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Lotus Esprit S3; 1985; Black


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This naturally aspirated Esprit looks great in black with JPS-style gold wheels and stripe. However what sets this car apart is the various improvements made under the body (outlined below), which should very much appeal if you are looking for a mechanically sorted Esprit to drive.

I have owned this car since 2010, and drove it very regularly until 2016 when it cut out one day and would not start. The arrival of a baby, new house and then second baby meant that it sat in my garage for almost 5 years (!) waiting for me to fix it. But fix it I have (it was, annoyingly, something quite simple in the end), and while it is great to have the car going again, time has come for me to part with it.

This is a well looked after car (check the online MOT history), with almost all work carried out by myself during my ownership. The car has a detailed history and a file of receipts for everything that has been done.

Please note that the car is located in the north east of Scotland, around 30miles west of Aberdeen.

MOT until April 2022

 

Engine

The car has a fuel injected HC engine with L14 cams and vernier pulleys. The cylinder head has been gas-flowed with 3-angle cut valve seats (done by Gary Kemp). It has an MBE 956 ECU, TWM throttle bodies and Bosch fuel injectors.

The engine was completely rebuilt at around 99,000 miles.

After the rebuild the ecu was re-mapped on a rolling road, and showed around 225hp/200ftlb torque. As with any rolling road figure I would take this with a serious pinch of salt, but it is significantly faster than a standard car. It has lots of torque (it will happily take almost any corner in 4th gear) and is very progressive in terms of power delivery, right up to the limit.

It has a brand new PNM engineering hi-torque starter motor and Yuasa battery, along with a new coil-pack, crank sensor, plugs and leads (all replaced as part of the quest to remedy the non-start issue).

Engine newly serviced (oil, filter, coolant, thermostat), with the timing belt also just replaced.

 

Exhaust

It has a Lotusbits full stainless steel exhaust system with 4-2-1 manifold. This has a single exhaust pipe.

I would note that the car is significantly louder than standard, but with a lovely mechanical howl from the intake and the exhaust.

 

Gearbox/Linkage/Clutch

The gearbox in the car has been newly re-built. All the linkages and the crossgate cable have been replaced in my ownership and are still good. It has the early 0.86:1 ratio pivot leaver and the SJ Sportscars gearchange modification fitted. As a result the gear leaver is a pleasure to use.

The clutch and pressure plate were replaced at 81K. It has a stainless steel braded clutch hose fitted.

 

Suspension

Being an ‘85 car, it has the later Toyota style front suspension without trunnions. It has the Lotus-developed Bilstein Dampers / Eibach Springs fitted, along with the Lotus-developed Polybushes throughout (except for the anti-roll bar bushes, which were replaced with standard items).

 

Brakes & Wheels

PNM engineering 286mm Hi-Spec 4-pot front callipers and vented discs. New EBC Yellowstuff pads to the front. Standard rear callipers. Brake fluid newly replaced. It has a stainless steel braded brake hoses fitted front and rear.

Matching Vredestein SP tires (195x55x15R to front; 225/60x15R to rear).

The wheels were refurbished in 2012, but some corrosion is appearing through the paint again.

 

Fuel Tanks

Lotusbits aluminium fuel tanks with in-built swirl pots for the fuel injection system. Large diameter cross pipe (makes filling up much quicker).

 

Interior / Exterior

The car was re-trimmed in full leather around the year 2000, but the seats are now showing some wear. Otherwise it is in good general condition.

It has the fully removable sunroof.

The car was originally red, and was re-sprayed by the last owner around the year 2000. It polishes up well enough, but there are some blemishes/stone chips/etc.

 

Final Note

This is a good value, very usable Esprit, looking for the right owner. It is noisy, fast and fun. Give me a call and I can tell you anything else you might want to know.

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seems sensibly priced but a long drive for most

hindsight: the science that is never wrong

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That’s good to hear – there are some mad prices being asked for S3s out there, and I was really not sure where to place it in the market, especially with it being a ‘non-standard’ car.

Given the distance it is from the majority of the market, I will be more than happy to send anybody that is interested some videos of the car, or do a facetime/zoom video chat.

Also happy to pick up/drop of anybody from the airport/train station/bus station, which are all about a 30min drive away, whether coming up (or down) to look or buy (I took a couple of trips down to Banbury to buy it back in 2010, with the then owner picking me up from Birmingham).

And if someone wanted to buy it ‘sight unseen’ then I would happily drive it to them anywhere in the UK 🙂

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