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Lindz last won the day on October 25 2018

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About Lindz

  • Birthday 18/12/1983

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    1981 Esprit S3
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  1. Haha, thanks! I suppose that I am (privately) very clear in my direction for the car, I’ve done renderings of what it’s intended to be, etc. You’re right that the thread title might be confusing. Nothing I’m doing will be irreversible, but at least during my stewardship of the car I’m going to make some - what I’d consider - improvements. I think the reveal over the course of this thread will be more worth it than me posting up what I envision as the end result and then just watching me get close (or fail! Haha). It’s not an “authentic” backdate, as it’s not meant to be a stock S2 that tricks people - but I am going to use some S2 cues that I like. It’s a currently ongoing backdate/mod/project (shrug).
  2. I still have SUCH a soft spot for S2s. One day I'll have one. Roman Bronze or World Championship plz, thanks.
  3. Thanks, and yeah I was hooked well before this car - but this is some sweet justification on all those childhood dreams. I had meant/wanted to lift the car from the chassis but this lift wouldn't fit to reach the lift point (at least with the car backwards in the bay). I trawled through the manual I have and found an "either/or" situation and decided to not burn more daylight trying to mess around. Duly noted for next time though. If I gave it a little more effort I'm sure I could have snuck by the front wheels and reached the chassis. Any tricks, or should I pull it in forwards for better access via the front legs?
  4. Can you fit S2 bumpers in carry-on? Haha. Currently the best solution I've come up with is picking up some custom-sized Claudius bumpers, front built an inch shorter to be closer to euro S1/S2 size. They're local and I actually do think they're quite acceptable - if not OEM. I was going to do SJ bumpers but the lead time was ~10-12 weeks. I fully realize that if I had pulled the trigger a few weeks ago I'd have eaten into that time by now but... Well, anyway. Wrong side of the world on a lot of things for G Esprits. I'm not against trimming my front lower arms and getting shorter length damper-mounted springs to have some more ride height adjustability up front, as is a pretty documented option. Since I work in the industry and have friends in certain places, I'd really like to get a coilover kit made for the car. The upper mounts to the chassis are pretty difficult for this to be a standard affair but I'm still discussing. Definitely going to mount the seat to the floor. It should be easy enough with the 4 bolts through the floor and easy access to them that seat removal won't be a problem. Also, I def don't want or need wider later USDM seats, just a little headroom. Thanks, and also: Agreed! I was torn because of the plethora of Turbo Esprits that made it over here in the States, but I knew my budget and knew that realistically I'd stretch much more just to get a decent Turbo and like most people just hope and dream that you won't encounter too many problems until I was able to afford a proper fix, one thing at a time. Or, since my ideal Esprit was an S2 anyway, find the best N/A car that I could afford at a lower price and spend the difference in sweeping changes/improvements. I was 1000% sold on the S3/Turbo chassis improvements and dynamics and when this S3 came up already imported I really pursued it. I'd much rather have a "pure" G Esprit that I don't ever hesitate to drive for any reasonable (or unreasonable) distance.
  5. I can't wait to! Haha. Will be making up new brackets for the proper location, and remove that side one once I replace the rear bumper.
  6. Chapter 4: Breakdown Before Teardown. Pretty small update, but with some help from Micah (local mechanic dude) and my buddy Dom being a prybar master, they walked me through tearing the stuck caliper apart and reconditioned it best I could without spending any money. At least this would let the car roll freely and drive better, even though it's getting new brakes during it's teardown. I wanted to take it on a small drive to find anymore issues to address just in case, and also stop by the DMV to complete the paperwork since it was imported to CA - then moved out of state - now back to CA. Everything worked fine. Added some fluid, have both calipers working now. Took it for a rip just to seat everything in nicely. It's almost as wide as my full-size Chevy van. Also note to self for parking reminder: I would back right over the front of the Esprit if I didn't notice it back there because the van's window height is above car's the roofline. Tucked back inside to work on the armrest situation (more photos of this in detail later). One of my bikes in the foreground (I'm sure you noticed another one - replete with neon and crazy fairings in an earlier post). The next day I ran it down to DTLA because my friend Matt Jones was in town and wanted to shoot it. He scouted some spots that didn't end up working out so we just did Lower S Grand. A little typical but man, I dunno I think it was sick. Got some sweet lighting in the early afternoon. Ran it out of gas and coasted downhill through 2 (green) lights and straight to a free pump at the Shell like I meant to do that just outside of DTLA. I knew I would, I had been too greedy on where I could get a gas station on my way in and forgot that there are like zero stations in actual downtown and you need to go a few more streets in either direction. Then I drove it back in traffic to the DMV right before they closed (little trick) and handled all the paperwork and inspection/VIN check etc. since it's a greymarket car. Which is super annoying since it was already imported into CA in the 80's, and now the 2018 regs are way more strict and I'm like yoooo. Luckily the woman was an absolute doll and over-wrote the missing areas on her checklist since it was imported so long ago. Thankfully they have that option, and she was more than understanding. It has all of it's DOT tags from '82, but not the additional CARB, EPA stuff that is more current. Simply a CARB-exept sticker on the engine cover to denote the new ignition system that got fitted upon US-arrival in period. Back to the shop and as soon as I stopped outside I popped a coolant hose. No problem though, I made it "home" technically. I have a few boxes full of parts for a complete mechanical refresh on this car - silicone hose kit being at the top of that list for this exact reason. Actually the top of the list is a nice new blue belt. Preview of some shots by Matt (sorry for the low quality): Next time: we pull the motor and go to town. Much bigger update with much more mechanical interest on that one.
  7. Chapter 3: Some Problems, Some Progress and a Plan. OK, so I wasn't able to get back to the Esprit until the end of that week, but things went quite well, overall. After Monday evening's Parkinson's-level test drive, I had figured that the 10+ year old tires that had been sitting idle for about 5 years were most likely out of round and causing a huge imbalance that then caused at least the majority of the vibration. Surely there were some bushings to be upgraded but this was pretty apparent to be rotational. But the first thing I did was install my new rear hatch struts, so it finally doesn't need a prop to stay open. Much better. For the last few months I've been researching tire sizes in relation to my overall plan for the car and Weds night I finally decided to pull the trigger and ordered tires from Tirerack. Happily, those arrived Friday morning. Ok, on with it. Here we have a space ship as you can see. Taking stock of bushings and general condition. Here we have the left side rear, with a strange non-OEM squirrel-cage blower fan mounted under the exhaust before we took it off. It had no more piping and it didn't even turn on, but my guess is that it was meant to pump "fresh air" into the engine compartment to help with ambient temps? Or maybe if they were smart this would have been for extraction. Anyway, I had found another one in the rear storage area that was plumbed INTO the airbox. It was drawing air out from a hole in the body that was mostly covered by the hatch. Because... it was the water drain in the flange channel, lower rear corner. Like... the whole system for cool air into the airbox was full of water. Sigh. People are so fucking weird sometimes. That was literally the first thing I removed from the car. Exhaust needs to be repainted when it comes off. I look forward to that actually. Here's the right rear, complete with cobwebs and a bunch of dead bugs. And here's the worst corner: right front, with a seized/dragging caliper. Can't turn it by hand, but the car will roll decent enough. This is a good shot of the sway bar "A-arm" design for all you post-'85 year cars... This is was greeted me on the inside of the wheels. Hit it with some degreaser, let it sit for 30 minutes, and not much had happened. Then got some Black Magic "No Scrub" tire cleaner and hit it with that. Some scrubbing was required. Then hit it with the pressure wash. Honestly, pretty amazed with that product. It worked great. 10/10 recommend. Up she goes. Plenty of space for a bigger radiator. I guess this Domestic car (UK) was spec'd for brisk, cool weather and not Southern California. Bigger rad, better fans, and a bigger oil cooler are all in the works. Ok so it was real nice to get under this thing and see some areas in more detail. Overall I'm really happy with it. New bushings are planned, as is an adjustable suspension. Now about those tires. As I'm sure you're all aware, what exists in oem sizing is either not matching or is S or T speed rated (and heavy) for something much more like a muscle car. BFG Radial T/A, Cooper Cobras, etc. The rear tire is a big problem on S3 and Turbos. For those who don't have this nightmare - it's a 235/60R15 and the front is 195/60R15. The front exists in whatever bullshit 600 treadwear all season touring but the rear is mega difficult to find in general, performance tire or not. The original Goodyears are no longer made in either of those sizes (at least on this side of the world). Most people get 225/60 and 195/60 Vredestein Sportrac5. The rear is "close enough" to stock and the front is stock sizing. My buddy Robbie's had those tires on his Alfas before Pirelli remade the CN36s and said they're pretty garbage (don't shoot the messenger). I didn't want to put garbage on, so I set off with a plan. (Honestly I know they aren't garbage but they aren't P-Zeros...) In my opinion, the good/best rear you can get is a properly-sized 235/60 Pirelli P600, made specifically for 70s-80s Jags and Astons. They make just that one size. Next up is finding a front. Most people who did this USED TO get 195/60 P6000 touring tire for the front, which is no longer made - or, nowadays, just jumping to another brand and not making a big deal out of it. Here's where I rolled the dice to also solve another problem I have with the S3 cars. Every since the switch to 15s for the S3 and Turbos, the ride height has increased significantly (I'm sure to accommodate the jounce of the larger OD tire as well as help bring the bumper height up to new standards). F that. What it also means is that S3s and Turbos have a higher nose height with some almost-reverse rake going on. I dislike this a lot, as an understatement. Anyway, with enough digging, I found that Pirelli make a P Zero (!!!!!) in a 205/50R15 in a tread pattern that's sorta vintage. It's intended for narrow body Porsche 911s. There's also a 225/50. The 205/50 is a full inch smaller in OD than the OEM 195/60, which will come in handy with jounce clearance when I lower the car a bit. It also serves to restore some of the car's natural rake and in my opinion, has a cool vintage F1 / Can Am vibe to it with such a difference in F/R tire OD. I paired this P Zero Assimetrico with the P600 in the rear. As you can see, the tread matches in era/intent, even if it's not actually the same. The end result was great. Other than some worn bushings, the car rips. The anti-ackerman steering is a total trip - but it works. It works so well. Robbie and I went for a little blast around and hit a few corners and the control... oh my god. I've honestly never driven anything with such precision. It doesn't feel like a kart (that would be an Elise). It feels like you're driving Gran Turismo on Novice and just blasting by the AI driving whatever dumb line you want. It's not jarring. It's almost supple. It's so weird to realize I'm finally owning and driving a Colin Chapman car. His last car. I mean, I grew up reading about his cars, seeing the innovation in Formula 1, the world championships, etc. And it's all true. That Lotus handling - it's a clear link between this, even, and a modern Elise/Exige (which I have driven). I can only assume that link carries through from some of the early iconic cars as well. The caliber of drivers and people that have worked at Lotus for Chapman's vision... I dunno. It's impressive. I bought this car because it's a design icon, I didn't expect the handling to actually be this remarkable. Gas station shot, of course. Next up: we are going to pull the motor and do a major service (belts!) now that we've confirmed what else needs attention or is fine.
  8. Chapter 2: Arise Chicken, Rise. I arrange for the car to get down to CA, enclosed, to protect it's glass. I've got some plans for it so we're working on it and shooting/documenting it at Race Service. At first I'm sure it (or I) was the butt of a weeks' worth of jokes but now it's gained a bit of a following. People really really love interacting with the car. It's so far out in left field because of it's SUPER Italian proportions and folded paper surfacing but either an innate knowledge of car design history (or I'm sure a few annoying conversations with me) and I think people realize how influential the car actually is. First of all, immediately after the Esprit, Giugiaro got a contract with VW that took up most of his decade. The Mk.1 Golf (Rabbit), Scirocco, Passat B1, Jetta Mk.1. Then later contracts with Lancia that produced the Delta (HF Integrale hnnngggg). And one-off projects like the DeLorean DMC12. All those cars are influenced by the surfacing on the Boomerang, then perfected for production on the Esprit. In fact, the entire mid-70s to 80s flat/"boxy" aesthetic of car design was started with this car. As fellow enthusiasts I'm sure you're also appreciative of this. Before the Esprit, and indeed most contemporary cars in it's day like Ferraris 308s, were either soft/round or a mix of soft volumes and hard lines. The Esprit was almost nothing but hard lines and "flat" (it's a nice trick, none of them are actually flat) surfaces. The surfacing was called Folded Paper by Giugiaro, or Origami by some of the press. It's best translation to a "normal" car was the Mk.1 Golf - which I think is Giugiaro's most important design. It's not often that you're able to translate a MR "super car" to a FF econo-hatch. So it's a lot more familiar than people realize. Especially the Turbo Esprit, in America. The S3 gets a lot of sideways looks because it's very familiar but... somehow... off. Some impressive history on these plaques. Drawing crowds. The other week we fettled with stuff and Forsberg helped me get 'er running off starter fluid. Then we found the wiring faults with the fuel pumps (and got a new aux pump) and got it running on it's own fuel. Luckily it seems like it was stored pretty bone dry. Carbs need to be rebuilt of course but no big deal. Choke works, it fires up straight away. Get's up to temp super quick and idles like a champ. We had Marvel Mystery Oil'd the cylinders first, compression tested, blew all the MMO smoke out with the first idle/fire up. After a weekend of sitting I fired it right up. Idled it fine. Did quick systems check. No smoke, etc. and ventured out onto the street for a rip around the block. Success! Have some vibration from the front end. Either suspension, bushings, or old ass tires. Brakes could use some work too, of course. It was sat for ~5 years or so. In lieu of a C-Service at a shop, we're going to tackle it ourselves, engine-out. It will be a great time for preventative maintenance and a trove of new parts. I don't want to be afraid to take this thing on 1,000 mile road trips if so desired, so that's the goal. Plus some aesthetics: Backdating to smaller S2 bumpers, got some plans for cool suspension, wheel and tires goodies.
  9. Chapter 1: Folded Paper. So about a year and a half or maybe two years ago my friend Tony wouldn't shut up about how we should get Lotus Esprits because they're at a lull in the market and who doesn't want a mid-engined sports car from your childhood? That, like most dumb group chat ideas (we had roped our good buddy Brenden in about a year ago) took various sidetracks - one of which ended up being X180s, etc. But first, I guess a briefly why I embraced my obsession for this car. It all came from my favorite concept car, the Maserati Boomerang - a Giugiaro masterpiece. And another obsession is Lotus in general and Colin Chapman's incessant creativity in racing. I'm a car designer, so of course I like the late 60s, early 70s Italian wedges. Anyway, we kinda hovered around and I balked at a few cars that would have been great to own. By this point though I had done a shit ton of research (quite a bit lurking on TLF) and landed squarely between 2 models. S2 as a first choice based on looks or S3 based on... dreams? that I could have some sort of Singer-backdated-964-chassis-to-look-like-73-RS-911 type of project. There are only 2 problems with S3's: first they have the 80's Turbo bumpers and... well, they weren't sold in the US. At this point Tony was like "Dude get an X180. They're cheaper, better, more common over here, etc." And they are, but they don't have that iconic look that the early Giugiaro-styled cars have. Performance-wise this is the way to go. But I'm an idiot, and also the performance itch for me is handled with the track bike so who cares kinda thing. Months drag on. We're seriously like living nights on BaT, CL and random collector car sites. I join FB groups, the fucking YAHOO MAIL GROUP (which I still don't know how that works). Brenden is like "You two are both idiots." I still don't think he's even into this whole thing at all because it's not 40 feet long and powered by a Hemi. Then randomly I caught a comment on a post in the FB Lotus Esprit group about some guy saying "For that price you can buy my car, and it needs way less work." I stalk the dude a bit and it turns out we have a few connections and mutual friends. He's a car designer. He's got a greymarket S3. He wants average money for it. It looks decent. I tried to get an S2 from Uruguay at some point. By the time I had looked at the pics a collector had bought it sight unseen. I guess the $10k price was worth it. Hm. Anyway, in late July I texted this dude like yo let's make this thing happen already, or just tell me you're keeping the car so it's out of my mind. I convinced him to meet me at his parent's place in WA on Labor Day weekend, I'd have the full amount we agreed on in cashier's check. I'd either like the car or I wouldn't. I wasn't going to haggle but he wasn't going to get a penny more than he wanted a few months ago, since I had to fly up there and ship the car back. I fly up to Seattle, Turo an S2000 for the weekend, drive up to Mt Vernon and have plans to stay the night at another buddy's folks' place in Anacortes. I get up there on Friday evening after a real convoluted flight situation/delay from weather into Sea Tac and then horrible way-worse-than-LA-is-by-far Seattle traffic. I seriously TRIED to play it cool but I knew instantly that I was getting this fucking car. It's a Dec. 1981 Esprit S3. Imported in early 1982 into California, new. Looking back historically we (obviously) never got S3's, but with that gap in the US market until 1983, we "don't" have 1981/82 cars. I don't think this original owner was trying to be ultra rare, he was just exploiting the greymarket loophole when Lotus USA had gone bust and we didn't have any dealerships. When Lotus decided the US bubble market would really only like Turbos they left the N/A S3s for UK and Europe (and wherever else import laws would allow). In the end, it's one of only a very few S3's in the US. Not sure how/when the other ones came. I'm sure in slower regional markets there were still some S2 cars around for people to buy in those gap years. It's got 41,000 mi and I'm the 3rd owner. I barely fit in it at 6'2". I'm going to either shave the foam on both seats and/or possibly hard mount them. There's some weird shit. The arm rest had this massive BOX added on top of it for storage. It's going in the trash once I finish the switch/choke trim panel and some material for reupholstery. Also I already flipped the steering wheel back. All those switches on the right hand side are some 80's-era weirdness for fog lights, aux fans in the engine bay and airbox (unnecessary, actually made the cooling worse), an alarm system (replete with keypad for a code I don't know) and an auxiliary fuel pump. I'll deal with fixing the aesthetics of that after I get the car fully operational. I go to Mama and Papa Primo's place for the night and come back the next day to complete the deal and flatbed the car to their storage unit about 20 mins away.
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