The term "Special Edition" or "Limited Edition" was ruined long ago but car dealerships putting stripes and a free CD player into a car and trying to con the public into thinking they were getting a great deal. Even when a manufacturer claims a limited edition, it usually indicates there will "only" be 5000 cars or something. But imagine owning a sports car that's one of three built? Obviously, there are very few people who can claim that privilege.
Ryan Li from Fort Worth, TX happens to be one of the lucky souls with the rarest of the rare. His Isotope Green Lotus Exige S 260 is indeed one of only three examples finished in this eye-popping color, and one of in the US - the other is apparently in Canada...
Lotus built just 30 of the supercharged Lotus Exige S Final Edition in 2011 exclusively for the North American market. The name is derived from the limited availability of the Toyota 2ZZ 1.8-liter four-cylinder aluminum engine that would no longer be available on US soil again. After that, the Exige S would get the 345hp 3.5L V6.
Ryan stumbled across an ad for the Lotus Exige S sports car when the original owner put it up for sale. He'd previously owned several Minis but had graduated to an Exige and was aware of this car's scarcity. So he parted with his '05 Saffron Yellow model to buy it. "I wanted an Evora because it would have been easier for me to get into," he explained while cleaning bugs off his car for the photo shoot.
The insects are the result of regular excursions at several nearby racetracks, and it's also his daily driver. And with it weighing about 2000 lb, boasting 300hp, 0-60 in 3.7sec and a 12.3sec quarter-mile, who can blame him? "It's a real thrill to fling this lightweight sports car around the track," he told us while detailing the engine. "And it's even a blast to drive downtown."
Ryan had owned the car six month and already added plenty of performance parts. The stock 257hp Toyota 2ZZ engine, for example, has a smaller 3.1" supercharger pulley from Pulley Boys that increased boost pressure by 2psi. When used with new software and other mods, the Toyota engine is claimed to exceed 300hp. "The best performance increase came from Lotus software specialists Kold-Fire. Their ECU tune for the 2ZZ added 25hp and 10 lb-ft, and in such a light car it made a big difference," Ryan said.
The "other mods" included a bar-n-plate intercooler and aluminum tubing from Lotus parts specialist, Really Light Stuff (RLS). It's mounted on the top of the Toyota 2ZZ engine and is purple, so you can't miss it!
There's also an RLS carbon fiber shroud and carbon fiber heat shield to protect against heat from the PPE Engineering Race Headers with test pipe, plus several cosmetic parts fitted under the hood.
Exterior modifications are scant but effective. According to the car's owner, the Synthetic Designs' stripe always gets attention. After all, you can't have a track car without a racing stripe!
Follow the stripe to the rear bumper and you'll find the imposing aluminum Difflow Diffuser. Manufactured by a Montana company specializing in Lotus diffusers, Ryan opted for their popular "5 Element Railer Jr" diffuser that looks impressive and helps high-speed stability. You've also got to suspect it intimidates anybody following the Exige on the track!
Wanting it to match the exterior, he fitted Composite Worx SP-1 seats inside the car. Made from carbon fiber and Kevlar, the center panels were finished in grey suede with green stitching. And that's not all... For such a minimalist car he managed to jazz it up with RLS carbon fiber door panels, door pulls, sill pieces and center console. Not only do they look great but removed even more weight from the lean machine.
"It's a show stopper," Ryan exclaimed. He then showed us a trophy he'd won at last year's All British & European Car Day, which was held at White Rock Lake in Dallas. The Lotus Exige S was awarded "Best of Show, Modern", beating some very exotic vehicles. So while people have been paying millions at auction for a one-off car or a limited edition, Ryan admits that owning such a rare sports car makes him feel like a million dollars.
2011 Lotus Exige S 260 Final Edition
Owner: Ryan Li
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Toyota 2ZZ 1.8-liter four-cylinder with Kold-Fire ECU tune, Really Light Stuff intercooler, intercooler, aluminum tubing and carbon fiber shroud, carbon fiber heat shield, Pulley Boys 3.1" supercharger pulley, PPE Engineering Racing headers and test pipe, BOE exhaust and catch can, BWR fuel surge tank, Moroso baffled oil pan
stock six-speed manual transmission with Launch Control and Torsen LSD
stock Lotus "Track Pack" with double-adjustable Ohlins dampers
Wheels & Tires:
16x7" f, 17x8" r forged Lotus wheels, 205/45 ZR16 f, 245/40 ZR17 r Yokohama A048R tires
Diffuser 5 Element Railer Jr Difflow aluminum diffuser, Synthetic Designs stripe kit
Composite Worx carbon/kevlar SP-1 seats in grey suede with green stitching, Really Light Stuff carbon fiber door panels, door pulls, sill covers and carbon fiber center console
Thomas at Really Light Stuff (www.reallylightstuff.com), Michele at Composite Worx (www.compositeworx.com), Glenn at Difflow (www.difflow.com), Angel at Synthetic Designs, www.kold-fire.com, Clif, Jeff and Blake from Ilfusion, Andrew, Galen, Aaron and Matt, North Texas Lotus Club (www.northtexaslotusclub.com)