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1986 S3 N/A Project

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Thanks Tim,

Its really fits and starts for me too. When I look at the thread I also think I'm making good progress until I check the dates !!

Anyway, off to fit the engine I hopes.

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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Well, here is how I got the engine in - alone!





As you can see, engine crane was useful in stabilising and guiding the rakish angle of entry required.

But, everything went smoothly once I had determined the balance point for the main hoist and the whole procedure took 45mins, I'm guessing.

Gear change in - it works!

Most of the cooling/heater tubes connected.

Havn't torqued up the mounts yet - dont know the torque values and cont find them.

Not rewired yet.

In general, a great day, well scraped and bruised but happy nursing my wounds. At least no wounds on the car!

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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On page 11 of Section TD B in the manual it gives 40-45lbf.ft for the mounting legs to rubbers, and 25lbf.ft for the rubbers to chassis. That is for the 910 engine, but it can't be different for the 912 can it? I don't think I ever found the figures for the gearbox mounts, but I just did them up the same.

Project is looking really great.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, progress of sorts.

Continuing to connect tubes, clutch, brakelines, handbrakes etc.

Engine mounts done - quite a struggle. In the end, I coudnt get my torque wrench in there anyway! So I practiced getting the correct torque by hand. I think thats fair enough?

Exhaust mount to gearbox rear was shredded. They are available from Lotus bits for next to nothing remanufactered but I thought I'd do my own - its just cutting, bending and welding after all.

Here is before


And after, painted with exhaust paint for some protection.


I'll post some images of bumper/exhaust/valance by the weekend I hope.

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, getting there with the back.


All engine connections made and engine filled with lovely new oil (the now obsolete Mobile one) lest I forget to do it later.

I now need to work out which coolant to use. Gearbox oil is fine (Redline)

Inline engine bay fan tested with battery connected briefly - the fan works really well. Great air flow and reasonably quiet. Very pleased with that.


Rear bumper on. Light clusters, exhaust etc. I used some self tapping threaded inserts from Memfast for the damaged inserts in the light surrounds - worked perfectly. I'd recommend them.

Next to do really is the rear quarter windows but they cant be fitted until the capping rail is in, which cant be done until the capping rail trim is in hot little hands. Sooo, I'll have to make that SJs order earlier than planned. Still, at least there is a nice how-to for the trim now.

I now need to call my upholsterer cos I need the dash and binnacle to be rewired for a start-up attempt. I know I could do it without but I do worry about errant wires shorting etc so I'd like to wait.

I am giving consideration to finishing the paintwork myself. The respray is currently 'straight from the gun' and not bad but in need of a final buffing. The guy at Lotus-bits was going to do this for me as part of the package price I have already paid but it does mean transporting the car a fair way and leaving it. I'm guessing that a decent DA polishing machine plus correct compound would do it - and that might be a fun thing to do myself. I have a selection of mops plus several different Porboys compound already. I dont see why not. I was advised by them to leave off all the shiny bits - such as capping rail trim - to prevent burning by the polishing head which gives further weight to doing it myself.

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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Well, the capping rail trim and windscreen finishers ordered together (figured could go in same tube) plus a couple of washers and clips.

Woah!!!!!! £153 !!!!

Maybe I'll have to let the current wife have those boots she wants after all.

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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Well, whilst waiting for the SJ package, this little lot started trickling in.


Thats the retrimmed A post and stering column trim.

Spoke to my upholsterer who is now begining the main dash and binnacle.

Smells great and I'm really pleased with his quality of work.

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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Well, after a mis delivery, the A pillar trim plus odds and sods from SJs is in.

I now understand the bill! Not only do I have the side windscreen finishers but the top also. They come as a set for £73.

I was expecting just the sides at £20+ each.

Problem is, I was going to leave the top one as it didnt come out easily as the sides did. It is tarnished, however and with the new ones up beside it, it would look abit crap. Soooo, I now need to remove the top finisher without breaking anything.

Anyway, inorder to refit the quarter windows (which is what I wanted to do in the first place) the order of work is as follows

1.Remove top windscreen finisher

3. Breathe sigh of relief that there is no number 2.

4. Buff the Capping rail

5. Fit the capping rail trim

6. Fit the capping rail

7. Fit the quarter window

8. Fit the window mask.

Times 2

Now, where did I put all that spare time.....

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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Quick update.

Heading of interior complete.


Some adjustment needed for visors but otherwise, OK.

Leather has arrived at the upholsterer and the next job is put leather on the unremovable part of the dash next to the screen.

So, how did you do your sun visors?

I have trimmed a couple of Excels and an Esprit but always avoided the visors as it seems to be a case of stitching from the inside. I assume it's mainly done normally then turned inside out, but what about the final edge and which edge do you leave as the final edge?


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Well, Andy, you are quite right.

The edges of the visor near the cabin are stitched inside-out and were by far the easiest bit. The material is then pulled over the inside packing and that leaves the long edge next to the windscreen.

I found that the best way, after a couple of attempts, was to glue the two edges first, which lets you get things nice and tight. Then the edge is machine stitched as close as possible - there are different feet for the sewing machine for this. Hand stitching was just no good. The surplus material is then very very carefully cut away.

This last edge is a problem, particularly since I used 2 different coloured materials, so the stitch is going to show, no matter what colour is used, on one side or the other. In the end, I used a black stitch as it looked more 'meant' but I'd still only give myself 6/10 for this bit.

Its all do-able though and looks so much better than the worn out visors I had.

I have not, however, replaced the vanity mirror. That was one step too far. They will all just have to use their compacts :kiss:

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hey, Wayne!

Thanks for the encouragement guys

Big lag in efforts recently - festivities and lack of oommph to blame.

Peter (allgoodpeter) came around at the weekend to see my skeletalised Esprit to help his plans for his upcoming project. It was great to talk Esprit for a couple of hours to someone not feigning interest! Made me tidy my garage and gave me a boost so I got out today and did some work - first for at least 2 months. I wasnt that happy with my efforts with the capping rail and the windscreen finishers to the extent I couldnt look at the car! Infact, now its cleaned up (today) it looks fine until I get real close. I suspect others wouldn't notice what I can.

So, today, I cleaned up the trims, Cleaned the quarter windows and fitted the masks.

Then, I carefully dropped in and fitted the rear hatch - big moment. All works well and locks better than it did before.

Fitted the poppers for the tonneau cover - I know, superficial, but I was there!

After all my cares, I now have a couple of paint chips!!! Blast!

Soo, What next? I'm still waiting for more interior to be finished. That would give me something to do.....

Edited by slewthy

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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Guest allgoodpeter

Glad to assist with re-motivation! I really enjoyed myself, it was most interesting to see the car in Airfix kit form - and in that vein Simon is "correctly" building the car by painting all the little bits before he glues it all together! I can vouch for the car, it is going to look fantastic - I personally dont like black cars but I have to say this changed my mind, it looks sleek and purposeful. One major thing I was able to see was that without a front bumper fitted the car looks altogether different (better IMHO) so I shall definitely be downsizing mine to an S2 size - but first I need the car........

As Simon says I am in the market for an S3 of my own (pref White, I know, I know) and am currently experiencing the Esprit syndrome of travelling miles only to find that the seller's idea of immaculate seems to be different to mine. I have also found that certain specialists must get work easily since they dont bother to call back even when offered money. Oh well.

I am not looking for a concours job (yuk!) nor a rebuild to the extent of Simon's but I do want to play a bit (that's a given anyway) and I have been inspired by Simons saga.

Keep up the momentum and you'll soon be back on the road, hopefully I will be as well and we'll have to descend on a pub or two to frighten the natives!.

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I Utterly love this project. I have serious respect for all the hard work you have put into this. Looks stunning! you had better be replacing that nasty red oil cap on the cam covers though!



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Dont say that! The red cap cost me a fortune!!!

I would have loved a different one but it meant scrabbling about in scrap yards sourcing a GM one I think we deceided (well, Andy C did anyway)

Look, its original, OK?

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, no progress as have been very busy at work BUT

My wife has just said that she wants a trip away (in this country) in the Esprit for her birthday, Sept.


So, there we have it. A deadline and , one would assume, a ticket to be out in the garage - since I would purely be working for her birthday treat! Couldnt be happier!

I have the doors and window rewire in my sights.....

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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  • 1 month later...

Got a rare couple of hours this weekend with the car so I decided to tackle the drivers door.

The beam fitted and new spring steel check strap thing made and fitted.

The old drivers door was knackered and replaced with one from Lotusbits, resprayed.

Unfortunately, I have totally scre**d the job! I couldnt see why it wouldnt fit but comparing it to my old door, it was clear that the old one had been adapted at the front so as not to foul the front of the capping rail - 1/4 inch difference. I assume this was done in the factory. I only realised this, however, after I had knackered my paint job on both the door and the rail.

Ah well. Another job added to the list.

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some recovery from the last post. I now have a nicely fitted door (minus the workings and frame). Of course, when the heavy workings are in it probably wont fit again!

The frame has been resprayed inside and out and looking good.

Some minor victory in the carpet area - I have been struggling with carpet edging for months. It either wont go around corners or I break 20+ sewing machine needles in the attempt to sew it. I had all but given up.

I finally found a process that allows this to be done.

It might be obvious, but here it is for those contemplating it.

Cut out carpet - thats the easy bit. Keep the edges as smooth as possible.

Cut the edging to length. I finally went for black material used to edge sun umberellas as it has some central bias that seems to ease the corners.

Glue the edging to the backside of the carpet leaving just enough to turn around the edge. When this is set, glue the binding around the edge. This has the effect of holding it in place when you come to sew it. It doesnt have to be 100% neat at this point - the sewing machine does that.

When set (and not before or the thread will stick) sew it! The trick here is to USE a sewing machine but NOT on power - ie just turn the flywheel/handle manually - that gives total control and no risk of needle breakage. Dropped stitches are obvious and can be repeated without stopping.

I am now happy with the job and can glue them in. I'll add some images today hopefully.

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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Simon, men aren't biologically designed to operate sewing machinery!!

Which makes your achievement even more special.

Pictures please.


It's getting there......

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