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esprit v8 - should I buy one


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SELOC suggested I post on here to get really good advice to the following question:

I quite fancy one but a little voice keeps saying to me " dont be daft - it will be nothing but aggro compared to the current Elise with Toyota engine". Is the little voice right? How troublesome are they, and how expensive / difficult when they do give trouble.?

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Apart from a crank sensor that cost me £16.48, mine has not let me down at all during the last 4 years.

Service and MoT with Lotus dealer costs me around £450 pa.

As usual look for service history etc

Oh, did I mention mines for sale :whistle:

Happy hunting

Wing Commander Dibble DFC<br /><br />
North Midlands Esprit Group<br /><br />
NMEG "the formidable squadron"<br /><br />
"probably the most active Esprit group in the world" Andy Betts, Castle Combe May 2007

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You'll hear lots of talk of V8's being problematic but in truth, it's a 185mph 4.2 second car so is unlikely to be as reliable as a toyota, as any car with such performance will attest to. That being said, as Graham said (and his is a very nice car!) they can offer plenty of trouble free driving provided that they are used and serviced as per the schedule. Worse, worse, worse case scenario Lotus will supply a brand new engine, complete, for around £6k and it would be about £1k to fit but in truth, very few problems will require a whole new engine. Keep an eye on turbo cooling lines, rusting fuel tanks as per any Esprit (indeed any car up to 15 years old!) and get a good car and you'll be well rewarded in terms of performance. In relation to Lotus small platform cars, there's little comparison in terms of performance as the V8 is 350bhp in stock form, it's a hugely fast car.

I drove a Sport350 for 3 months last year. 3,000 hard miles and all it cost was insurance (I was on another persons policy, they paid £1 to add me!), fuel (£1,000 - I said they were hard miles!) and an alternator (£450 fitted, uprated item too at a main dealer). Amazing car, mind bendingly fast too :)

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

For forum issues, please contact the Moderators. I will aim to respond to emails/PM's Mon-Fri 9-6 GMT. 

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I Agree with everything said above. I have recently purchased a 1999 V8 with 121,000 miles, the previous owner used the car as daily transport!

Upon scanning the vast wad of history I believe the car has only broken down twice. The only things my car has regulary gone through is a handful of turbos (seized wastegates beyond repair) oxygen sensors/cats. On the whole their has been very little repair work carried out between scheduled services.

The engine was replaced at 30,000 miles by lotus f.o.c. and the current engine has just been rebuilt, so the engine did have a lifespan of approx 85-90,000 miles. The gearbox in the car is original/untouched, and is still in good order.

For the last 17 years i've owned various porsches and they've not been any more reliable than the later esprits!

One upgrade worth carrying out on a V8 is fitting a triple core radiator, which does help them run cooler in heavy traffic, its not essential, but does give more peace of mind, its quite a common upgrade so chances are you may get a car with one already fitted. Another thing that helps is to blow collected debris away from the radiator periodically with an air gun.

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I've just recently bought a 2001 V8 so I'm very much a new owner, as far as costs are concerned I bought the car knowing it had a blowing exhaust and got £1K knocked off the purchase price. I sent it to an independant saying just sort out everything while the engines out which included new manifold studs, cambelt change, all new pipes to one turbo, new engine and gearbox mounts and a few other things that should be done while the engines out. So a total bill of £3K which I think means the car is now fully up together mechanically and had its major service. In my opinion you do not go out and buy this sort of car on a tight budget but now the car is running nicely I can see why I chose it over a £30K Porsche 911 Turbo its a superb driving experience. My last car was an RX7 which I spent over £7K in the first year to get it sorted as a good track day car and with 400 bhp proved to be entertaining on track, the Esprit feels every bit as exciting. I plan to upgrade the Suspension and fit polybushes later this year and get it on track as well so even more money will be spent on it but I really like driving the car which is what its all about. I prefer the later models with the smaller dash and brake upgrade, the power delivery is brutal when pushed hard but the car is happy to poodle along then at the press of the throttle go squirelling up the road big grin factor. Not sure if my ownership is typical but thats how its happened to me and the only thing that will replace it is a new Nissan GTR

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As a long term Sport 350 owner i am obviously a huge fan (it was my car Bibs was "keeping loose" for me), but you will be very lucky to get through annual maintenance for less than four figures a year. A lot will turn on the condition its in now:

- cats have a very limited life (especially if not used often) and are several hundred a side to replace;

- turbo feed pipes are a real weak spot. No matter how well looked after (and my car has been pampered all its life and always garaged) you WILL need to replace them all soon, if they have not been done already. Lotus skimped on the quality of metal and you can spend 3k even with a specialist in getting this, and related turbo work done.

- clutches -1k plus every 12,000 miles;

- cam belts every two years

etc..etc...

But it remains a hidden great and the 350 horses are driving a lot less weight than modern cars with much more power. So buy one, preferably a 350 (which i think is one of the few esprits that will climb in value) and just make sure you have some budget set aside to run your supercar..cos that is what it is.....

Ken

Sport 350 No 007

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Erm, shhh! :P

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

For forum issues, please contact the Moderators. I will aim to respond to emails/PM's Mon-Fri 9-6 GMT. 

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Just thought I should re-address my posting which coincided with my Friday night pizza making evening which does involve the drinking of several bottles of italian red whilst making the pizza so I was perhaps well lubricated at that time. I meant to say pootle rather than Poodle and squirrling down the road which is my description of almost sideways. I guess the point about costs was really that the car had reached a point where that sort of money was needed to be spent and hopefully will not require doing again for some period of time.

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Not sure about that...but if Danny Bahar can be persuaded to spend some of that product placement budget on putting Bond back in an Esprit rather than an Evora in Desperate Housewives..he will do us all a favour!!

:thumbup:

Ken

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I say if you like it and you want it buy it,you can look around these sites for ages getting horror stories and people praising their car,it gives you a idea but at the end of the day when you buy a car you dont know if the gearbox is going to go 500 mile down the road or last for 4000 mile and that really accounts for the rest of the car.

I say the gearbox cos thats what happened to me,brought the most expensive s4s i could find from who I thought was a good reputable dealer,1500 miles later gearbox.

You just cant tell,but I say BUY :thumbsup::shuriken:

Edited by nigeninja
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