Lotus Elan

New Emira

PostPost by: AlistairF » Fri Dec 30, 2022 11:11 am

The Elise article is a good reminder of what makes a really engaging car and the basic characteristics that were forged in the 60's, and in my view eminent in an evolved form in the Elise and Evora, and now in the Emira. Whilst the enthusiasts on this forum will desire the more pure form of the earlier cars, the mass population seem to place more value on creature comforts that of course add weight.

The one characteristic that really bugs me, and increasingly so as I have matured with time, is the ride and handing characteristics for the road of modern performance cars. All the cars I have kept are relatively softly sprung with great steering and damping, and long gone are the sporty BMWs and Porsches that are so firm they are uncomfortable on our B roads. OK, so they may have more grip, might be faster, and great on a track but I am happier with the accessibility of the road and being able to have fun at road legal speeds.

I haven't yet had the chance to drive an Emira, but they do look good, seem a real step on in terms of build quality and seems relatively good value. But, some customer reviews suggest the Evora's handling has the edge and dare I suggest the Evora S1s, with better seats and lower spring rates, are more comfortable and closer to heritage of the Elan +2 and followed maybe by the Emira, in touring setup and if it were a +2!

OK, so my hypothesis needs backing up so I need to test drive an Emira, probably in the spring!

Cheers

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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Dec 31, 2022 4:50 pm

I'd never use 'Elise' and 'creature comforts' in the same thought! :mrgreen:

But also I think there's more to modern heavy cars being heavy than just comforts. Every aspect is subject to greater expectations than it used to be, but structural safety is one of the big ones that is now subject to requirements that can't affordably be met without some weight, and I think ultimately most of us would agree that that's an acceptable price to pay if it means we live to get home to our loved ones and drive another day.

And I see some parallel with the Model T. It was perfectly functional for getting people around faster than a horse. Henry wanted to build it forever, and that would have been a sound strategy if the entire buying public had been as practical-minded as Henry was, but eventually more people want the next level than the number who find the old standard to be perfect despite its limitations. This isn't to to say that one or the other is better, it's just a matter of taste and not everyone having the same priorities. I have a friend who thinks that his '64 VW Beetle is just about the most perfect vehicle ever made, but he also likes his Saab.

There's also the business-argument to be made. In a competitive field you don't survive by continually offering the same thing, no matter how perfect it may be (lookin' at you, Henry). Manufacturers always looking to offer something better than before gets us from Model Ts to Mondeos, or from Elans to Emiras (or Evijas). This absolutely influences the customers too of course, making an endless cycle of upping the offerings and upping the expectations.

But you all knew all that.
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PostPost by: gherlt » Sun Jan 01, 2023 12:11 pm

The Veg wrote: I have a friend who thinks that his '64 VW Beetle is just about the most perfect vehicle ever made, but he also likes his Saab.

Well, I think the Elan is the perfect car for me (and a few freaks more, reader, I salute you !), but I miss my Saab SW too. Lots of creature comfort, but soft sprung (at that time, unlike all the others except for Mercedes E class T model), quite heavy, though. But a special car.

The Veg wrote: There's also the business-argument to be made. In a competitive field you don't survive by continually offering the same thing, no matter how perfect it may be (lookin' at you, Henry).

And if you survive then it is because you have an model that has its market niche, see Morgan, Lotus, Ariel, TVR and others.
But it is a niche, and a niche by definition is small. Problem therefore are growth/investors expectations (ambition, greed, pride, ...) which lead to widening of appeal and therefore loss of focus. Another problem on the long run are of course "new times", changing homologation requirements, so you need to make money to be able to adapt ... not an easy task ....
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