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Death of a Lotus – 1st Anniversary

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scottmgibb

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Thought I might start a blog thingy by looking back to a year today when I did the unspeakable and killed my Esprit...

I bought the car back in September 2007 for £3500, and after two months with many hours of work (and another £1500 in parts later) I had an MOT....

[IMG]http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/5444/wnc748xnew.jpg[/IMG]

It was a little rough round the edges, but I had a great time driving the car over the winter (!) and into the next summer, enjoying many miles of motoring, until an oily mess in the coolant suggested I might need to do a bit of work on the engine...

The car came off the road in July 2008 and I slowly started the process of taking the engine out and into bits. This was my first engine re-build, but following the manuals and reading lots of posts on this forum I found the job fairly straight forward, if slow going. Along with work on the clutch, brakes, a new exhaust system, interior and body - primarily painting the bumpers black and getting rid of the horrible fog lights - the whole process took just over a year - though there were many months where other commitments preventing me from working on the car. I got the car MOTed again and back on the road just in time for my sisters wedding in July 2009.

[IMG]http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/4853/wnc748xrestored.jpg[/IMG]

Many more mile were covered over the next few months, but the tuning of the car never felt right. I rebuilt the carbs (something I wanted to do when the engine was rebuilt, but ran out of time) and took the car down to Mike Stewart Performance Engineering near Errol in Perthshire. That man worked magic on my carbs, re-jetting them to accommodate the better air flow from the 4-2-1 SS exhaust system I bought through Lotusbits. Mike Stewart has a lot of experience with the 912 engine (i was happy to see he even had all the manuals at hand in his office!) and reckoned it was now putting out a healthy 170-175bhp, so I was pretty chuffed with that. It certainly felt great, with a smooth linear delivery and no flat spots.

There had been no LEF meets by that point in the area, but the first NE Club Lotus meet was held on Sunday 28th March 2010. I went along not knowing what to expect, but it was great to meet some other 'Lotus folk' face to face, and there was even another Esprit there the same year as my own.

[IMG]http://img858.imageshack.us/img858/2772/wnc748xdaybefore.jpg[/IMG]

I left that afternoon looking forward to a summer of motoring fun... but the next day, on the way to work after an early morning meeting with a client, I spun the car into a field.

[IMG]http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/2420/wnc748xcrashed01.jpg[/IMG]

The sun was out but it was bitterly cold. I was driving the way the above photo above is facing, but on coming round fairly sharp right hander just before where the picture is taken from I lost the back end. I got it back around but it kept going. Not sure how the car ended in that position exactly... I think the rear passenger side corner landed first, causing the impact just behind the car, with the car then somehow landing the right way up. The corner was cast into complete shade by a huge (now cut back) hedge. It was still, by all accounts, a little icy...

[IMG]http://img40.imageshack.us/img40/9050/wnc748xcrashed02.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/1233/wnc748xcrashed03.jpg[/IMG]

I am just thankful that there was no one coming the other way. I was also lucky to receive no injuries, bar a bruise from the seatbelt buckle and some dented pride. I was also lucky to have the farmer's wife drive past, as she got him to come by with his tractor and pull me out of the field. My dad and I got a trailer, picked it up, and got it home within a couple of hours.

[IMG]http://img593.imageshack.us/img593/7708/wnc748xaftercrash.jpg[/IMG]

After all the work I put into getting it fixed up it was pretty disappointing to see the car in its new state. But to be honest, despite all the work, there was still a lot to do on the car. The suspension needed overhauled (indeed once I stripped the car down I discovered zero resistance in the shocks... probably didn't help with the crash) the interior needed replaced, the car needed a re-spray, the wheel re-furbished etc. So I immediately set about looking for a new, better model. I had also wanted to re-build the engine to HC spec, with an aim to getting around 200bhp, but this was going to cost anything up to £3-4000... It would be much better to find a car with all that already done, right?

By the following Thursday I had sourced what I thought might be a possible replacement, and on the 24th April – less than 4 weeks later – I went down to Banbury to collect it...

[IMG]http://img251.imageshack.us/img251/8035/15610967.jpg[/IMG]

But it's another story...
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Oh dear. At least you only hurt pride and wallet. Could always have been been a lot, lot worse. I am sure many of us feel for you especially after investing so much time and effort in her. You were just trying to help plough the field right?

Been there and worn the T shirt but not in a Lotus it has to be said. My case was council road repairs leaving surface covered in ball bearing like small grit just round a bend at lunchtime on a summers day and no road signs warning men at work. They watched me destroy my pride & joy Opel Manta hatch (It was many years ago!) into a cottages front garden then drove off. I had last laugh a year later in court when I won my case as cottage owner saw it all and the Police on arriving skidded right past scene all locked up as well!
Look forward to meeting up with you on 17th.

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Sorry tale of the sad demise of a lovely old Esprit, but never mind parts of her live again in the shape of borrowed spares to get my one running and with a bit of luck she WILL be ready for her first drive out on Drive It Day, 17 April, fingers crossed. :thumbsup:

John

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Oh no.....
good story but feel it for you.
Oh well...one of life's little adventures....nothing gained etc....
At least you walked away unscathed.
Love the look of the new Esprit.
All the best
Nick

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