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Why did you buy your Lotus?


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From age 12 it took me till my early 20's to get my first Elan. Driving it home was one of those rare moments in life when reality is better than the dream.

Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it, depends on what you put into it. (Tom Leahrer)

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I didn't see the "I wanted to set myself a stretching sales target so promised myself a £1k classic car if I achieved full bonus that quarter,oops, ended up with a £6k Europa" option.

Edited by andydclements
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Dumbest poll responses I ever saw ...

1st time,1971 Europa - because of its looks, did not know what a Lotus was

2nd time, 1974 Europa - because it was a Lotus

3rd time 1979 Esprit JPS - because it was a Lotus

4th time 1995 Esprit S4s - because it was a Lotus

Rich

Edited by Rich
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Back in the day, when such a thing was within the realm of personal possibility, I paid cash for a brand new Europa, hand picked from a field of them parked cheek by jowl on unfenced farmland used by the east coast distributor in New York state. Years later the Esprit came along, at 10 times the price, and thus it remained an unrequited aspiration for many years more. I would see them from time to time, rare glimpses flashing by for mere nanoseconds in the California sunshine, but long enough for a retinal experience seared indelibly into my lusting brain.

Such dreams were set aside as work, marriage, and family duties absorbed life's allocation of time and energy, until one day, as I faithfully delivered my younger son to his weekly piano lesson, my eyes perceived two fine examples of the breed parked beak to beak on a sales lot along my route. They looked for all the world like brand new vehicles, such are the advantages of fiberglass bodies and timeless design. I was entirely convinced that Lotus had begun manufacturing them anew, and I resolved to stop by the display on my way back. Imagine my surprise to find that they were, in fact, "previously owned" and each, like fine wine, of several years' vintage. Discovering that my favourite of the two had a mere 16,000 miles on the clock, and a price well within reach for a hard working late career aviator, I returned the next day for a test drive. Up till then I had not experienced automotive acceleration of that caliber (though I had most certainly come to know, via the Europa, the lateral G capabilities of Lotus fame), and the sensation was most pleasing. Suffice it to say, I was thoroughly seduced and simultaneously induced to summarily produce the required deposit to hold the car in my name. The following day I brought in the remaining funds, continuing my historical penchant for paying cash for the marque, as I wanted no lienholder's stain upon the title.

So, have I said "why did I buy my Lotus?" Because the car is freaking beautiful, completely timeless in its styling, and goes like a bat out of hades!:on2long::devil:

Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.

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My reason isn't on the poll either. I couldn't find a Porsche or Ferrari in as good a condition. :getmecoat::hrhr:

Nah. Not really. Just always wanted one after The Spy Who Loved Me. Don't know of any other car manufacturer that can do the same with such a small displacement engine. Oh yeah! I also wanted a car with a wing.

Edited by ramjet

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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I'm with Roger--the survey doesn't include options that relate to me.

In 1976, at the age of 11, my folks got me a book by The Automobile Club of Italy called World Cars 1976, which had a preface of a few color shots of unusual and amazing eye-catching cars like the Lambo Bravo and Ferrari N.A.R.T. 365 GTB/4, but was primarily a book of black and white pages, with three cars per page and basic stats, sorted by country and then marque, of every car made in the world that year. I sat on the couch in my folks' place reading through it and when I got to the middle and hit the attached page and saw the Esprit, something happened (snapped?)--I call it a visual meme--an image and imagery and feelings beyond the mere photo, that lodged in my mind, and I knew that one day I had to have one. Then the Bond film came out a few months later and I levitated out of my seat when I saw it roll off the boat. Then I went to the '78 or '79 New York Auto Show and sat in a black S2. Then I grew up, the design changed in a way that completely lost me (no offense), and I never had the time, money, or knowledge to have one.

Then just about a year ago, I was sitting on the same couch with my 3-year old son on my lap, talking with my mom, and she said, "You know, he might like that car book you used to have," and disappeared to the back of the house, returning with the book (!) which I thought had been thrown out decades before, but which she'd kept and had taped up the binding with duct tape. My son sat on my lap and started thumbing through it, pausing a few times, saying not a single word, until he got to page 165--which had absolutely no marks, dogears, or anything whatsoever to give it away (until he recently started tracing it and marked it up with a ruler and pencil)--jabbed his finger at the Esprit and yelled, "I LOVE IT!," at which I was completely dumbfounded (more than normal), then asked him what color he'd like it in, and he said, "Orange!" (always my favorite). So my mom and I stared at each other not really knowing what to say. Then I pulled out my cell phone and called my dad, who I'd always thought had no interest in cars beyond the AC Cobra, asked him what he thought the greatest looking car ever made was, and he said, "Oh easy, first Esprit, hands-down." So if you ever need a case for genetics, there you go. By that time, I had the means to buy and restore one, but not the knowledge, so I thought, "screw it", and I started lurking for a mentor/broker, found Tony K, found out he had what amounted to the perfect car for what I was looking for, bought it, and the chassis-up restoration is underway (photo from last weekend attached). When it's done, I'm taking my son on a weekend trip to the country and hoping his head doesn't explode because he's become completely obsessed with S1s and has over-loved many a 1:43 scale model and a few 1:18s too (expensive habit!).

The sickness is progressing now that I also acquired an '83 "Investor's Special Edition" Turbo.

Thinking about the five new models, maybe it's just a generational thing, but the Esprit, Elise, and Elan all look too similar to me (although I really applaud the design coherence), too much like Lambos, and just don't seem as revolutionary as the Giugiaro-era cars to me. They just don't seem to be sufficiently distinguished or unique as compered to other marques. I very badly want to be able to look at them--even if they break with Lotus design tradition like Giugiaro did--and still say, "That could only be a Lotus," but I just can't say that. I think they need something indefinably weird (in a good way) about them, but they seem almost predictable to me. Then again, I don't think I'm the target market demographic, although I really like the Elite. All irrelevant anyway since I don't have the wonga for these new cars.

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1983 "Investor's Special Edition" Turbo Esprit (#43/50) | 2012 Evora S

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Matt, great story.

I must have been about 10 years when my Mum bought me a black jumper with Gold letters forming the word Lotus. It was absolutely fantastic. A couple of years later I was cycling past our local Lotus dealership (SGT in Taplow) when I saw an Esprit in the window. It was tipped on its side and I just stared at it for ages and ages. I couldn't really imagine there ever being anything more stunning than that and I promised myself that one day I'd have one.

When I started working I wasn't earning much money so I decided to buy and sell a couple of classic cars - it was the mid to late 1980's and the classic car boom was in full swing so you couldn't really lose by buying a sports car. I started with a few MGB's and then a couple of Lotus Europas until I'd made enough money to start looking for the car of my dreams. I became obsessional about choosing the right model and at the right price and must have seen many before I finally saw the one which blew me away. It was 3 years old, stunning condition but above my budget. Not sure how I managed to raise the full amount needed but I did and 21 years on I still have it though I pangs of guilt about not using it enough and am constantly wondering if I should sell it so somebody else can get the enjoyment out of it that I've had.

Anyway that's my story. Nothing cynical or sarcastic but just as others have said, a boyhood dream that didn't disappoint when it finally became reality.

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Add one to the boyhood dream!

Loved Lotus originally after seeing the JPS Type 72 Formula 1 car, and as a lad loved the fact that it was always Chapman who seemed to be ahead of the game in using technology.

Then I saw the S1 Esprit in Spy Who Loved Me. I've never been so wowed by a car in my life before or since. Spent many occasions on motorways chasing after, following and looking at any Esprit I came across. Took me till I was 38 to get one, and I'm currently in an Eclat, but i have no doubt I'll get another Esprit again in the future.

Regards

Mat

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...and another boyhood dream.

My Lotus intro was a brand new L reg JPS Europa 5 Speed that moved into our road when I was at a very impressionable age. I loved it - and spent far to much time around someone elses driveway. Then the Esprit came out and I was wowed by that incredible new and bold shape. I loved muscle cars but was won over by a car with half the engine but the same performance. Then the Turbo came out and won loads more plaudits in all the tests. In the early '80s the Lotus Stand at Earls Court had all the range in that Ice Blue metallic and looked absolutely stunning. Decided then and there to have one as soon as I could. The time was finally right in 1989 and I scoured the country looking for a goody. The Ice Blue ones that I saw were already starting to look well used, but then in early 1990 I came across a stunning white one and decided to go for that ......one of my better decisions!

Loving Lionel and Eleanor......missing Charlie and Sonny

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OK, here is my brief story.

Another one of those who saw TSWLM and was hooked (I was 5 when it came out but probably saw it later on TV one xmas). Used to have the die cast corgi model which I loved.

Never thought I would be able to afford a Lotus - remember seeing the BBC's motor show special on BBC2 with the old TG team the year the S1 Elise was launched, and remember thinking "I would like one of those in the future", reasoning that with "only" a £16 launch price 2nd hand values may be within reach one day.

Fast foward a few years, change of job and a few salary rasies. I had a conversation at work about buying a sports car which would lose little money (Ferrari 328 in this case) - took that as a great idea, changed it slightly, remortgaged the house and got my S2 Elise loosely as a 30th birthday present to myself - was a year old but to me was a new car. That was in 2002. The car has been cherished in that time, no expense spared and I make no apologies if it perhaps doesn't get the use it should, escapes the rain & snow, no track day use etc. its more than just a car to me, its something I thought I would never own. I am sure a lot of you can relate to that!

Always had an Esprit itch though, looked from time to time about an early Stephens car but decided it had to be G car, and it was easier to justify having a classic alongside the Elise. Got my S2 Esprit in 2009, which has spent a while undergoing a full cosmetic restoration including the interior which is due to be finished soon. It had to be a white G car and again I make no apologies for that! S1 prices were out of my range, and the S2 has enough of the styling cues which made such an impression at a more affordable price (relatively speaking!)

Edited by Nelly9000
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Got my S2 Esprit in 2009, which has spent a while undergoing a full cosmetic restoration including the interior which is due to be finished soon. It had to be a white G car and again I make no apologies for that!

A previous owner of my S1 grafted on an S2 front end (which I like), and I've always been a fan of the Speedlines over the Wolfs and am putting on a polished set (but keeping the Wolfs), and while I'm obsessed with Colorado Orange, it's hard to argue with your choice...

Are you going all-white like the attached or black bottom as in the video? (I'm convinced S2 owners have stronger opinions about this than S1 owners have about pretty much anything.)

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1983 "Investor's Special Edition" Turbo Esprit (#43/50) | 2012 Evora S

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So you guys who were "knocked out" when you first saw the Esprit or a picture of it chose it because of its styling. Simples.

S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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So you guys who wre "knocked out" when you first saw the Esprit or a picture of it chose it because of its styling. Simples.

Who wouldn't want to get inside a lithe and athletic British lady in a smokin' hot Italian dress?

1983 "Investor's Special Edition" Turbo Esprit (#43/50) | 2012 Evora S

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I saw it when I was 13 back in 1976 at the Earls Court Motor show, and have wanted one ever since.

Simples!

This book is guaranteed to NOT change your life…but it does mention a Lotus Esprit...

To enjoy this masterpiece, download Martin now. Simples!!!

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Moxie,

It will be as per the photo (don't really like the sills in black) - but the bottom lip of the front spoiler will be black so the nose looks more like the S1.

See my avitar pic, thats pretty much how its staying!

Edited by Nelly9000
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I went to the Earls Court Motor show with some mates back when they launched the X180 and as soon as I saw it I said to my mates "I am going to have one of those" and there was much laughing and general amusement at my silliness. Firstly I had to prove them wrong, secondly the people on the stand were so friendly and happy to show me the car I was instantly hooked on the brand and have been obsessed ever since and am currently on my 3rd Esprit, much to my friends amazment. Satisfying on so many levels.

Twitter @radioRedwards

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Well I was deciding wether to get a tvr cerbra or an esprit I looked at a yellow cerbra but I was pretty sure it had been in a shunt as one side of the windowscreen had been masticed in by a blind person. Anyway I was heading for the coast and a v8 passed me so I thought fuck it I will buy an esprit and picked the s4 as I think it's the best looking one and in the best colour

It's Oogies turn to boogie

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First Lotus I ever saw was a Lotus Seven at the Do-It-Yourself Exhibition at Olympia....late 50's or early 60's, Moley was a schoolboy. Instantly thought "I could build that!", but the £600 odd price tag was way beyond reach. Then got seduced by a book called "The Red Car"...an American publication detailing how this lad acquired an MG TC , rebuilt it and raced it. Some years later, for fifty quid, an MG TC (BJL 116!) was MINE....a wreck, took several months to get roadworthy, ran it for a year then ripped it apart and did the rebuild properly, supercharger and aeroscreens and 16" wheels and tyres and bright red paint......

Then came the RAF, and nowhere to garage the beast....couldn't bring myself to watch it deteriorate outside...thought about an Elan with the big valve engine, but had nowhere to build it....enjoyed the test drive, though(!)....so sold the TC (wish I still had it!) and got an Alfa Romeo Bertone GTV. My first piece of Giugiaro design......

Years passed and I still fancied a Lotus 7. Just too expensive for what it was, though.......then the company I was running had a goodish year, and I set out to buy an Aston Martin DB6.....but the prices went through the roof before I managed to find one.....then I thought about the Lotus itch....and very nearly bought a 7 from Caterhams. Then I discovered that, for the same price, or a bit less......I could buy an Esprit Turbo!!!!!! No contest.....I could afford something that looked like THAT???!! Looked at two, bought the second one. That was in 1988, and we're still together.

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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I always like the esprit from my school days,because to get to my mates house on my push bike I had to go pass Marshalls garage on Cherry hinton road Cambridge,a main Lotus dealer at the time.

The cars where all just parked outside in front of the show room, more or less on the path,so you could just walk pass and look without stepping foot on the garage forecourt,which was a good thing because in those days most garage sales men would come out and tell you to bugger off if you started to have a look around.

So that said the best time to look was on the way home when the garage was shut,i could then stick my sticky fingers all over the windows and have a good look inside,and look in the showroom,which was my first sight at a Esprit Essex going round on a turntable :w00t: beautiful,hook for life after that always liked them always wanted one.

So boyhood dream yes,which is why I ticked Looks,cos as a boy the looks is what grabs you first :shuriken:

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It will be as per the photo (don't really like the sills in black) - but the bottom lip of the front spoiler will be black so the nose looks more like the S1.

Neil,

Apologies to whoever's red S2 the attached started out as, and for the not terribly good Photoshop work, but a previous owner of my S1 had grafted on the entire front end of an S2--from the wheel well forward--but I really like the bottom curve of the front end of the S1. On the other hand, I really like the S2 spoiler and Speedlines, so that's how my car will be configured when finished, in Colorado Orange and tartan interior. I've been debating whether to paint the entire car one color or mask off just the spoiler in black to simulate the bottom front lines of an S1, which is what I'm going to do. I'm not good enough in Photoshop to mask out the ear ducts, but this image sufficed to help me decide.

Is this what you're doing as well or are you masking it off completely horizontal as per S2 spec?

Regards,

Matt

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1983 "Investor's Special Edition" Turbo Esprit (#43/50) | 2012 Evora S

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Hi Matt,

Exactly as your bottom photo!

As you know there is a join where the spoiler meets the body, and that is where the black usually goes up to. I will be doing it so only the bottom lip is black.

I have also painted the ears white so they blend into the bodywork, but other than that you can take your photo, change the colour to white and thats what mine should look like! I have got a photo of a white S1 done this way, I will see if I can find it.

I know a lot of people like th S2 with the black sills, but to me it makes the car look too long and in my head the perfect Esprit has the sills the body colour. Its also one of those things that is very simple to change if you wanted it exactly as an S2 would have been.

I have also purchased (from a PO of the car) the chrome stalked wing mirrors also shown on your photo, so the car will have those too!

Edited by Nelly9000
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