This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Open Road for Lotus

There really isn't any elixir of youth that can make you feel like you're 17 again -- pretty much everything that does is immoral, illegal or full of trans fats.

But then there's Lotus.

Lotus has that light, fast, small British sports car feel that many of us grew up with.

And you can feel righteous about driving a high-performance car, barely street legal, that gets almost 30 miles per gallon.

High-Speed History

The first Lotus Mark 1 was built in 1948 by Colin Chapman, using the chassis and drive train of a 1937 Austin 7 saloon.

Over the next several decades, Lotus' racing reputation was established not only as a successful owner-operator club car but also as a major Formula One contender by such luminaries as Graham Hill, Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Emerson Fittipaldi and Ronnie Peterson.

Driving a Lotus reminds you of the 1950s and '60s heyday of British racing motorcars -- like Triumph, Austin Healy Sprite or MG -- before they became so imposing and heavy.

But the advantage of a modern sports car is reliability and power.

The early Brit roadsters had notoriously faulty alternator and electrical systems, and they couldn't put out the horsepower modern engineering has made possible.

(The 1959 Sprite delivered a measly 48 horsepower from its 948 cc engine.)

Lotus' dual achievements of power and economy are now the result of Japanese engineering: The 1.8-liter four-cylinder Toyota (TM - Get Report) engine cranks out between 190 to 240 horsepower, depending on the model.

The company's philosophy has always been focused on keeping the overall weight of the vehicle down, rather than bulking the power up.

This results in an ultra-light body weight of less than 2,000 pounds, almost the lowest in its class.

The car is kept trim by utilizing a lightweight chassis structure of epoxy-bonded aluminum extrusions and a composite fiberglass shell.

Every car is carefully crafted, with the body hand-sanded and spray-painted.

Add top-flight suspension and braking, and the result is a car that is fuel-efficient, fast and easy to control.

Putting on the Brakes

However, this car isn't for everyone.

For one, it has a manual transmission: a six-speed gearbox that's clean and quick. The responsiveness of the car combined with the directness of the tranny took me about a mile to get used to, but after that it was effortless and intuitive.

The Elise in Action

Steering isn't powered, but you wouldn't want power steering in a car this light.

It's still effortless and absolutely direct -- the Lotus goes where you point it.

Like a true racecar, it is loud, with the roar of the engine right behind your head. And it is a bit awkward to get into and out of.

Luckily, I had help from Danny Boller of Lotus of Greenwich to get in and out of the Exige -- although I really didn't ever want to get out.
1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
FIA $27.45 6.54%
F $14.09 3.15%
GM $32.45 0.90%
TM $102.96 -3.20%
AAPL $95.03 -2.90%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,830.76 -210.79 -1.17%
S&P 500 2,075.81 -19.34 -0.92%
NASDAQ 4,805.2910 -57.85 -1.19%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs