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Hello to all, I am after some advice from people that preferably  have restored an Esprit from the ground up.

I have had 7 Lotus over the years and am looking to have number 8 after 13 years away from the marque

I have the chance of buying an S3 NA, it has had a few bits taken off it for repairs etc and that is as far as they got with it, all parts are present. I am looking at it worst ways as a ground up restoration including engine and drivetrain rebuilds. 
according to my fag packet calculations it’s looking like £15k and a year of my time. I am not looking to turn a profit and am planning on leaving the car to my son, which is probably as well as I am expecting Covid to reduce most classic car prices to more realistic levels.

I realise the scale of the task I am thinking of undertaking, my heart says Esprit and my head says low mileage, honest 1992 Excel SE

Looking forward to some opinions

Cheers

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Hi Phil, I have done two of these now. Unless the car is a regular runner with an mot there will be so many parts that are needed that you wont be expecting. Parts are getting very scarce and expensiv

Some really good advice, what ever you estimate at least double it to restore one of these cars. Here is my old Esprit I am considering buying back but just doing a basic shopping list to SJ with

Spot on advice. Is that an s2 with a Turbo body kit?

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I’d go Esprit every day of the week. Obviously depends on price and condition.

Only here once

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Hi Phil and welcome!

The Excel is a great car (I had one) but it's never going to be an Esprit. If your heart says Esprit then that's what you should get!

I now have 2, my usable Stevens and an '84 TE which is a full resto so I'm familiar with the scale of the task you mention. If you haven't done already, catch up with some reading on @Lotusfab 's resto threads. Good reading.

Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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If you are doing most of the work yourself, yes that's a reasonable budget I would think.

Pete

Pete '79 S2

LEW Miss September 2009

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That doesn't sound unreasonable but I guess you could spend close to half that on a decent paint job if the car needs full paint? Engine work would be similar if it needs a rebuild and you wouldn't be doing that work yourself.

Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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Paintwork, engine and interior are the 3 biggest areas as far as costs breakdown is concerned. How do you rate each of these areas?

 

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I see the paint at £4k, shell is in good shape and I would prep it as much as possible, interior would be a minimum of £2k.

As for the engine and drive train, if lady luck is on my side around £5-6k, this would leave me around £3-4k for all the other bits......£15k is starting to seem a little tight.

one other thought is to fit the 180BHP engine while I am at it, I realise there are two ways to look at this, 1, original is best or 2, the 180BHP motor makes it a better car, I would obviously keep the original motor so as to have the matching numbers option in the future.

Has the engine swop been carried out by many people, is it fairly straightforward, is it the right thing to do bearing in mind I plan on keeping and driving it.

cheers

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Mine has had an engine swap to the Excel SE engine - it was done because the previous one had been so badly bodged than when it let go, it was beyond repair. My plan had been to keep the original and have it re-built to HC specification so I would have the matching numbers element but more power etc. but it was not doable as the block was too damaged / bodged. The excel engine fits in but there are some changes which have to be made - I think mainly to cooling pipework. It also seems to sit very close to the bulkhead - closer than usual which means changing the cambelt is more difficult (although the Wunderkind Sparky managed of course..). But it is doable and the car is great. I have a lotusbits exhaust which also sounds excellent - I would guess the Alunox one would also sound good too (and has the original twin tail pipe design)...

At the end of the day, from a value perspective, original is better it seems.

For example, getting new original lotus suspension is not possible if it is an earlier S3 - if I had known, I would have kept my old dampers and had them re-built - as the non Lotus ones you can fit never quite perform the same way. 

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That’s good info,thanks.

So, it seems the way to go is to upgrade the original engine, I am not after loads more BHP, but an extra 20 is not to be sniffed at and would certainly make it a little more fun. As long as there is not a price to pay regarding reliability and longevity.

Which 2 or 3 companys are regarded as the best (not cheapest) for engine rebuild and gearbox/ diff overhaul?

cheers

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Regarding gearbox and diff, Harry Martens ( @dsvitesse1 ) every time. He's between Alkmar and Amsterdam. I took my gearbox off,  stuck it in the back of my daily drive, nipped over to his place and swapped it (plus a few Euros!) for a new one with a Quaife LSD fitted. If  you are wanting to keep you original so the number on the box matches the Lotus build records then you could get it palleted over to him and I'm sure he'd overhaul it and send it back.

You can find quite a few specialists who can take the standard 160bhp unit in an S3 up to well over 200bhp without a turbo in sight. For example about 5 years ago I had my N/A engine rebuilt by a friend who is a guru in the Jensen Healey racing  world. I asked him to get it to match a carb turbo and  fair enough it dyno'd at 211bhp when he gave it back to me, but of course it didn't have quite the torque curve of a turbo. For JH's competing in events he typically gets them to 235 but those engines are not so happy being subject to normal driving.  I have no experience in dealing with them so not in a position to recommend,  but on the LotusBits web site they have a menu setting out what they would charge to enhance a standard N/A engine which you might find interesting.

Normally Aspirated - and lovin' it!

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Thought PNM was the goto for engines

hindsight: the science that is never wrong

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I really appreciate the advice I am getting....... thanks

I dealt with PNM many years ago, I think his name was Pete, real high quality work and I remember being very pleased with what he done for me. If anyone has had an engine rebuilt by him it would be nice to know how you got on.

I am really getting an appetite for this project now, so time to do the deal and sort out some space

cheers

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On 05/05/2020 at 20:03, Francisco Franco said:

Hello to all, I am after some advice from people that preferably  have restored an Esprit from the ground up.

I have had 7 Lotus over the years and am looking to have number 8 after 13 years away from the marque

I have the chance of buying an S3 NA, it has had a few bits taken off it for repairs etc and that is as far as they got with it, all parts are present. I am looking at it worst ways as a ground up restoration including engine and drivetrain rebuilds. 
according to my fag packet calculations it’s looking like £15k and a year of my time. I am not looking to turn a profit and am planning on leaving the car to my son, which is probably as well as I am expecting Covid to reduce most classic car prices to more realistic levels.

I realise the scale of the task I am thinking of undertaking, my heart says Esprit and my head says low mileage, honest 1992 Excel SE

Looking forward to some opinions

Cheers

Hi Phil, I have done two of these now. Unless the car is a regular runner with an mot there will be so many parts that are needed that you wont be expecting. Parts are getting very scarce and expensive. The parts and engineering on my turbo engine have cost six thousand with me doing all the assembly work. If your really lucky and refurb, repair  you might come in at your estimate without trim work. It also depends on how good you want to make it. A gearbox rebuild is about two thousnd pounds. You can do it yourself but the parts are very expensive. 

Im about four times over my original estimate!

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Some really good advice, what ever you estimate at least double it to restore one of these cars.

Here is my old Esprit I am considering buying back but just doing a basic shopping list to SJ without even looking at internal engine and gearbox components came to £14873, again before paint and retrim along with finding secondhand parts.

My advice is buy the best you can afford or save a little as plenty of good cars still available which have been used regularly needing only good maintenance and onward improvements over time.

830E5EF4-7EEF-42A6-BCC1-FE6B28F44E49.thumb.jpeg.1b29ef453a1b926bd7148fa74b035f89.jpeg

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Its going to be a buyers market soon as cars just aren’t selling, I have been watching the market as a perspective buyer and the same cars are still for sale after 2 years.

Saying all that the Excel SE is also an absolutely lovely Lotus to own and drives really well with good comfort and visibility.

Good luck with whatever choice you make 👍🏻
 

Dave :) 

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Do or do not, there is no try! 

 

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5 minutes ago, LOTUSMAN33 said:

Some really good advice, what ever you estimate at least double it to restore one of these cars.

Here is my old Esprit I am considering buying back but just doing a basic shopping list to SJ without even looking at internal engine and gearbox components came to £14873, again before paint and retrim along with finding secondhand parts.

My advice is buy the best you can afford or save a little as plenty of good cars still available which have been used regularly needing only good maintenance and onward improvements over time.

830E5EF4-7EEF-42A6-BCC1-FE6B28F44E49.thumb.jpeg.1b29ef453a1b926bd7148fa74b035f89.jpeg

CCE71B12-EC8B-42D7-9FE8-8940DD5EBE62.thumb.jpeg.bf7526fb21a6103556d333313e456f10.jpeg

44C2E934-61D5-4921-B8FD-5703D95006C3.thumb.jpeg.40db4254c4260c4139c44f9ecab4ecda.jpeg

51AE6D36-D732-44F5-90BE-F47021D7CBA8.thumb.jpeg.60dba398f47f1bcf7ac9470107f80c41.jpeg

Its going to be a buyers market soon as cars just aren’t selling, I have been watching the market as a perspective buyer and the same cars are still for sale after 2 years.

Saying all that the Excel SE is also an absolutely lovely Lotus to own and drives really well with good comfort and visibility.

Good luck with whatever choice you make 👍🏻
 

Dave :) 

Spot on advice.

2 minutes ago, Lotusfab said:

Spot on advice.

Is that an s2 with a Turbo body kit?

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Hi all .Dave what a shame to let a car end up looking like that .Hope you can save it 

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Thanks Mike, been trying for years but seeing cars advertised at silly prices makes people think they are all worth a fortune, the chassis needs changing as very corroded. I will pick this up in another post sometime as about Phil finding his Esprit 👍🏻👍🏻

Genuinely some Esprit’s are worth what’s being asked where you can see the restoration work then others look ok being fibreglass but below the skin are terrible. I have seen some unbelievable photos of S1/S2’s recently.

Phil's choice of a S3 is wise and a nice car has just gone on eBay in a lovely colour combo only needing some more minor work.


Dave :) 

Do or do not, there is no try! 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good morning all

I’ve been busy working out costings, the S3 I am trying to buy is certainly going to be a commitment. 
regarding buying one like the one mentioned on ebay, it seems to me that you are in no mans land, if all went well you could end up with a fairly nice car, but could also find yourself in the position of just finishing it to find that the gearbox/diff or engine isn’t quite right and suddenly it’s getting expensive.

I realise that potential problems go with the territory, but I was mentally and financially  scarred  by a dog 502 Elite many years ago, and it has made me cautious.

I even started to think about a new Elise, but getting in and out of it and the Chinese connection has put me off.

I am still going for the S3 subject to agreeing a sensible price, if the deal doesn’t happen I will post the details up here, maybe it could be right for someone else.

I am also going to keep an eye out for a 91/92 Excel with one owner, 20k miles, always garaged, full history and no stories.

Good luck with that one I hear you say, but you never know, there could be one tucked away, and it would be great to become the custodian of such a car.

Anyways, thanks for all the advice given on here and I will be watching from the sidelines until I have something to say

Cheers

 

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surely the chinese connection with the elise would only be applicable to new one

hindsight: the science that is never wrong

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  • 1 month later...

Well, I’ve got nowhere with the fella allegedly selling the S3, all the low mileage Excels seem tucked away, so I’ve ended up with an Elise.

If the fella contacts me regarding the S3 I will post photos and info up on here as it could be just what someone is after.

Thanks to everyone who offered their advice to me when I originally started this thread🍻

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I'm coming to the end of a full mechanical resto and the current running total is a shade over 9K with probably another 1K to go.

I've done all of the work aside from the engine rebuild.

If there's bodywork and interior work to do, it'll be comfortably 15-20K.

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