So it's not a hoax after all. Six months after the official U.S. introduction at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the first production Elise made its way into customer hands, which were both making animated beckoning gestures. Lotus CEO John English tossed the keys to Georgia boy Chris Smith at the company's headquarters, three years after Smith ponied up for his deposit. Smith has also owned a 1974 Europa, a 1991 Elan and two Esprits, and said the Elise "would make [Lotus founder] Colin Chapman proud." Chapman was known for his "light weight equals good performance" philosophy, and he pioneered several automotive systems still in use today. Lotus will deliver 260 cars by the end of the summer and hit full production capacity by November. Until I pick mine up used in 2010, I'll be satisfied sticking extremely long pins into my Chris Smith voodoo doll.

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