The 2005 Elise

My Bordeaux Red 2005 Lotus Elise arrived in March of 2012. Stock, save for

  • Bilstein¬†Track Pack shocks (used)
  • BOE toe links
  • New A-arm bushings
  • Braded oil lines/connectors


Such a wonderful car to drive. All of the things a Lotus is known for and ‘should’ be: light, nimble, “spirited”, and precise. A extremely distinct-feeling car. A driver’s dream car. Most mass production cars drive similarly. They’re mush. There are exceptions. German, mostly. Going from BMW’s and Ford’s and Toyota’s to an Elise is like being used to a butter knife, and being handed a surgeons scalpel.

Jeramy Clarkson’s description of the Elise as a baby supercar has somehow stuck.

Once I got used to driving a scalpel, I began to feel what it was missing. For the adage “if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” I put it on the dyno. I needed to calibrate my butt.

Casey Horner of Enginetiks kindly put the Elise on his dyno:

stock Lotus Elise 2zz Engine Dyno - May 2012

stock Lotus Elise 2zz Engine Dyno - May 2012

It took a little while to this link data to my experiences, and set my butt straight. But soon I saw the writing on the chart, and started calling around and reading up on how to climb to about 250 WHP. It quickly came as a disappointment to find the retail cost of wringing that power increase out of the Toyota/Yamaha 2zz-ge plant. Its spirit, however willing, starts slightly weak in the flesh. Such that major bionics are required to boost its performance to contemporary standards. Even then, the legacy internals would remain weak, as evidenced by horror stories of catastrophic failures first track day out. In numbers, in fact.

Is “2 zzzz….” more indicative of the little engine’s personality? I would have to do what I could to help it drive like it should!