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Festive cheer



[b]12.31.13 Sitting pretty[/b]
No 010 now sits comfortably on a set of NOS original shocks. Removing and replacing the Spax adjustables was very straightforward and problem free. It was also a good chance to clean up all the bolts and replace the radius arm mounts that were a bit long in the tooth. Now its done the squeaks have gone and the suspension is more supple.

I really didn't think changing back to the original shock absorbers would make much difference. I had read how good the original handling was on the setup the Esprit was designed with but had never experienced it firsthand. Spax had a good reputation so I just accepted the slight ride harshness and dive under braking as normal. By dialing up the stiffness and increasing tyre pressures I dialed out most of it.

I figured the old Armstrongs, being so soft when I extended them on the bench, would result in a rolling/diving car. How wrong was I! The handling is a revelation, supple yet so smooth and no dive or roll. Well done to the chaps in white coats at Lotus who designed and setup this earned a pint down at the Rack and Pinion pub.

The UJs were checked and looked almost new, they've got just on 2000 miles on them since they were replaced by the previous owner. I also disassembled and checked the right rear drive shaft as the left side had failed a few months ago after being machined down (by persons unknown) to fit loosely in the hub bearing. That's the complete drivetrain checked and serviced so there shouldn't be any more surprises.


As it was Christmas Mario got a shiny new high torque mini starter from Dave at British Starters as a present. Fitting was very easy and it now spins the engine over like a racecar. I also took the opportunity to relocate the coil to the original position behind the engine, redo the wiring & connectors and change out the water reservoir with a nice new powdercoated one. I also replaced the blue NGK spark plug wires with a set of 8 mm ones from Pertronix.

The engine breather pipe from the cam cover was missing so it's been replaced with one sourced from Lotusbits in the UK. The PO had used stainless braided fuel lines that didn't look period correct. Some high pressure silicone Aeroquip hose looks much better. A general tidy up and clean has the engine bay looking much nicer.

While my JPS is laid up for the winter I'll finish off the interior; the seats are ready to have the original gold corduroy/black leather refitted and the gold trim re-golded. There's not much left to do other than fitting a new antenna and some replacement clips for the door locks. 2014 should be a great year for Esprit de corps!


10.06.13 Quite a shock: [/b]Original parts for a 35 year old Esprit are not that easy to come by. Whether you're on the right or left side of the Atlantic Lotus bits are getting harder to find. I put in a call to SCW down in Texas a few months ago looking for some original Armstrong shocks for my "JPS"; the Spax adjustables are squeaking more than ever and I wanted to see if the Lotus ones felt any different. I checked with Lotus Bits while I was in the UK and they had none, I did pick up a nice shiny alloy overflow tank and a few bits and bobs from Mike.

Imagine my surprise when I get back to the USA to receive a message from Dave at SCW saying he had a set of New Original Stock shocks on the shelf. Needless to say I ordered them quicker than an Esprit changes direction and UPS had them on my doorstep a week later. I'll fit the fronts first to see if the squeak can be silenced and then the rear gets its turn.

[b]9.15.13 A touch on the warm side: [/b]One of the things I have been dreading is driving the JPS Esprit in near 100F temperatures. Forums are littered with horror stories of the Esprits poor hot weather performance and the inability of the standard system to endure any temp warmer than English beer. We had a roadtrip this past weekend out in the Oregon high country; the forecast was temps near the century mark but I dodged them on the first day by heading off early. A high of 86 was easily dealt with and old number 010 ran like a train. The return trip had me concerned as it was to be the hottest day of the week so far.

It was well into the 80's when we set off and the temp gauge had the needle pointing straight down and steady in that position. The ambient steadily increased until we were climbing a 5 mile long grade with the mercury inching past 100. The water temp needle moved slightly to the right but the car showed no signs of discomfort...other than to the driver and passenger. On the downgrade the needle would move back and drop below the 90 degree mark, it seemed the faster we went the cooler it got. At no time did the electric fans cut in, the ramjet effect was more than adequate.

I doubt we would have had the same result with the stock radiator system, fortunately the previous owner had fitted the Lotus by Claudius uprated one. An inclined higher capacity radiator from the Turbo Esprit and the associated ducting combined with 3 large Spal electric fans to draw air through the rad. Judging by the performance in near record temperatures it is an effective and worthwhile upgrade for any early Esprit. Many thanks to the PO for having the foresight to fit it.


[b]9.9.13 Things are looking up: [/b]The headliner in the cockpit has failed on every Esprit I've looked at, it's made up of a foam core sandwiched between 2 layers of cloth. While the cloth will last indefinitely the foam, being oil based, wants to return to its original state. Hence it turns to powder and the headliner sags. Most modern headliner material has cloth on only one side; as the Esprit has it bonded to the roof it needs to be cloth on both sides so it sticks firmly. SJ Sportscars in the UK have the original style material available and sent out 2 meters to complete the job. My local trimmer matched the straight stitching to the one I removed from the car and covered the header and side panels. They were careful to replicate the stitching around the clock housing that fits neatly into a groove in the panel.

Fitting the roof section requires using spray adhesive to ensure it has a uniform bond all over. DAP Weldwood High Strength Spray Adhesive worked perfectly. Spray both the roof and material, let it go tacky then start attaching from the middle and work out, being careful not to stretch the material too much. A roller to smooth it all out completes the process. The sunvisors were recovered to match the rest of the trim using black alcantara on the upper surface and gray on the lower section that you see when they are folded up.



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