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Always been a Esprit super fan! Should I buy one and which one? I want it as a daily driver

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Hello everyone, 

I love this site, lots of nice people and great advice. I have always loved the lines of the Esprit and even the interior is in my opinion, perfect! I have a TT right now that I will probably drive until the wheels fall off. I have the Audi staged with G.I.A.C. and Apr for the 2nd and 3rd stage(s). I am over 280 hp(dyne). But back to Lotus'. I love the Esprit, and like the idea of the power of the V-8, twin turbo's are something I have always wanted. But I am worried about the Renault transmission. I drove a Elise this fall and really liked it, I almost bought it and the fact that it is still for sale makes me happy I didn't buy it. 

I used to go to English car shows with my late Father, and we would drive his Triumph spitfire, or when I was old enough my TR4-A; my first car and first love. My first Lotus I ever saw was a Europa. And sitting in it, I felt like a real bad ass. I wanted a Lotus after that and started noticing the Esprit's. Now I am in the position to buy a second car, and I am thinking of almost every Lotus. But my favorites are the V-8 Esprit, S4, Exige S, Elise, and naturally aspirated Evora. I would love a 400 or GT but I don't think I could swing it. 

What would be my best option? I hold a lot of weight in opinions of those on this site. Thank you.

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Not sure many use an Esprit as a daily driver in the same way you can use the TT.

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Hi Eric,

I guess it depends on your budget.

An S4 would be a good option in my opinion.

If you did want a V8 though, I wouldn't be too concerned about the gearbox.

If you were to encounter any problems with a standard V8 car, the gearbox likely wouldn't be top of the list.

Andy.

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My choice would be an S4 or S4s, but with a brake conversion. Alternatively, a GT3, which is a great car, although comparatively rare. Any of these, really.

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Margate Exotics.

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3 hours ago, Chillidoggy said:

Alternatively, a GT3

Unless I am wrong they were never sold to the USA?

As for being able to reasonably use it as a daily driver it probably depends on the type of road driven and the climate too ... Of course any car can be driven on any road and in any weather (... sort of! And remember Patagonia! ^^) but can the Esprit be really enjoyed on a more or less shitty road every day to commute and in a bad weather? Not so sure. It can do it obviously, but in my opinion it would be a pity to just add  up daily miles on the car without enjoying it for real. Typically my commute is just a boring road with heavy traffic and so many roundabouts that I do drive with the Esprit from time to time, but not very often. It can barely warm up before I arrive  at my destination ... !

As for the Elise still being for sale, that doesn't surprise me so much, these sort of cars won't sell very fast anyway. At least where I live.

Also, the Esprit is quite reliable but they are old cars now and whether the one you would buy is reliable or not will depends on the previous owners. So you have to be prepared to either spend a bit of maintenance or some spare time on it.

PS: Hi and welcome by the way! :)

Edited by Giniw
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Hi Eric,

Might be a good idea to join LotusPALS, the local Lotus club...in fact there is an annual meet near you, being held on PI day, 3.14.2020.

http://lotuspals.ning.com/events/2019-pals-winter-stress-reliever-1

 

You would be able to talk to owners of ALL the models you mentioned.

 


Atwell Haines

'88 Esprit

Succasunna, NJ USA

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Eric,

After a lifetime of wanting one, and a year of looking for one, I went for an S4 last summer, only because an S4s was a bit out of my price range. Truth be told I prefer the angled styling of the Giugiaro Esprits, but the S4 seems to be a more mechanically mature car, goes like the clappers, hasn't given me any major maintenance headaches and each time I drive it I love it more.  I echo @Chillidoggy's comment re. the brake conversion. Good luck in your search, you won't regret buying one :)

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11 hours ago, Barrykearley said:

Or buy an Evora. They are absolutely sublime - less hassle than an Esprit - but I do love my Esprit....

I was going to say this and wrote much the same but deleted it yesterday; this is the Esprit Chat section of TLF, I thought I might get 'blocked'. And I don't own an Esprit to compensate. 

Evora is just superb and would be the 'sensible' way to go. If you do go Esprit and I hope you do, often any old car can be troublesome initially as it gets used to what you want it to do (not always but can be), so you have to stick to it and be in for the long-haul. My Excel was niggly to start with but then gave 8 years of fine motoring, covering near 30,000 miles. I had a Dolomite Sprint once, so much trouble in the first year then my everyday for the next 4 years and hardly missed a beat. I did 598 miles in one day in that.

Justin

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We have a local owner that has 160K miles on his '90 SE.

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Atwell Haines

'88 Esprit

Succasunna, NJ USA

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I had an Evora launch edition bought new in 2010. Lovely car, however it never made me smile like the Esprit does. I have an S2 and for all it's never let me down no way is it a daily driver.

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9 hours ago, Escape said:

Welcome to TLF Eric, and good luck in your search for an Esprit.

As @swindon_alan said, I do use my '89 Esprit Turbo SE as a daily driver, as well as for roadtrips and classic car runs. She covered just over 15k miles in 2019, bringing the total close to 150k.

Dude. You are my hero. 150k on an Esprit. I will follow in your footsteps. 

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Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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9 hours ago, Escape said:

I agree it's not always the most pleasant drive, but that's the case regardless of what you drive.

Indeed, it's not about the car itself, I could drive the Esprit for my daily commute without discomfort at all, it's just that for that particular shitty road it's not worth adding miles to it, as I wouldn't enjoy my commute more in the Esprit than in my good old daily. But of course if you have at least a few good corners I understand it's different for you :)

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When I got my Esprit in 1990 it was my only car and therefore my daily.  Worked brilliantly but its got an old school service schedule. A B A C every 6 months or 6000 miles.  For my use that meant three services a year and the expensive C service with belts came around all too often.  After 2 years I bought another car to split the miles up a bit and then a motor bike to commute on, and then another car, and then another car ...and now 30 years later I find I'm doing about 1000 miles a year and am more concerned about reliability than I ever was when using it daily. 

Another potential issue - while most stuff should be fine, there are a few bits of unicorn in most of the models and if that breaks it could be off the road for a while....

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Loving Lionel and Eleanor......missing Charlie and Sonny

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My opinion is to go for the V8 if you can stretch your budget and can find a good one. In any case, be prepared for 2 things : big time maintenance for the first year to get it all sorted (you basically replace almost everything as it is a 20 yr old car, but the good thing is that parts are cheap, just find a good mechanic that is going to be your good friend) and the second this is to forget about daily driver if you live in stop and go traffic... The gearbox/clutch is a pain in traffic and the V8 hates being stuck in traffic it overheats... Other than that, go for it !! The shape , the feeling of sitting inside the Bond car very special and the turbo rush will keep you up at night.. And the handling, it goes on rails !!

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3 hours ago, MPx said:

nd now 30 years later I find I'm doing about 1000 miles a year and am more concerned about reliability than I ever was when using it daily. 

Well OK but, as you said, the car is 30 years older too ^^'

 

2 hours ago, Mightymetro said:

Why save it for the next person

I won't sell it either, so I am saving it for ... myself in the long run (and for itself too, as it's quite rare as we know). Again I don't say it shouldn't be enjoyed: it definitely should be enjoyed as a vehicle! I am just saying that in my view, in a heavy traffic commute it's more wasted than enjoyed. But it all depends on ones commute obviously (mine includes a traffic light, three high harsh sleeping policemen and 8 roundabouts in just over 4 miles ... — in the meantime, when I went to Hethel for the 70th event the only sleeping policeman I saw was ironically at the Lotus entry ^^' Seriously, you are lucky there are not much of those things in England, the French roads have become horrendous)

Edited by Giniw

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9 hours ago, MD355 said:

forget about daily driver if you live in stop and go traffic... The gearbox/clutch is a pain in traffic and the V8 hates being stuck in traffic it overheats...

I've never had the pleasure of driving a V8, but on the 4-pot the gearbox/clutch is no problem in traffic. I agree the pedal is a bit heavy, something you soon get used to. In fact, I"m always unpleasantly surprized how light the controls in a modern car are. The clutch has been good for at least 60k miles (in my ownership, with almost daily city traffic and parking etc) and probably has done a total of 120k miles. The V8 is likely harder on the clutch, but still shouldn't be real problem.

I certainly never worry about overheating, even on the hottest day and in the busiest traffic. If the cooling systems is in half decent shape, it should have no trouble keeping the engine happy.

Filip

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I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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As @Escape but with a V8. No gearbox or clutch problems around town and it has never overheated, even on holiday in blistering South West France. I would have your clutch and cooling system looked at Makis.


I tempted fate...now my Esprit V8 IS in bits...(sob)

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1 hour ago, Escape said:

I've never had the pleasure of driving a V8, but on the 4-pot the gearbox/clutch is no problem in traffic. I agree the pedal is a bit heavy, something you soon get used to. In fact, I"m always unpleasantly surprized how light the controls in a modern car are. The clutch has been good for at least 60k miles (in my ownership, with almost daily city traffic and parking etc) and probably has done a total of 120k miles. The V8 is likely harder on the clutch, but still shouldn't be real problem.

I certainly never worry about overheating, even on the hottest day and in the busiest traffic. If the cooling systems is in half decent shape, it should have no trouble keeping the engine happy.

Filip

The V8 has a dual disk clutch without vibration springs... So it is a little difficult to use in stop and go traffic.. Most people stall the car until they get to know how to use it.. The dual clutch is fine in high speed changes (less rotating mass = less strain on the synchros) but at low speeds forget about it.. Furthermore, the V8 engine is indeed prone to overheating.. I guess the cooling system was not designed for warm climates or stop and go traffic..

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