List price for an OEM Lotus Elise Hard Top Roof Assembly, $4681.14.
Reddit User MB Chrono made the front page of Reddit yesterday (Apr. 29,2020) for freeway mishap thanks to a broken front hardtop latch on his Lotus Elise. Out for a cruise, driving on what looks like a Utah freeway, MB Chrono’s Lotus Elise hardtop ejected itself without so much as a goodbye.
The look on his face when his roof flies off, suddenly exposing him to the elements, is priceless!
Check out his short video posted on Reddit below.
After watching a handful of Lotus Elise Hardtop removal videos on Youtube, removing the hardtop is not something you can do waiting at a stoplight. You have to unscrew a covering before you can access a handful of torx screws.
MBChrono admits that this is entirely his fault and him not “latching the front right latch correctly” is to blame.
At highway speeds, the amount of air that can creep underneath a hardtop panel that should be flush to the body was probably strong enough to overcome the remaining torx screws holding on the roof.
Thankfully, MBChrono was able to recover the hardtop panel after doubling back.
“Yeah I recovered it. Banged up pretty good, but nobody behind me was hit thankfully!“
Although Lotus does its best to keep its parts as light as possible, a flying hardtop assembly hitting you or something else could’ve been disastrous.
Looking on LotusPartsOnline.com, an OEM hardtop costs upwards of $4,600 and change,par for the course for factory parts. An OEM Mazda Miata hardtop costs just as much.
You might think these hardtops are just flat pieces of metal but they’re shaped and meticulously engineered to sync up with the rest of the body panels, not something you can bang out and shape for yourself.
MBChrono mentions in the comments how he’ll probably skip getting an OEM replacement and go for a lighter carbon fiber aftermarket one. A cursory search online reveals these CF ones are the quarter of the price of OEM aluminum ones, are lighter, and look even better in bare carbon fiber.
A word to the wise for owners of cars with hardtops, double check those latches and make sure they’re installed correctly.