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Where have all the 911's gone?


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Whilst the AC 911 market has been gaining momentum over the past few years, recently we have been witnessing it reaching new heights. If you have just decided that an old 911 is the car your after options are limited and you'd better hope your budgets unlimited.................!

Ok, screw that I hear you say, I'm not paying 100k + for an old clapped out 911 - I'll grab a 996 GT3 instead? They would appear hard to pass up considering the amounts changing hands for smelly old AC cars but it seems buyers have already made their move..............they've all gone now too. 

So what now.............no AC 911 fantasy + no dreamy GT3's for the 911 hard core. Cayman? or maybe one of these; http://www.carsales.com.au/private/details/Lotus-Exige-2007/SSE-AD-3407048/?Cr=2

Alright, I'll come clean...............I'm a die hard 911 fan but I have always had a soft spot for Lotus, exige in particular. I see cars like this come onto the market and sit.......and sit..........price drop after price drop and I cant help but ask myself that "what if.........." question. 

I know there are a few Lotus lurkers on here but can the question be asked - Are these a match for a GT3? Am I the only person who has these un-Porsche holy thoughts? 

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I've had those same thoughts many times and even reacted to them by dipping my toes into other brands, but I always come back to Porsche for some reason, I suppose the saying is true, there really is no substitute.

I'm just really glad I was able to get the Aus delivered 85 Carrera and the GT3 a few years ago when they were somewhat realistic in price !!

Hugh, you have a couple of sweet rides that I know others on here would die for, but I hear you, that itch is always there.

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Yep I will admit to being a Lotus lover too, God I love any cool car. I know what your saying Hugh, the eye does wonder when bang for buck you can buy a whole "lot" of car for the money you will fork out for a dirty old 911. 

Found myself looking at all sorts of cars, I even considered a Aussie delivered R32 Skyline. Thank god the 964 found me when she did  

However, for some reason I just kept coming back to the 911 AC. I can't quantify what it is about the AC motors in general, Harley, VW, for god sake I think my Honda pump motor is a sweet thing. For me I just love the raw simplicity, it's a pity about the cost and the secret is out.  

 

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You're definitely not the only one...

I've been lusting after Exiges for years now.

But what I really want is a.....

DeTomaso Pantera!

Seriously!

But they've all disappeared too :(

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I stepped out of an Exige Cup 240 to get into my 996 GT3 so I can give you a back to back comparison. I owned the car for approximately 18 months and bought it for a similar reason - there were no GT3s when I wanted one and the ones that did come up were more than I wanted to spend. The Cup 240 is an Exige S on steroids with full cage and firebomb, 2 way dampers etc etc. Mine was modified even further with a bigger supercharger and made 180 rwkw. Not bad in a car that weighs 920kg. My GT3 is modified and like for like the two cars were very similar performance wise. It was an absolute weapon though and wouldn't have had a problem running rings around a stock GT3.

The Exige is a lot more focused than the GT3, it exists only to drive fast. You get nothing in the cabin except for a radio and A/C. The GT3 cabin feels like a 5 star hotel by comparison. The Lotus build quality is not on the same page as the 996, not by a long shot. It rattles and shakes over every bump and you hear the wind around the window seals (which can also leak). The interior plastics are cheap and nasty. The thunk of the door is weak. I guess it feels like a kit car compared to the Porsche...no surprises there. 

The steering in the Exige is the best of any car i've ever driven. A non-power assisted AC 911 is close but not quite there because the Exige has a shorter wheel base. 

Dynamically, the Exige is unbelievable. It makes you feel like a driving god with what you can get away with. Cornering speeds are ridiculous and you can give it 100% throttle and just drive out of the corner. It will get the job done. They have massive levels of grip going into the corner, through the corner and on the exit of the corner. I never found the limits of mine on countless drives in the Adelaide Hills and it was the same story on the track. If it has been set up properly it's a very forgiving car to drive at the limit.

Looking back, i'm happy with the decision I have made in going to the GT3. By comparison, the GT3 is a more rewarding car to drive properly. It requires a lot more input, respect and patience from the driver, none of which is required when driving the Exige fast. The Exige puts a big grin on your face from ear to ear with its capabilities, but in retrospect for me, the challenge involved in getting it right is whats missing from the overall experience, and I think that's part of the enjoyment of driving a car on the limit. That is only in retrospect though as it really is a fantastic driver's car and the best car available for the money, by a mile. The GT3 is a better built car and has a higher ultimate level of performance, its just much more difficult to access that level and its certainly not possible to do anywhere other than on a racetrack.

Also the Exige used to turn heads everywhere, women used to gravitate towards it (im married so that was no good!!) and it generally drew lots of attention, so if that's not your thing then it might not be a good idea haha! There are some other ins and outs with these cars - things that need attention, which I wont go into detail with here, but PM me if you like Hugh and I can give you a rundown. Overall they're great cars and you wouldn't be disappointed. I wish I didn't have to sell mine and I would really like to own another one in the future but it would have to be a cup 240/260. I would definitely say a properly sorted one is the next best thing to a GT3!

EDIT: I see you linked a cup 255, the asking price is ridiculous which is probably why it has sat for so long. I sold my Cup 240 with 17K kms in January for $64500, the guy who bought it got a bargain but the market is tiny for these cars.

photo_zpsada50ed8.jpg

exige2_zpscb678dcb.jpg

exige_zps579447d4.jpg


 

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I stepped out of an Exige Cup 240 to get into my 996 GT3 so I can give you a back to back comparison. I owned the car for approximately 18 months and bought it for a similar reason - there were no GT3s when I wanted one and the ones that did come up were more than I wanted to spend. The Cup 240 is an Exige S on steroids with full cage and firebomb, 2 way dampers etc etc. Mine was modified even further with a bigger supercharger and made 180 rwkw. Not bad in a car that weighs 920kg. My GT3 is modified and like for like the two cars were very similar performance wise. It was an absolute weapon though and wouldn't have had a problem running rings around a stock GT3.

The Exige is a lot more focused than the GT3, it exists only to drive fast. You get nothing in the cabin except for a radio and A/C. The GT3 cabin feels like a 5 star hotel by comparison. The Lotus build quality is not on the same page as the 996, not by a long shot. It rattles and shakes over every bump and you hear the wind around the window seals (which can also leak). The interior plastics are cheap and nasty. The thunk of the door is weak. I guess it feels like a kit car compared to the Porsche...no surprises there. 

The steering in the Exige is the best of any car i've ever driven. A non-power assisted AC 911 is close but not quite there because the Exige has a shorter wheel base. 

Dynamically, the Exige is unbelievable. It makes you feel like a driving god with what you can get away with. Cornering speeds are ridiculous and you can give it 100% throttle and just drive out of the corner. It will get the job done. They have massive levels of grip going into the corner, through the corner and on the exit of the corner. I never found the limits of mine on countless drives in the Adelaide Hills and it was the same story on the track. If it has been set up properly it's a very forgiving car to drive at the limit.

Looking back, i'm happy with the decision I have made in going to the GT3. By comparison, the GT3 is a more rewarding car to drive properly. It requires a lot more input, respect and patience from the driver, none of which is required when driving the Exige fast. The Exige puts a big grin on your face from ear to ear with its capabilities, but in retrospect for me, the challenge involved in getting it right is whats missing from the overall experience, and I think that's part of the enjoyment of driving a car on the limit. That is only in retrospect though as it really is a fantastic driver's car and the best car available for the money, by a mile. The GT3 is a better built car and has a higher ultimate level of performance, its just much more difficult to access that level and its certainly not possible to do anywhere other than on a racetrack.

Also the Exige used to turn heads everywhere, women used to gravitate towards it (im married so that was no good!!) and it generally drew lots of attention, so if that's not your thing then it might not be a good idea haha! There are some other ins and outs with these cars - things that need attention, which I wont go into detail with here, but PM me if you like Hugh and I can give you a rundown. Overall they're great cars and you wouldn't be disappointed. I wish I didn't have to sell mine and I would really like to own another one in the future but it would have to be a cup 240/260. I would definitely say a properly sorted one is the next best thing to a GT3!

EDIT: I see you linked a cup 255, the asking price is ridiculous which is probably why it has sat for so long. I sold my Cup 240 with 17K kms in January for $64500, the guy who bought it got a bargain but the market is tiny for these cars.

photo_zpsada50ed8.jpg

exige2_zpscb678dcb.jpg

exige_zps579447d4.jpg


Wow! 

I'd be beyond tempted if something as well sorted as yours came onto the market for 65k - that looks like a weapon! 

Great insight and information Spiller, I wasn't expecting a first hand back to back review but glad to know there are others out there that have owned and experienced both. Nice one. 

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HUGH. ive done the exact same as spiller and can only concur with his desciptions

the exige becomes a part of you like an exo-skeleton, infusing large doses of adrenalin,  but does have its limitations and dangers of points shredding

the porsche is less raw and rewards differently and is much easier to live with.

the lotus is relatively cheap to run and extremely hardy (being toyota based).

if the exige were "lara croft' then the porsche would be "the bride"  

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yep the three biggest mechanical issues with these cars are in this order.

1) toe links prone to failing at the inboard mounts. Plenty of aftermarket kits available cheaply to fix this issue

2) oil lines prone to popping at the crimped fittings resulting in engine failure, engine fire, oil on your tyres or all of the above. There has been a worldwide recall so most cars are eligible for the free dealer fix

3) plastic end tanks on the radiators blowing. Alloy radiator needed.

Both 2) and 3) are front clam off jobs which isn't too big of a deal. 

As far far as the mechanicals go, gears three and four are prone to failure with track use, more so on modified cars with more torque but I have seen it happen on stock standard ones too. The engines are  fairly strong but there is a tendency for the cams to wipe which will lunch the motor fairly quickly if you don't get it early enough. This affects some cars and not others, some people insist on anti wear oil additives to combat this but otherwise you pull the rocker covers periodically and check the condition of the lobes.

The engine is good for about 300 crank HP before you start to play with fire, which isn't too bad considering it's from a Corolla! Also they need a baffled oil sump if tracking it with r-comp tyres and sometimes also a baffled fuel tank. It sounds like a lot but you could easily do all of the above for around 5K or less (not incl gearbox upgrade but this isn't necessit) and you'll have a fairly bullet proof car at the end of it all. 

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My brother-in-la has an Exige, and not just a 240hp one....oh no, his is a fully track prepped one with a bespoke supercharged Yamaha motor which is putting out 360ish bhp! (no...that's not a typo)

Given he recently had a head injury which precludes him from driving for a few months he asked me to come an give his little orange machine a run yesterday so I have a VERY vivid experience from yesterday to share.

Yes, it's a cool car with amazing performance. This particular car took the uphill squirt from Pittwater Rd on Warringah Rd.... 60-160kmh (in third) -2.1 sec.TERRIFYING! So I'm not going to go any further about the performance. Let's just say....motorbike fast.

For me a 911 of any ilk cannot be compared. The Lotus is tiny, impossible for anyone over 5 foot 9 to get in and out of, noisy, harsh (due to all the rose joints), exhaust popping, strange noises, invisible to any SUV or truck......but finally, it's just exhausting to drive. My drive was Mosman to Brookvale and back via Wakehurst Pkwy. 

A 911 is positively refined and cossetting by comparison.

Honestly, I'm lucky I can get to drive one without buying one but having driven it I feel the same way I did after sampling a Gallardo.....should have left it to imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

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You're definitely not the only one...

I've been lusting after Exiges for years now.

But what I really want is a.....

DeTomaso Pantera!

Seriously!

But they've all disappeared too :(


disappeared? we reguarly get 2-3 at Cars and Coffee in Brisbane! Andrew Miedecke in Port Macquarie, NSW had one for quite a few years in his showroom (EDIT: it was australian delivered to his Ford dealer too!)

Yamaha motor? Like from a bike?

why? Interesting choice..

Yamaha was/is a consulting engineering company too, the Toyota 2000GT for example had Yamaha heads

but 340hp out of a bike engine is good going!

 

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Yamaha motor? Like from a bike?

why? Interesting choice..

The 1.8litre Toyota sourced motor in all the Gen2-onward Exiges is the  2ZZ-GE motor which Yamaha as commissioned to design for Toyota for "high rev" applications. It's the same motor found in the last Celicas as well as the Corolla Sportivo a while back that both had 141kW

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