Darrin Nelson Eliminator 36 Coupe
My Day At Mira Loma
Just had a great experience at HQ.
This fall, I put a deposit on a 36 Daytona Coupe with twin Ilmor 625's, IMCO boxes and IMCO SC Extreme's - today, I finally flew out to the west coast to test drive the boat. Thought I would give fellow Elim fans a run down of my experience.
1. Endured 7 hours on 2 planes to fly from Rochester NY to Ontario CA airport last night (future Elim owners that plan to fly to mecca - should consider this airport over LAX, it's literally 10 mins from the current factory, and about 30 mins from the new factory/storage location.
2. 8am today - Jake (Asst Sales mgr) picks me up at my hotel in his rig and we drive 30 mins down to Lake Elsnore.
3. Scenic drive down a plateau in between 2 small mountain ranges - pretty cool looking - temp is in the 60's already.
4. On the way down, Tony (production manager) calls Jake to find out where we are and let's us know that he just took it for a trial run and hit 121.9mph gps - by now I am bursting out of my skin and can't get there soon enough.
5. We pull into Lake Elsnore launch ramp and right away we see the beast on the trailer attached to a White dually at the top of one of 6 launch ramps there waiting to get in - there was a Hallet waiting to get in on the ramp next to us, but I couldn't tell you too much more about it as my eyes were fixed on the coupe.
6. For those that haven't seen Elsnore, it's a man made body of water, can't be too much more than 1-2 miles long and 1/2 - 1 mile wide. It's almost like an over filled marsh (cat tails around it etc - loaded with danger buoys all over the place - almost like an obstacle course. Doesn't appear to be much of a recrational boating body of water, but excellent for test drives (no speed lmits ).
7. There is some crushed pearl in the gelcoat and it was glistening in the morning sun. I was ready to write the check right there.
8. Walked around the boat amazed at the gel coat work (as I was with my 28 daytona). And was diggin' the brushed aluminum look on the IMCO gear on the stearn - as well as the 5 blade labbed maximus 34" props.
9. Tony backed the boat in, and took me through the boat.
10. He raised the engine hatch, and it was solid. The Ilmor's looked fantastic with all the stainless, aluminum and Gatlin exhaust.
11. Tony was in the drivers seat, I was in the throttleman's seat, Jake was in the back. We didn't have the glass tops on the roof.
12. Tony starts up the motors, and I was curious how Ilmors would sound with Gatlin exhaust. Used to the big blocks in my 28 Daytona, I was wondering how they would compare. It is definitely a different sound. It's more of a growl then the "bang-bang-bang" of the big block. Sounds tough but will keep the over-zealous water cops in the Thousand Islands with their decibel meters at bay. it's a deep consistent growl - pretty cool.
13. Conditions were waaaaaay sticky. Not even a ripple in the lake. Temperature was approching 70 degrees by now, not even a breeze, pretty humid - ducks in the water everywhere (thank goodness they can dive when large objects are coming at them at high speeds).
14. Tony is at the helm and pushess the throttles forward to about 1500 rpms, for about 20 secs, then up to 2300 RPM's and the beast jumps up on plane effortlessly - was shocked - it takes more effort to get my 28 on plane.
15. Tony then pushes the throttles forward and begins to work the trim and the tab and all of a sudden at around 60mph, she breaks free - Tony takes his hands off the throttles and the wheel and the boat accelerates up to mid 70's in seconds - waaay cool without him applying any more acceleration
16. We run out of lake and Tony turns to port side - pretty sharply and the boat actually leans to the inside on this turn (not like my 28 which always leaned to the outside).
17. He then begins to work the trim, tab and accelerator, and we push to 121 mph with 1/4 tank of gas and 3 guys in the boat in those sticky conditions (dodging danger buoys at 120+mph - priceless.
18. He comes off plane gets out of the drivers seat and tells me to take the helm.
19. Now, I am grinning ear to ear. He schools me on how she likes to be throttled, trimmed and tabbed to get on plane.
20. I get her on plane effortlessly the way Tony had.
21. I begin to accelerate, trim out and tab up - once again, she breaks free in the 60's and the acceleration through these speeds is wild.
22. As we get in through the 70's and 80's she begins to porpoise a bit so we work the trim and tab to work the propoise out.
23. I run out of lake and take the turn in the 60's - again to port.
24. I get on the sticks, and trim out a bit. I look back and the rooster tail looks to be about 15' high and 40' long....
25. I get her up to 120 mph before we run out of lake and am amazed at how smoothe she feels at these speeds. With the extra wind protection and the longer hull, it honestly feels like we're cruising 60 mph in my 28.
26. I make a turn to port and make another pass with the same experiences - unbelievable acceleration, tight through the turns, slight propoise through 70-85 mph range. Tony was a master at working through that range without much porpoise at all (working the trim and the tabs) - but me being a newbie wasn't quite as elegant as he was. One afternoon in the boat and I'll have that worked out.
27 We pull the boat back onto the trailer and then Tony and Jake take me to the new building.
28. New building is impressive. It combines boat and RV storage on one side of the facility (high end too, not ashpalt, but concrete flooring throughout the facility). Jake used an analogy - Apparently Bob believes gelcoat is to painting as concrete is to asphalt...so, yes concrete flooring inside and outside of the facility. These storage facilities are like a 1/2 of a U shape around the left side of the main building.
29. Tony backs my coupe into one of these storage facilitites, and then he and Jake take me through a tour of the main building.
30. The main building is huge. If one were to look at it from the outside, it would appear to be the size of a large convention center. The main building is composed of 3 main areas. 1. Factory for building the boats. 2. Showroom for showing off the product. 3. Business offices to make the operation tick. Looked very elegant throughout (showroom even has a full kitchen in the center that looks like it could be a spread in better homes and garden) - ceilings througout looked to be 30'-40' high. Pretty impressive.
31. They then take me into one of the rooms that has Bob's new 36' Speedster in there. Wholly smokes!!! This boat is BAD A$$!!! The Red, black, grey and carbon fiber graphics were stunning. Climbing inside was solid too. Details were sick. The guages, throttle sticks and even tranny sticks were all color coordinated with red, grey, black - really tight. Tony raised the engine hatch to expose Teague 1200s. OMG!!!! Those motors had to be the sickest power plants I have ever seen. The shiny chrome in this compartment was just crazy.
32. Out in front of the facility they actually have a pool with a luanch ramp and a small dock where they can test and float boats - they are hosting the SCOPE kickoff party this weekend and plant to float Bob's 36 Speedster in the pool during the event.
- Showed me Bob's office. It is apparent this guy is passionate about his business - which makes the product so good. In his office he has a 52" flat screen TV - that is not for watching boat videos -but instead is carved up into a dozen or so feeds of video cameras throughout varoius stations of the manufacturing process so he can see what's happening on the floor without leaving his office.
32. Jake and I hopped in his rig and Tony in one of the company's dualies and we head 30 mins over to current/soon to be old facility.
33. We show up at the current facility, and it's a stark contrast to the new building. The new building had no people or boats there other than mine and Bob's - while the old/current building was jam packed with people all buzzing around doing their job and boats in various states of completion all over the place. People have to shift molds and boats around to move them through different stages in the process.
34. Jake walks me through the process and the stations. They were actually in the process of taping the molds to begin pouring the gelcoat for a 27 daytona. Blew my mind how much labor is associated with just this portion of the process.
35. He steps me through each of the stations including gelcoat through, molding, capping, apohlstry, finishing ,etc.. Crazy!
36. Then he takes me to the R&D area, where they are actually finishing the mold creation of a 28 speedster. 3 Guys building a full size to scale model of this boat out of wood - down to every detail -that the mold is built from. Wild. The 28 Speedster will be an interesting boat. Looking forward to seeing a finished product. The 36 Speedster is really the 36 Coupe with out the hard supports on the top side - instead it's just glass... The 28 Speedster looks like the 36 Speedster, only 75% the size of the 36...pretty cool.
37. Jake then takes me through rest of the facility, planning to meet Bob, but he had stepped out. We do however run into his daughter, who could probably have a career in modeling if this boat thing doesn't work out for her Let her know how much I dig the product - she asks what I'm moving into - let her know the coupe - congratulates me -and I'm out of there.
38. We hop in Jake's rig, he takes me back to my hotel - we end up driving by Bob on our way back to my hotel - bummer.
What a great day. Great experience and gave me some insight around the great people behind a great product. Thought it was a pretty unique experience, and thought I would share it with those of you that are also Eliminator fans.
Can't wait to take delivery of this beast!!