Gumball 3000 2003 (San Fran -> Miami)

WARNING - Exige newbie seeking advice!!!I entered the Gumball 3000 (3000 miles, 5 days, New York to Los Angles) last year in a 1992 911 Turbo (have a look at if you’d like to see/know more).One of the cars that we’re considering taking for the 2003 trip is an Exige. I’d be really interested to hear from people their thoughts about how practical it’d be to drive an Exige for about 3,300 miles in five days, averaging about 8-10 hours a day in the car, both in terms of “could the car take it?” and in terms of “could I walk afterwards?”.Also, how does the Exige stand performance wise? Bearing in mind that the US is primarily long, fairly straight, roads (so no real chance to benefit from the huge downforce etc that I understand the Exige is famous for). How well does it cope with being driven at fairly high speeds for long periods of time? Most of the time the driving would be done around the 90-120mph mark, with the odd “blast”.Any responses would be greatly appreciated.Thanks

First question to be answered: “Is the Exige road legal in the US?” - that is assuming that all entrants to the Gumball 3000 must be!Answer - it would appear not from the posts on this bbs, by Roy Oliver & Joe McCarthy. Suggest you do a search for posts by Roy & Joe.

We looked into issues similar to this last year - what the situation appears to be (which was formed after conversations with some of the US agencies, such as Customs, and the EPA) is that although you can’t keep the cars there in a permanent basis, you can keep them as “temporary exports”.The logic behind it (which I understand is the same for the why Lotus can’t sell the Elise or the Exige, and why Caterham can’t sell the R500 etc) is that the exhaust system isn’t long enough to comply with EPA regulations. However, as a “temporary export” it appears to be OK.

Go for it. I can’t see any reason why an Exige couldn’t survive 3,000 mls in 5 days. It’ll be noisy that’s all, especially if you’re sitting at high speeds a lot of the time but nothing that can’t be tolerated with a bit of determination. Then again, I listen to Motorhead quite a bit so am used to a lot of loud noises. [image][/image]

Hello,I live in Atlanta and have an Exige. It would hold up, but your butt might not [image][/image]. I have about 1800 miles on my car, most on the track. The seats are comfortable and great for track use, however, I did a road trip once and found that my butt went to sleep after a while… Lotus USA has a few in stock, new, at $57K. I’ll sell you mine for under $50K. It has a few things that you will not find on a european car. No AC, upgraded suspension, fire system, roll cage, etc. You can see a bunch of pics at Click on Model Specs, Exige and then click on the “My Exige” link.Good luck. If I can help you at all let me know!Roy

Craig,This sounds like a great laugh! quote:Originally posted by Craig:…“could the car take it?”…Uldis has just driven his car 3388 miles round Europe (see Lotus Talk - ) without any probs, so I guess that answers your question (assuming you don’t get unlucky). Most of the ‘issues’ with Exiges seem to occur through hard cornering, high rev track work. So as long as you use 5th gear to keep the revs down I would have thought you’d be fine. There are some postings (with pics) on extra ventilation for the engine bay (basically holes around the plate) which I’d recommend to keep the engine cooler. quote:Originally posted by Craig:…“could I walk afterwards?”…I just drove 400 miles straight, back from an gathering in North Wales, without an ouch of discomfort! I was pleasantly surprised.Anyway, you’re only going to get about 200-250 miles per tank so your butt’ll get brief breaks. quote:Originally posted by Craig:…how does the Exige stand performance wise?..How well does it cope with being driven at fairly high speeds for long periods of time? Most of the time the driving would be done around the 90-120mph mark, with the odd “blast”.Dynamics wise, the Exige is more of a car for the bends than the straights. But that doesn’t stop the special feeling of sitting in what’s practically a race car, even when it’s not moving! Add the noise and you’ll have a real experience on your hands. 90mph is not even going to wake it up but your’re going to start running out of puff around 120mph (that down-force is a killer). Although Uldis claimed to get 135mph out of his (standard one). That would have taken some winding up!Let us know how you get on.Ian [image][/image]ps. Does Burt Reynolds turn up?! [image][/image][This message has been edited by IDG (edited 18 November 2002).]

Hello Craig,Not wanting to sound like a bunch of Old Sailors comparing war wounds but…I drove my Exige (standard other than Cat bypass / Supersports Exhaust) back non-stop from the South of France to London and hence spent around 12 hrs in the car for the 900 Mile journey - I can confirm that I could walk after the journey and I still had hearing in at least one of my ears - hence I do think both you and the car could take this trip - One thing to ensure is that you check the oil on a fairly regular basis as the Exige does go through about 1ltr per 1000 miles.Good Luck and keep us informed.James

Many thanks one and all…It looks as though the Exige may well be a good choice for the trip - especially as they are a pretty rare breed in the US.My research so far suggests that the 190 upgrade is going to be a must - are there any other modifications that are worth having (ie the ratio of price to bhp improvement makes it worth while).Also, reading the thread about Uldis’s trip through Europe, it appears that internally the Exige is quite noisy - is this true, and if so, would a rally type set of headphones be a good idea? (I’d rather like to be able to talk to the chap who’ll be sharing the driving with me!!)Does Burt Reynolds turn up? He did this year - along with Hugh Heffner - at the party at the Playboy Mansion… grin

Craig,as Ian described, I did some miles on the Exige not so long ago.And it was WONDERFUL !Now, some points: -the car is noisy, not so much engine noise as road noise (wind, tyres, small sand bits) you hear and feel it all. Solution? foam ear plugs, you can still hear everything but toned down.-butt numbness? Naaah, depending on your right foot, every 150-190 miles you’ll have to stop anyway and you can stretch your legs. But then again, I have a butt (some people don’t really [image][/image] ).Besides, I have a back problem (disc hernia) and I can attest that the shape of the seats is wonderful, no problems at all (I took some pain killers with me but didn’t have to use them, how’s that!)-In the initial part of the trip I had a mechanical failure, I was still in the UK so it was no problem: the alternator belt just disintegreted. Recommend taking one with you, since a Rover part might not be common in the US. Otherwise, the car functioned perfectly.-Oil consumption, take some with you, 1L/1000 miles is about right. Fuel, find who’s got 98 octane or better fuel (mine pings if not)I suppose you have figured out about the legality of your car in the US already. Apart from that, you must have noticed that there is not much luggage space in the car, and if you’re taking your girlfriend, she’ll have to travel light (make that a bikini or sorts of… [image][/image] , ok, shorts and tank top, no more).Subscribe to some kind of road assistance (not many hand tools, you never know).Ditch the foam tyre repair kit in the car and get the BMW bike tyre repair kit. Much better in case of a puncture.And regarding music, sometimes I turned on the stereo but it was not much use really. Anyway, just driving and hearing the car was good enough. Still, after the trip I wired the front speaker cables (not used normally in the standard installation) to a couple of jacks in the rear (in the black plastic between the seats) and bought some actively-compensated headphones (check this ones out: I’ve since used them once and they’re ok, but found out that with the ear plugs I get less distracted anyway (besides, my ears get too hot with the headphones)But the idea sounds like fun. It would be very nice if a group of Exiges did it in the European one, don’t you think guys? [image][/image]Cheers,UldisPS- the 135Mph was seen in the speedo in an Italian Autostrada, when I had an argument with a 5-series BMW. And at the end I don’t know if my car was faster than his or if the Beemer just chickened out. Besides, how accurate is the speedo really? PS2- ahh, by the way, the 190 mod is not really a must, you can do nicely with the 177 standard engine (as I did) [image][/image]

I did one road trip in my car in the Atlanta area - I had no issues in the 400 miles I covered other than the HEAT. This was in late April and temps during the day were in the 80’s.After 2-3 hours of driving - I was soaking wet with sweat. It gets hot in there - especially if you get stopped in traffic.

CraigI agree with all the above and reckon HEAT will be your main problem. I did about 1100 miles in 3-days (the middle day being our Anglesey Track day in September) and had NO problems with the car or my personal comfort. Like Ally I also like Motorhead tho’ but couldn’t hear a bit of it !!!It got a bit sweaty in the cabin and our outside ambient would be way below what you will probably expect on the Gumball. But like they say… no pain… no gain. And exige ROX[This message has been edited by RoxTeddy (edited 18 November 2002).]

Sorry, but the Exige is not the car. I’ve had my car on every road (within a 500km radius) in our state (Western Australia) at temperatures around 40�C and it’s not a pleasant experience. The other problem is that the 1.8L motor lacks the torque to accelerate after you pass 200kmh. The only car I would use (and I wish I could) would be a 928S manual - the fastest all-round car I’ve ever owned - from my first 1965 Chev 327 Impala or the 1981 308GTSi Ferrari or my wife’s Audi TT roadster. GOOD LUCK.

OK…more information comes out :-)It seems that people think that the Exige would be a great car to do the Gumball in, but that we might get a little hot in the car. Having looked at the specs on various cars that I’ve seen for sale, I see that air con was on option, which leads me to think the following:Either…1) The air con isn’t very good;2) Most people didn’t take the air con as an option as it was very expensive; or3) Using the air con leads to a considerable reduction in the cars performance.Are any of the above true, or have I got the wrong end of the stick?An Elise owning friend of mine was telling me over dinner last night that the reason he bought an Elise over an Exige was that the exhaust on the Exige has a tendancy to melt to bodywork when driven for long periods of time. Has anyone had any experience of this?Thanks again for all the continued advice and support - at this stage it looks as though I might be in the market for an Exige in the New Year![This message has been edited by Craig (edited 19 November 2002).]

Craig,The reason why the Aircon is not popular with us is because it’s not very effective (do a search in this site, there’s lots of stories) and it’s more weight in the back of the car, exactly where you don’t want it. Bear in mind that most Exige owners take the car to the track, and the weight in the back is felt there. It’s not so much that the car loses power.If the ambient temp is more than 25 degC bear in mind that you will have to travel with your windows down. No more comfort than in a roadster.Expensive option? naahhh. It’s just that it’s hard to justify an AC to a british sportscar buyer. Hot? open the window! (after all , this is the UK).Besides, they have a tendency to break the pipes. If you can, avoid it.Exiges melting the bodywork? It’s fiberglass, it can’t melt.But Exiges and Elises have two heat-vents in the rear that come closed, and I noticed that the paint in mine was a bit dark. I opened them (you can do a search in this site), but many people are happy the way the are.If your friend bought an Elise over an Exige because of that, tell him the news: they’re the same there! (look at pictures)Cheers,Uldis

Hi Craig,Your first assumption is correct: the air con for the Exiges isn’t very good. You will find lots of references on this site about people questioning the reliability of the air con.The cockpit can get a little hot, which is why I had a vent made in the rear clam of my Exige (will post pics soon) for track days. This dramatically improves cooling not only in the engine bay, but also in the cockpit.As regards to the exhaust melting the bodywork, I had no problems whatsoever.Kev.

But the heat from the exhaust can cause the paint around where it exits the clam to bubble, crack and then peel off. Still, you can’t see it when you are driving it ;-)Cheers

Craig,The A/c was introduced on later Exiges. It isn’t very good but I think it does (slightly) help bring the temp down in the cabin to a bearable level.The biggest difference is opening up the rear clam with a little ventilation, this really moves the hot air out of the engine bay so it doesn’t soak into the cabin.Ian [image][/image]