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Melbourne Esprit engineer


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Hi all, first post ! I'm in the process of buying a 1988 Stevens Esprit from the UK and importing to Melbourne. Can anyone recommend a Melb engineer to use, preferebly west side ? The engineering side of things is my main concern...

I had a chat today to the one engineer I've used in the past, Hubert Gall. He's never done an Esprit before so that would be problematic from the start. His main concerns would be on the emissions side of things and suggested I get some sort of evidence to basically say that a UK '88 Esprit meets the same emissions regulations as an '88 Australian Esprit. Anyone have any helpful comments about that or their own experiences getting an '88 to pass its engineering ? I'll do what I can prior to taking it to someone - unleaded sticker on fuel flap, rear centre stop light, muffler noise etc

I've hunted high and low over the web to find out what I can to get compliance, gleened that it does have a catalytic convertor and side intrusion bars - so that's a good start.

Thanks for any info :)


ps not sure whether to put this thread here or in the technical area /shrug

Edited by Junosi
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First welcome to owning an esprit in Australia! :thumbsup: Second, :TTIWWP: :lol:

There is Steve Taylor on 03 97611903 or 03 97398944. He may be able to point you in the right direction in Melbourne.

There was another guy in Melbourne as well named Paul McCreery who I believe was working toward getting RAWS accreditation, but I have a funny feeling that he now works for a member on here called Andecorp. Other people have imported cars on here and they will pop up sometime soon. Mind you, most of them are in NSW which won't be much help to you in Vic. I bought my car here so I can't help.

Have you dug through the RAWS website to see if there is anyone? RAWS website


Edited by ramjet

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

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Thanks for the reply Michael. I'll post some photo's as soon as I actually own it! It's still in process until I can get my agent (my cousin) to check it out and finalise it. Just doing a bit of forward planning at this stage.

Being an '88 I won't have to use a RAW as it's imported through the pre-'89 scheme. So just need to find a VASS engineer for a cert, preferably one that has done an Esprit before. I did have a look at the RAW/SEVS list though, would've been handy to have a RAW in Melb familiar with Lotus that could of done the VASS thingo for me. Only two on the SEVS list I can see for Lotus are in QLD and NSW.

I'll check out those names you mention and probably give Steve a call tomorrow. Really I just want to hear that it's not going to cost me $10k to get complianced before I commit to purchase :)

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Welcome to the "pre-89 import club" if you read other threads in this section you'll find others that have done the same thing - and get some idea of what to do / not to do. Have patience, make sure you check and double check everything , get good transport insurance, and fill the boot with spares before it gets popped into a container. Expect about 6 weeks in transit and then another 6 weeks in customs !

I'm sure Roger and Justin will add their comments soon, but I don't think any of us regret doing it. Good Luck and let us know how the project progresses.

Too many Toys are never enough !

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... Really I just want to hear that it's not going to cost me $10k to get complianced before I commit to purchase :)

Shouldn't cost you $10k. That's what you'd pay for a RAWS compliance and your car pre-dates that requirement. Should be in the hundreds not thousands. Steve or one of the others can give you a more accurate figure. Also contacting their engineers might be worthwhile for both yourself and whoever you use in Vic, if they haven't done an Esprit yet.

And welcome to the site and Esprit ownership.


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I brought my car in and had it engineered just before Christmas.

Most of the quotes I was getting for the Engineers Certificate in Sydney were about $600-800 but Steve recommended a guy to me who did it for about $350 but sadly he retired just after I got my certificate.

With my engineer he didn't worry about a center high mounted stop lamp, he said that rule didn't come in till later, but I will list below some of the things that he focused on. Bear in mind that different engineers will have different areas that they focus on.

  • Side Impact Bars - Esprits have good side impact bars but your engineer may ask you to take your door cards off so he can check.
  • Wing Mirrors - Your mirrors will probably be convex which can't be passed unless they are AS compliant which the Esprit ones are not, cut some flat mirror glass and stick it over the original mirrors.
  • Noise - I failed on this one and it was hard to pass. You need to be under 90db at 4200 rpm. Your engineer may or may not give you an extra 2db because the car is mid engine. It is very hard to pass this test. I had to have a new exhaust made up and also had to pack it with steel wool.
  • Wheels and tyres - If you have non standard wheels you may have trouble. You also have to make sure you have a tyre placard.

Some engineers will focus on things that are really irrelevant. I heard of one engineer who insisted the owner changed the fuel filler ports to ones that would not fit leaded fuel nozzles despite the fact that leaded fuel is not available anymore. I actually used this anecdote to get an idea of how anal each engineer was when I called them, I would tell them that story with a bit of a laugh and most would laugh about it too but a few guys would say "well, actually technically even though leaded fuel is not available it is still one of the rules", so of course you would not go to those guys.

Also pay attention to Roger about the air con gas. My car didn't have any gas in it but because I didn't know if it did and didn't have a certificate saying it had been purged I had to pay an extra $430 to the Department of Environment for a Pre-Charged Refrigeration Equipment Importers License.

The other thing I will note is definitely get your Vehicle Import Approval before you ship the car. It is tempting to ship the car and to hope the certificate will be processed before the car arrives but the Department of Infrastructure can be very slow. It took me almost 2 months to get mine sorted but thankfully I didn't try to ship the car first. If your car arrives before you get your VIA you will have big problems, if it turns out you can't get a VIA for some reason you will have to re-export your car or pay for the government to destroy it.

Most of the information you need about government regulations can be found linked from the two pages below.

Department of Infrastructure - Vehicle Import Approval

Customs - Duty

Good luck with it. You can save yourself a bit of money and you will have more cars to choose from if you import, but it is a lot of stress and time. There are quite a few people here who have done this so if you have any questions or problems we can help.

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Some things to consider

There are a few Esprit's for sale in Australia right now, a nice looking 88 model in QLD for $26k It might be cheaper and easier............... :whistle:

Roll-on, Roll-off or containerised ? I used a shared container through a UK company called Anglo Pacific who handled all clearance at both ends - slightly more expensive but easy and they are good to deal with. justin used a RoRo service and had a bit more hassle. It cost me about AU$3000 including insurance, they even sent photo's of the car being picked up from the seller and loaded into the box.

Extras - steam cleaning about $500, Customs charges for local agent calculating the duty and GST payable about $500. Customs duty 10% of value of the car based on UK purchase price and then 10% GST on top of the value and also the duty payable. ( double dipping ) When you fill out the value details DO NOT put a pound or dollar sign in front of the price you paid. If you are lucky they will assume dollars instead of pounds and therefore you'll pay less. ( I was lucky, they calculated using $7000 and not UK7,000 pounds ) If you use RoRo you may have extra unloading / demurage / dockside charges to pay.

Make sure you get a written condition report from teh shipping company before shipping which details any damage, and then carefully check it with a report when it's offloaded in Aus. Mine suffered a cracked Windscreen but was covered by shipping insurance, Justin's had 'rope' scuff marks in the paintwork from the tie-downs.

As Justin and Roger said - have the aircon gas removed and get a letter from teh guy who removes it stating that there is no gas in the system. You might even get the receiver/dryer disconnected too and blank off the hoses to keep dirt out. That way if they check, you are all clear. If you do that you won't have to pay the refrigerant gas license.

VIA is a chicken / egg dilemma. You need to 'own' the car in order to apply for approval, but you don't want to purchase a car unitl you have approval granted. You might have to work something out with the seller, maybe pay a deposit pending approval and then pay the final purchase price when you have the VIA. No point in owning a car that you can't import :wallbash:

If you can get an Esprit for UK9,000 pounds, you'll be looking at between AU$21k and $23k delivered PLUS on road costs. ( ENG certificate, Stamp Duty and Rego )

Too many Toys are never enough !

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Thanks for all the replies :) Lots to think about. Good tip about the aircon gas thank, wouldn't of thought of that.

I should hear back Mid next week how the inspection of the vehicle goes, I'm most interested in it's rust state. If it falls through I'll keep on looking, I'm patient and I've dreamed of owning an Esprit since I was about 8 I think.

I've been quoted £850 containerised shipping from Southampton to Melbourne - with another £275 to get the car to Southampton - both plus VAT - so about $2150aud total from A to B in a container using NYK shipping line.

Steve Taylor has already been helpful via email and I'll probably give him a call tomorrow to discuss further.

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I don't understand why you'd even bother now when Australian delivered GOOD cars are in the $20ks? No rust, veryfiable history, and you can get post March '89 cars which have the Renault tranny, the updated side mirrors, etc. And no hassle, no waiting.

The only Esprits' I'd bother importing would be either a S1 or the final edition V8's. First ones you can count on one hand in Australia, and the second ones were never released here.

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I think a lot of the Esprits that come up for sale in Australia are previous personal imports from the UK anyway, and the truth is that there isn't much choice when you want to buy one. The very good ones are invariably "keepers" and rarely are offered for sale. I looked for almost 18 months in Australia before buying a UK one, and in that time only one good-un came up and it was way out of my price range.

In any one week it's not uncommon to find 30 or 40 Esprit's for sale in UK advertised at Piston Heads / Autotrader / LEF, which is more choice than you would have here in 10 years. That added to the favorable exchange rate and importing becomes a very attractive proposition. As far as i know all the Steven's UK esprits had Renault boxes, the cars with Citroen were for export only. Also there are quite a lot of Esprit's in the UK that have been well looked after and kept out of the bad weather and therefore have avoided major rust problems. Find one of those with a good service history, realistic milage and an enthuisatic previous owner, and you can grab yourself a real bargain.

The pre-89 import rules limit choice a little, but the right car for the right money can save you thousands if you are on a limited budget. For anyone that is able to import a later model on a personal Import scheme through migration etc, they would be silly not too. As you know a late model V8 can be picked up in the UK for less than UK 20k, that's less than half what you would pay for a similar model here.

The other option is to wait until Roger decides to sell his car, that would be a very good purchase for someone. The only job left to do on it would be fit a low level wing - Sadly I guess it will be a long wait.............................. :ball:

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Too many Toys are never enough !

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