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My mystery Esprit


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  • Gold FFM

Hi to all and very pleased to join TLF. Am the new owner of a UK market 1983 turbo Esprit which l recently stumbled across listed as a Lotus kit car in a local facebook group out here in Durban South Africa. Fitted with a Ford essex 3L Locally manf engine and with front and rear end "updated" body reproviling along with a registration from 2005 as a new bakkie ( local term for pickup truck ) MBOZA DUZI l was really not sure l was looking at in the long grass until l found her genuine VIN number stamped in the usual front offside position. The seller, a local car dealer, could only tell me that he bought the car from a very old man who had been denied registration as a new Lotus Esprit by protest from Lotus themselves ( not surprisingly ) and thus a new bakkie was registered.

If anyone knows more of the cars history l should be very pleased to hear from them  thanksScreenshot_20210705-201143_Facebook.thumb.jpg.48c230529075ffd3f31ee864b1b30f5e.jpg

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That's does look like an X180 and S3 joined at the B pillar.

Welcome to TLF, interesting car!

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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  • Gold FFM

Thanks for the helpful interest, as l gently pull back the curtains l have so far found that the original nose remains behind the front now showing with about a 100mm void. Certainly the body has been removed at some point as the galvanised chassis is now a jolly red. My own knowledge is limited to an excel which l sold 30 years ago so please keep the insights coming as l post more pics whilst unveiling her :)





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If you send the VIN number to Bibs, by private message, then that may shed some light of parts of its history. 

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Welcome to TLF Jeremy. :welcome:

That will keep you busy for awhile.

Any questions or issues with using the forums, feel free to ask one of us mods. We're here to help. :) 

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

For forum issues, please contact one of us Moderators.

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That really is a strange car, for a moment I wondered if it was this car which disappeared in SA but that was a S1 where this is definitely S3 based.


Its been a lot of work and must have a lot of filler to get those shapes.

Lots of potential and no doubt a good bit of fun.

Welcome to TLF 👍🏻, look forward to seeing what you do with it.

Dave :) 

Do or do not, there is no try! 


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  • Gold FFM

Thanks again for the interest and insight.Moving on to my intentions with the car, l wish to use her as a track car for the most part and thus concentrate on performance and handling, came across a Jaguar S type with a healthy AJ30 motor which l believe others have already made installations into Esprits but my big caution is her original C35 gearbox and diff which l stripped out yesterday and found several teeth broken on 2 gears on the output shaft. Want to have the whole diff/box rebuilt and understand l shall have to ship the unit overseas, my question is which gearbox specialist? 

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