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Advice on buying sight unseen


kwandokun

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Hi All,

Has anyone here had any experience with buying a vehicle sight unseen?

I'm in Australia and there's an Esprit in the UK that's within my budget. I've exchanged many messages with the seller and he seems pretty above board, but obviously still a big risk - especially considering shipping + customs will be no insignificant amount.

Unfortunately no friends in the UK who are mechanically minded able to take a look at the car for me.

Are there any members on here who might be willing to inspect the car on my behalf? I'd be happy to pay for the hassle.

Secondly, has anyone had experience with using an escrow service to release payments? Any recommendations?

The process I need to go through is:

1. Determine vehicle is genuine and as described

2. Pay deposit

3. Receive import approval

4. Release balance and arrange shipping

Any feedback/advice much appreciated!

Cheers

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What you're proposing on doing requires 'Balls of Steel'.

I bought my car in the UK.  Took me two years to find the right car with minimal / no winter driving, therefore minimal corrosion.  Luckily the import process to Australia for me was easy as I had lived there for 10 years and once I bought the car had owned it for more than the government requirement of 12 months it was smooth sailing (personal Import route).  As an approximate cost, to ship the car to Oz and to get it complianced, plus all the import taxes, LCT, and stamp duties all up was an additional 20% of the UK  purchase price of the car.  So the car cost me the equivalent of AU$40k to buy and to get it to OZ on the road was another AU$8k.  And current resale value of the car in Oz is around AU$70k.  So well in front.

Now your route of import requires a full compliance plus extra costs associated with shipping / import taxes, so I'd say you'd easily spend double or even triple my imports costs, plus if there's excessive rust, which there will be, probably another Au$10-20k to solve any issues.

Talk to a broker who specializes in importing cars from the UK to Oz, plus read the Oz government site on regulations involved with importing cars.  Don't spend any money until you've at least done this.

And of a more interesting topic - do you have a link to the car in question ?  :-)

 

Simon  (94 S4)      My Esprit will be for sale in late 2017

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Some night time reading here from the OZ Exotics forum.

Importing cars from the UK.

http://aussieexotics.com/forum/cars/importing-prestige-cars-from-the-uk-5108.0.html

 

Simon  (94 S4)      My Esprit will be for sale in late 2017

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Hi Simon,

Thanks for the helpful response.

I've been doing nothing but reading these past few weeks, and yes, will be going through an import/customs agent to smooth the process.

I'm looking at a pre-89 vehicle so will get around a lot of the compliance. Most of the quotes I've had back place Roll-on-Roll-off delivery at $5-6k.

Here's the car in question: http://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/201703163345663?make=LOTUS&model=ESPRIT&logcode=p

I'm after some tips on how I can confidently put down a deposit and ultimately pay for a car I haven't seen in person or met the seller face to face. AAC and RAC don't inspect cars older than 15 years...

Rust may very well be an issue as well.

Cheers

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I'm with S4Simon that it takes courage (or stupidity), I've done just that though. On more than one occasion I've purchased Lotus cars sight unseen, but they've been Excels, so 1/5 - 1/10th of the cost of an Evora or 2/3 of the cost of the Esprit in question, and in the same country as me. A sensible person would say, have it professionally inspected by a firm that do that as their business and so if it went wrong you'd have somebody to claim from (their liability insurance). 

I'd probably personally not bother looking at AA/ RAC, as buying an Esprit is so specialised, they'd be looking for rust on bodywork, rust on subframe, not focusing on looking at whether bushes are in good condition etc. If they are the only choice then fine, but as you say over 15 years old, so you may end up just finding somebody who will confirm that the VIN attached to the car is what the V5C says it should be.

 

As I said courage or stupidity, last one I did, was the latter. I paid £7k sight unseen, had them load it to a trailer and bring it to me but if it had broken down I'd have had legal recourse due to recent legislation, but different if I was the other side of the world. The one thing I always think is, if it all goes wrong can i afford to lose this money, not would I be happy to but could I afford to live etc if I did, then I just do it.

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At the risk of teaching Granny eggsucking....you do realise that someone has fitted the car with a 2 litre Cosworth egine? That takes care of a lot of it's potential value, something non standard of that sort and I think I would just walk away.

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

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PNM Enginering are up that way. See if they would handle it for you. They're a Lotus specialist.

Edited by Paul Coleman

Lotus Esprit [meaning] a 1:1 scale Airfix kit with a propensity to catch fire

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Looks to have been built by:

 

http://www.lotusclassiccars.com/lotus-restoration-specialist.htm

 

By looking up the phone number. As a non original car, the value is going to be pushed down as already mentioned. Not being a standard engined car, having folks look at it and knowing what's going on is tricky.  I would stay away!

 

 

Jon - 1984 Esprit Turbo

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Thanks for the responses everyone.

And Paul, thanks for the heads up on PNM. I'll definitely reach out to them.

I'm aware that it's a non-original cosworth conversion. I actually quite like its uniqueness. As a car I'd like to keep and work on for a long time, I'm also not too concerned with resale value either. The tunability of a cosworth also presents a lot of options for my plans down the line.

My main concern is if it's a bomb. I'm reasonably confident that the engine swap was engineered and installed correctly by BSS (Andy Short). It's the rest of the car I need more information on.

Cheers.

 

 

 

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I've had a good look at the photos and wow it needs a lot of work.  Looks as though the owner has left it outside for a few years - very manky - looking at the grunge on the sills, plus it's fully corroded in the engine bay, which would be the same underneath.  I've also never seen water sitting on the rear glass. Plus a lot of damaged paintwork all round. But, It's an Esprit, and if you've set your mind on it and like working on cars (a lot) then this may be your new baby.

Also check out.

https://www.escrow.com/

 

Simon  (94 S4)      My Esprit will be for sale in late 2017

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Sean I've bought a car sight unseen. It was more than 13 years ago and I still have it. What I did was to arrange with the seller to take it to a garage of my choice, with whom I'd arranged an appointment in advance. The trick being to choose a place the seller isn't in leagues with, and that know the ins and outs of the vehicle you're considering. Also do a HPI check too.

It's a little left field but a marine surveyor could be pressed into appraising a Lotus in a pinch too. They'll be dearer than a garage but then a good one will provide a written in depth report including detailed photos, on the vessel. hth

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Appreciate the responses guys.

I've flicked a message to PNM engineering to see if they could take a look at the car for me.

@s4simon The water is definitely the most concerning part of the photos. A lot of rust, particularly structural, will be a deal breaker for me. Know my way around mechanicals but body work I'll have to outsource.

Cheers.

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Unfortunately it looks to me as if the main reason for looking at this is the price it is cheap for a reason

hindsight: the science that is never wrong

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@march Current plates are on the last few photos - E363EAR. Have just looked up MOT history of past 10 years. Only things that stand out is some brake wear and a corroding exhaust. Currently registered till Sept.

@pete Price is definitely one of the main motivators for looking at this, and agree that it's cheap for a reason. I just (perhaps naively) haven't been turned off by it yet.

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On 7/4/2017 at 01:02, s4simon said:

I've had a good look at the photos and wow it needs a lot of work.  Looks as though the owner has left it outside for a few years - very manky - looking at the grunge on the sills, plus it's fully corroded in the engine bay, which would be the same underneath.  I've also never seen water sitting on the rear glass. Plus a lot of damaged paintwork all round. But, It's an Esprit, and if you've set your mind on it and like working on cars (a lot) then this may be your new baby.

Also check out.

https://www.escrow.com/

 

Simon,

My guess is that this car sat inside the storage/garage where some of the pics are taken and not outside . There it has taken some dust. The pics outside must be taken after the owner put a quick hose on it . You see that because all the water is around and on the car. That explains the wet rear glass to.

The car has some paint damage, that is for sure, but I am not so sure this is a bad car. Someone put a lot of trouble in the conversion to a cosworth engine. You can expect that they delt with other mechanical work to. The value represents the values of this car some years ago. It does not go up, because this is not an original esprit, but it might be a good car.

I think Sean just looks for someone in the neighbourhood to check it out and maybe drive it. I live in Belgium, so no go, but maybe someone else? cmon guys, We wanna know how a cosworth esprit is driving , dont we?

Geert

Edited by gvy
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Cheers Geert. My thoughts exactly. At least worth looking into.

Maybe I should create a new thread asking specifically for members in the area to test drive it for me. Not sure many members will find their way into this thread to see my ask.

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Hello Sean, just had a look at the ad. I really like that, looks very nice. A bit different with the Cosworth engine too and that wouldn't bother me at all. Love the interior. I'm sorry I'm not closer to it, would love to take it out for a spin.

Good luck with it, I hope it works out for you!

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I tempted fate...now my Esprit V8 IS in bits...(sob)

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PS now I know what you are up to Sean...

"...was reportedly running a special qualifying engine that was producing close to 680 hp (507 kW; 689 PS) in his RS500."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosworth#The_YB_series

I tempted fate...now my Esprit V8 IS in bits...(sob)

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Hi Sean,

 

I've been to see the car this afternoon and have forwarded you the photos and a video. Sadly car could not be driven or moved as owner reported that he had just driven it around the block and the gear selector had gone. Also I wasn't present on a cold start neither as owner had the engine running and warmed up when I arrived. Personally I wouldn't buy it but that's just me.

 

Regards,

 

David

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