Automotive journalist and race car driver lauds drivability and performance of Elio vehicle
When most journalists encounter the Elio vehicle, they need a few minutes to assess its unique look, its non-traditional driver/passenger configuration, and its value proposition.
When Rick Titus, host of the automotive talk show Drivers Talk Radio, first experienced the Elio three years ago, the first thing that occurred to him was, “Heaven forbid that anyone should build an inexpensive car that’s actually fun to drive!”
Titus, who had been brought up around fast cars and performance driving – his father was a championship-winning factory team driver for Carroll Shelby in the 1960s – said the Elio’s road manners were impressive. His experience with small British sports cars, which were his outlet for racing and performance driving in his youth, progressed with experience to more substantial race cars, which he parlayed into 11 SCCA Endurance Road Racing victories and a driving championship.
His experience driving exotic cars, however, don’t compare to driving the Elio, and not necessarily in the way you might imagine.
“I don’t recall having that much fun [as when driving the Elio], even when I was driving Porsches and pretty quick Mustangs and so forth,” he said. “I just never had more fun in a car than when I finally drove an Elio. What a blast!”
Titus, who also is a pilot, compared his experience with his aircraft and his current single-seat Formula race car, where you sit in the center, to the Elio.
On the vehicle’s strikingly good looks, Titus lightheartedly recommended that those who are shy might actually be a bit intimidated in owning one.
“It’s absolutely an attention grabber,” Titus said. “If you’re a shy person, this probably isn’t the best purchase for you, because you’re going to meet people. People love talking about this car! The only downside I could find was, if you’re at a stoplight and the light turns green, everyone waits for you so they can watch the car!” he said. “It’s like, ‘Alright, I guess I’ll go!’”
Titus first met Paul Elio, Elio Motors Founder and CEO, and Jerome Vassallo, Elio Motors Vice President of Sales, three years ago in Las Vegas around the time of the annual SEMA Show. Paul and Jerome brought the P3 prototype to the studio to let Titus and his on-air team drive it. They then appeared on Drivers Talk Radio.
One of the characteristics about Paul that impressed Titus over the years has been Paul’s dedication and sincerity. Having developed a specialty car of his own back in the late ‘80s, he knew the challenges that were coming.
“I looked at him in the way you look at a naïve kid, ‘Ah, you didn’t realize that this was coming,’” Titus said. “That’s been a hard road, man, when you try to get legislation changed, you try to raise the kind of money he’s talking about, and you get a location to build this thing.”
When it comes to Elio Motors’ brand values for the Elio vehicle, Titus has the utmost respect. He specifically applauded the company for designing a vehicle with a fun personality and unwavering standards for safety, fuel economy, and affordability, even suggesting hero status if the company gets even close. The fact that the Elio has its own proprietary engine was not lost on him, either.
Speaking of the Elio Motors team’s pioneering spirit, Titus commended the team members who put a face on Elio in the real world. He mentioned their dedication, tireless effort, passion, and sincerity focused on introducing people to this vehicle.
“Quite frankly, [Elio Motors’] efforts are going to clear the road for a lot of other people to try it,” Titus said. “They’re not going to find it very easy, even though Paul’s done a great job clearing a path.”
What would Titus predict seeing for Elio Motors and the Elio vehicle in the future?
“Of course, as a race driver, I’d love to see a single mark series for them,” he said. “I would love to race them. That would be a blast! To see a grid of 30 or 40 of those things, and let’s go for it!”