The Chapman Report

November 1998

Published by the Golden Gate Lotus Club

www.gglotus.org

PO Box 117303 Burlingame, CA 94011

 

 

Lotus Calendar

 

December

5 GGLC Holiday party

6 The Toddler Rallye, Fremont

 

November Meeting

 

GGLC Holiday Party

Saturday, December 5

Ok folks, the GGLC Holiday party has been finalized. Note that the date has changed from December 12 to the 5th.

 

The party will take place at Pacific Fresh in Sunnyvale. The festivities begin at 5:30 with a no host bar and appetizers provided by the GGLC. At 6:45 weíll sit down for dinner, and follow that with the officer coronations and White Elephant garage gift exchange.

 

There are 5 entrees from which to choose and the cost is $28/person RSVP and payment must be received no later than November 20th.

 

For those of you who enjoy wine with your dinner, GGLC will be providing

several bottles per table. Beyond this, the restaurant will be happy to accommodate, however you will be required to pay as you go.

 

White Elephant Garage Gift Exchange: The highlight of hilarity, the goal of this

wacky event is to rid yourself of items from your GARAGE/SHOP you no longer want (or maybe never wanted in the first place), by exchanging them as presents. Dig it out, wrap it up, and give it away. Trouble is, you'll probably end up with something that someone else didn't want. But there's also

a few "good" gifts going around as well, so you never know what may turn up. (We can

all rest easy though, wrapping paper doesn't come in rolls wide enough to cover Mr. Rosner's flared Europa body).

 

Menu:

(all entrees include soup or salad, fresh bread, coffee, tea or soda, and dessert)

 

Dinner choices (please select one)

1. Cajun Swordfish, topped with fresh salsa and sour cream

2. Seared King Salmon, topped with a fresh basil rock shrimp sauce

3. Baked Alaskan Halibut in Phyllo Pastry, stuffed with crab & spinach

4. Filet Mignon of Beef, wrapped with Bacon

5. Vegetarian: Pasta Primavera with Marinara sauce

 

Dessert choices (please select one)

1. New York Cheesecake

2. Mud Pie

 

Pacific Fresh is located at the junction of Hwy 237 and Mathilda Ave. in Sunnyvale. If you are familiar with the Blue Cube, then it is very easy to find as the restaurant is *directly* across the street from the huge satellite dish behind the Blue Cube. If you have no idea what I'm talking

about, then read on.

 

Pacific Fresh Restaurant

1130 N. Mathilda Ave.

Sunnyvale, CA

(408) 745-1710

 

Directions:

>From San Jose:

101 Northbound, exit Mathilda Ave. North Pacific Fresh is on the right side of Mathilda, ~ 2 1/2 blocks up from exit. Cross under Hwy 237, and turn into the parking lot just after Charley Brown's sign.

 

>From San Francisco:

101 Southbound, exit Hwy 237 East (towards Alviso, Milpitas) Exit Mathilda Ave, turn left on Mathilda going back under 237. Pacific Fresh is 1 block up from 237 on right side. Cross under Hwy 237, and turn into the parking lot just after Charley Brown's sign.

 

>From East Bay:

880 south, exit Hwy 237 west towards 101. 680 south, exit Calaveras rod which then becomes Hwy 237. Continue on 237 about 2-3 miles, exit Mathilda ave, turn right on Mathilda. Pacific Fresh is 1 block up from 237 on right side. Cross under Hwy 237, and turn into the parking lot just after Charley Brown's sign.

 

RSVP in person at the November meeting, or mail your check to the address below.

 

Daren Stone

579 Rockport Drive

Sunnyvale, 94087

work (408 527-5044

e-mail: dastone@cisco.com

>

Hope to see you there, as it is sure to be an evening of celebration and surprises ~

 

 

The Toddler Rallye

Sunday, December 6

 

The GGLC and the Fremont Touring Club have been co-sponsoring this Rallye for nearly 25 years! Each year our members support this worthy event by participating or helping out. As in years past we are looking for 6 or volunteers to come out and help. Fun jobs like running a check point, or helping at registration or the finish. Please call/email Kiyoshi if you can help! Kiyoshi: (650) 424-0333; email khamai@tsoft.com

 

The event will start at the Round Table pizza, 46600 Mission Blvd., between Freeways 680 and 880, in the Warm Springs District of South Fremont.. Sign up will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. First car departs at noon, last at 1 p.m. We rallye rain or shine, of course. Entry fee:; A brand: new, unwrapped toy worth at least $10.. plus $1. Optional poker hand, $0.50 or 3 for $1. Toys will be donated to the Washington Township volunteer Bureau's special holiday project benefiting needy families.

 

 

The Editor

 

Itís November 8th now and Halloween is almost over.

 

If you werenít at the meeting in October then you missed the hotly contested club nominations. This may turn out to be a truly unusual election year in that at least 3 of the four candidates for President/Vice President really want to be elected!

 

Also in October, one of our favorites, Jon Rosner, tied the matrimonial knot with his sweetheart. Congratulations, Jon, you truly know how to throw a fun party.

 

A lot of the talk at the meeting was about the upcoming West Coast Lotus Meet 1999. The decision to go ahead with planning the event was almost unanimous and Daren is looking for volunteers to take over various facets of the gathering. We all decided that there must be a track day in conjunction with the event and talked about Sears Point and Laguna Seca as the likely venues. At the November meeting, however, your CR editor will be heading a grass roots campaign to move the event to Las Vegas.

 

I know itís quite a radical idea for this club to go all the way to Vegas for a meet. If you pause to think about it, Vegas will get a huge draw from L.A. and many participants from across the Southwestern U.S. Also, lots of people will be happy to fly in from around the country when they know thereíll be much more to do besides look at cars. It will be a great place for spouses and families, and thereís at least two road race courses near LV. And, finally, the success of an event such as this should not be judged by the number of participants, but instead, by the amount of fun to be had.

 

The holiday party has been finalized and Daren is looking for RSVPís and checks by November 20. Check out the article on the opposite page for details.

 

See ya, John

 

 

The Vice Prez

Say It Ainít So!

 

Iím going to take this month to vent about something that I found particularly disturbing. I know, I know, you were expecting to find a campaign speech werenít you? Well, look through the list of people running for Prez and vote for whomever you want, what Iím about to tell you is more important than any speech I could make..

 

My brother subscribes to Britainís CAR Magazine and I happened to be looking through last monthís issue when I spied the title of a short article that Iíve been waiting to see ever since the first spy photos of the Lotus Elise were shown. The article read: "Lotus prepares US-spec Elise". I couldnít believe my eyes! Weíve all heard stories about how Lotus was going to sell the Elise in the US, and then they werenít, and then they were, and on and on and on. Now, Iíve given a great deal of thought to all the modern cars that are produced and which one I would buy if I were in the market, but Iíve come to the conclusion that I wouldnít. Nothing out there for sale REALLY gets my blood going, except the Elise. This is the only car Iíd buy brand new. Thatís saying a lot when you consider how much money you have to spend each year with insurance and registration on a new car. I know Iím biased, and Iíll be the first one to admit that Iíve never driven one, I havenít even seen one in the flesh! But, I have read quite a few articles and they all say the car is fantastic. In addition, I just have a lot of faith that it would be a fun car, and judging by my faith in past Lotuses Iíve purchased, Iím sure Iíd be quite happy.

 

One of the things that appealed to me very much when Lotus introduced the Elise was the fact that it had the Rover K-Series engine. If itís not going to be a Lotus engine in the back, It should be British and it should be light, thatís my feeling. I know what youíre saying, what about the S1/S2 Europa? Chapman sacrificed. After all, name another affordable all-alloy engine which was available in the mid-sixties? I began to worry about the Elise when I read an article last year that said *IF* Lotus was going to send the car to the US, it would have a V6 instead of the 4 cylinder. I donít know if that implied Americans were overweight and needed the horsepower and torque of a six to haul us around or not, but I was thinking of the effect the extra weight would have on the handling. But, as time went on, I began to bend a little and thought perhaps a nice alloy V6 wouldnít be such a bad thing. Then, I read the article I mentioned above and my dreams were shattered. The article said that Lotus had considered the Rover V6 but opted for the Honda V-TEC 4-cylinder! For those of you who know me, you know very well that I hate the Honda Motor Company and everything it produces!

 

My distaste for Hondas started with the original Civic CVCC. Ask any mechanic how long the heads on those cars lasted and you can see why I refer to them as the original disposable car. Then there was a former boss of mine who owned an Ď84 Accord. By the time he reached 80,000 miles he was on transmission number three and head number two. And no, he didnít abuse the car at all. I havenít seen a Honda yet that has had an interior that lasted. I truly believe that they are the most over-rated cars on the road and they have achieved success in this country only because of shrewd advertising.

 

So why did Lotus have to choose Honda for the Elise engine? I can think of only two reasons: Lotus knows that the American public has been bamboozled into thinking that Hondas are the best cars made, and the all-alloy V-TEC four puts out around 170 Hp. The second point I can understand, the first one I canít. And, I doubt that the V-TEC is a bargain either. Some of you out there who love these cars are saying: "Whatís wrong with that, Team Lotus used Honda engines in Formula One?" They did indeed, and they won races too. But their Formula One success is associated much more with McLaren than with Lotus.

 

This has disturbed me so much that Iím taking it upon myself to write Lotus and tell them how I feel. If they want an engine that has good horsepower, albeit lower than the V-TEC, why donít they reunite the Lotus-Ford connection and use the Ford Z-Tec engine which powers the Ford Contour? Talk about Grand Prix history??? Over the last five years or so, Lotus has tried very hard to advertise their heritage with their products and I think thatís a good thing. Personally, Iíd like to have the same engine that the Brits and Europeans get because I donít want the car changed in any way, but opening an Elise engine cover and seeing "Lotus-Ford" on the cam-cover would be a nice thing to look at, and something I could be proud of as well. In my opinion, the horsepower is the only issue. The Honda puts out a lot of power but if Lotus can get 190Hp from a Rover K-Series in the Elise Sport, they should be able to get 170 reliable Hp from a chipped and slightly massaged Z-Tec.

 

The US-spec Elise should have at the most a British engine, and at the least an engine which is identified with a championship-winning Lotus Grand Prix history! Therefore, Iím inviting anyone who shares this belief to call me up and give me your name to add to the letter. You can include the Lotuses you own, or have owned, and any comments you wish to make to the people at Lotus regarding this immoral and unethical decision, and Iíll forward them on with my letter. Iím well aware that it wonít change any current plans for the Elise, they are too far along at this point, but maybe it would be food for thought for the Lotus people when it comes to future Lotus cars.

 

Scott Hogben

 

 

Book Signing

 

Chris Goodrich was recently interviewed on National Public Radio about his new book ROADSTER: How (and Especially Why) a Mechanical Novice Built a Sports Car from a Kit. The book is largely about the trials and tribulations of building a Caterham 7, but also explores the role of the car in American culture, the history of industrialization, and the sense of independence that the automobile both fosters and limits.

 

Why did you write the book ?

"I'd been to law school on a journalistic fellowship, and there I began to understand how people mortgaged their lives to experts: that in order to be accepted in a given profession in law or medicine or journalism, whatever you have to buy into that mind-set. I hated that the idea that you had to think a certain way to do your job and remembered, later, I'd seen a television series addressing that issue quite directly "The Prisoner", the British program from the 1960's that starred Patrick McGoohan. He drove a Lotus Seven in the series because it represented independence, self-sufficiency...and when I was casting around for a book to write, after publishing one on my law-school experience, well, the Seven came to mind. After years of being a reporter, of talking with lawyers all the time, I was dog-tired of abstraction, wanted to work with my hands and building a Seven fit the bill in spades. And it was very gratifying to discover that Colin Chapman was probably even more ambivalent towards authority than I am, skirting the law at every opportunity and always pushing the edges of the acceptable. He was a lot like Henry Ford in that way, funnily enough; Ford says he fired people the moment they claimed to be experts, because that meant they were mostly thinking about what couldn't be done."

 

Has the Seven lived up to your expectations? "Absolutely. There's a certain paranoia involved, of course, having built the car myself. I really am a car novice but on the other hand, I know it like the back of my hand. And since Caterham's made the Seven exclusively, until the Caterham 21 came out a couple years ago) for a quarter of the century that's longer than Lotus itself the car's quite reliable. Owing a Seven is like having your cake and eating it too: the joys of a British sports car, the great style and handling and open-road feel, but without most of the drawbacks. It's fragile enough to keep you on the edge, alert and paying attention, but reliable enough that I don't have to worry too much about getting where I'm going. So far, at least!

 

Chris Goodrich will be signing copies of ROADSTER at Borders Books and Music at the Emerybay Market, Sunday, November 22, 4-6 PM.

 

Directions are:

-Route 880

-first exit north of the Bay Bridge is Powell Street

-on Powell street, go west towards Berkeley-left at your first major intersection onto Christie

-immediate right onto Shellmount

-park

 

Mike Ostrov will be there with his Seven and has invited folks to call him and if enough people are interested we can do a dinner (great inexpensive food there) or take a ride over to Fantasy Junction in Emeryville first. Mike is at 510.232.7764

 

 

Log 18

By Jon Rosner

 

From Friday September 25 through Monday 28th, a truly phenomenal number of Lotus street cars, Lotus race cars on trailers, and Lotus race cars on the street could be seen buzzing around between southern Atlanta Georgia and Road Atlanta Raceway.

 

This was the first time that the Golden Gate Lotus Club, Club Lotus Northwest and Club Elite were going in on a national event with the east-coast based Lotus Limited. The result was that not only did racers and street car owners come in from the east coast and the southern United States to converge in Atlanta, but a large number of folks came from eastern and western Canada, Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington. Why work together? Lotus Owners Gathering #18 was set up as THE 50th Anniversary for Lotus in the United States, and this was a party not to be missed.

 

The first part of the event consisted of vacuuming down major food units on Friday evening, followed by Technical Sessions on Saturday morning, and playing with the cars on Sunday and Monday.

 

Roger Becker, VP of Suspension Engineering has been with Lotus since 1966. He gave a great Tech Session on suspension Saturday morning. Roger told us about the Lotus philosophy and history leading up to glimpses at in-house software and hardware development tools. He explained how Lotus' design consultancy has grown from doing design work only for manufacturers, to doing design and testing for the first tier suppliers who now have to provide whole assemblies for vehicles that may not yet exist.

 

One of the funny stories he told was about how an Asian bus manufacturer came to Lotus with an intercity bus that became unstable at anything over 50 mph. Lotus already knew how to make cars perform the way the manufacturer's wanted, but this was going to be hard to fit onto the existing test rigs. They had to change a few ideas, and tongue in cheek Roger told us that the parts being redesigned were just "bigger, heavier and it hurts more when you drop it on your foot."

 

After the Tech Sessions we were to parade up to Road Atlanta for the Concours and vendor fair. NOT, the line to depart was long and being a passenger in a Flamer Car meant that flying lessons were in order. Note, chasing a Sport 190 in traffic can be a fun and a quick way to get from point A to Point B. The vendors brought the usual totally cool items including a South African built Seven with nice design features. After working on our tans we had lunch, did the panoramic photo, and went over to the open paddock to view the historic race car display including a Type 14, Type 21, Type 30, the Type 38 that ran at Indianapolis and the 109, the last of the Formula 1 cars that Lotus built. The instantly banned twin tub 88B of 1981 had been on display in the hotel lobby all weekend.

 

Dinner was tasty and one of the highlights of any Lotus Convention is listening to the after dinner speaker. Pete Lovely, a quiet, very pleasant and self-effacing man, told a story from 1958 and how he was asked to drive a Lotus Fifteen for Chapman "and, oh by the way, you have to buy the car!" He remembered being sent over to engine builder Coventry Climax to pick up the motor for the run at the Index of Performance at the 24 Hours of LeMans. It seems that the engineers were not quite ready for him. The bench test engines were being timed by stop watch, and none of the motors was surviving more than 45 seconds!! Not confidence inspiring. After tweaking a bit of this and that the engineers took the hot engine and loaded it into the back of his car, put two more in the trunk, and sent Pete back to the factory with his headlights way up in the trees.

 

At LeMans the engines didn't turn out to be the problem, "the front end of the Fifteen showed such a horrendous buzz that I could never get over 110 MPH." "And the ruts left by the trucks in the street portion of the race track made the car less than stable." Meanwhile it started raining sheets and waves of water. Pete's helmet was doing an excellent job of funneling water into his waterproof suit. Fifteen cars were off already, he couldn't see, the car was running poorly, and he kept asking when he could come in, and he kept being told "one more lap, one more lap." He pushed himself on and ended up winning the Index of Performance for Lotus. (And since the Index of Performance category was usually the strangleheld territory of the French manufacturers, it paid out the same as that for the overall winner!! Once again Chapman had figured out how to use every available resource to come in with the least and leave with the most.)

 

Sunday found some folks out blasting through the Georgia hills on a real fly by led by Bob Patterson of LCU, apparently some acceleration, brake and cornering force testing was done by certain individuals as several people were seen later on in the day with the "who me ?" Cheshire cat grin permanently affixed.

 

Sunday morning for most of the rest of the crew was autocross time. Larry Shauf and John Zender each took their respective classes, while Kiyoshi Hamai did his usual appropriation of spectators for use as ballast, and development tested another rental car into a top ten spot to earn the title in the "f---ing unbelievable" class.

 

Afternoon was track tour time. As a writer it is my duty to climb into anything where I am foolishly allowed. This included a rides in a Seven, the Flamer car and a Sport 190. The Seven was entertaining, it showed off the fact that Road Atlanta may not be the steep roller coaster ride that Sear's Point is, but that it has dips, curves and straights which are much more subtle and equally insidious. John Zender has really come a long way in developing the Flamer Car. We just raked in the straights as the Cosworth roared through the switchbacks of turns 3 and 4 into pounding late braking for 5 while chasing #45, a well driven X180R. A bit of a queasy sensation, pressed hard against a squeaking door only to be pinned the other way on the switchbacks and fast rights, totally stable and very quick.

 

With the Sport 190 we were hitting higher speeds almost everywhere, on rails, no polar movement, subtle shift, a video game with the track sweeping by. Incredibly poised and comfortable. Where the street Elise is one full step ahead of any other car I have ever been in (save the prototype BMW Nazca V-12 with Porsche 959 suspension.) The Sport 190 is dynamically one step beyond the Elise. It is incredible that this car is even available and sad that neither is on the streets of the United States.

 

Monday was another real highlight, there were 8 races including an all Lotus Feature Race. Group 5 consisted of 38 cars including several really fast 23s, Elans, Sevens, X180Rs, Cortinas, a Type 69 and Zack Zarcadoolas in a most unusual Plus 2 racing car that was probably built by the factory. And while the race amongst the first three cars was interesting, the mid-pack racing was where the real work was being done. Watching Zack race a Plus 2 with the same horsepower but carrying more than 100 lbs more heft than the Elans and Sevens was truly entertaining. Stealing corners, cutting the apexes, late braking, sliding on greasy "street" tires that were trashed by the end of the race marked more than one outstanding effort.

 

And then it was over. Hadn't we just arrived? This was the biggest Lotus Owner's Gathering ever put together, and most of the work was done by a core group of slightly tilted enthusiasts. Tremendous job. Well done. It was a blast. One of the best events I ever attended. A big Thank You to everyone who had a part in it.

 

 

We Got Minutes

Submitted by Bruce Weinberg

October meeting

 

Meeting called to order at 9:06pm at Vic Holtorf's Warehouse in Burlingame. In attendance: 20+ spouses--(with no attention to spelling): Daren Stone, Pete, Joel, Richard, Rod, Scott McAllen, Vic, Scott Whitman, Scott Hogben, Tom, James McCoy, Steve Frey, John Zender, Tom, Jim McClure, Paul Haney, Joe Ficcara, Mike Schlict, Brian Moda, Bruce Weinberg (Brian and girlfriend left early)

 

Welcome and Thank you to Victor for holding meeting and allowing us to view his menagerie of automobiles

 

Old Business:

1. Palo Alto: 53 Loti, a bit shy of attendance record, thank you to Mike for loan of tent, or more accurately, pile of poles, thank you to Daren and John for assembly.

2. LOG18: comments included good organization, a preponderance of newer cars, fewer cars in general, the high price of things, and the extensive paperwork for making itinerary changes there.

 

New Business:

1. Holiday Party being held December 5, 1998 at Pacific Fresh in Sunnyvale. Accessible to most members, as it is right off of 237. Happy hour begins at 5:30pm.

 

2. Proposal: Regarding President, VP and perhaps Editor of CR. To allow for greater stability and better continuity of Club, it was suggested that officers be allowed to run for more than one term. These considerations resulted in a tabling of vote until bylaws can be construed. (editorís note: the GGLC has no bylaws restricting the number of terms that individuals can hold office for)

 

3. Nominations:

President/Vice President category:

Scott Hogben, Mike Schlict, Victor Holtorf & Daren Stone

 

Social Director: John Zender, unopposed

 

Treasurer: Laura Hamai, unopposed and not in attendance

 

Technical Director: Mike Ostrov, unopposed and not in attendance

 

Secretary: Bruce Weinberg, unopposed

 

4. Festival '99: Proposal to host approved overwhelmingly by members present. Festival Planning Committee established to select location and logistics: Mike, Daren, John, Tom, Tom, Scott, Mike, Kiyoshi, Bruce.

 

5. Next meeting to be held at Stones' on November 20, 1998.

 

6. Mention by VP regarding insurance cancellation can be made if performance modifications made to insured vehicle. Also noted was 50% drop in some registration fees beginning in 1999, and the illegality of "fog lights" or any accessory lights located beneath the bumper.

 

7. Buy Sell Swap

 

Meeting adjourned at 10:20pm

 

 

The Official Lotus Club

By Nigel Belson

 

I thought I would let you know about The Official Lotus Club that is being set up by Lotus in celebration of their 50 years of existence.

 

Steve Gregory- marketing manager Lotus Cars comments As the only official Lotus Club worldwide, this is an excellent opportunity to give something back to those customers who have remained loyal to the Lotus brand over the past 50 years.

 

One of the benefits of membership include receiving a copy of Pure Lotus

the new quarterly glossy magazine. The launch issue features Lotus exciting new extreme machines-the stunning new concept 340R and the Esprit Sport 350. Full colour pictures show that these cars are 100 per cent pure Lotus.

 

Also featured is an interview with Andy Green driver of Thrust SSC and

the first man to go supersonic on land. He takes an Esprit V8-GT and amazingly discovers that the Lotus is quicker than the fastest car in the world!

 

For further details please contact me. Nbelson@riverltd.co.uk

 

 

FOR SALE

November

For Sale:  1969 Elan S4, daily driver.  11,000 miles on big valve, mildly modified engine by Rich Kamp (130-135 hp).  Excellent mechanicals, clean body, old paint, original interior.  $14,000 Ed King evking@KINGandHIGGINS.com (415) 781-2888

 

1969 Lotus Elan +2, 3500 miles on rebuilt twin-cam and close ratio four speed. (Rebuilt to Big Valve Spec). New Minilites, 008 tires, brakes, Spax shocks, drive train donuts, all new front suspension and steering linkage, new dash and instrument panel, and fresh Lotus computer-matched red paint. This car is ready for daily driving, or vintage racing, with a few modifications. Total of 69500 miles since new. $9500 or best offer. Bob Coover (510-531-1765)

 

October

1978 Esprit, Series 2, black/black, maintained by Barry Spencer, reliable daily driver, $9,000 no trades. MUST SELL NOW, MOVING TO MAUI. Mike Foley (650) 654-1449

 

Wanted: Lotus 7 project car. Prefer Series II or III with Ford crossflow and axle. Will consider anything. David Mathison (310) 457-7328

 

1970 Europa S2 VIN 0203R, 54K miles, 600 mi on rebuilt motor. Oil cooler, adjustable lower links, Weber, Minilites. White. $6,500 OBO. Steve Snyder (209) 537-7038

 

1977 Elite, lots of recent work. New belts, hoses, water pump, rebuilt carbs, rebuilt 5 speed, new clutch, new alternator. No oil or water leaks! Nice original interior. $4,000 OBO. Steve Snyder (209) 537-7038

 

1984 Esprit Turbo parts for sale: Stock front rims with stock NCTís, mounted, 6/32 tread, $150 each. NOS NCTís 195-60x15, 50 miles, $150 each. Rear NCTís 235-60x15, barely legal, $25 each. Rear Bumper, repairable, minor damage at exhaust area, $200. Prices include shipping. David Condrack tootnugh@aol.com