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yes or no - local car dealer has esprit for sale

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A local dealer has a 88MY Esprit with 39000 miles on it. It has no service history apart from a few bills going back to 2004. Service items mainly. It has had new clutch in the last 1800 miles. No bill for a cambelt change. He got it from another dealer at an auction last june and has put about a 1000 miles on it. I looked at the car yesterday and it seems ok, quite clean really. Was not able to drive it due to snow. He says the gearbox shifts well but did notice a very slight noise when going from 4th to 5th, not all the time just once in a while. When started in the showroom it ran rich, puff or 2 of black smoke. Idle was a little rough. I did notice that the cambelt was not seated flush on the camgears, it's tight and in the grooves but just not flush. The engine is clean with no visible oil leaks either from the cam towers or underneath.

points of concern:

no history

CM gearbox

bosch injection system

cambelt

I think i should walk away and keep looking, but it is kind of local to me and would save the cost of shipping. should I pass or pursue it further?

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I found myself in a similar position a year ago when I bought my 1990 SE. It was a very clean car but had no records or service history with it. You have probably seen the sage words of wisdom about not purchasing a car without a well documented history.

Knowing the risk I went ahead and purchased my Esprit because it was the car I've always wanted. But I had to spend about $6000 in maintanance and repairs because the age of the timing belt was unknown and several items had been neglected by the previous owner.

I would like to tell you to purchase the car since they are becoming harder to find and they need to be preserved by caring owners but . . . as the saying goes "If there is doubt, then there is no doubt". If your gut feeling is to keep looking then I would follow your gut. Keep looking until you find one that is exactly what you want and hopefully it will have a complete service history too.

Hope this helps and good luck in your search!

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Stephen - thanks for the input. I guess I'm just being influenced by the fact that it is relatively local. Saving a few bucks on shipping is a minor thing when dealing with an Esprit and is probably an unwise thing to do. I will keep looking.

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On the other hand, buying local is always a good thing too.

A local dealer will always look after you better for supporting him. If you import one then you can get even more burnt even if it does have service history.

As an ex car dealer myself, I have been burnt many times with fake service history both here and in UK. the purchase of a rubber stamp is not hard to come by.

You can get the best serviced care in the world, with the best history, however there is ALWAYS a reason why any owner sells any car. Usually due to issues, or an issue. Ask the dealer what he has done to it in the last 1000mls.

I would get an independent mechanical inspection and if it comes up clear, use its lack of history as a negotiation point. A free service is always nice too...

Hopes this helps

Justin

PS

I have the same car, with the CM gearbox and the only issues i have had with it are the ones created through my own abuse, not a lack of mechanical engineering quality. From what i have seen on the forums, there are as many issues with the Renault box as there are with the Citroen. I have however been wrong before on more than one occasion...


"Laugh" and the world laughs with you - "Cry" and you just wet your face...

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There are a couple of S4s's on Ebay I think. If your going to take a chance with an Esprit, might as well make it a good one!

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There really is no telling with our beloved Esprits. I had one with a History and had it checked over. Because the guy was asking


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There are a couple of S4s's on Ebay I think. If your going to take a chance with an Esprit, might as well make it a good one!

Good advice ....try to buy the newest you can afford, with about $3000 in reserves for up keep if you are not a good DIY'er.

I would say for a Stevens Esprit, that a 90 SE would be the first year to even consider.....the difference in acceleration is like night and day between a chargecooled and non-chargecooled car. The cars get more reliable the newer they are.

I had a 93 SE prior and now own an S4s. The S4s is better in both ride, interior, and power steering is nice to have. Power delivery is smoother.

Good luck in your search.

Edited by Paul93Lotus

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oooh yeah! I admit i would like power steering in mine.

Do not miss the power of a chargecooler as i have never had one, however if money is a consideration then the extra second on the quarter mile is really not that hard to swallow.

Justin


"Laugh" and the world laughs with you - "Cry" and you just wet your face...

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To be honest, would I buy a 20 year old Esprit without a detailed service history? No. Better to pay more money for a car which ticks all the boxes.

So long as you are willing and able to spend more money to maintain the car then it might not be too big a risk, although that begs the question whether you're willing to work on the car yourself or live near a reputable Esprit specialist.

Good luck with your purchase. They really can be fantastic cars!

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Thanks all for your input. I should clarify that by saying local the car is still 400 miles away. Rapid City, SD is a little away from things - great place to drive though, heaps of open country and sweeping roads. Sturgis motorcycle rally is held 20 miles from here - So it's not like the car is down the road 1 mile and then left 3 miles. On reflection I have decided to pass on the 'local' Esprit. If in doubt walk away and all that. I am currently talking to Fox Valley Motors in Chicago. They have a 1990 SE with 41000 miles. 2 Owners from new and a known car to them as they sold it to the 2nd owner. Awaiting service history which will be emailed to me tomorrow. Will let you all know what happens. Cheers Gavin.

Edited by gtookey

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A local dealer has a 88MY Esprit with 39000 miles on it. It has no service history apart from a few bills going back to 2004. Service items mainly. It has had new clutch in the last 1800 miles.

points of concern:

A new clutch on a car with 39.000 miles.........?..........or 139.000 miles......?!.............strange...........

Best regards,

Ruud

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That's a VERY good point Ruud - Lottie's clutch (90 SE) lasted well beyond 125k, and it's worth mentioning to any unwary buyer that our odometers only go to 99,999 miles before hitting zero again!

For example, Lottie is currently showing around 38,500 miles!


Proud recipient of the LEF 'Car of the Month Award' February 2008

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: "Wow, what a ride!!"

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bought myself a car without history too

cost me big money

clutch, belt, manifold, tanks, valve setting etc

won't do it again

but then

after repairing these things

the car is mine now

i know every bolt and screw

and had the opportunity to go further

when i want an upgrade i yust say to my wife

sorry

bad maintainance of the former owner

yoepieeeeeeeeee

rens


researche is something i do when i don't know what the hell i'm doing

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bought myself a car without history too

cost me big money

clutch, belt, manifold, tanks, valve setting etc

won't do it again

but then

after repairing these things

the car is mine now

i know every bolt and screw

and had the opportunity to go further

when i want an upgrade i yust say to my wife

sorry

bad maintainance of the former owner

yoepieeeeeeeeee

rens

Same my experience with my car ; bad and in other light good......... one smal difference, my wife supports my hobbies:)


http://www.lotus-club.cz

lccz_banner.gif

Your 6 is my 12.

http://www.voodoo-world.cz

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Well, me, I'd buy - In my mind the simple bits to fix - & you will need to do some work eventually on a 20 odd year old car - are the mechanicals. Bodywork - if thats fine, I mean really good, clean, well fitting, good paint, and an unworn & intact interior - then these are sods to get back right again so a good one is near priceless.

Remember, these are old rare cars - you may never find that 'perfect' one with guaranteed perfection.

Just buy at the 'right' price & have a grand or so spare for fettling (fixing stuff up).

ps cam belt - don't worry about it - just change it straight way - like the day you pick it up - & by a guy who knows lotus stuff. At that age too there's a host of little bits that might expire like seals, bearings etc. & no amount of service history will prove otherwise. Clutch ? they wear out on any car, just expect to fix one day.

Old cars, don't you just love 'em !

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Hey Gavin,

Take a look at this car:

http://ww2.collectorcartrader.com/details.php?adId=90190503

The description sounds promising. If the car is as nice as he says it is, and "$20,000 OBO" translates to a price in the teens, then it may be a good buy. I have never contacted him and know nothing about the car; I just saw that it was close to me (it's in Michigan) and was curious about it myself. :D


Tony K. :)

 

Esprit S1s #355H & 454H

Esprit S2.2  #324J

1991 Esprit SE

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