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Monday, March 4, 2024

No matter Occurred To The Ronin RS211 Lotus?


2024 Intro

It’s all the time attention-grabbing to see characteristic vehicles resurface years after they have been posted on Speedhunters, particularly after they’ve advanced in a roundabout way.

Frank Profera’s Lotus Elise was featured twice – first in 2012, after Larry randomly occurred throughout it (it went on to turn out to be Speedhunters’ ‘Road Automotive of the Yr’ that yr) – after which once more in 2014, after it obtained its main ‘Ronin RS211′ re-imagination. In that guise, automotive media curiosity within the construct actually ramped up and the {custom} turbocharged speedster made appearances all over the place, together with a spot on Jay Leno’s Storage. Within the years following, Frank modified up the exterior look with a change from Ferrari Grigio Medio to Audi Good Pink, however in 2017 his run with the automobile got here to an abrupt finish when it was crashed within the canyons. Finally, the Lotus was offered off with a salvage title – however it appears that isn’t the tip of its story.

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It very not too long ago reappeared, and is now up on the market, having been repaired and additional modified with a brand new entrance finish look and a recent white exterior, all courtesy of the store initially concerned in its creation.

Given the automobile is again and our 2014 characteristic is now 10 years outdated, there’s no higher time to revisit the story of 1 man’s quest to construct his final Lotus…

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2014 Characteristic

In the case of the world of vehicles, what’s the most satisfying factor you are able to do? Lastly shopping for your dream automobile after years of saving? Placing in a brand new finest lap time at a observe day? Efficiently finishing a troublesome DIY mission? Saving an outdated automobile from the scrap yard? The reply will fluctuate for everybody, and that’s the beauty of this passion.

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It’s arduous, nonetheless, to think about one thing extra rewarding than constructing your personal automobile. I’m not speaking about merely modifying an vehicle to fit your tastes. I’m speaking about making a one-off machine from the bottom up – designing, fabricating, and eventually driving a automobile that no meeting line might ever produce.

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Now clearly this isn’t one thing that everybody is able to. In spite of everything, you want a lot of cash, loads of time and a few critical mechanical skill – or a minimum of some mixture of the three. But when you’ll be able to efficiently do such a factor, the outcomes might be magical. Simply ask Frank Profera – the proprietor of the heavily-modified Lotus you see right here.

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If you’re pondering that identify sounds acquainted, you’d be appropriate. Frank is the proprietor of an superb Lotus Elise that Larry stumbled throughout a few years in the past – a machine that went on to win our 2012 Road Automotive of the Yr award. Really, the automobile you see right here is the exact same one – albeit in a really completely different guise now – which begs the query: how precisely did it wind up like this?

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Nicely, not lengthy after our unique photoshoot Frank was driving the Lotus on the freeway when he was concerned in successful and run accident with a Porsche driver. The Porsche primarily clipped the Lotus, which despatched it careering right into a concrete barrier. Fortunately Frank wasn’t damage, however the identical couldn’t be mentioned for the Elise’s custom-made bodywork which was considerably broken.

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Given the quantity of {custom} work on the automobile, repairing it might not be so simple as ordering some new components and making a go to to the native physique store. So after surveying the harm, Frank and his good friend Mike Stafford determined they might fully rebuild the automobile into an much more aggressive creation.

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Not like some builders, Frank and Mike didn’t have a selected imaginative and prescient of what the completed automobile would appear like. There have been no idea renderings or blueprints – as a substitute a lot of the design was thought up throughout Frank’s lengthy drives from his dwelling in Sherman Oaks to Mike’s workshop in Lancaster. As soon as he arrived on the store, he’d say ‘Give me the noticed’ and the chopping and creating started.

Model Two Emerges

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The idea for the brand new look got here from Lotus 2-Eleven physique panels that Frank sourced from contacts within the UK, however the remaining form could be far more aggressive than that. Sure, he’s by some means managed to make the physique of Lotus Vehicles’ devoted observe day particular look tame by comparability.

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Frank truly describes the looks as a modern-day Can-Am automobile, and if you have a look at the ridiculously huge tail part and open cockpit physique it’s arduous to disagree. The custom-fabricated carbon fiber huge physique is each longer and much wider than a inventory 2-Eleven, and by the point Frank and Mike completed the outside work it had grew to become arduous for a lot of to establish the automobile as a Lotus in any respect.

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After all, it turns into even more durable to establish the automobile if you see it fly by on considered one of Southern California’s mountain roads – and that’s the place so many individuals encounter Frank and his distinctive creation.

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In its new stripped-down, open cockpit guise, the automobile suggestions the scales at simply 1,700lbs – some 450lbs lighter than its earlier iteration. At that slim determine even a modest quantity of horsepower is sufficient to make for an exciting journey, however the engine setup Frank’s operating is something however modest…

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After we final encountered Frank’s Lotus it featured a turbocharger and supercharger in a compound charged setup. However together with the outside makeover the powerplant has obtained some modifications too, and lately you’ll discover a extra conventional turbo-only setup within the rear.

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Though it was extraordinarily responsive, the compound charged association produced an excessive amount of low-end torque for the 1.8-litre Toyota 2ZZ’s rod bearings to deal with, so Frank determined to take away the blower and permit the Precision Turbo 6262 ball bearing turbo to deal with pressured induction duties alone. To counter this transformation, he put in a Kaaz close-ratio gear set which helps maintain the automobile in its powerband at the price of lowered top-end pace. Eradicating the supercharger additionally shaved weight within the engine bay and lowered the load on the motor. The present setup makes 680 horsepower to the rear wheels and Frank says the automobile is smoother and extra responsive than it’s ever been.

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One of many actually attention-grabbing touches on the subject of the engine is the gas system. It truly makes use of a staged injection system which pulls an alcohol combination from a separate tank at excessive enhance ranges. This primarily serves as on-board octane booster that converts pump fuel to 104 octane on the fly. That is essential because the automobile was constructed with road driving and highway journeys in thoughts, and everyone knows race gas isn’t straightforward to come back by roadside.

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After all, a well-rounded construct is about extra than simply the ability to weight ratio, and the Lotus is provided with Nitron 46mm race shocks with Eibach springs together with {custom} A-arms and bushings.

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Getting all that energy all the way down to the bottom popping out of tight corners was one other problem, however 345-width DOT slicks mounted on 18×12.5-inch wheels actually assist in the rear grip division.

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1,700lbs just isn’t an entire lot of weight to decelerate, however with a lot energy readily available the AP Racing calipers and rotors are a really worthwhile improve.

Nothing Compares

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A part of the rebuild additionally included the set up of an built-in rollcage that not solely helps within the security division, however supplies further reinforcement between the entrance and rear sections of the chassis.

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Elsewhere, the cockpit is extra like that of a racing automobile than something you’d anticipate to see on the road. There’s a {custom} sprint panel with all of the devices Frank must regulate the automobile’s vitals, and the seats are uncooked carbon fiber buckets, which I’m informed are surprisingly comfy when you strap-in with the Takata harnesses.

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You’re in all probability pondering that this automobile would make for a completely depraved observe weapon, however Frank truly has no real interest in lap instances or different efficiency figures. As an alternative, he makes use of the Lotus completely for sunny climate weekend drives within the hills. The Lotus has racked up hundreds of miles on the open highway, which is the place Frank finds essentially the most pleasure.

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Driving such a radical and heavily-modified machine on the road, I used to be curious if Frank receives a lot undesirable consideration from regulation enforcement. However he says the one instances he’s been stopped by cops is after they’ve merely wish to take a look at the automobile.

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And that’s just about the identical response Frank will get from everybody. Even supposing the Lotus is painted in comparatively subdued shade of grey, each time he stops for fuel or a chew to eat, the automobile is immediately surrounded by individuals – most of them attempting to determine what precisely they’re taking a look at. Frank wouldn’t have it another means. There’s nothing he loves greater than sharing his creation with others, be them fellow fanatics or simply strangers on the road.

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The checklist of Frank’s lifetime of automotive adventures embody every part from being a New York Metropolis cab driver to proudly owning and racing Group B rally vehicles, however there’s nothing that may evaluate to the satisfaction he will get from this machine. For Frank and his Lotus it’s been a protracted journey stuffed with ups and downs, however taking a look at it now it’s arduous to consider that this automobile started life as a bone-stock US market Lotus Elise almost a decade in the past.

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He’s damaged guidelines, he’s damaged components, he’s constructed and rebuilt – and he can’t consider another automobile he’d quite have, at any value.

Why purchase your dream automobile when you’ll be able to construct your dream automobile?

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia

Pictures by Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto



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