTUS » Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:54 pm

Thanks everyone, my son said it was the best trip so far - we did the Normandy beaches two years ago and the Isle of Wight festival last year.

Greg - the wheels and spinners are 26R Tony Thompson replicas.
GordonT - French wine i'm afraid - anything further than a couple of hours from home would end up - er - warmer?
Richard - 'sadlotus' has a history to it I'm afraid. Goes back a long way.

Thinking of the next trip...
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:18 pm

Most Excellent.
Richard
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PostPost by: gino1 » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:22 pm

That's one hell of a trip and sounded like really good fun.
Last weekend I did a 400 mile round trip and found it very tyring as it was 36?C and when we arrived at destination (near venice ) I looked and smelled like a spark plug... :shock:
The trip was really good and the cars went great, I was in my elan S3 coup? and my mate in his seven giving some of the more modern cars some really hard time 8) :D
Lots of attention, smiles and thumbs up and lots of pillion passengers on motorbikes taking shots of both our cars. :D........... Made you feel quite fortunate to have some of the most desired cars on the road.

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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:29 pm

SL,
What a wonderful trip! Thanks for sharing it with us.

I believe these cars are absolutely meant for trips like this that make indelible memories, especially with your 16 year old son. I expect that when you are well into the rocking chair he will remember and retell the story with you correcting bits of detail. :D Oh, and the music that accompanied the video was as wonderful as the visual experience.

What a treat for those of us armchair passengers to accompany you. In the immortal words of Bob Hope: "Thanks for the memories".
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PostPost by: reb53 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:28 am

You don't know how envious these sorts of stories make us isolated Kiwis feel.

Any Brit who doesn't make such good use of his car by having the occasional thrash around Europe should sell it to someone who will... :)

Cheers
Ralph.
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PostPost by: bilcoh » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:51 pm

Just one question......Did the boy get to drive? <G>

Sheer torture for him, if not, I suspect. Love the story, and sent to my PO, who is also my Dad and who owned the car (perhaps was just the caretaker) while I was 10 till 16 years old. No long trips for us, but local tearing about town set the hook for my lifelong love of the Elan.

Thanks for sharing.

Dave
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:06 am

Thanks for sharing the trip SL. Car looks great.
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PostPost by: freddy22112211 » Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:21 pm

More pictures of the car please!
Gordon
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