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mike anderson

Considering an S4

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Ifly i appreciate the offer. FRESHCUT was right, you guys are a tight knit group here, thats awesome. but in your opinion( i no its hard without phyicaly seeing the car in person) but is a 94 s4 with 40k miles and asking 29k a lot? I mean theres no blue book on these(not kbb at least). In the descripition you would think they would of named that the clutch was recently done, or timing belt, or the exhaust manifold was replaced, but nothing like that. It was a nice add with a lot of pics, but i think its been on the site for close to a year. i called once but no answer. Maybe they sold it and autotrader never took it off. Every time i look at this add i want it more and more. It it was in CT or NY i probaly would of owned it by now. Man it looks nice black with tinted windows.

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Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.

the problem is many of us can't say whether it's a good deal because here in the UK thats a £12500-£14,000 car. Around $21k if you like. But the prices of used Lotus's over there just doesn't equate to teh price here. I would say it's at the top end of where it should be. With a couple of grand off for some good negotiation maybe it's a buyer?


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KBB doesn't offer values for most limited production makes, however, the NADA guide does. I find that their estimates are a bit on the high side for what you typically find, but is a good start to get a general idea. $29K seems close to the high side when comparing what I paid for my '02, but if it's got full service history, clean title, accident free, and all the little "add-on" bits that make this particular car stand out, it's probably a fair asking price. The fortunate aspect of buying right now is that niche cars such as the Esprit have taken quite a hit in the marketplace, but once the economy turns around and gets back to moving forward then I wouldn't be surprised to see prices return to pre-recession values. I would certainly have someone who is knowledgeable with the Esprit accompany you if you can find someone willing. I'm sure Iffy, since he's in the area and offered, would be willing to give the car a look to see if it's something that commands $29K. Just don't be afraid to ask questions, no matter how "dumb" they might be. We're all here to bring joy to new owners, experienced owners, and enthusiasts alike.

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The black s4 i was considering i guess is no longer available (no answer on phone or return email.) Oh well. I guess ill just have to weight. I wish there was one closer to where i live. Does anybody know anyone selling one on the east coast?

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As I mentioned in a previous post, 29K would have been too much for that car unless it was immaculate inside and out and all services up to date.

I have bought or sold 2 S4s and 1 S4 in the last 6 months and the S4 went for 26K and it was immaculate.

The current owner contacted me a few days ago and is looking to sell it due to personal circumstances although it may be sold already. Check the link below to see what was done to it before I sold it.

1994 S4

If you're interested, contact me and I'll put you in touch with the current owner.


1995 S4s

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Another US Esprit owner here. Honestly, they're not that hard to work on. You just have to learn the sequence of pieces to take off to get to what you want. I find the 4 cyl's engine easier to service than my 2001 Mercury Sable wagon, where all the accessories are stuck on the bottom of the engine.

The key is being able to service it yourself. An Esprit will eat you out of house and home if you have to pay someone else to do everything. If you do the service yourself, it's fairly inexpensive. In general, the Stevens Esprits are reliable considering what they are, but they are also high strung vehicles, so there's a lot of little things to attend to. Right now, mine has an intermittent heater fan, the radiator fan won't come on automatically (switch on AC in heavy traffic), clearcoat is peeling off the body, and both headlamp motors are out, but it runs like a scared cat, and all the important features are in top condition. It would probably be $3k-5k to pay someone else to fix the little things, when it's probably less than $300 in parts.

Last spring, I went through the full C service, cam belt and all (and plan on replacing the cam belt on any 4 pot you buy, it's cheap insurance). Took me about three weekends, and I was taking my time and fixing a lot of little things as this Esprit had been sitting for a few years: wheels frozen on, had to drain the old fuel, replace the chargecooler impeller, water hoses, etc... With practice, the cam belt could probably be replaced in one day.

Total cost in parts for this overhaul was around $600 (plus $700 for new tires) over half that was the pricey water hose set from JAE. Cam belt was $50, a Nissan Maxima part as I recall, and the new ones are good for 100k miles. Got to love Lotus for using off the shelf parts - Porsche or BMW would ream you for a custom part on something utterly ordinary, while I think the Lotus engineers just go out in their parking lot and start raising hoods until they find something that will fit. They put their design effort into the chassis, not the window motor. Turnip farmers aren't so dumb after all.

With a good cross index list, you can replace most of the mundane components cheaply. FI computer is from an Olds Quad4, you might grab one or two from a GM warehouse if you can find them cheap. Not that they tend to go out, but other Esprit owners might need them.

If you find a S4 and you can smell fuel in the cabin, don't worry. That's the vent hose between the twin tanks, it cracks and lets fuel vapors escape. Easy fix, and a great negotating point if the seller doesn't know what the problem is. It smells a lot worse than it is.

Only pricey upgrade you might want to consider is brakes, they can fade under extended use. AP makes a great set, but they'll run you $3k-4k. Get the Esprit and see what you think first.

Vague gearshift: it's not the bolt action rifle feel of my 1970 Corvette with M22 rock crusher, but it doesn't prevent you from selecting the correct gear. 2nd gear syncro is a bit weak on mine, I can beat it on a downshift every so often, just gives me an excuse to practice heel and toe. Be gentle with the gearbox and clutch, they'll last. Abuse them, they'll go out.

Tires - I highly recommend Toyo T1R's. They stick like crazy.

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Heres the thing. After i told my friend i was considering a 94 for around 25-30 thousand dollars, he says are you crazy, you get get a fairly new m3 or even an m5 for that much with an extended waranty. Obviously the list goes on but my hands are kinda tied. As much as a lotus fan as one can be you have to admit he makes a good point. I mean this is a 16 year old car for 30 grand. I still really want one but im confused now. Even the new body style 05 corvette can be picked up for 30 grand and they are blistering fast. And im sure youll get just as much looks in that as a lotus. I guess the problem is that these esprits were too much when they were new. And i understand they cant be given away for 15-20 grand on the used car market.

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Well I've got to say you're contradicting yourself there. If they can't be given away for 15-20 grand, why would you consider paying 25-30 grand? Go and get yourself one of those 15-20 grand cars, and then make the comparison.

Not sure otherwise, why you're posting? If you want an M3/M5/Corvette then go and buy one. I'm sure we'll all wish you all the best. There's no way personally I'd try and talk you into a Lotus, it's your decision to make as you want and if those are your criteria, and I was in the same boat, I may well have bought the non Lotus too.

Good luck whatever you decide.


Regards

Mat

post-1-0302470001278592957.jpg

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BMWs and Corvettes are a dime a dozen and you won't drive 10 minutes in any big city without seeing one. How many Esprits have you seen in your lifetime? Horses for courses so whatever floats your boat...:D


1995 S4s

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I think the point the most recent couple of posts are trying to make is that sure, there are other cars out there with comparable performance, priced within the same neighborhood as a 15 year old Esprit, but, how many cars that are in the 20-30K range are as exclusive as the Lotus? I can't drive 2 miles from my home without seeing at least half a dozen BMW's, Corvettes, or Porsches, many of which will give my V8 a damn good run for the money, but I've yet to see anyone take more than a casual glance at any of them, where the Lotus turns heads like no ones business. I'm the last person who would try to persuade someone to buy one. There are certainly plenty of reasons NOT to buy one, but the one reason one should buy one is because they WANT one, no other reason matters.

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Lotus ownership is not about being blistering fast...nor is it about receiving " looks "...nor are we interested in extended warranties...

...rather it is the joy knowing that you have paid to have temporary custody of a beautiful unique piece of automotive engineering...

...sure BMW, Porsche, and others make fine automobiles...and I have owned many of them and currently own several other exotics...

...and only in them can you sit...the smell of leather mixing with that of fuel, oil, exhaust...producing a rather unique smell that triggers many a great memory ( whether it was a frustrating, sitting on the side of the road, or the pleasant drive down the parkway on a crisp spring day )...

...we drive the car because we love them...despite the flaws...the irritation...the cost...when that garage door rolls open and you see them sitting in the light...low and sleek...the smile deep in your soul returns and all else fades away...the spark of the engine at turnover and the unique sound an exotic supercar produces...the feeling of connection with the car...

...the everyday cares and concerns being lost...even if just for a bit whilst out on a spirited drive...the rumble of the deep exhaust note...the air sucking in the intake...the high pitched whine of the turbocharger as it spools up...and the smile that is still on your face and soul is priceless...

...that is why we own a Lotus...........

Edited by cjtpb13

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If you need convincing, why bother? If you want it, but it. If you want an M3 buy that instead! Who is buying? You or your mate?

If you dont see the value (not Money) in your ownership, then the point is Mute. baby.gif


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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What makes your heart race when you think of what you want in your garage...a BMW M or a Lotus Esprit...for all of us here, the choice is obvious!

Jason

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You know what, you all are right who cares about a corvette or an m3. I cant believe i am talking about them, but you can probaly see where im coming from just a little. Im sure before everyone bought there esprit the thought crossed thier minds at least once about buying something else, but im positve you made the right decision in picking the esprit. You guys ALL seem very happy with your cars. And taking your time to help out a young confused esprit enthusiast really means a lot to me. I just just thinking though having driven a few porsches, corvettes and bmws, i dont know what its like to drive an esprit. I would appreciate it if you guys would share your experience with me about what its like. You know like the driving feel, position, people starting conversatins with you everytime you go to the gas station, taking it on a trip, guys with other exotics giving you the eye on the highway wanting to race. Long story short whats it like to own one of these beautiful cars. thanks.

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Mike,

Hope you had a great Easter holiday weekend. Most of us could write a book with just those few questions. I will attempt to explain as best as I can.

I also offer this; If by mid May you have not yet found your Esprit ( I had a broker search for mine for several years ) I will meet you in CT and make sure that you have the opportunity to ride in one, and I am not talking about a mere five minute ride either. Mine should be back from the dealership by then and pieced all back together. I know I will be going up to my house in Fairfield County in May sometime for a week.

Owning an exotic you will find very few other exotic owners wanting to race. More so you find the Corvette's, BMW's, and Porsche's of the lot wanting to prove something ( do not even get me started on the Camaro's, Mustangs, and Chargers...) and you just smile and wave and let them race off into the sunset. People start conversations everywhere...respect them and be kind. I always answer any question thrown my way. I become very vague when it comes to any monetary questions. That I dance around. Friends one thing but strangers another. I always tell them just how lucky I have been to have temporary care of the vehicles in my lifetime. I have had it all and I have had nothing in my life...so I do appreciate it. I can also tell you I frequently get pulled over in my exotics by the police officers. Many just want to see the car up close. Always prepare to be late for anything due to people and such taking up your time. I have had twenty minute conversations at the petrol stations before. I also invite them to have a closer look as long as they are not covered in grime or eating an ice cream cone...lol

Driving, I can tell you this...the Lotus Esprit is my favourite to drive of my exotics. I find it the most relaxing to take on a long journey. I have done 14 straight hours of driving in it. Yes my legs were a bit stiff but you can find a decent driving position. The other advantage is I have plenty of room for luggage and still would be able to pick up the cute blonde and place her in the passengers seat. My other exotics that would not happen on a long trip. It takes getting use to looking out your windows and looking on the level of most cars door handles. Vision is fine if all your mirrors are properly set. I have a backup camera that operates with my SAT/NAV stereo system that can be activated any time.

Long story short...owning an exotic is a gift...but a fantastic one !

Edited by cjtpb13

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Christopher pretty well sums up my experience in an Esprit. I can remember on my initial test drive that I was somewhat intimidated taking it out the first time. I had no idea what to expect as far as feel, what I can see, or can't see, etc. I have to admit though, upon coming back to the dealership, one couldn't slap the smile off my face if they tried. Certainly not a feeling one experiences too often in life. Unlike Christopher though, I've yet to be stopped by any police (knock on wood), but I have pulled up to some very nice officers while waiting at the light and had several questions. One of which was "how fast does that thing go?", well, how to answer something like that to a cop?!?! I just kindly said, it has a maximum speed of 65 on the highway, but it will do considerably more on the race track. I do find that I get lots of questions and do my absolute best to talk to anyone about the car. It's a pleasure to own and drive, but also requires lots of patience and question asking as well as the occasional request to hear it run, all of which I generally try to do. The smiles and general thanks you get from someone by doing little things like that make ownership rewarding in it's own way.

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Mine broke down on the way home after less than 30 minutes of ownership. It was afternoon peak hour traffic, three lanes of traffic and nobody got agitated and started blowing their horns. A couple of drivers behind got out and helped push me onto the middle island. Everyone was polite and waited. Couple of lessons there about the attention and respect it gets (as well as those potential failure to proceed issues).


DanR

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cjtpb13 i hope you had a nice Easter as well. Thanks so much for the offer. I'll have to take you up on that. You say your car is at the dealer. What is wrong with it? I hope nothing major.

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Mike,

As it was I ended up working in Cairo finishing up a project for Easter.

My Lotus had Bambi's father throw himself at me whilst I was doing 65mph on the I540N in Raleigh NC. Needless to say, thanks to a Ford F250 being targeted as well, knocking him down about the same time he reach me. So as opposed to sitting in the cockpit with me, I went up and over. Radiators, bit of body work ( front and rear ) and the exhaust manifold and such took a hit. That was in mid November. I just picked up the last part in the beginning of March whilst I was in the UK meeting up with some of the other members here for a weekend of mechanical fun.

What part of the state are you in...not that it matters because everything seems to be an hour and a half away...lol

Currently I am in Europe still and will be returning to the US for a week this Friday but then off to Aruba for a week ( for work not pleasure unfortunately ). As I said I should be up in mid May and they should have my car back together.

Edited by cjtpb13

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Christopher, thank God you didnt get hurt in the accident. Did i read that right, these cars have 2 radiators? Or is that a typo. I live in norwalk Ct near greenwich, darien, westport, fairfield. Thats cool to hear that your going to Aruba, even if it is for work. It seems you do a lot of traveling, thats awesome. The man emailed me today about that black s4 today. He said the clutch was never done nor was the exhaust manifold. Hey, at least he honest. Im still a little nervous about the clutch, you know if probaly needs one(maybe one reason hes selling it, after they told him what its gonna cost to replace it) As far as the manifold goes, being the young guy at the dealer i saw a lot of the exhaust grunt work the older guys turned down. We really didnt many 94 or older cars, but a lot of the newer cars were still a nightmare to replace manifold botls.It just seems like it would be a lot more chalenging doing it on a mid eninge car. And i know i would do it myself and not take it anywhere. Anyway he said the timing belt was done 3 years ago, and he doesnt drive it much. From what i learned on hear it seems like these cars like to be driven, not sitting.

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It needs a timing belt for sure after 3 years no matter on the mileage.

The exhaust manifold is tricky but not impossible to do and a clutch is dead easy and not too pricey at all.

It could be that neither need doing though.


Chunky Lover

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Mike,

Yes radiators, main cooling, oil coolers, and aircon condenser/Chargecooler.

I am familiar with Norwalk. Not far from where I have my house, about a 25 minute drive down the Merritt...unless it is rush hour...lol. Yes I travel extensively around the world. Last year over 320+ days in hotels. Not as fun as it sounds, trust me on that one.

Do not let that intimidate you. Clutch and manifold, and I personally would replace the timing belt just to be sure. ( See Simon was typing faster than myself ) The advantage you have is being a mechanic. An automobile is an automobile... The consensus and spoken rule on the forum is, if you have more than a few jobs to do on the engine then remove it. Not as hard as it looks. Key important thing is to label and have the manual and service notes. Read and reread, then read again...even if you hate reading, read it one more time after that. The cost if the manifold is cracked, common on the 4pots can be a bit steep. The clutch is not as bad and timing belts can be found reasonable. Labour, especially here in the States is a lot higher than what it is in the UK. You will save yourself in that area. Ironic thing is it seems most Esprits, at least mine, have the tendency to have the manifold nuts and studs vibrate loose. I have gotten to the point that I use a video scope and check them often.

Yes I did not get hurt in that accident, but two days after Christmas in New Canaan I had a young kid plough into me on the Merritt and had my left shoulder torn at the rotator cuff. Surgery finally in June sometime. Insurance for that has been a hassle. 2009 was not a good year for a few of my cars.

Any other questions post or PM.

Edited by cjtpb13

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Man, 30 grand for a 1994 that i will have to travel to see, have flatbedded home, and i might have to remove an engine. plus the cost of the clutch and manifold. Even being an automobile technician i dont want to remove an engine out of a midengine car, or any for that matter. It just shuldnt have to be done, but i guess it is what it is. Dont get me wrong im not giving up on this dream at all but, u cant blame me for being a little upset. Well ill have to keep my eyes open for one closer to home, and with less work needed. (records of stuff like clutch and manifold being done recently) But this one was black and an s4 something i had my heart set on. Maybe thats why its been 4 sale for sooooo long. needing the clutch and manifold.

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Honestly Mike, pulling an engine from one of these things is a walk in the park. The bright side is that most maintenance can be done in an Esprit with the engine in place. There are other exotics that require engine out services even for simple items, fortunately the Esprit doesn't fall in that category. Sure there are times when it's easier to pull the engine, especially if multiple projects will be taking place, but a single project generally doesn't require such drastic measures.

As for the clutch, I'm currently in the process of doing one on my V8 and I have to say as for other cars I've done a clutch on, this one is by far the easiest, and would assume the S4 to be as easy. It's been a bit slow going for me, but only because I've only been able to work on it a couple of hours the last couple days. Started on Monday and expect to be done tomorrow, or certainly saturday as I've got the entire day to finish up. I do certainly understand your disappointment though. For the dollar figure that this particular S4 is asking, I would expect it to be in tip top condition with absolutely nothing on it's to-do list.

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You make a good point freshcut, for that price i would want it in tip top condition. No questions if the clutch or manifold are gonna puke on me. . I heard that when pulling an engine on these, you should leave the trans connected?? Remove both as one unit??

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