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This is a great thread! :)

More pics! - one of the engine bay!


Now that would just give it away. :)

So would a picture of the dash with a boost gauge... or maybe it doesn't have a boost gauge???? :D

There are parts on this car that could be from several models.

Did anyone notice something in that grainy picture above?

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What I can see in the photo above:

- the tail is clearly added on afterward, so I'm doubting it is originally a turbo

- the "ear" is black, so presumably was just added on there -- so it could have had a later ear (S3?) . . . or no ear (S1) . . . or it just happens to be a replacement S2 ear . . . ?

- do I see a cutaway at the bottom/rear edge of the tailgate a la S3? hard to tell . . .

- the A-pillar design still looks S1/S2, with the capping rail removed; I'm not sure what an S3/Turbo looks like there w/o the capping rail

You stated it didn't originally have louvers, so I'm ruling out a Turbo.

Let me revise my guess, just for fun: S2.2? :D

By the way, Frank's list at SCW is not entirely correct. He ordered them by chassis number, whereas he should have ordered them by build date. There are a BUNCH of Federal S1s at the beginning of his S2 list. I'm going to remain open to the possibility that such is the case with with subsequent models, and that your VIN may not be listed in the correct place, especially if it was made near or during a transition period.

Frank is a good guy, but he has a lot of nerve to claim "copyright" to what amounts to raw data that Lotus gave him years ago, by the way. Taking the time to post someone else's data on your web site does not give you any kind of copyright!

Tony K. :)


Esprit S1s #355H & 454H

Esprit S2.2  #324J

1991 Esprit SE

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Wow, that is some mix you have there!

I'm going to have to say it's an S2 based on the non-locking filler caps, non-original louvers and of course the Speedlines. And that ducktail looks added on where the body strip ends early.

Someone sure did a helluva job converting this car over to the Turbo look though. It was a PO who did all this, not the factory...right?

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Time to spill the beans.

Tony K, to satisfy your curiosity:

The rear quarter window. The ear is missing as I'm going to get it repainted. (it was also missing in that grainy photo)


A seat.


The interior light.


Inside the front.


Front defogger vents (on binnacle, and passenger side)



Gauges. With carbon fibre additions as the old plastic was warped and cracked (oil pressure gauge still connected in the car)


And here is the engine. (Work still being done)


Now, according to SCW website, the VIN 78070461G and matching engine number CC907780715201 indicates car is an S1 (?) and was completed on 25th August 1978, and the original colour was LAGOON.

The Lagoon can be confirmed by the overspray seen near the radiator:


and inside the rear section, just in front of the left indicator. (you can also see the blending of the ducktail indicated by the tan coloured fibreglass patch).

Guess that also proves it's not a factory installation of the ducktail.


Regarding the rear valence/bumper, it appears the normal S1/S2 shape had the lower section chopped to make the turbo style pieces fit. It's a bit of a sloppy job as can be seen in the top of this picture:


And finally a picture showing the older style chassis/gearbox/suspension/brakes setup:


So, is it an S2?

Edited by Denzeldude
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Yes, it is absolutely an S2, and SCW is incorrect in labeling it as an S1.


7807 = built July 1978, making it an early S2

0461G -- here is where Frank's sorting of the list is bad. 461H (H being a Federal car) is an S1. Notice from his listing that your car was completed on the 25th of August, 1978, whereas 461H was finished in October of 1977.

There were far more Federal S1s than Domestic (UK) or RoW -- Federal S1s accounted for more than half of the total. There are actually federal S1s with chassis numbers deep into the 500s, whereas the Domestic cars went somewhere into the high 300s. Frank's grouping is definitely wrong as he has quite a few Federal S1s at the beginning of the S2 section, and quite a few UK S2s at the end of the S1 section. Looking more closely at Frank's list, I would suspect that the last UK S1s were around 381G, built in May 1978, because then there is a break of no "G" chassis for a while until June of 1978, number 402G. I remember one of the Lotus books saying the S2 was introduced in May of 1978, so this would go along with that.

Referencing your photos:

- rear quarter window -- was made of the same alloy channel as the door window frames in all S1s and early S2s. I don't know how deep into S2 production they went before switching to plastic, but I have seen two October 79 S2s with plastic window frames. Missing ear intake reveals factory moulding for the intake; ears were not just tacked onto an S1

- seat -- is an S2 seat, as the deep bolsters continue all the way up the shoulders; on S1s, they flatten out as they go up.

- interior light -- is not original, so no clue there. FWIW, S1s had a long/wide piece with no switch and no frame around it; by 1980 it was different, I'm not sure what S2s had, or how consistent they were.

- inside the front -- shows an S2 spare, a headlight motor from a dual motor setup, and the non-interference hinge. See that the hinge looks like an elbow -- that started in late 1977 on late S1s with the introduction of dual headlight motors. On S1s prior to then, the hinge was a simple pin that stuck out of the top/outside of the opening. With the lid opening that way, the headlight pods colided with the lid if you opened/closed them when the lid was open. Most S1s had a switch to disable headlight pod operation when the lid was open.

- binnacle -- vent on top of binnacle started in mid-1977. I couldn't see it in the earlier photo, which left me wondering about the possibility of an S1 hiding under all the S2 and Turbo equipment.

- gauges -- S2 Smiths gauges all the way! No sign of green Veglia. Same with switches -- flip-type S2, not rocker-type S1

Being built in August of 1978 and having all of the S2 cues, your car is absolutely an S2, despite where Frank happens to list it. I have no idea where he got the idea to just arbitrarily draw a line between this number and that number; he should have put the cars in chronological order.


Edited by Tony K

Tony K. :)


Esprit S1s #355H & 454H

Esprit S2.2  #324J

1991 Esprit SE

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Whatever it is, it's the best Turbo body conversion I've seen, and a lovely looking car. You should try to get some split rim Compomotives for it as they'll fit straight on and make it look just like a dry sumper.




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Wow well I didnt know I would have just said a turbo S3 with an earlier engine!! There are some cleaver people here, Tony K knows his stuff. Its been a good thread so thanks but all the same its a nice car. :(


"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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Thanks for all of the info, especially TonyK. I thought it might be an interesting discussion.

Before I purchased the car I only had a very short time (1 week) to research the famous Lotus Esprit, and knew extremely little about differences in the models. I knew that when the opportunity arose, I wanted one.

I bought it for $19,000 AUD which is reasonably cheap. I've seen many going for between $30,000 and $40,000 and an 85 turbo going for $49,000 (but it was nice). Now that I know where to look, there are also some other cheaper ones including a red S1 that are under $20,000, but unfortunately I already have one (and no I can't afford another :crybaby: )

I actually prefer the look of a normal S2 (sorry to you turbo guys and gals :( ), and I prefer an S1 shape even more, but they're even rarer over here.

Having said that, it's still a very nice car (when it works :( ), and everyone comments on it. It's amazing how, when you're driving slowly down a crowded street you can hear over the engine noise people saying "hey look at that Lotus Esprit" or "hey it's that Bond car". They do that over here.

Now I can add it confidently to the Esprit Registry.

Thanks again, and happy Esprit-ing.

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Whatever it is, it's the best Turbo body conversion I've seen, and a lovely looking car. You should try to get some split rim Compomotives for it as they'll fit straight on and make it look just like a dry sumper.


if you ever want to put the compomotives on... i'll be interested in your S2 wheels

nice car btw


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