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SeatsThe Elise seats are quoted as being uncomfortable due to the limited padding on them. My car has the cloth seats on them and I've found these to be very comfortable. There are various upgrade options and the route you take should be determined by the main use for you Elise.
Road UseThe cloth seats (picture) are more comfortable than the leather seats due to the better padding. They don't really offer enough support for high speed driving and track use. The cheapest option is to get the standard cloth seats recovered professionally with leather and more padding and this was my original plan but, I've found them to be be so comfortable that I'm going to leave them as they are for now. This will give you a better quality leather and a more comfortable seat for less money than the standard leather seat option. Aldridge Trimmings in Wolverhampton quoted £500 + VAT for leather upholstered seats with extra padding.
The 111S has leather seats with a ribbed effect and more padding but when I test drove the car I found the padding to be too soft. This resulted in a more detached driving experience than experienced in my car.
The cloth seats are available in a single colour, check pattern (see picture above) which matches the material used in the hardtop lining. The leather seats are available in Magnolia, Fawn, Blue, Black and Red. Lotus launched a new colour called Aztec (yellowish) in September '99.
Gorman Design Limited produce a pelvic support sports car seat which will fit in the Elise for any back sufferers.
RacingLotus offer a Corbeau competition sports seat which is more comfortable but, a full six point harness is required to fit it in the car. This also means that the roll cage is required to provide the harness mounting points. Lotus also offer a matching competition passenger seat, and two of these are used with standard seat belts in the Sport 135. These seats have less lateral support.
The Sport 190 has a parachute type harness that releases all the straps and is legal for road use. Some 6 point harnesses have shoulder straps which require a second hand to pull the straps over your shoulders to complete the release and these types of belts are not legal in the UK for road use (but are possibly safer in a race situation). These are listed in the Lotus 'Original Performance Products' catalogue.
HybridTwo of the competition passenger seats can be used with the standard seat belts if you want something more comfortable.
The Silverstone Racing School uses Elises and they've had some special seats made which sit half way between the standard and competiton seats. These are modified, standard cloth seats modified to conform to race regulations. Tyron Barrett has sent me a picture (640 by 480 pixels, 117k). Recaro are online and may also sell seats that fit the Elise.
Seat BeltsMotobuild now sell a fixing beam to mount full harness seat belts on which requires no drilling or welding, and is positioned in such a way that the original seats can be used. The four point harness is attached to the rear beam and uses the original belt mounting points on the seats. The original inertia reel belts remain in place and can still be used. Price for the beam is £105 + VAT and the full harness £62 each + VAT, available in various colours. You can also buy standard seat belts in various different colours from the likes of QuickFit Safety Belt Services. The pair cost about £70.
OtherYou can get cloth seats changed to high quality leather for less a lot less money than the Lotus option price. You may also want to replace worn leather on the seats or interior panels. There are lots of companies around that can do a good job including:
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Copyright © Rob Collingridge 2009 - Last updated 28 Mar 2002