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Esprit HC, Cost for new engine?

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Following on from a failed attempt to buy a pristine Esprit I'm now leaning towards the idea of buying a 'reasonable' example and bringing it up to spec with new parts. Going on the basis that the car is only as good as its' weakest point, and that I'm no mechanic so the work would likely be charged for on an hourly basis, would anyone like to hazard a guess on the costs involved in replacing everything major in the Esprit HC? I've posted here in the 'Engine/Ancilliaries' section of the forum although to be honest I'm also looking for an idea of costs for a complete respray and full leather trim refit. I'm used to seeing classic Astons being restored at the Works Service in Newport Pagnell but gather that Lotus don't have the equivalent who can deal with every aspect of a restoration project? i.e. I understand that interior trim is best left to the Lotus Factory whereas engine replacement is best left to a Lotus specialist?

I'm only looking for ball-park figures to give me an idea of whether it really is worth taking on such a project.



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Generally it works out like this

Cost of car in top condition (not concourse, but good paint, good mechanicals well maintained, claen tidy, decent interior etc) = Y

Cost of car with work to be done = X

Cost of parts / materials to do up to top condition = (Y-X) x2 assuming you do most of the work.

Allowing for labour, it can easily be (Y-X) x4 or worse.

Which is pretty much the norm for most classic cars. The advantage of the option of having it done (or doing it yourself) is that you know it's been done correctly, or at least you have an idea of the work that's been done rather than "It's been totally stripped and re-built" which could be sales patter for, "it had an oil change and new set of plugs then I washed it".

By far the cheapest option is to buy a car in top spec that's realistically priced. there are lots out there in any condition that are priced way off the mark, and that often shows by how long they sat on the forecourt, or the fact that only a first time buyer who hasn't done enough research is considering it.

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Steve - I've spent just under $45k on the purchase and repair of my Esprit ('85 Turbo) since August 2009, and that is through a dealer shop. That is also strictly mechanical, not cosmetic, as thankfully my car was almost pristine in that manner to begin with (with the exception of the wheels, which I had refinished).

The car is very well sorted now and runs like a dream, but it was a long and often frustrating process (as many on here can attest to), and the experience is not for the feint of heart. Since I purchased the car, its literally spent more time in the shop than in my parking space by a wide margin. At this point I'm very thankful to have what I humbly consider one of the nicest original Esprits of this vintage in the USA, but I did not go into this with my eyes open.

Ultimately I'm happy, but if I had it to do again I would probably be much more careful in my shopping for a car to start with. This car seemed to be well taken care of, and by all means 'reasonable' as you mention... that is, I expected to do some work, but was absolutely astounded with the amount of things that went wrong in rapid succession, and the sheer cost of it all. The best advice I would give is to have the car thoroughly inspected and insist on a documented service history. If you can't get the history, then either walk away or ask for a serious discount. If you're aiming for near-perfect, you can spend $20k without even blinking an eye, trust me.

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