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Hi, enthusiastic Lotus admirer looking for classic Esprit - what to look for? - Esprit Chat - The Lotus Forums Jump to content


Hi, enthusiastic Lotus admirer looking for classic Esprit - what to look for?


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Hi everyone,

I am an enthusiastic Lotus admirer, more specifically Esprit admirer (yes, ever since Roger Moore drove the Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me :-)

I have often looked to buy one, but have never really been in a serious position to do something about it - but I am now :-)

I am looking for a weekend driver. I can do a bit of repairs myself, but a cam belt change or anything major I would not do myself...

I have been looking around and there seem to be most 4th generation Esprit for sale around the £10-15k mark. I really like the 4th generation look (and 5th generation for that matter)...

Have been looking around for a Buyers Guide or anything like that, but have not been able to find one.

I have already seen a few but this was more out of general interest in the car - I did not do any thorough inspection of the car or anything like that. Also, this was at dealers and would prefer to buy one privately - preferably from an enthusiast.

Any good advice of what to look for and what to expect with a car like this?

Thx in advance for any help,

Ken

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Hi Ken, Checkout Esprit World :-) http://www.lotusespritworld.com/buying.html

Hi Ken,   Welcome to the forum.   If you goto the top right of the screen, to 'your profile' you can fill in details of yourself - eg location might be the most useful. You may find others with ex

The bottom one ( the hc ) is not a turbo and the wing shouldn't be there and its got wrong wheels and a dodgy steering wheel.  So a sheep in wolves clothing!!!.  However all the things it doesn't have

Thx. Look like a great site. Regarding reliability, I am used to a bit of English build quality with my 1995 300TDI Discovery - love the car. Also have a Merc 190 2.5D from 1990 - thought an Esprit around 1990 would fit just nicely in here :-) Just have to hide the new Audi somewhere LOL

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Hi Ken,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

If you goto the top right of the screen, to 'your profile' you can fill in details of yourself - eg location might be the most useful. You may find others with examples nearby - not necessarily for sale but at least to make sure you can focus on the correct model variant for you.

 

The other thing you will find when exploring lotusespritworld is the maintenance pages and the parts manuals. You can access these when you become a full forum member on here. Hours of fun going through all those!! You will also be able to access the members discounts area on here too. Insurance etc etc

 

Simon

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

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Thx for the advice :-)

 

Found these two on eBay - one being sold by the South West Lotus Centre:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lotus-Esprit-2-2-Turbo-/291196283009?pt=Automobiles_UK&hash=item43cca6a881

 

and

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1988-Lotus-Esprit-2-2-HC-/380899053525?pt=Automobiles_UK&hash=item58af5a4fd5

 

Also, seen the one on Autotrader for 5k, but that would be too much work for me... There are another couple for £8-9k that looks nice...

 

Any thoughts?

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The bottom one ( the hc ) is not a turbo and the wing shouldn't be there and its got wrong wheels and a dodgy steering wheel.  So a sheep in wolves clothing!!!.  However all the things it doesn't have  like a  turbo, pas, central locking, ac, abs cant go wrong  if they are not there.  So if you want a first step into esprit ownership with a soft landing its probably the way to go.  It doesn't really show or tell anything about the important bits in the advert .   There are plenty of threads even recently on here with loads of info. 

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One is a turbo and one isn't - quite a big deal when factoring in asking prices. It sounds like you need to do a bit more homework as to your preferred model and what to look for. LEW is a fantastic resource for old buying guides. Also a good idea to get on message with the terminology; "fifth versions" etc won't mean much to anybody helping you to look.

 

Esprit's got better built year on year so general advice is to buy as late a version possible of the model you desire unless the car has obviously been cherished and lavished with attention. Any old dog will look good from the outside, a non-rusting shell ensures that something kept in a field would look fine in a showroom after a day's buff up with a rotary polisher. It's a minefield, good luck!

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In the garage no-one can hear you scream 

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Thx for all the advice :-)

 

Sorry for my terminology. For "4th generation (1987-1993) and "5th generation (1993-1996)" I merely was referring to the wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Esprit and their classification.

 

But as this is my first Lotus, want to go with something less complicated (read less things to go wrong), so a non-turbo is what I am currently looking for - and looking for Esprits made in years 1987-1996.

 

I saw this beautiful 1990 non-turbo on eBay for £7.5k which seems very reasonable although the milage is not mentioned...

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LOTUS-ESPRIT-N-A-STEVENS-/151387407590?pt=Automobiles_UK&hash=item233f6484e6

 

Ken :-)

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Welcome to TLF Ken. :welcome:

 

You should duck over to the Introductions area and say hi in there as well.

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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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Hi Ken

 

Interesting link. From memory the Wikipedia page was the subject of debate on here many moons ago, as the Wiki editor has his own "unique" ideas about Esprits which didn't go down well with the learned members on here! It's a brave attempt to classify a 27 year process of evolution and continuing improvements, but it doesn't quite gel; for instance why put the Essex Turbo in with the S2 when they had a completely different chassis? Why split the S1 and S2 when they share the same chassis? etc etc.

 

Everyone on here has their own ideas about the perfect car as they often own it! The Giugiaro cars are usually cited as the best looking but the Stevens/Thompson cars are probably easier to live with. As your preference is for this era I personally would advise looking for something made after 1992 when a re-engineering brought General Motors components to the car. 1996 on brought more detail improvements, and 1998 a new interior.

 

So that means ans S4, S4s, or GT3 if you want a 4 cylinder, where most cars fall in the £13-20k bracket. I can't advise much on the V8s without personal experience.

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In the garage no-one can hear you scream 

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The window frames on the yellow one were £100 a side when I bought mine a few years back. Not sure if any left though.  If you are not fitting them yourself you can factor in 1/2 to 1 day per side fitting to get them right. Its got SE rear wheels on  it  but theres not a lot else to be seen from the pics.

 

Just looked at the add and yes the manifold will need doing.  2nd hand cast ones are £100ish from lotusbits I think or a full stainless  manifold and system made to fit  will be about £1300.  The manifold will be a git to remove and if studs break you will have to pull the engine and box.  However quite a few of us have done them insitu with no problems.  If you get that far just do all the hard to get to bits in one go, tanks manifold, clutch and cambelt. 

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I tend to look at it like this.  You can buy one with no crack and non leaking tanks for strong money and 1 year later they go bang. Or you negotiate price accordingly do all the bits properly and forget about them for the rest of your ownership.  Its not IF you are going to experience the FULL lotus ownership pain more experiencing it at a time of your choosing!!!! and  you getting the benefits rather than flogging it on 1 month after as you have had enough.

Look on it as a right of passage,  in some tribes they chuck you out in the  wilderness  for weeks on end to fend for yourself ........................here its tanks and manifolds.

 

I am the price of a new cheapish family car into my n/a esprit mainly in parts and engine.   Is it worth it in cold hard  financial terms .NO.  In any other terms without a doubt YEEEEEEEEEEES.  

If  you are not going to get your hands dirty buy one fully rebuilt and you will still have the odd medium size bill.  If you are happy to dive in the n/a especially isn't that tricky and this forum is invaluable to save time and money.

 

More engine advice is available on excel.net as the se excel used the n/a 912 engine and manifold. Only 260 ish esprits got the 912 H/C n/a but probably 1600ish excels did. 

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I bought a nice well running Esprit Turbo SE 1990, which had lot's of love in it's life, and I too have spent a small Family car in parts alone in under one year.

No problem though, as a similar car new, today, would be around 2.900.000 kr where I live.

If I understood you correctly, there won't be any S4 or newer for you, as you want a n/a. 1987 is still giugiaro year, unless you can fin an early Stevens car, m.y. 1988. So, from 1988 and a few years on, there will be a n/a.

Since they got turbos with fuel injection, I understood it, as there were fewer fires.

Electrical systems were improved, and much more.

My take on it is a beautifull SE from 1990, which is a Stevens car, but not too dilluted into round shapes like the later s4 onwards. It's got nicer side sills, nicer seats, nicer spoiler, nicer bumpers etc. Newer have their good Things too, for example a slightly revised gearchange (cables on the other side of box) which is supposed to give a betther shift, though some Things can and should be done, to improve on this.

 

Got the chargecooler, and therefore more ponies, better injection, a lot faster, and if installed with an Electric pump for the chargecooler, instead of the mechanical one, it's a reliable car - well, Lotus-speaking.

 

It may be jsut me, but I take it, it's a bit easier to get parts for the SE, than many other models.

 

I think you may become a bit dissatisfied with the n/a after some time, and then go for the bells and whistles. So I say get an SE and get the parts manual and the workshop manual plus the later supplements.

 

Apart from all this, there seems to be many new people asking about this subject, and there are some nice more describing answers on  some of the other threads, so have a look there too.

 

And remember, Lotus is quite cheap for parts compared to other exotic supercars.

 

Cheers,

Jacques.

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Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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I'm with Jacques. I consider the Turbo SE to be a fantastic starting point...and  for my personally, it's the pinnacle of Esprit development in terms of driving joy, badass looks and affordability.

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Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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thought the yellow one`s price was about right .has done 69,000 miles.may well take an offer

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hindsight: the science that is never wrong

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