Thursday, April 26, 2012

Is a red Lotus Esprit a speeding ticket magnet?

I have not post for a while. Ever since Harry and the Vikings Motor Sports fixed and shaped up my 95 Esprit S4, I was having too much fun driving it all over the place. Harry did a great job and the car is smooth, responsive, and reliable now.

Maybe it is a bit too good now as I also got 2 speeding tickets in 4 months. I don't think I changed my driving habits that much. I think I drive my BMW 525i even faster and further because it is smoother and quieter. However, I only got one speeding ticket in the BMW the past 5 years. The Esprit (especially mine is red) seems to be a cop magnet. The CHP officer also said I was speeding well over 90+ mph while I think I was doing at most 80 mph. I was not driving aggressively both times (I only drive aggressively in the mountains); I was just coasting with other cars trying to get home in both occasions and I did check the speedometer regularly. There were a lot of cars passed me up along the way, too. The radar detector was slow to react as well. This is getting seriously ridiculous. How can I enjoy my Esprit on any highway without fear?

Here are my questions: Do you feel the cop will single you out in a line of traffic just because you drive a hot car? Will they perceive you drive faster or more aggressively just because your car looks fast? How do you cope with it? I am a little down now from the ticket. Hopefully talking about it with the group will lighten the pain and even have some fun with it.

Thanks and look forward to your replies.
Howiiieee 95 S4 (Red)
Southern California

Blower wrote: 
I got 'noticed' by a cop while driving a friend's Esprit. This was back before I owned one; I had made friends with a couple of owners in my area in an attempt to learn more about the cars before buying my own. Anyway, it was a bright red '86 and we'd just finished with an oil-change or some other minor maintenance task and had taken the car out for a spin. I was driving and we were northbound on GA 400 (main north-central expressway from central Atlanta to the northern 'burbs). I was going a little bit fast, but nothing totally egregious- maybe 12 over or so...we came over a slight rise and the cop was there on the shoulder, with somebody already pulled over. As the officer walked back to his car, he saw me coming around hot in the left lane and wagged a finger at me. My friend was playfully upset, saying that now that cop will be looking for his car on 400! :)-
Oh and in the interest of cheering Howie up, does anybody have clever names for speeding tickets? In the BMW motorcycle circles in which I hang out, we call them 'Performance Awards.' :D

Tom wrote:
I haven't gotten a ticket in my Esprit after about four years of ownership. I did get stopped on my inaugural ride home from Dallas to Tampa/St. Pete - but the cop clearly only wanted to look at the car and let me go with a warning which he also said quite clearly that it didn't mean damn thing and I could throw it away.

Paul wrote:
I've owned TWO red Esprits over the last 20 years and have not gotten speeding tickets in either one of them. I think one is more likley to get stopped because of some fault in the electrical system (tail lights) if you drive fairly conservatively, which did happen to me recently. The cop just gave me a warning and said "nice car” !

Clint wrote:
As far as names for tickets go I have been calling them bacon strips for years. (because they come from pigs)

Dave C wrote:
I find this is pretty common as well but I usually chalk it up to trying to get a closer look at the car. People will always seem to drive right up into your blind spot and then sit there. Whether they are blocking you or there are miles of empty road ahead of both of you. Its a great place to look at a cool car from, just not so convenient for the Esprit driver who can't see over there very easily.

Rich wrote:
Hey, I received tickets the first 3 times I drove my Elise.the first time I had just bought it, and was picked out from between 2 full sized pickups towing trailers on a 3 lane highway in VA. There's no justice. Only perceived ability to pay. Since I upgraded to Evora, there have been no tickets or pullovers, partly due to the world class brakes, I can be back at the speed limit in 1 second.

Comem47 wrote:
No question that happens on occasion. I once was driving though Grand Island NY(near Niagara Falls) on my way to a LOG event in Grand Rapids MI and got pulled over and written up. I believe I was doing 60 in a 55 zone but other cars were passing me by like I was standing still, most notably I remember a white Firebird that had to be going 65-70 passing me by as the cop was approaching from behind. I was shocked he didn't keep on going past me to get that car. I decided to fight the ticket requesting a supporting deposition with more details from the cop (something you're entitled to in NY in prep for your court case). The ticket should have been thrown out under NY law because I did not receive that deposition 3 days in advance of my court appearance (never did get it), but they made my come out to appear anyway and not only did they not throw it out then per the law, but the judge made me come back a second time allowing more time for the cop to send a second deposition (I kept protesting, quoting NY law, but all he'd say is "do you want to come back in 2 weeks or 3?" with the DA trying to press me to settle. The judge remembered me the 2nd time back and with no cop present he finally threw it out (with 2 180 mile round trips to night court with no compensation -but it was worth it for insurance and surcharge reasons) My experience over the years has been if you're going less that 10 mph over in every day transportation they never bother looking at you as you pass the speed traps.

Travis wrote:
Two words... Grey Lotus
Problem solved!
Travis Vulcan Grey 89SE

WA6 wrote:
 I agree that some cops will stop you in these cars just to "get a look." at your car. I have also had the experience many times of people hanging off of my rear right quarter panel, which they of course do so at their own peril because of the poor visibility there!

Tim wrote:
Yeah, color does have a lot to do with it. Silver, grey, black tend to fly under the radar better than red, yellow, neon anything, etc. Bright colors that really catch the eye, catch all the wrong eyes as well. So do racing stripes/ numbers, and fru-fru bling-bling crap that doesn't belong on an Esprit in the first place. And then, of course, there's big wings. It doesn't help that the car looks fast all by itself, or that you probably don't normally leave any speed margin on the table... not to mention dipping pretty deeply into next year's allotment. On the other hand, I have managed to get two tickets in my dark green Subaru. But then, I was traveling a wee bit in excess of the limit.

To sum it up, it was really interesting to hear other Lotus owners on their cop / ticket situations.

Next post: Race track!!! Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, Ca)

1 comment:

  1. Any powerful car is a speeding ticket magnet because when you own such a car it's hard to go 50 mph:))
    The developers of these cars are responsible for this because they make such cars very comfortable. Driving a lotus with 50 mph feels like driving a Ford with 80mph....so it's understandable why people that own such a car use to speed.
    I once drove a powerful Mercedes and without realizing I was 40 miles over the speed limit...that brought me a speeding ticket Toronto and I admit I was very surprised that I got it because I felt I wasn't speeding:))

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