I am considering buying a 1986.5 (Manufactured June '86) Lotus Esprit Turbo HC and would like some input on what to watch for.
Some background about me: I have a 1973 MG BGT that I have been restoring and daily driving for about 3 years now, and I will start my first year of college this fall in pursuit of a mechanical engineering degree. My first job was an apprenticeship at a restoration shop for old Alfas, Ferraris, Bugattis, and F1/2/ sports racers with Cosworth DFV, FV, BD, and Ferrari engines. Currently, I work for an electric car startup in Menlo Park, California.
I was riding my bicycle to work (rebuilding MG brakes and differential), and took a side street as a shortcut, and parked in front of someone's house was an Esprit. I went over to look at it, and on the dash was a for sale sign. It said $20,000 or best offer, and being parked on a side street, only 2 other people looked at it. I called the seller and we arranged to meet.
The car appeared to be in excellent condition, with 45,600 miles and a near-perfect pearl white paint job, decent blue leather interior, and no crash history. However, the seller had only driven it 300 miles in 14 years of ownership, and didn't fill it with gas before we met, so the car did not start. The seller didn't have it worked on often, as shown in the paperwork. 2003 fix of entire shift linkage at Lotus dealer for $1300 or so. Other than oil changes, it doesn't seem to have been maintained. He is having a baby and does not want to keep the car. Today he texted me and said that it did start when he put gas in it, and I will drive it tomorrow.
What Esprit-specific issues should I look for? What bargaining points do I have? I noticed that the car could use new tires and maybe some other rubber components. The stereo was unoriginal and I noticed a funky heat shield for a tube in the engine bay that may or may not be original. I will be working on the car myself and would like to have a good idea of the work that I can expect. What parts are not available?
Any replies would be much appreciated.