|June 12 2004:
||And I thought the last update took to long to post. I admit I haven't driven the car as much lately, because I've been soooo busy. But I have had the car out several times so far this season, and plan to have it out all this week. The car continues to satisfy, and with the new suspension, it handles like never before. I've had a few friends out for rides, and scared the bejeezus out of them on some nice windy roads. Even gave myself a couple cardiac moments, but the car responds. There was a ton of drama with JAE over the parts, and the suspension job took way too long. Not Jaime's fault, entirely JAEs gaffe. Needless to say, I won't be dealing with them again unless absoluetly neccessary. The entire ordeal kind of soured me, not on the car herself, but on the whole driving situation, but I'm getting back to the point pre-ordeal. I'm not active in the community liked I used to be, I'm more settled in as just an exotic car owner, and it really suits me better. I don't feel the pressure to be 100% about the Esprit all the time. Now it just fills a certain niche in my life, and I'm more comfy now. It's one of many hobbies. But the car is still great, and I do love her. And when I do get to wring her out, she answers.
I'm also doing some work for Jaime, and will be rewarded with another new mod. Kinda top secret for now, but will surely bring a smile to my face. Will have to update when it's accomplished.
|January 19 2004:
||Wow it has been too long since my last update, I know. What can I say, I am lazy. Actually, crazy busy is more true. Anyways, I hope everyone reading this had a good time over the holidays, and is enjoying the new year. I've chosen to ring in the new year by showering Evilyn with gifts! In early February, when all the parts come in, Evilyn will be headed up to Yesteryear Motorsports for a lot of work.
First up, it's time for a C service. The belts need changing, and I'm getting oil pooling in the spark plug wells, so time to have the engine serviced. While Jaime's in there, I figure let's make Evilyn even more evil than she already is. We've ordered the 104 cam pulleys to reclaim the low end torque that US Emissions stole upon import.
And now we can check another box on the wish list. We've ordered all the parts for the Spax adjustable suspension kit and new bushings from JAE. Jaime also ordered new springs from Lotus USA, which he will then cut to lower the car. His plan? To lower Evilyn as much as possible without getting wheel rub, and give the car a slight forward rake. No longer will Evilyn be the tallest Esprit SUV in the land.
That was all I had planned for the suspension, but we decided to take it one step further while the car was on the lift. We've purchased a Sport 350 front sway bar from Lotus USA. This is the stiffest front sway bar Lotus made for the Esprit, and will all but eliminate body roll, giving me very flat, neutral cornering. This will go very nicely with the limited slip differential that will have to wait for another day.
In addition, I'll be getting a couple minor things fixed, such as welding a new mounting bracket for the Magnaflow exhaust. The bracket snapped during a spirited mountain drive, and now it rattles like crazy. That will be fixed too. I can't wait for all the work to be done...just in time for the spring driving season.
|September 24 2003:
||Sorry for not having updated in ages. Busy busy busy. We took Evilyn up to Kevin McGovern's annual Lotus picnic and had a fantastic time. A million thanks to Kevin who hosted a great event. I'm also kicking myself for not bringing my camera, because one of the two existing U.S. Essex Esprits rolled in. They have to be seen to really appreciate them. Maybe next time. The bad news is, as I was giving a ride to area newcomer, Peter Innocenti to compare Sanj's 330HP chip with upgraded turbo and without, we hit a section of the road that had been literally cut out for construction, with no posted warning sign. I nailed it, hard. I bent the outer lip of my driver's side rim. Not enough to lose air pressure, but it looks terribly out of shape, and I wouldn't trust it to hold air under any cornering.
So, upon Jaime and Andy Wheeler's recommendation, I called a custom wheel joint in the area. They wanted around $250 to stretch it back into shape, they said it would scuff the finish, and they might not even take it in because they hate three piece wheels. Fair enough. But before I committed to driving Evilyn up to Maryland, I called Kinesis. The great folks there told me to box up the rim and ship it back. They would refurbish the wheel...with brand new outer rim, bolts and valve stem...for $225 shipped! The downswing is 2-3 weeks off the road, but that may have been the wait time at the local shop too. The decision was a no-brainer. After Hurricane Isabel blew over (Evilyn spent that night in her new rented-for-the-winter garage) I removed the wheel, slapped on the donut, had the tire dismounted and shipped it out to Kinesis. A bit of bad news at Merchant's Tire, they discovered that whoever had originally mounted the Kumho Ecstas had ripped the rubber bead...I'll need a new tire when I get the rim back. Tack on another $130 mounted.
Had a nice conversation with the Kinesis folks...they asked me for pictures of the car with the rims for their web site, so keep an eye out. Oh, and I got a price on a brand new 17 inch rim for the front for you shoppers. $750 each.
|August 30 2003:
||My incredible Loti experiences: By Joe Popielarczyk.
In my short 19 year life, I have had the amazing pleasure of driving 3 Lotuses. What I experienced with all 3 was an incredible driving experience, but what was intersting about them is that they all felt different. They were all 2.2 turbo's yet they didn't feel quite the same. This is a comparo for anyone who may be in the market for an Esprit, or for just someone who may wonder the difference between each given model.
First time: 1994 S4
What a car. Wow. Amazing acceleration, crisp tight handling, and just an overall incredible feeling car. Does it have any short comings...? NO! It's a Lotus for christ's sake! They're the best and everyone just needs to accept that. Anyways, I did notice some things different about them. The only main thing was the clutch/gearbox. Maybe it was just this car, but I noticed that the clutch was incredibly heavy to engage. I had no issues driving it, save for the exerted left leg issue. Not a big deal to me. Also, the gear throws were amazingly short. I caught myself twice, accidentally going from 2nd to neutral because the pattern is so tight that just getting out of gear and moving the gear shift can actually feel like even engaging into another gear. Again, not an issue to me. After about 10 minutes of driving, I felt so comfotable in it. As Ferris Bueller said, "If you have the means, I highly reccommend picking one up."
Second car: 1991 SE:
Once again, wow. Not to mention that this has been my dream Lotus since it came out in May of '89. I finally got to drive one. And this one was slightly modded, as opposed to the S4 I drove which was bone-stock. He actually fitted a straight pipe system (kept the cats) for a more free flowing exhaust. Sounds extremely mean. When he first drove off in it, I heard him almost a mile and a half down the road still. As far as other things about the car, it hits boost very similiar to that of the S4. Build, build, build, and then just punch you in the face power. So very cool. Just loved it. Probably hitting full boost right around 3,000 rpm, maybe a tad bit higher. What makes it so nice though is the slight build up before it really hits. The gearbox and clutch were much different than the S4. The clutch was as easy as my MR2. Real simple, pretty much. And as for the gearbox, well that was way different too. The throws were super long compared to the S4. I know that Lotus made some adjustments to it for the S4, but I didn't expect it to be that much. As far as what I like better, it is hard to say. I'm torn between the ease of the long throwed SE, and the quick not-so-easy but more fun S4 box. Hell, take your pick. I was having a lot of fun in both. The handling was one area that suprised me a tad bit. Incredible it was, but not as precise as the S4. But when you factor in newer technology and the mileage (the SE had 98,xxx!) it's easy to see why that is. These cars are just so damn good, it makes me sick. Insert the Bueller quote again.
Third car: 1993 SE a.k.a Evilyn
Oh nellie, this was the car. I drooled over it on a daily basis on this site, and here I am getting an awesome ride in it from Mike at LOG (where I just finally met him), when he pulls over and says "Your turn." Umm, yeah, this took a second to register. Then I had an accident in my pants...well not really, but real damn close. Anyways, he has some mods such as Sanj's awesome 330 hp chip, Sanj's BOV, and modified exhaust. This only excited me more. So we switch seats, and I drive us back to the hotel. What did I notice? Well, the gearbox was just like the 91's but that's because it didn't change until the S4 model. Also the clutch pedal felt the same. The boost felt the s....wait a minute. Oh yeah, the boost did NOT feel the same! Holy shit. It hit instantly and does not drop at all. It was so progressive and powerful. Thumbs up to Sanjaya, and for those of you who have the 4 cylinder Esprits, get his chip if you don't have it. It's awesome, and for the future when I eventually get my Esprit, it will be one of the first things I do to my car, providing it doesn't already have it. Overall this car was just spectacular. Can't say enough good things. It's too bad the SE model for '93 didn't last longer. Once more, insert the Bueller quote again.
As I conlude this little bit right here, I'd just like to thank Bob Mirecki (94 S4), David Williams (91 SE), and Mike McGowan (Evilyn), for just being the nicest guys in the world. Who would just let some 18 year old kid (actually 17 year old kid for Bob) drive their Lotus? It was awesome for you guys to let me experience all your cars. I can not say thank you enough. Really. As far as my favorite goes, I can not decide. All 3 were just so incredible in their own right. None of them lacked anything. I hope this comparo was worth your time, and that you maybe learned something you may not have already known. As you guys know, we're talking about Lotus here. We have to be "The few who know the difference." Hopefully now, you know more of the differences. Thanks, and extra thanks for Mike putting this on the site.
|August 20 2003:
||Well, we're back from LOG 23 and I can say it was my favorite trip ever. The drive up to Grand Island was a lot of fun. On the way, my BOV stopped working, and I assumed it just needed to be adjusted down a couple psi. The last day at LOG I pulled the engine cover, and discovered the vacuum line to the T-fitting had split an inch down the middle. So, I trimmed the line and re-attached, and it's been working better than ever since. Also, on the way to Grand Island, about an hour out we ran into Jack, owner of a nice red 85 Turbo. He followed us the rest of the way in. Very nice guy. Once there it was Lotus heaven. I finally got to meet so many of the folks I've known online for a year and a half.
Of all the great events though, the highlight of the weekend came on Friday evening after I had washed and polished Evilyn. Two young guys were hanging out in the parking lot, and one of them (Joe) looked at Kasia's nametag, and then at me. Then he points to me and says, "You own Evilyn." I'm wracking my brain to see if I know him. I said "Yeah, how did you know?" And he says, "I check your web site every day!" He recognized Kasia's name from the site! We have a fan!!!!! So, we hung out with Mark and Joe for most of the weekend. I gave Mark a nice 120 Mph ride, and took Joe up to 130. Then I pulled over and handed the keys to Joe, and had him takes us in. I have a strange feeling he liked the car ;-) Anyways, Joe, if you're reading this, e-mail me bro. We're dead serious about dragging you guys down here!
So, we woke up Saturday morning and had a great breakfast at the Holiday Inn. I attended the second half of the tech session Q&A with the President of LCU. Then we woke up Ev and headed out to the concourse. The local police blocked off traffic, so we got to run the stop signs at the 90 degree turns at high speed before we arrived at the park. Right away it rained, but soon cleared up. Luckily I had brought my towels and Zaino Gloss Enhancer. Evilyn was looking show ready in no time. The concourse was great, but at the end as awards were being handed out it began to threaten rain again so everyone scrambled out. It was a mass Lotus caravan, with us Esprits weaving in and out of Lotus traffic at high speed. Fantastic. The afternoon was more Lotus talk in the lot with Joe and Mark before dinner.
Dinner was great. Ev failed to place in her category...but next year we'll be better prepared. I won a great Lotus T-shirt as a door prize, and placed the winning bid on an AutoArt 1:18 Essex Esprit model in the auction.
Sunday morning, we headed out to the Autocross, and watched the Lotus group run. Then we headed out to Niagra Falls, which was pretty impressive. Next we swung back to the hotel for more Lotus fun. We were all feeling brave, and since I had let Joe drive, I couldn't deny Kasia. So, we hopped into the Esprit, and Kasia took us out. She did extremely well, and really suprised me. Driving the Hyundai has been good for her (it's a manual) and she drove very well. So well that I kept egging her on to downshift to 4th and floor it. She finally did, but let up at 4,000 RPMs. She's working her way up, but had it up to 80 Mph. I was really proud of her, and she liked it. So much that she's now thinking about a V-8 instead of an Elise! That night we attended the informal dinner with Dave Hsu, and had a blast talking about Lotus, the Elise, Dave's trip to Hethel, vintage racing, everything. All the while Mark and Joe hung out in the lobby, so I ducked out a couple times to hang. After dinner, Joe and Mark asked us out for a Bubble Tea (don't ask) so they, Dave, and ourselves headed out to try it out. Great stuff (I had the Strawberry-Banana.) We hung out in the lot there, showing off the Esprits to the young hot-rod crowd there. Dave found someone to talk tech with, while we hung out with Joe and Mark talking Lotus and other gearhead stuff. Next, we all shot out to the Falls to see them under the lights, before heading back to bed. Said our goodbyes to the guys, and off to bed. Joe and Mark - it was really a pleasure meeting you...we felt like we made some great friends.
Monday morning we slept in, crammed everything back in the Lotus and headed for home. Ok, ok, so we showed off for a few ricers along the way...I can't behave all of the time ya know! The trip was not entirely without casualty. I left my gas cap in Grand Island, so I hav ordered a new one. And my front lip spoiler came loose again, so I'm bringing it up to Jaime again to fix better. Going with bolts and washers this time. Amazing, but it was originally held on with electrical tape backing the screws!!!!! Of course, I didn't know about that until it came loose the first time. Jaime fixed it with pop rivets, but they worked their way loose. Sigh, PO thing. It'll be fixed this week. All in all, the best weekend ever. I can't wait for LOG 24 in Alabama!!!
|July 26 2003:
||Jaime called me Friday morning. Andy Wheeler, just one week removed from getting his year-long engine reuild out of the shop, was hit by an old Buick that ran a stop sign. His S4 needs extensive repairs to the front end and underbody. So, Jaime needed a replacement for his vendor display's star centerpiece. How does Jaime get me to drop my Saturday plans and lend him a hand? Easy. He tells me I get to park next to Eleanor at the show. The show is great, and I get to have a seat in Eleanor (X180R1.) On the way back, a guy and his girlfriend driving a mint 1969 Stingray Corvette Convertible leap out of their seats when I drive by. His left turn becomes a right turn and he catches up to me at the light. We are giving each other copious amounts of compliments, and it's a great car moment. Then he sits back, and blips that throttle of his, and that L88 engine belches out the sound of 430 horses pent up and ready to launch. Kasia is already yelling at me, "Don't even think about it!" The light turns green, and we both go for it. I take it relatively easy in first, so I don't ruin my tranny, and I know I can make up any lost ground later. When I shift he's a foot in front. 2nd gear pulls like crazy, and he has to shift into 3rd well before me. When I shift to 3rd he's at my back bumper. In third gear, this contest is over. I pull out to about 10 car lengths, and pull in front into his lane. Race over, and we are at the next light. Both of us give big smiles and thumbs up. His car performed great...hanging with a car nearly a quarter century its junior. Meanwhile, the Esprit showed its colors as a world class sportscar. Still, I would have loved to have been a fly in their cockpit, and seen his expression when Evilyn just pulled away with a fierce determination.
|July 13 2003:
||The BOV and chip are installed! I decided not to take video of the BOV install...sorry. It was too difficult to film. Overall, it wasn't that hard a job, but it wasn't a piece of cake either, for someone like me who doesn't even change their own oil. But it's in there now. The pssst sound isn't at all annoying or loud like I thought it would be. It's quite subdued. As for the chip, I drove about 30 miles to bed it in, and I'll reserve judgement for when it's been in there for a while. At first it would not boost above .5 bar and I was getting a bit worried. Then suddenly it rushed to 1.2 bar. The boost is smoother and more refined than the Mark V code. I don't know if I'm all that much faster though. We'll see once the car has gotten used to the code. The video of the ECU removal will work soon...I'm having a server problem.
|July 11 2003:
||I finally placed my order for a BOV install kit and 330HP chip upgrade from Sanj. I did the ECU removal last weekend, and received the MEMCAL and BOV kit yesterday. I will do the install Sunday, and drive around to bed the chip. I'll post back here to give you my impressions of the 300HP chip. I'm excited! In the meantime, I just finished posting the Video of my ECU removal. It can be downloaded in the Images section. Soon I will heading back up to Yesteryear Motorsports to get my oil changed, brake pads de-glazed, and A/C filled. I need the A/C because I have a long drive ahead to LOG in August!
|May 3 2003:
||I've been a very lazy Lotus webmaster, I know. Here I've been spending my spare time driving Evilyn instead of keeping my journal here. Well, she's been driving like a dream for the past month. And I just got in from giving here a quick interior once over in preparation for tommorrow's British on the Green car show hosted by the Capital Triumph Register. I'll be entering her in the Special Interest Sports class. Bob Blanchard says he'll be there with his 85 Turbo, and hopefully some other local owners will post so we can make a good showing of the Esprits. And who knows, maybe we'll get lucky and take home our first piece of hardware. Rest assured, I will have pictures up shortly after the show. On the upgrade front, I have e-mailed Sanj, and he says the BOVs are on backorder. We'll see how that turns out...I hope to be able to install one soonish.
|April 6 2003:
||I know, I know, I'm supposed to be a good boy. But, you have to drop the hammer every once in a while, as long as you keep it in check, right? I was on the highway with Kasia today, and we were about to take the exit for another highway heading East. I noticed in my mirror there was a red Mustang GT behind me, and the driver and his girlfriend were scoping my car pretty hard. Cool, I thought, until he gunned it and passed me (I was behaving in the slow lane.) I noticed he was taking the West exit...and now so was I. I was glued to him on the spiral off ramp...he was gunning it too, spitting smoke from his exhaust on the shifts. He peaked out, or at least what he was willing to do on a 35 Mph rated ramp. Evilyn was yawning, and was unimpressed. Once on the new highway, I popped around him. We came to the next traffic light, and we all exchanged smiles and waves. The light turned green, and I left him in the dust. I eased up at around 70...because I know I have to be a good boy, and he finally caught up. More smiles and waves. Kasia however, was pretty scared on the off ramp. I had to assure her that I had to go a helluva lot faster than that for Evilyn to even break a sweat. She loves the car, but it still makes her nervous. It's going to rain all week, and I'm going to visit my parents this weekend, so I definately won't be able to give Evilyn the bath and Zaino treatment she so desperately needs until next week. I may get another driving day in before then, but I'm not holding my breath.
|April 5 2003:
||Seriously, this car is ridiculously quick. I wish I would have known that a proper warmup of several miles is a must last year. I did the proper leisurely warm again today on the first leg of my hour long fun drive. I headed up to the Fairfax County parkway...no one at all on it where I was, so decided at a stop light to give 0-60 a go. Shifted out of 1st circa 7000 RPMs, and the shift was a breeze...I was past 60 in a heartbeat, and had to lay off (see, I do have a little self control.) The odo, by the way, reads 26,732 miles. I truly love this car...I'm in heaven when I drive it.
|April 4 2003:
||Drove the day away. I took Kasia in to work this morning and then headed back to work myself. Took Evilyn out for lunch but it was quite congested so I didn't really get to have any fun, but being seen in the car is a treat all its own. Call me vain, but I really enjoy all the stares. I left work to drive home, but I decided to go for a leisurely Friday afternoon drive instead. Taking advice I got from the Pistonheads List, instead of high revving the 1st gear change early, I drove VERY sedate until the fluid temp got up to par. Last season, this is where the 1st to 2nd shift would grind anywhere above 3500 RPM. But with a proper warm up, today I was able to rev 1st up to 6500 RPM and shift with no grinding whatsoever. Lesson learned, if you are smart with the car, she will certainly perform for you. Also, I am really learning to enjoy the leisurely drive in the car...I'm finding I don't have to be going full blast all the time to have fun. Of course, full blast has it's merits too...
|April 3 2003:
||I picked up Evilyn from Jaime at Yesteryear Motorsports today. $1,076 and change. He caught a few minor things as well, and I had to have a new battery installed on top of everything else. Drove the 60 miles home, and the car was soooo sweet. I kept it reasonable, as my legal woes prohibit me from going nuts. Still, it was great to be behind the wheel again. No rain tomorrow, so I'll drive her in to work. She is, however, in desperate need of a detailing. Sunday will see a wash and a fresh Zaino job. I put the new car cover on her, and it fits fairly well. It's a tad short up front, but I suspect that's because they didn't account for the bulge on top of the car from the antenna nub (I forgot to tell them about that.) I'm happy with it so far...I hope it holds in a strong wind. Mikey's so happy, his baby is home!
|March 28 2003:
||Just got off the phone with Jaime. The parts for my Esprit finally came in, and the car will be ready Monday or Teusday. I can't wait. This web site is also born tonight. And the Esprit, fully a year in my possession is finally christened. After much deliberation, she finally gets her name, Evilyn. For the story, click here.
|March 27, 2002:
||My driving priveleges were restored yesterday! I'm legal! Headed to the DMV this morning. Got my VA license, and registered the Esprit. 30 day temp reg, as I have to have the emmissions inspected before I get permanant tags.
||The Esprit gets towed to Jaime Goffaux's new shop, Yesteryear Motorsport. B service, flushing of the horns, repair to the rear right marker light and a chargecooler pump rebuild are on tap. The car comes off the market...the finances are settled and in great shape, and I get to keep her!
||I finally move to Reston, VA. I'm less than a mile from work, so now I can walk. The house in Maryland is sold...just doing the final details. I have to get a new Allstate insurance agent in VA, bidding farewell to the Valcichs in MD after 6 years. The new agent gives me the best news. The Reckless charge won't appear in Allstate's records until the end of the year! In the meantime, my Esprit insurance will be half what it was in MD! And when it does appear, my insurance bill will be about the same as it was in MD!
||Christmas in Poland, and I get engaged! My beautiful fiance, Kasia, stuck with me through jail, comforted my mom, and drives me everywhere. And despite the legal trouble, she wants me to find a way to keep the Esprit! Is she perfect or what?
||The day of reckoning. I get my day in court, and the judge promptly gives me a $1000 fine, 112 days jail time, 100 suspecded. With good behaviour, that's 6 nights in Fairfax County jail. Do NOT speed in Fairfax County. Judge also gives me a 6 month driving suspension. The Esprit is now history...I'll never afford the insurance. It goes into the garage after a final farewell drive. Permanently up for sale.
||Driving to work and my heavy foot finally gets me. I'm pulled over on the Dulles Toll Road. The state police officer had his radar turned off, and was pacing me from the service road. I had been doing 75 the whole way, but with the sun, the tunes, and the gaping, emtpy road, a quick sprint up to 120 Mph and back is enough to get the red light treatment. The officer tickets me for Reckless Speeding, but doesn't tow me.
||The Esprit is up for sale, aggressively, but as Fall approaches buyers are hard to find. The market for Esprits also nosedives, and prices everywhere drop.
||Marraige seperation, and suddenly the finances are in a mess!!! Sadly, the writing is on the wall and I lay plans to sell the Esprit over the summer.
||Right away the car goes into the shop. A couple things need repair in order to pass inspection. They are fairly minor, but I'm dissapointed. Steering racks boots and new discs and brakes. Of all the maintenance the PO had done, the ONLY thing not done by his Lotus mechanic was the last brake job, done at Midas. Of course, the brakes and rotors were shot. Frank paid for part of the repairs, and I was soon on the road! Lesson learned, ALWAYS take the Esprit to someone who knows the marquee!
||I bought my 1993 Esprit SE from the PO (previous owner), Frank Lu. I drove from Maryland to New Jersey to inspect the car, purchase it and drive it back. As far as POs go, I think I got lucky overall with Frank. He took great care of the car, and it was in fantastic condition. The drive back was incredibly fun.