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What year is my Esprit?

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I recently bought a Esprit, I bought it for a Esprit S4 year 1996, thats what the dealer said it is, but as I read more about this lovely car the more confused I get, for example the text below that I found about 'Model Evolution by Year'


January 1995, Esprit S4 (non-USA): VIN: S 2000 (+1496)

  • Caerbont instruments with 100 mm speedo & tacho, analogue clock.
  • Oil temp. gauge and ice detection deleted.
  • Footwell lamps added.
  • Revised trim stitching.
  • Walnut veneer replaces 'carbon fiber' instrument panel and door finishers.


As seen in the pictures below my car has the 'carbon fiber' look and so on...

And the VIN Decoder ( tells absolutely something else, but it says that it has the 2.0 litre 240 hp engine, is that posible (only gt3 with that engine?).

Something feels strange about this, and tomorrow I will look for the VIN nummber ..."on the right hand side of the chassis front frame, visible from within the right hand front wheelarch. The VIN must be quoted with all parts enquiries"....and see if that matches with the VIN from the bar code label inside the front luggage compartment.

But maybe someone can see from the pictures something and share it with me, this is the pictures from the dealership, low res, I can take own pictures and post them here if necessary.

I can paste the VIN number later on but first I will check if that matches with the VIN in the other place.

So can this car be a year model 96?

Thanks in advance.






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The S4 had a 2 litre engine for the Italian market. This was done for tax reasons. This engine eventually found its way into the GT3. Your car is certainly an S4 and not a GT3.

A 2.0 litre configuration, was previously only available in the Italian market where the lower engine displacement meant the vehicle would fall into a lower tax regime, was again utilized from 1996 to 1999 in the Esprit GT3 models, utilizing the improvements that served the SE models making these cars good for 240 hp (180 kW). This was the last application of the 900 series Lotus engine, which had a lifespan of nearly 30 years.

Altough your car was registered in 96, its build date could be much earlier.

Oh and by the way. Welcome, thats a fabulous looking car you have there sir :(

Caught between a rock and a hard place in a catch 22 situation, So its 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. Your damned if you do, but your damned if you don't so shut your cock!!!!!!!!!!!

Lotus Espirt Turbo S3    

Lotus Esprit S4 

Lotus Elise S2 Sport 130


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Thanks for reply, and comments on the car, I love the colour of your car :(

That makes sense because this car was originally imported from Italy, the paper that followed with the car it says that it was delivered 02.10.1996, but it's a 93 according to the VIN, I thought I have one of the three S4 made in 96 but that's not the case then :o

That was one of the dealers statement actually, that this was one of three, should I go back and try to get some of the money back or something? I got it barely 2 weeks ago from him. Can I say to him that he sold me a 3 years older car then what I paid for, or is it right to say that its 96 from his side?

Should I be happy or disappointed that it has the 2.0l engine? How is this engine compared to 2.2l? If I want to get some upgrades, like BOV(Blow Off Valve), ECU etc. then I should look for the gt3 parts or how is it? But thats later on, planing to do some mods in the summer, hopefully I learn more about the car until then.

I love the car, it looks fantastic, all esprits do, but this one was in perfect condition, it has only done ~29000km (I have read 'use it or lose it'), the interior is as new, everything is as new, I just got a little bit disapointed to found out it's a 93 :D

So how many S4 is there with 2.0 engine?

VIN: SCC082920PHF41072


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There was also a 2.0 S4s for the Italians.

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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Hi there,

You shouldn't be unhappy or feel ripped off in any way. There are many Esprits out there registered 1, 2 or 3 years later. It's because it's a low volume car, that's it. Also with yours being an Italian spec car with 2.0 engine then even less custmers to buy it, so it probably stood in a show room for years.

This doesn't detract it's value and I don't think you have a case for a claim or try to get money off. As far as I can see, dealer advertised it based on the registration documents. How many dealers do you know would check every VIN and then contact the factory where it was made? Not many. Also whilst Lotus technical and after sales is very good, which other manufacturer would give you this much information? Not many.

This brings me onto the engine for the GT3 and Italian market. The 2.0 engine like jonathan says has been around for years. Lotus had hundreds of them laying about then they couldn't sell them to the Italian market so a clever marketing guy came up with the idea, lets bang them into a car, reduce the weight a bit and call it a GT3? We'll be sure to shift the engines that way!

If you like your car and was happy with it before you started looking into it then don't let it get to you and continue to enjoy your Esprit. If you are unhappy with the performance then chip it to 280BHP which is pretty cheap to do.

Oh, forgot to say WELCOME TO THE GROUP!


David Walters

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Have to agree with daves sentiments. Looks like you have a car in fabulous condition. That would count for great deal personally.

Caught between a rock and a hard place in a catch 22 situation, So its 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. Your damned if you do, but your damned if you don't so shut your cock!!!!!!!!!!!

Lotus Espirt Turbo S3    

Lotus Esprit S4 

Lotus Elise S2 Sport 130


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