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Afvfx

Lotus S3 1986 Turbo HC - Sanity Check!!

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Hi Forum folks! 
About to offer $47k for this (see pics) 1986 S3 Turbo HC. Literally 1 lady owner and only 17k on clock. Have driven and all great and running well! 
Service history is patchy as the current owner had local mechanic keep her up and running. 
Been garaged and only used as summer fun. 
Mechanically had a check over and thumbs up.

47k USD is about 38k UK - Seems like a good price as car is in great shape. Would love to get some of your wisdom, been 15 years since I owned one back in UK. Car is in Los Angeles btw.

Cheers!

Andy

 

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Hi Andy

Price is about right given the low miles but it really depends on what you mean by patchy service history. How recent was the cam belt change? If it's not been done at least every 3 years you might question how good the servicing has been.

Looks good from the photos but the steering wheel appears  upside down although it depends on where the wheels are facing of course. There seems to be some missing decals just ahead of the rear wheels if it is an HC - might suggest accident damage in the past?

Do the seats that have a rake adjustment? - asking as the armrest looks like a pre Oct 1986 LC one. That said there's no choke on the armrest so it's probably next to the steering column so ok. Also are the cam covers painted red or black? Front spoiler looks HC.

There's a few things to check, I'm sure others will chip in soon.

They are great great cars to own and drive.

Barrie

 

 

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Hi Barrie. 
Thanks so much, some great pointers there. 
Wheel was just turned upsetting down, attached some more pics of engine and car specs.

will check on the cam belt history and have checked and See no history of accidents.

not sure about the seating take but will question.

 

much appreciated!!

andy

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Hello Andrew, I don’t think you can beat a low mileage Southern Cal car for preservation. I’m sure it looks brand new underneath. Certainly looks great in the photographs. If you have found the car that presses all your buttons, then the price is irrelevant. However, at that price I would expect and demand that all maintenance is up to date as per the the service manual. Timing belt is a must as Barrie has already mentioned. Looking at the engine bay it looks well cared for...clean and neat. The Bosch injection system can be somewhat temperamental if subjected to long periods of inactivity, but it’s a good system when operating correctly. Beyond that just use could common sense.  The last of the G cars are rare and to find a good one is a jewel.  My 88 Stevens car is exactly the same under the body - same engine, chassis, suspension, gearbox. The last of the old school analog cars. Engaging and immensely satisfying to drive.  Best of luck.


Cheers, Gavin

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I'm always a bit wary of low mileage cars, because there's always a risk servicing has been minimal (as it wasn't used much anyway). The local mechanic might know his job very well, but it's unlikely a car with so little miles had the oil changed every year for example. The cambelt is easy enough, just replace it before using the car. Long inactivity could mean a lot of issues can pop up if you start driving it in anger (seals etc). So you need to budget for those. It does help that you're starting from a great looking car! So you wont have to spend much if any on interior refurbishing or bodywork. It also depends what you're planning to use it for. If you're gonna keep it low mileage, great. For more intensive use, you might be better of with a car that's been driven a lot but also received the mechanical attention necessary to guarantee reliable frequent use.

Again, great looking car, and you seem OK with the price, so just follow your heart!

Filip


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

 

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I agree with Filip re low mileage cars. 

If you don't intend to use it much, as owning is a pleasure in itself and you will do a few trips and events, it may be fine. 

If you want to put the miles on and really exercise the Esprit as Hethel intended, it could throw up some major bills initially. Any low mileage car is likely to do this. If you are in for long-term ownership, that will not in reality matter. 

Hopefully the suspension is still alright as a car sitting is not ideal, though Lotus are light so suffer less. My Excel was very low mileage when I bought in 2012 yet the suspension is still factory original. 

Seals on steering rack are likely to leak once it is back in use. And most other seals are most likely quite hard by now. 

Go in with your eyes open. It may be very reliable and a breeze to own. But it may not. Don't resent a 30 year car for needing plenty of TLC.

Very best of luck. Lotus are truly brilliant cars. 

Justin 

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Thanks so much to you all for responding so quickly and with so many thoughtful pointers.  I’m going to go for it and be open to the fact that it’s likely I’ll need to put the car through a major mechanical check up and be hit with some initial costs. 
Intend to eventually put the car through it’s  paces, but will get it there with patience!

sadly the maintenance history in terms of records is non existent, but can belt was supposedly changes 3 years ago and so will replace straight away. As for seals, injection system and suspension, I’ll be sure to keep an eye and get them checked. 
 

One thing, the removable roof is not glass like some of the HC’s I’ve seen in reviews etc, and does not come with a clip in roof spoiler but wonder if that’s because it a 1986 and not ‘87 which many of the reviews seem to cover?

is there much difference between the 86 and 87 that you know?

cheers and thanks again!!

 

 

 

 

 

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i have an 86 turbo. one of the last of the LC cars.

Some observations.   The bumpers should be same colour as car.  I think you could spec black as an option though.I am not sure the seats are correct.These are the same padding and style as my car.  But HC cars should have been slightly different.  The centre pad is contact for a 86 onwards car.
Front spoiler is correct for a HC car.

Decals and stripes are missing.  Maybe been painted at some point.

 

 

This is a HC car.  note different seats

Edited by GTE_Peter

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Thanks Peter, interesting observation re bumpers. I’ll check with owner if that was an option at the time, If she can recall. 
 

Also the interior is a question mark, I wonder if some 86 turbo HC’s were manufactured for the US with the older seating and bumpers? Hmmm. The car appears to be HC under the hood. Did u have a chance to see the other pics? Would appreciate your thoughts there.

much thanks!

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Lotus did have a habit of using up older parts on models.  So possibly the case with US spec cars.  Not too sure.
I do notice that the badge on front of car is round.  It should be a lozenge shaped badge, same as one on steering wheel.   People often change these though.   The engine is a HC engine.  red cam covers and oil filler on right end of cam cover.  LC engines had oil filler on cam belt end of cam cover.

Looks a nice car though

Peter

 

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Love that video review by Harry!

i had seen this before and noted the differences, but assumed that the one I was looking at is an 86 not 87. Is that a reason for the differences to body, interior and the fact mine does not have a glass hood?

cheers!!

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I’m pretty sure that Esprits sold in the states were all different to those sold in the UK at the same time.  For example the bumpers remained black on HC engined cars in the states, the seats look right for one over there and the decals were likely optioned without. It looks a beauty - if you’ve driven it and it drives well I’d get it bought as you’re unlikely to get the opportunity to get another in this shape and low miles😎

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It’s most likely the bumpers on UK HC cars did not meet US type approval. The car is definite an HC engined car as it has Bosch injection.

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Cheers, Gavin

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I asked the owner and she did not ask for Black bumpers so assume she had no choice, also the round lotus badge on front of car is original. Maybe another US variation? Anyway, thanks again for all your responses, I hope all are well and safe. 

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Here’s a video Andrew of a very similar Federal example in the States when it was for sale - almost identical to the one you’re looking at.

If I was you I’d have already put a deposit down by now......if you ponder, you squander!😉

 

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6 hours ago, Afvfx said:

Snap! Seems Identical! Thanks for sending Stephen!

Deposit is down! :)

Wise move I reckon - best of luck. Look forward to reading your follow up👍

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Lovely car! I really hope you find it, even if it’s too pass on regards to the current owner. 
Thanks for posting the pics. 

@stephen I’ll be sure to post news on the car after I pick up. 
Thanks!

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Hi again! One thing that occurred to me. I asked owner to take some pics of the underside of the car but realized that I would not know what the underside is supposed to look like. 
 Can’t see any images online and so wondering if any of you had any? 

thanks 

andy 

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Congratulations Andy. That’s awesome!. Bet your chuffed as chips!.

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Cheers, Gavin

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Well done Andy - looks like you’ve bought yourself a topper there!👏🏻👏🏻

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