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Originality vs Reliability and Functionality


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Hi guys, I'd appreciate your thoughts on keeping the originality of my S2.

I absolutely love it to bits, from the smell down to the way it drives and looks it gets.

But I don't enjoy the dodgy electrics and fear of the unknown. I'll explain...

Whilst I love to tinker and wouldn't dream of swapping the engine or gearbox out, the wiring and reliability of some of the electrical components aren't to my liking.

This is probably down to dodgy spades or bad joins but, for example, my headlights aren't guaranteed to lift when you hit the switch. Sometimes they go up and down when they are supposed, sometimes not. The other day they didn't go down until I slammed the driver's door!

Anyway, what are people's thoughts on may be upgrading the gauges in the binnacle for modern versions (as close to the original) and may be replacing the speedo cable and oil pressure line for digital replacements.

I've got two plans for the S2, one to hire it out for weddings and the other as a track day car (for me) so things like temperature, oil pressure, revs are really really important. I'd love to be able to capture that data too.

May be I could be the first to uprate the electrics!

Edited by Chris Southam
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I step up and say I know where you are coming from but personally Ive never seen new gauges that look as good as the old ones IMO. Its your car so its your decision what ever you do. I would think careful cleaning of the terminals would help iron out some of your gremlins.

I am bias toward keeping the cars original, mainly because Ive not seen a modern take which looks as good as whats been replaced.

On your wedding hire idea lots of people think about doing that but the problem is no one sees the groom arrive as hes there first and a bride doesnt fit in (very easily in most cases)!

Buddsy (sorry for being negative...S2 are beautiful cars you lucky person!)

 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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Hi Buddsy, not negative at all. Must admit I'm torn too so it's nice to get other people's point of view.

I've some knowledge of the wedding business I must admit, been doing related business for some years now but you do make very good points :)

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hi guys, im sort of thinking doing a few mods myself, i think i have to be carefull due to being an S2.2 i dont want de value it once its finished. the first mod will be the interior, the original is half leather seats and cloth dash, not the nice stuff either, so im changing this to leather. The other mod i thinking about is as im having the engine rebuilt i was going to up rate to 200bhp, which as its internal im not sure it would matter? paul

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I have done a few mods. I think there are some engine mods that are ok even on the S2.2 I did change my horn for new snail type loud buggers. On my engine rebuild I worked on the head and replaced the rubber hoses with silicone but I didn't like the blue so got them in black so it looks the same. I am going to be fitting an oil catch tank rather than passing the old oily air back into the carbs. I will be making something I feel will not look out of place with the original.

Buddsy

 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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  • Gold FFM

Mine has various modifications - however the previous owner who did them kept them all within the style of the car - as he put it, he was just finishing it off properly....

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  • Gold FFM

I have:

glass engine cover / oil catch tank / engine light not to mention that the engine is a HC unit out of an excel (which I fitted after the last went bang), I have air extraction fans in the ducts to aid hot starting, the whole area around the glass cover is properly carpeted including a carpeted panel which covers the boot and hinges up.

Interior is re-done in cream leather with charcoal grey on the binnacle / under the windscreen and grey carpets. I have fitted the Panasonic RM610 roof stereo out of an Essex and re-located the clock to were the stereo was in a plain black leather panel. There is a small under-dash panel on either side of the dashboard with switches for the engine light / rear fans / front fans and fire alarm system.

I have fitted a pair of speakers into carpeted boxes at the of each sill under the dash.

Under the skin there is also a whole lot of improvements with many parts re-made in stainless and replaced / hoses replaced / fuel tanks replaced.

Thanks,

Henry

These all add usability - (helps keep it cool in traffic etc.) but do not change the overall looks of the car etc.)

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The clear engine cover is toughened glass - which does add weight of course - but it did mean I could see when I had my small oil fire a few weeks back - would have probably been too late if I had the original cover.

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I believe, that Lotus cars can and should be upgraded - it´s in line with the whole philosophy of Lotus.... Anything that makes the car drive better is acceptable.

I´ve always loved the styling of the Europa, but wasn´t too keen on the engine itself, so when the opportunity presented itself to get an uprated car I jumped at it. With a better, and more powerful, engine and improvements to the steering and ride height it now performs and handles like I always felt it should :-)

On the other hand... I´d like to keep the Esprit as original as possible, but only till it starts causing me headaches and trouble, at which time I´ll have a look at improving that one too ;-)

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Hi Chris,

Looks like you are getting to know your S2 really well!

I had the front compartment completely re-wired during my resto - mainly through necessity. I think it had been subject to a rodent attack, and a previous owener re-did it but "just made it work" in his words, so it was quite poor.

The fact a professional electrician has completely done it, installed new fuses and put it all in trunking is a massive plus and from a peace of mind point of view (something you elude to I have no hesitation in suggesting you do the same.

Originality can be done in many other visible ways - for example my washer bottle was not original and was screwed to the bulkhead so I have sourced one and fitted it in its correct location.

Mine is doing a wedding this year!

EDIT - would also mention my oil pressure guage was replaced in its life with a non original one, I doubt most people would even notice!

Edited by Nelly9000
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I think upgrades/modernising along the lines of what is offered for the XJS by http://www.kwecars.com/ is fine. I don't mean you need to a ground up restore. But upgrading electrics/parts etc is fine. Bastardising the car with huge exhausts, Halfords Spoliers etc is not good.

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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I think the shape of Esprit I love the most is the S2.2 but couldnt live with the old controls etc (the 1989 Turbo is bad enough) so given vast amounts of money (which I dont have) and patience (which I dont have) I would strip a bodyshell and fit a modern engine & gearbox, probably an Audi 2.0L Turbo with flappy paddle gearbox, complete with loom and engine management, all the relevant controls, modern heating & ventilation, window wipers, motors and mirrors, etc.

All the convenience of a modern car with those classic looks, maybe you can have it all !

Colin

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Someone recently was quoted in an article as saying both the S1 and the S2 were 'owner improved' as a few aspects of the engineering left a little to be disired - cooling & electrics. I think modifying to improve reliability is totally acceptable.

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I would strip a bodyshell and fit a modern engine & gearbox, probably an Audi 2.0L Turbo with flappy paddle gearbox, complete with loom and engine management, all the relevant controls, All the convenience of a modern car with those classic looks, maybe you can have it all !

think modifying to improve reliability is totally acceptable.

Yes but I can't see any reason for putting a Audi 2.0 Turbo in it.thats just horrible.

If you wan't a more modern engine, whats wrong with uprate the current unit to S4 or GT3 turbo spec.

Only reason for putting a Audi or worse, a US unit in it, is because you can't afford to upspec your current unit.

And I can't see any way of doing a engine swap with a horrible unit correctly on a budget either.

VAN DER LEE Turbo Systems     -      www.vdlee.com

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What did someone once say?

Who would dream of living in a lovely old house but with no modern heating?

I'm all for these hidden upgrades. ie making the car work better without any outward evidence at all. Of course, that could include an engine swap aswell!

Surely it must be possible to change to digital gauges, for example, without them looking any different? I know there are companies out there providing digital radios behind old facias. Cant this be done with gauges perhaps?

My wiring is a total mess, even after tidying up the binnacle connections. I'm sure that providing a dedicated and reliable earth 'hub' and getting rid of lots of excessive black wires could make a big difference.

The more I stare at my wiring (whilst waiting for my dash to return from ? ) the more I am tempted to tackle it.

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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My previous Lotus was a Series 4 Elan (wish I still had it) on avaerage every Elan had about 16 electrical faults at any one time and were a disaster electrically (Lucas, say no more) Lotus's because of fibreglass have twice as many wires and conections.

Anyway, I got feed up with it and handed the car over to a freind a RAAF electronics engineer, and he re-wired it. It became the only Lotus Elan in captivity with NO electrical faults.

It also went on to win the concoures, so it clearly didn't bother the judges.

My view is, It's your car, enjoy it, waiting for the break down truck in the pouring rain ain't no fun,

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

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It's always worth a morning finding ALL the earth posts on an Esprit.

:)

Look in the manual and while the +ve wiring runs from a-b in most cases, there are earthing points all around the car.

When you find them, take them apart and look, it's staggering some stuff worked at all, in fact you will find some have failed and a single earth cable a previous owner put in elsewhere on the car to solve a dodgy ground, could actually be feeding 10 other items due to their original earth being lost.

50% of the cars wiring is down to around 20 earthing locations, and when you find them, every one will need a cleanup.

:D

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I'm all for people having their cars exactly how they like them - be that sympathetic functional improvement or full on max power mods. Most can be good if done well, but the point really is that they should make the owner happier, and that often just means "personalised", like picking the colours and options you like off the list for a new car. However, I think it is important to keep in mind that part of being personalised will mean it will have more personal value - not shared with the wider market. There may be a sole mate out there who just loves your wacky stuff, but the chances of them dropping by at exactly the moment you want to sell is very very low. Most people who want to buy a classic car dont go - I love the Esprit, but really wish they'd fitted a digital dash and glass engine cover. Most people who want to buy a classic car of any sort seem to go for something as original as possible and are very wary of owner improvements (even though those who search out an original, often then implement their own improvements!). So overall I'm encouraging you to do whatever you want, and warning you that you'll probably wreck your resale value in doing so. You'll find all the big money that now changes hands for S1s only applies to fully restored original examples.....

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

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I'm trying to keep my S2 original where possible. However if an upgrade is available that will improve performance without losing the integrity of the S2 then it will go on the car ONLY if the original part has failed. 'Restomod' is a term that I seem to hear a lot these days, a few mod cons in the right place ain't gunna hurt anyone, knowing where to draw the line is the secret;)

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When I bought my S2.2, first thing I did was remove all non original wiring , because I did not have the schematics.

That incuded a vintage carphone, an alarmsystem etc.....

I took out most of the switches, openend them and cleaned all contacts.

So then I started to change some things.

I installed remote controlled door locking.

But more important , I installed some relais. For example, All current of the headlights goes through the switchstick on the steering wheel. You can solve that by installing an additional relais.

Also the starter current of the start solenoid goes over the keyswitch. I have a relais there to.

Geert

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I recently sent off for my Lotus certificate of vehicle provenance and came back quite suprised that originally my S2 was Gold Metallic with brown marcasite. If it was still original (it's now yellow) then it would have been one of 48 in gold and the last five known in gold and brown interior.

However it's not any more, which is shame (before I bought it). So my thoughts are now really turning to making it rock solid mechanically and electrically whilst keeping the great lines and style of the S2.

My other thoughts are to keep all the original parts and swap them all out of race parts too... thumbup.gif

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Don´t agree that modified cars have little or no market value. I´ve seen a lot of uprated or -graded 7´s, Elans and Europas, where the seller asks for prices, that are significantly higher than those for standard cars - I know that this is also the case with highly original cars of course :-) - and these cars do sell.

If I were to buy a 7, I wouldn´t mind, that the engine and gearbox had been upgraded. It doesn´t detract from the car as such - atleast not in my mind - and makes it drive even better.

Also, as I´ve said in a previous post in this thread - I ´don´t think Mr. Chapman would mind. Afterall the concept of Lotus is to go fast, handle well and win races.

That said.... I wouldn´t swap a 907 engine for a modern day Audi one.. but that might just be me :-) but sticking a big bore Renault engine into a Europa? well that´s about the sweetest thing I´ve ever experienced ;-)

At the end of the day - people should do what the want with their cars. Think most of us agree on that :-)

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