Exige 320S Porsche Riviera Blue

Hi all,

Little bit late than never, but I’ve owned various Lotus’ this past decade.

This came to the end last year when I had to sell my stunning 2019 red exige 350 sport due to having to grow up and buy a house.

I thought selling at the time for what I had bought it for was a great deal for me (shows you how much I know) that the same car has recently sold for £6k than I sold it for prices have increased that much this past 12 months).

Anyway I knew selling it meant I wouldn’t be having another lotus for a while but I also knew it was the right thing to do, Sod’s law due to a couple of factors we didn’t end up buying a house!

Several months past where I tried to kid myself I didn’t need one! BUT constant moaning like a miserable teenager, boring my partner to death with constant talk of lotus’ to her annoyance, and the several hours a day spent on pistonheads instead of working, looking after the kids and spending anytime with my missus…meant she reluctantly agreed that if one came up at the right price I could buy one before the house purchase. As long as I stopped being a miserable arse (as she calls it).

Knowing that prices were increasing, the race was on to find my next lotus.

I knew I couldn’t afford a V6 exige, due to the missus saying I wasn’t allowed to spend the house deposit on one (bit unfair I thought) having had S2 variant Elise’s I knew I wanted the more aggressive look of the S2 exige, even though I knew there was nothing different between them.

I also knew I needed to stretch my budget to get a supercharged variant, even though the NA are fantastic even a standard 220 would feel gutless and slow compared to the torquey V6.

I constantly, on an hourly basis…that’s a lie a 5 mins basis! checked all the usual advert sites and finally viewed a few late last year.

As usual in the UK I looked at the best low mileage 220 and 240 variants, but on inspection these examples rattled more than a bag of nails and just didn’t feel overly fast.

I was very disappointed and wondered whether my lotus ownership was over and I may need to go for a Caterham for the price for it to feel fast.

That was until I told the missus who didn’t sit on the fence by telling me that she would leave me if I bought a metal coffin…even better I thought!…for a split second.

Just as I was about to give up I found an advert for a 2006 exige S which had been converted to the Hangar111 320S kit. this caught my eye so I continued to read the advert, fully refurbished nut and bolt, HPI clear, full suspension refurbishment and a full respray in Porsche riviera blue, sounded great and the pics looked brilliant.

The downside was the mileage at 75K, which was higher than I and most lotus owners would prefer.

As it was local I decided to go a view it, it looked amazing better than the photos, a full history of filed and documented. Every upgrade and even down to every small bit and bolts bought, this gave me a lot of confidence.

The drive too was a surprise, hardly any squeaks or rattles, fastidious previous owner who had rebuilt it had done a good job.

Only downside was that the paint job, it wasn’t perfect as it had some crazing on a small sec room of the rear.

Not being mechanically minded (to give you an idea I used marigolds and a kitchen spatula to remove the battery on my V6 so not to get electrocuted to the amusement of a few lotus friends) I was concerned by the modifications and weather I needed to get my hands dirty keeping it in top top condition.

I also knew that even though it had been well looked after and a lot of money spent on her, she was more of a road biased car with no baffled sump, uprated brakes, catch cans and various other bits.

I knew money would need to be spent on certain areas to keep her in top condition…luckily I’m in a group of some fantastic mates who own lotus’ another reason I love owning a lotus is this community, I’ve made some amazing good friends, with a few active on here.

A big thank you espeically needs to go to Kyle A.K.A Fonzey who has been of great help and advice on some issues and questions that have arisen.

A deal was done for a vary reasonable price in todays market, and the first thing that I knew I wanted to do in my ownership was book her into seriously Lotus for them to provide a full nut and bolt investigation as well as a full service including:-

Spark plugs
Brake fluid
Gearbox oil
Engine oil

This was done for 2 reasons, firstly so that I knew in my ownership she was in top condition and everything was healthy.

Secondly even though I had own lotus’ for nearly a decade I had never tracked a car hence why the mileage wasn’t a concern.

All came back that I had in fact found a gem and that mileage aside she was one of the best examples they’d seen in this condition with even suspension had been refreshed.

Great first post! Welcome back to the fold.

The service was a relief to me, so I booked my first track day, unfortunately October and Anglesey aren’t the best introductions to track days.

A first track day for anyone is exciting but this is overcome by nerves and the thoughts of “am I going to be slow, will I get in other faster drivers and cars way and most importantly which way does the track go.

With the help of friends who were there and offering help and advice, I arrived at Anglesey to be greeted by monsoon like weather conditions.

Hearing event organisers and other experienced drivers commenting “these are some of the worst conditions they’ve experienced on a track day” didn’t truly fill me with confidence as I trundled out on to the parade lap, visibility at minimal level.

I held back for a while to let the guys with massive balls of steel go out in these conditions, mainly the Caterham lads.

I knew I needed new tyres, they were old, down to the tread blocks and very hard, but money was short after buying the car and then the full service, but I wanted to give it a go anyway.

The car had no grip what’s so ever, I managed a handful of laps before I came back in, racing car driver excuses already on the tip of my tongue “no grip the rear comes around without any progressive letting go, it snaps and that’s why I’m rubbish” were the automatic replies to anyone asking how was it?

My friends listened and provided the pick me up you normally give to your 5 years old child (when they haven’t done well in school or when they come off their bike) Whilst probably thinking there’s nothing wrong with the tyres.

They all had told me the that in the morning I will not enjoy it as I try to find my way, but have some tuition just before lunch and gain some confidence. Then head back out in the afternoon and it will all start coming together.

The track day was hosted by LoT and I must admit it was very well organised, they offered me free tuition from a young lad called Toby. He looked like he was still in high school, but had just won the European lotus cup.

He jumped in the passenger seat and told me to drive the way I had been doing. Sat there with the ‘stig’ I felt like I was 18 and on my driving test!

He was great and calmed my nerves, we came back into the pits after a few laps, turned the engine off and then discussed my current lines, the positives and then where he felt I could improve.

Toby was brilliant, rather than overloading my small overworked brain and frazzle me with too much information, he worked on only a couple of points

He said that my lines were good but the generic racing line we all use, left foot braking was good and that I was very good at modulating and being progressive with the throttle inputs and outputs, which he said was good in these horrendous conditions.

He told me that there can be several racing lines and different ways to take a corner, there are several at Anglesey that are a late apex. He also advised that these would also help with my terrible slippy tyres.

We went out again and put into practise the points, the corners sudddenly felt a lot better and it was coming together. But as we started to push and with a friend behind me (thanks Kyle) I spun dropping down the hill.

After moaning about these tyres all day and feeling like I was using it as an excuse , it was great to see Toby’s reaction of surprise at the rear end giving away like that.

He later added that he’s never been in a car where the rear end just gives way without wanting, like the back of the car drives on black ice.

I headed out on my own, putting all the advice together and felt quicker and more importantly more confident, but I couldn’t push on due to being hampered by these tyres.

But as someone said “you’ve come away from your first track day, knowing that the weather and tyres means it can’t get worse next time”

Thanks Andy, seems we’ve both had a similar story with our cars.

I have a few more posts to submit updating on the story so far

Look forward to the updates.

Good stuff, look forward to reading more of the journey….

In November I booked myself on to a power run dyno session at a place called EFI in Runcorn, Chris who owns the business is fantastic, very knowledgeable and more importantly a few friends of mine had been in their lotus S2 exiges I’m various specs so I had something to base it off.

I had read and heard a lot of rumours that the Hangar320S kit isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, doesn’t put out the power it promotes, using my arse dyno it had felt quick but not 320 quick.

I had felt the car wasn’t as quick as it was or as it should and that at the top end the revs were not racing around.

I wanted to understand what was happening, I knew 320 wasn’t a possibility on standard gearbox and with a remap of the standard ECU BUT surely it should be more then 260 conversion, I couldn’t have been more wrong!!

As Chris started the first run I looked excitedly at the tv monitor to see what my exige was running…was it 300, 290,280…the numbers climbed until it hit 6k where it should race around but it didn’t.

Instead the car produced 208bhp :scream::joy: on its first run, and after run 4 it was producing 189bhp with the charge cooler running too hot.

Surely this can’t be right, we investigated, the back pressure was far too high. something was wrong and it looked like 2nd cam may not be lifting as peak power of 202bhp at 6k ish rpm and then it levelled out.

I drove away very concerned, had I bought a lemon surely not?!

As mentioned previously I am not mechanically minded, remember I used marigolds and a spatula to take the leads off a battery terminal!!

But with the help of some friends over WhatsApp…I think they were secretly enjoying the following evenings entertainment and were sat there with popcorn at the ready! I removed the rocker cover checking the lift bolts, oil filter etc and nothing stood out looking wrong.

Lastly I took the back box and catalytic converter off, tipped it upside down - bits of it fell out and the main core was loose inside, alas we find the solution!

Under hard acceleration the core was moving and acting like a bung, blocking up the hole not allowing the exhaust gases to escape which meant the back pressure was so high.

Unfortunately the whole exhaust system is bespoke and not an oem, 2bular, Larini etc which meant I couldn’t just replace the cat or back box as my system had ‘V’ bands and spring connectors, not ideal and no easy way to replace.

I’d have to fork out for a whole new exhaust system from the manifold down costing around £2,400 if I went 2bular or Larini.

I decided to have the cat insides removed and use it as a decat and replaced the back box for a new one which used the old one on a jig to make a carbon copy. This was done from A.A.S in Newcastle. Fantastic quality and only cost £320.

Once refitted I took her out for a quick drive around some roads close to where I live. Wow what a difference she now felt quick again at the top end and pulled strong. Unfortunately the car had a “tizz” to the exhaust that was there when you lift your foot off the gas above 4K rpm.

This would be investigated at my next planned visit to SL in preparation for my next track day at blyton park.

As you can see it makes no power when 2nd cam comes on (vvti) and boost pressure is very high.

My bespoke system, the cat and manifold pipe are not true or flush, at an angle. This cannot currently be rectified, springs to retain compression

Pieces of the cat when I tipped it upside down

The main core was still whole but loose causing the issues on the dyno

Rectified by local garage who cut a section in the cat, took out the insides and welded back up creating a de-cat/link pipe

In the meantime I booked myself on to another dyno run with Chris at EFI to see if my arse dyno was correct and I had now rectified the issue, and also to discover what “the real” power was.

One evening in early feb I had the answer I had been looking for, my friends and I had all had a sweepstake to what it would actually make. Various quotes are made, some genuine and some not so genuine :joy:

As Chris made the first of 3 power runs I watched eagerly at the monitor, the revs rose I winced as 6k rpm approached and 202bhp came and went…and then suddenly the revs flew around to the limiter hitting 283bhp WOW!

The remaining 2 runs were just as good with no reduction in BHP due to heat and the charge cooler working very efficiently.

I was so relieved and happy, yes it wasn’t 320 but as previously mentioned I wasn’t expecting that, listening to advice and comments from experts if I got anything above 275bhp on standard remapped ECU I should be very happy.

I could now use this as a basis to work from and look to upgrade if necessary, which due to the standard gearbox I won’t be doing for the forceable.

The result I had been waiting for.

Setting the car up before the moment of truth

New back box with “V” band connection from A.A.S in Newcastle

Good start to the thread Dunc. Looking forward to how this adventure develops, remember cars are only fun when you’re fixing them. :thumbup:

Cheers mate and cheers for all your advice and help.

Blyton is a big day for me and the exige, it needs to be reliable and I need to bind with it, I’ve had a couple great drives this winter but I’ve now had the car 6 months and I’ve invested a lot more money on top to prolong the car etc in all the right areas

If blyton goes well then 2bular full system will be purchased.

Remind me of the Blyton date …

Since then I have just had the car returned from another trip to SL where Dave and John have done another fantastic job on the car.

The reason for this visit was to maintain and future proof car, with that in mind I had the following undertaken and completed:-

Pro alloy catch cans
SL baffled sump
Engine cleaned and oil replaced
The exhaust “Tizz” looked into
Confirm pulley size

The report from SL is that the car is mechanically fine and now all future proofing done so I can use on track, the “tizz” turned out to be the manifold and exhaust system construction and this is making the gases flow and vibrate causing this “tizz” off gas.

Dave says even though the sound is annoying it can’t be fixed and that the car is fine.

The only option is complete new exhaust system but that’s £2.4K

This can wait, I want to bond with the car and need a good year on track and road. if all is ok then end of summer will be a full exhaust system, open to options but preferably 2bular 48mm 4-1 manifold, sports cat and back box.

The pulley is slightly smaller than stock at 3” could go more aggressive with a 2.9” but will wait for when gearbox done, After market ECU and bigger injectors.

I’ve also replaced some external pieces like having new decals fitted, carbon fibre side pods (thanks Kyle)

I also got a great deal on my favourite forged wheels which also came with the added bonus of lightly used AD048RS.

Lastly I’ve stripped some weight out with remover off the subwoofer, wires and speakers which along with the forged wheels have currently saved me 18kg

Now time to enjoy the car on track at blyton in the 2nd April.

Thanks for taking the time to read this lengthy introduction and start of my thread.

New OEM look decals, fantastic quality and service from Devine handcraft.

Very easy to fit, heat gun on low setting and pull the old ones off, I use masking tape to use as a guide to where the old ones were placed

I also then use a fibre cloth and big and tar remover to clean off the left over adhesive

The previous owner who rebuilt the car fully had obviously had new flooring later at his home as he used a huge amount of floor underlay to act as sound insulation between rear bulk head cover and bulkhead.

Wires, rear speakers and wires controlling the subwoofer etc cam to a total of 6.5KG removed.

Unmarked fantastic condition twin spoke forged wheels, my favourite design and a healthy 10.6kg lighter than the Y spoke ones.

Also came fitted with a lightly used AD048’s
Finally got rid of the rubbish tyres previously

Cleaned and with the proper central wheel boss for them.
Very happy indeed

2nd April - it’s a Saturday

Brilliant car and brilliant read of what’s going on, love the colour of this car! Keep up the good work!

What’s the weight now Dunc ?

Not too sure Rob, I’d like to find out and will at some point save up for proper corner weight.

I still have a smaller lighter battery to fit which should be around 10kg lighter which is crazy weight.

But I’ve also added catch cans and a baffled sump plus it’s got the charge cooling system.

I’m interested to know though.

Will let you know on here when I do

So I’ve decided to bite the bullet and purchase a full exhaust system.

The reason behind this is I’ve had a “tizz” noise coming above 4K rpm and it’s really annoying and detracts from the experience when off throttle.

I’ve had this investigated and been told that it’s the bespoke exhaust system on the car.

I have no idea what system it is and there are no markings on any product but I suspect it was added around 2015 when the car had a full rebuild.

As this system uses “V” bands and sorings retainers to join parts of the system I can’t just replace back box or the manifold.

So after looking into different systems it came down to the final 2 options which were Larini and 2bular.

I’ve had Larini before and really like the sound and both brands seem to have put R&D into developing a better system tailored towards the supercharger and 2ZZ engine with both offering bigger wider manifold bores of 48mm and 4-1 design compared to 4-2-1.

Pricing for both was very similar but Now due to the brexit and being out of Europe the import tax alone pushed the Larini system up further by £1k.

I therefore spoke to Jim and discussed options, I’ve decided to go a bit more OEM with the outlet and have the exit come out below the diffuser as the sound is nicer, I really wanted to the 6” but as I’m gonna do around 4 track days per year the 8”
With no chamber was the best option for sound and helpfully get away with no black flags.

I’ve finished it off by also including a sorts cat again.

I’m looking forward to getting this on the car and having a nicer tone sound and “touchwood” no tizz.

Picture is for reference of what I’ve ordered…

Whilst I wait for the 2bular full system to arrive form Jim I also sorted out another little issue from my list which was the steering wheel.

I had an aftermarket 300mm alcantara wheel which had not been looked after and had become flat and hard. I tried to treat it and refurb it,avail as it had past the point of no return.

Again this subtracted from enjoying the steering feel as it was awful to touch.

I therefore ordered a brand new sparco P300 wheel which was very easy to fit.

I also bought some racing gloves for track so not to ruin the alcantara as much

but to no

This looks awesome!

Thanks Matt :+1: