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ForcedFed
By Larry Edsall

Forcedfed forces more performance into your sports car
John Modica was skeptical when one of the staffers at Forcedfed came to him with an idea for hopping up the performance of the Lotus Elise, that street-legal go-kart of a sports car that has been praised far and wide by auto enthusiast magazines.

Sure, ever since Colin Chapman started Lotus and established its name by winning in Grand Prix and Indianapolis racing, Lotus has been known for producing sports cars that are light, nimble and quick, that maximize the power of their small engines through exceptional dynamic dexterity. But Modica knew that Lotus was building only a few thousand Elises each year and that only a few of those were heading to the United States.

The return on investment didn't seem to make a lot of sense, though he was swayed when his staff did research and discovered that 75 percent of Elise buyers in Europe and Japan were spending money on aftermarket engine enhancements.

Modica's 2006 investment paid off. Forcedfed's "275" kit uses a turbocharger to boost the Elise's engine from 190 horsepower to 275. Priced at $8,995, the system was selling so well that Modica didn't object when the staff suggested even more extensive revisions, including a full Race 380R package that costs even more than the car. The Elise had a manufacturer's suggested base price of $42,990. Forcedfed's 380R package added $44,995.

Honestly, Modica said, "I didn't think we would ever build any of them, ever." But he adds that it will take two years to fill current orders.

The stock Elise was powered by the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine usually used in the Toyota Celica. With the 380R kit, the engine was thoroughly reworked, and the car undergoes a lot of changes as well to deal with a two-fold increase in power, from the stock 190 to the kit's 380.

With the Elise weighing in at around 2500 pounds, less than many subcompacts, that 380 horsepower should take the car from a standing start to 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds.

"We don't know of a car that will keep up with it in a straight line up to 150 miles per hour," said Modica, whose company is based at Livermore, California.

Forcedfed also produces products for vehicles such as the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru WRX, and Modica said Forcedfed kits for the Nissan 350Z and Honda S2000 have become popular for auto enthusiasts who participate in track day events.

For more information, visit the company's website at www.forcedfed.com or call 925.371.2288.

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