Rose Perry came from a “Mercedes-Benz family’’ in the Metro West area. But in 2005, that all changed when she attended the New England International Auto Show and was given a chance to sit in a Lotus Elise for the first time.
“It was love at first sight,’’ said Perry in a phone interview with Boston.com.
Perry said she loved everything about the Lotus as soon as she got up close to it. She found the Elise’s body styling to be “very sleek’’ and loved the car’s compact shape.
The encounter elevated the Elise to Perry’s official dream car after she left the show.
Perry is not your average auto show attendee, fantasizing about dream cars but actually checking out the specs on something more practical. She is the vice president of the Maynard Area Auto Club (and is currently running for president).
So seven years later, after her Toyota MR2 Spyder died, she decided it was time to make her dream car a reality.
After doing some extensive research online, Perry was able to find a 2010 Elise for sale in Watertown, Connecticut. It was one of the last ones available that was still new. Perry was also relieved she wouldn’t have to travel across the country to obtain the car.
Today, after four years of ownership, Perry says the car is still her dream car. She uses it as her daily driver during warm weather months and says it “handles like crazy’’ on the road.
“It launches itself out of second gear,’’ said Perry. “I can taste the adrenaline in my mouth when I’m driving it.’’
Perry says TV ads for other performance cars make her eyes roll when she thinks about how they stack up against her Elise.
“BMW says it makes the ‘ultimate driving machine,’’’ said Perry. “I giggle at that advertisement because I’m driving the ultimate driving machine.’’
She admits the Elise offers very little trunk space for cargo. In her own words, the trunk on the Elise is just “big enough to put a six-pack and a pair of underwear.’’
But that doesn’t bother her because the car’s size works to her advantage.
“I’m vertically challenged and to be able to reach everything in the car is very important to me,’’ she said.
The Elise has also boosted her to a mini-celebrity status when she takes it out in public. When she’s out running errands, she frequently finds people gawking at the car or snapping photos and sharing them to social media.
“My car is probably on Instagram and Facebook more than I am,’’ she said, likening the experience to a celebrity being chased by paparazzi. “The downside is I can’t hide. I can’t go to the drugstore without running into someone who wants to discuss the car.’’
And the fact that she’s a woman driving a slick-looking Lotus Elise makes onlookers do a double-take.
“I get a lot of looks, like, ‘Wait, it’s a chick?’’’ she said.
But Perry says she’s no different from any man who owns a collectible car. She takes the car to various car shows and races it on tracks.
“I’m no different from any man. I drive it like I stole it,’’ she said.
Perry is not interested in parting with her car and said she sees the Elise as an extension of her identity.
“It’s a whole new sense of freedom,’’ she said. “Some people identify themselves by what they do for work. I identify myself by what I drive.’’