Throwback Thursday: Whatever Happened To The Ronin RS211 Lotus?
2024 Intro

It’s always interesting to see feature cars resurface years after they were posted on Speedhunters, especially when they’ve evolved in some way.

Frank Profera’s Lotus Elise was featured twice – first in 2012, after Larry randomly happened across it (it went on to become Speedhunters’ ‘Street Car of the Year’ that year) – and then again in 2014, after it received its major ‘Ronin RS211′ re-imagination. In that guise, automotive media interest in the build really ramped up and the custom turbocharged speedster made appearances everywhere, including a spot on Jay Leno’s Garage. In the years following, Frank changed up the exterior look with a switch from Ferrari Grigio Medio to Audi Brilliant Red, but in 2017 his run with the car came to an abrupt end when it was crashed in the canyons. Ultimately, the Lotus was sold off with a salvage title – but it seems that is not the end of its story.


It very recently reappeared, and is now up for sale, having been repaired and further modified with a new front end look and a fresh white exterior, all courtesy of the shop originally involved in its creation.

Given the car is back and our 2014 feature is now 10 years old, there’s no better time to revisit the story of one man’s quest to build his ultimate Lotus…

2014 Feature

When it comes to the world of cars, what is the most satisfying thing you can do? Finally buying your dream car after years of saving? Putting in a new best lap time at a track day? Successfully completing a difficult DIY project? Saving an old car from the scrap yard? The answer will vary for everyone, and that’s the great thing about this hobby.


It’s hard, however, to think of something more rewarding than building your own car. I’m not talking about simply modifying an automobile to suit your tastes. I’m talking about creating a one-off machine from the ground up – designing, fabricating, and finally driving a vehicle that no assembly line could ever produce.


Now obviously this isn’t something that everyone is capable of. After all, you need a lot of money, a lot of time and some serious mechanical ability – or at least some combination of the three. But if you are able to successfully do such a thing, the results can be magical. Just ask Frank Profera – the owner of the heavily-modified Lotus you see here.


If you are thinking that name sounds familiar, you’d be correct. Frank is the owner of an amazing Lotus Elise that Larry stumbled across a couple of years ago – a machine that went on to win our 2012 Street Car of the Year award. Actually, the car you see here is the very same one – albeit in a very different guise now – which begs the question: how exactly did it wind up like this?


Well, not long after our original photoshoot Frank was driving the Lotus on the freeway when he was involved in a hit and run accident with a Porsche driver. The Porsche essentially clipped the Lotus, which sent it careering into a concrete barrier. Luckily Frank wasn’t hurt, but the same couldn’t be said for the Elise’s customized bodywork which was significantly damaged.


Given the amount of custom work on the car, repairing it would not be as simple as ordering some new parts and making a visit to the local body shop. So after surveying the damage, Frank and his friend Mike Stafford decided they would completely rebuild the car into an even more aggressive creation.


Unlike some builders, Frank and Mike did not have a specific vision of what the finished car would look like. There were no concept renderings or blueprints – instead much of the design was thought up during Frank’s long drives from his home in Sherman Oaks to Mike’s workshop in Lancaster. Once he arrived at the shop, he’d say ‘Give me the saw’ and the cutting and creating began.

Version Two Emerges

The basis for the new look came from Lotus 2-Eleven body panels that Frank sourced from contacts in the UK, but the final shape would be much more aggressive than that. Yes, he’s somehow managed to make the body of Lotus Cars’ dedicated track day special look tame by comparison.


Frank actually describes the appearance as a modern day Can-Am car, and when you look at the ridiculously wide tail section and open cockpit body it’s hard to disagree. The custom-fabricated carbon fiber wide body is both longer and far wider than a stock 2-Eleven, and by the time Frank and Mike finished the exterior work it had became hard for many to identify the car as a Lotus at all.


Of course, it becomes even harder to identify the car when you see it fly by on one of Southern California’s mountain roads – and that’s where so many people encounter Frank and his unique creation.


In its new stripped-down, open cockpit guise, the car tips the scales at just 1,700lbs – some 450lbs lighter than its previous iteration. At that slim figure even a modest amount of horsepower is enough to make for a thrilling ride, but the engine setup Frank’s running is anything but modest…


When we last encountered Frank’s Lotus it featured a turbocharger and supercharger in a compound charged setup. But along with the exterior makeover the powerplant has received some changes too, and these days you’ll find a more traditional turbo-only setup in the rear.


Although it was extremely responsive, the compound charged arrangement produced too much low-end torque for the 1.8-litre Toyota 2ZZ’s rod bearings to handle, so Frank decided to remove the blower and allow the Precision Turbo 6262 ball bearing turbo to handle forced induction duties alone. To counter this change, he installed a Kaaz close-ratio gear set which helps keep the car in its powerband at the cost of reduced top-end speed. Removing the supercharger also shaved weight in the engine bay and reduced the load on the motor. The current setup makes 680 horsepower to the rear wheels and Frank says the car is smoother and more responsive than it’s ever been.


One of the really interesting touches when it comes to the engine is the fuel system. It actually uses a staged injection system which draws an alcohol mixture from a separate tank at high boost levels. This essentially serves as on-board octane booster that converts pump gas to 104 octane on the fly. This is important as the car was built with street driving and road trips in mind, and we all know race fuel isn’t easy to come by roadside.


Of course, a well-rounded build is about more than just the power to weight ratio, and the Lotus is equipped with Nitron 46mm race shocks with Eibach springs along with custom A-arms and bushings.


Getting all that power down to the ground coming out of tight corners was another challenge, but 345-width DOT slicks mounted on 18×12.5-inch wheels certainly help in the rear grip department.


1,700lbs is not a whole lot of weight to slow down, but with so much power on hand the AP Racing calipers and rotors are a very worthwhile upgrade.

Nothing Compares

Part of the rebuild also included the installation of an integrated rollcage that not only helps in the safety department, but provides additional reinforcement between the front and rear sections of the chassis.


Elsewhere, the cockpit is more like that of a racing car than anything you’d expect to see on the street. There’s a custom dash panel with all the instruments Frank needs to keep an eye on the car’s vitals, and the seats are raw carbon fiber buckets, which I’m told are surprisingly comfortable once you strap-in with the Takata harnesses.


You’re probably thinking that this car would make for an absolutely wicked track weapon, but Frank actually has no interest in lap times or other performance figures. Instead, he uses the Lotus exclusively for sunny weather weekend drives in the hills. The Lotus has racked up thousands of miles on the open road, which is where Frank finds the most joy.


Driving such a radical and heavily-modified machine on the street, I was curious if Frank receives much unwanted attention from law enforcement. But he says the only times he’s been stopped by cops is when they’ve simply want to check out the car.


And that’s pretty much the same reaction Frank gets from everyone. Despite the fact that the Lotus is painted in relatively subdued shade of gray, every time he stops for gas or a bite to eat, the car is instantly surrounded by people – most of them trying to figure out what exactly they are looking at. Frank wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s nothing he loves more than sharing his creation with others, be them fellow enthusiasts or just strangers on the street.


The list of Frank’s lifetime of automotive adventures include everything from being a New York City cab driver to owning and racing Group B rally cars, but there’s nothing that can compare to the satisfaction he gets from this machine. For Frank and his Lotus it’s been a long journey full of ups and downs, but looking at it now it’s hard to believe that this car began life as a bone-stock US market Lotus Elise nearly a decade ago.


He’s broken rules, he’s broken parts, he’s built and rebuilt – and he can’t think of any other vehicle he’d rather have, at any price.

Why buy your dream car when you can build your dream car?

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia

Photos by Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto

Ronin RS211 Lotus

680whp (36psi boost pressure)

1.8-liter Toyota 2ZZ-GE, Darton sleeves, Carrillo rods, Wiseco 9:1 pistons, Ferrea valves, ported head, stage 2 cams, custom intake manifold, custom charge cooler with four Pro Alloy heat exchangers, two water pumps, custom exhaust manifold with equal-length runners, Precision billet ball-bearing 62/62 turbo, Precision 46mm wastegate, 3”-inch stainless exhaust, AEM Series 2 ECU tuned by Mitch Pederson, custom staged alcohol injection system, Pro Alloy fuel tank, two fuel pumps, 1,000cc injectors, one alcohol fuel pump

Modified Toyota MR2 E153 gearbox, close-ratio Kaaz gears, custom axles

Nitron 46mm Pro Race shocks, Eibach springs, custom A-arms, custom bushings, AP Racing calipers/rotors

Wheels / Tires
Custom forged wheels 17×9-inch front, 18×12.5-inch rear, Kumho V710/BFG DOT slicks 245/40R17 front, 345/35R18 rear

Custom hand laid carbon fiber wide body by Mike Stafford and Frank Profera, blown rear diffuser, front splitter, NACA ducts, racing mirrors, Paint by AR Auto Body in Lancaster, California

Custom-built roll cage, custom instrument panel, carbon fiber bucket seats, Takata harnesses

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What a truly inspiring machine, build and owner


The pics and the car do go hard


This guy was one of the most atrocious human beings I think anyone has ever spoken to or featured on a car page.

Frank ended up crashing this car on a canyon road in So Cal when a water truck scared him and he panicked and lifted off the throttle. He then went on to blame the truck for crossing the road and made everyone take down the video so he couldn't be exposed for terrible driving skill. He never raced the car. Never tracked it. Just "cruised in the canyons." Where his cruising pace was "faster than most people's racing pace."

Hmm...I wonder if anyone actually bought that bull ****

Furthermore, he actually said hoosier racing slicks are trash and that no one should use them because they are known to "debead off the wheel. According to real Porsche racers." -- he spun on another canyon road when his racing slicks debeaded off the wheel.

1 year later Porsche announced Hoosier as the official sponsor for the cup series. Go to any autocross or road racing series and you will see Hoosier used as one of the top brands. Only a tool with zero experience would make the claims this guy has.

And let's not forget the flagrant aggression he would show towards anyone who dared to disagree with the mighty Frank Profera. Guy was a total jerk off and the car is being listed for $90,000.

After calling Porsches C-words who don't know how to drive he went on to buy a 911 Turbo. This guy is literally a brain dead liberal with rocks for brains. I wouldn't doubt if he eventually ended up killing himself or someone else if this car was still in his possession. The definition of more money than brains and a really disgusting human being.


"Well, not long after our original photoshoot Frank was driving the Lotus on the freeway when he was involved in a hit and run accident with a Porsche driver. "

Complete lie. In the original photos he posted he claimed the Porsche stopped on the right side of the road several yards down and no room was present for any vehicle to pull over. No Porsche was even shown in the photo.

What is much more plausible is that he was getting onto the freeway on cold Kumho V710 tires (what he was running at the time) and he got into a pissing match or gave the car too much gas and spun into the wall. Made up the story to cover his extremely fragile ego and media like you guys just swallow it up and spit it back out until it became fact.

So much of this guy's stories are lies. Like when he tried to tell people blowing sawdust over the rear fender was proof that his blown diffuser definitely worked. This guy is such a D-bag you could only find him in the streets of so cal.

Theres a video on Youtube of a relatively stock 380whp EVO 8 going up one of the canyon roads in exactly the same time. All stuff like this is is bench racing for people who don't actually compete. It's laughable and the way he drove on the road was completely irresponsible.

He also claimed he never crossed the double yellow line and went pretty crazy when someone re-posted this photo of one of his old videos....all of which have now been removed from his channel.


Here is the truck he claims was over the double yellow btw


You are a lame dweeb and no one likes you, Frank


Always remember...hoosiers will literally come off the wheel from how much G-force the RS211 pulls. You literally can't make this level of stupid up.

"Gs dude...Gs." An acquaintance of mine who built Formula 1 cars for a decade laughed so hard at this when I showed him. We used to say this at the track when anything would go wrong. "Gs dude...Gs."


I forced the Hoosier team into an out-of-court settlement two years ago. After that incident I went blind, was paralyzed, all my organs shut down and was hospitalized for three months due to the violent rupture of the "tire-like product" in your picture. 22 psi of pure nitrogen escaping from a G-loaded, superheated rotating mass is not a gas to be taken lightly.

Your condescending attitude is ironic considering any further defense of the Hoosier team, BY ANY PARTY worldwide including you, is actionable by my lawyers, due to the open-ended nature of our case which is pursuant still in over 40 States where these "tire-like products" are still peddled by predatory tire retailers. Govern yourself accordingly "Jack" if that's even your real name

Frank P


Im glad you lost your vision. Your dumb ass needed to be humbled. Sounds like God sorted you out properly. Big man never lets us down. This explains the drip in testosterone. You twat.

Thank God you lost your vision. God did the world a favor.


What a cuck


Another lovely example of his driving.


Driving God Frank Profera making a pass at the 2015 Canyon GP for first place.


Here is Frank passing his biggest rival for 1st place in the Canyon GP. This is why he needs 680whp. For moments like this.


REPORTED to administrator, enjoy your BAN :)


Good god you're a pussy. I bet you're handlebar mustache looks so manly when you take a big ol' cumload in it.


Awwww whittle baby fwank. WAAAAH. WAAAAAH THEY DISAGREE WITH ME LARRY BAN THEM. BWAN THEM WARRY!!! Waaaaaahhhhh waaaaah


Another lovely example of Franks driving in “the canyons.”


All kudos to Larry for these pictures! I think a lot of the commenters in this thread need to stick to Nintendo and Gameboy and leave the real driving to the grown-ups.

My legal battle with Hoosier Tires has been ongoing due to the debeading incident of 2014. All my life I loved fast cars so thank you Lotus for a poor man's Ferrari.

I don't need to defend my good name here in the canyons. If you were local you would understand. I bet some of the moronic kids posting here haven't even heard of Paris, France.

If I knew about twincharging when I was 50, I'd have been dead by 60. If you haven't run a car with turbo AND supercharger both working in harmony, why even reply with negative comments?

Frank P


Lmao. Piss off ya cuck. No one cares about your legal drama with a tire company.

You’re a sensitive little boy who never grew up. Omg are you going to sue me for saying Hoosiers are great!?

What a cuuuuuck. Jfc. You’re like a little baby in the sandbox.

Everyone who knows you in the canyons. Hates you. You literally got laughed out of “the canyons.”


Clicked on this article for the comments. Wasn't disappointed.


Frank is a bitch. Can confirm everyone hates him.


This is the most entertaining Speedhunters comment section I've seen in years. What a tool."BY ANY PARTY worldwide is actionable by my lawyers" yes yes I'm sure we're all getting court summons any day now. Stick it up your paralyzed arse!

Frak Plays Skin Flute Proficiently

Cant make idiots like this up. "ILL SUE YOU FOR SUPPORTING HOOSIERS." What a retard haha. Frank is basically what happens when the anus evolves and learns to speak. His asshole has actually migrated to his mouth hole and switched biological roles. We should study him. Surely a lot to learn from this specimen. The day he dies ill probably pour out a bottle of champagne.

Frank Plays Skin Flute Proficiently

I'm just gonna leave this here...for historical purposes...

Frank Plays Skin Flute Proficiently

Oh and this...


Frank Profera is the hallmark of mental stability.


So Frank, after buying a 911 Turbo can you confirm you are still looking for a cute ass even if it's an old dude?


It has now come to my attention that Larry Chen used racial accusations to leverage himself into a 6 figure contract with Haggerty.

No wonder these two get along so well. Two beta males cut from the same cloth. Lovely.