For the Love of a Lotus

dsc_0024Plattsmouth enthusiast tricked into building himself a roadster

by Jeff Barnes

(Originally published in the Omaha World-Herald, February 2011)

About seven years ago, Ed Fisher got a call from a car-collecting cousin in Arizona wanting some help on an overseas car buy. The cousin wanted to order a new, limited-edition British sports car – the 2005 Lotus Elise – right off of the production line.

A sales manager at Precision Toyota, Fisher was able to assist. He recommended the specifications and options that would help ensure its resale value. He suggested getting the sport package since the cousin said he’d be doing some racing. Fisher even gave his personal preference for the car’s color – maroon.

 

All the while, Fisher was very envious; he had coveted the Elise since it was first announced in 2003. “I really got excited about this car,” he said. “I’m a 21-year Toyota employee and this was a one-of-a-kind car with the Toyota engine and powertrain.”

Fisher was in a meeting at his dealership about five years ago when he got paged to meet with a customer on the showroom floor. When he got there, he was met by his wife Anna, his adult children, his mother, all the dealership mechanics and other employees – and riding on the transport behind them was the Lotus Elise that he had been tricked into building for himself.

“I started bawling my eyes out,” Fisher, 51, said. “It was pretty gutsy on my wife’s part, because she needed to really track it, had to buy it from a New York dealer and then had to ship it here. I’m really impressed with my kids for keeping it secret for two years.

“I worked hard at putting my wife and kids through college and wanted to buy myself a car after I got them through. But it’s not easy for me to spend money so my wife did it for me.” (Anna is a doctor and also a professor at Bellevue University.)

What Fisher has is very rare – there are only about 400 Elises with the sport package and he said there is probably only one or two with this color. And he’s absolutely in love with it and its handling. “The first time I took a corner with it,” he said, “I thought ‘I should not be taking it this fast’… and then I said ‘Wow, I should have taken it faster.”

Through the Sports Car Club of America, Fisher has raced in competitive autocross for a couple of years around the Midwest and was a class champion in Nebraska, running against Vipers and Corvette ZO6s. “They’re heavier but have more horsepower, and I’m lighter but more nimble,” he said. “But it’s not about the engine – it’s about the handling. You don’t have to have all that much horsepower to be fast.”

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He’s also run in a few street races at Mid-America Motorplex at Glenwood and has won best in class twice at Omaha’s World of Wheels. The car has even been featured on two SCCA calendars.

It’s been a bonding experience for himself and his son Dustin and son-in-law Kraa (married to daughter Maria), who both help him detail it for shows. “We all love cars and it’s definitely drawn us closer together,” he said.

isher said he’s been astounded by the attention the car’s received. He doesn’t trailer the Lotus, but drives it to where it’s supposed to go. “I’ve had a crowd of around 20 people while I’m gassing up the car,” he said, “and I’ve seen people almost cause wrecks on the interstate while trying to get pictures of it while driving. I’ve even had kids come up and ask me for my autograph.”

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