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Hi All,

I started a thread a few weeks back when I acquired a tired S3 in need of some love, in the past it had had a Stevens bodykit fitted (amongst other ‘tasteful’ modifications)…

Anyway, things have moved on quite a bit since then and my plans have changed, so I thought I’d start a new thread with a more appropriate title.

The background to all this is that I’ve wanted an Esprit ever since I saw The Spy Who Loved Me when I was six years old in 1977.  It’s a cliché but it’s true. 

For me it has to be a G car but I’ve never been a fan of the S3’s 80s styling.  Unfortunately I’ve never been in a position to have an Esprit until now, and now I’m older and a bit more flushed S1s are making stupid money, and S2s are also largely out of my reach too.  So when I saw this S3 at a decent price, needing work but not a basket case, I snapped it up on the basis that it might be my only chance to have one.

My initial thought was to return it to original, so I delivered it to the bodyshop and asked them to return it to the original red.  I set about gathering together the parts I knew I’d need.  This desire for originality is uncharacteristic as I’ve always modified my cars and bikes, but I guess it was because I didn’t really love the idea of an S3.

The day after I dropped the car off for paint I was thinking about some other Esprits I’d looked at over the years (none of which had been quite right for whatever reason).  In particular I remembered an S2 that needed a complete body-off restoration.  It was too much work for me at the time but I remembered thinking that if the chassis needed replacing then I would replace it with an S3 chassis.  Then it struck me; instead of updating an S2, why not backdate an S3?  After all MG owners have been doing it for years, sticking chrome bumpers on their rubber bumper MGBs and Midgets.  And backdated 911s are a big deal right now.

I decided very quickly that there’s no point trying to make it look like an S1.  That would require far too much modification around the nose, and running without ears or having an S1 lookalike with them are equally daft ideas.  And I don’t want to do anything that can’t be returned to original in the future.

So the car is now going to get the S2 bumpers which I got off the shelf from SJS.  It looks like the rear bumper will fit with a little modification to the bottom lip; the S3 has three 'bulges' under the flat area where the bumper mounts which don't appear to be there on the S2.  The front bumper is a bit more challenging as the waistline trim ridge is cut away on the sides of the nose on the S3 (where the bigger bumper wraps around) but it is not cut away on the edges of the nose like it is on the S2.  The bodyshop have changed this and I think they've done a pretty good job, they've also filled the holes in the side of the nose where the S3 bumper mounts.

20170905_103720.thumb.jpg.dacc0609d5b5a2cac283183e82492cdc.jpg

There will a few other changes, not least of which will be the colour.  I've ordered a coilover kit from Mike at Lotusbits and the car will be dropped slightly as the S3 sits too high for my liking.  The wheels are also going to change, but not to Speedlines…

The car should be in primer next week and paint shortly after.

Cheers

Darren

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Great work Darren, 

Really nice to see this car got a happy ending,  or on it way to one anyway :)  Totally agree that having the S3 chassis but with the loks of the earlier series is a good idea,   Look forward to seeing what wheels you choose for this motor,   A jps replica would look fantastic  and a set of work equip 40 wheels would look awesome !

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6 minutes ago, silverfrost said:

Great work Darren, 

Really nice to see this car got a happy ending,  or on it way to one anyway :)  Totally agree that having the S3 chassis but with the loks of the earlier series is a good idea,   Look forward to seeing what wheels you choose for this motor,   A jps replica would look fantastic  and a set of work equip 40 wheels would look awesome !

Thanks Dan, I've narrowed the wheel choice down to two options and I think I know which way I'm going to go.  I'm considering a 9" wheel on the back so I'll have to wait until I have the suspension done so I can look at the offset.

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9 inch rears are a good size,  not to oot,   I used to run a set of 9 inch wide rims on my s3,  They had an offset of ET8, but also used a 40mm hub centric spacer, so the actual offset of the 9" rear rim would of been minus 32mm,  it was a nice look and brought the wheel a little more out towards the arches but not to much.

I take it you are going split rim ?

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51 minutes ago, silverfrost said:

9 inch rears are a good size,  not to oot,   I used to run a set of 9 inch wide rims on my s3,  They had an offset of ET8, but also used a 40mm hub centric spacer, so the actual offset of the 9" rear rim would of been minus 32mm,  it was a nice look and brought the wheel a little more out towards the arches but not to much.

I take it you are going split rim ?

That's good info, thanks.  Did ET -32 keep the wheels within the arches?  I'm planning on dropping the car by a couple of inches.

No, I'm not going split rims...

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Hi Darren,  

Yes the wheels i used combined with the spacer did indeed keep the wheel well into the arches, so no problems regarding suspension movement.  The car now runs even wider wheels that are 10 inches and ET 39, but these are a lot closer to the wheel arch :)

You can always test your car by adding small blocks of wood or something along those lines.  1inch is roughly 2.5 cm,  so add 12.5mm to each side of your lotus rear rim outer lip edge on the wheel,  only a small block tapped on,  This will give you the width of a 9 inch rim,  then as you know the lotus rear wheel is ET MINUS 20.   

The ET of a wheel is the exact centre line of a wheel,  so 4.5 inches in from either side.   is is ET0   where the actual hub face sits is your actual ET so the lotus wheel goes back 20mm behind that centre line i.e minus offset of 20mm,   Hence very deep dish,  The fronts look less deep as they are posotive at plus 23 iirc.

Anyway,  so you have your little blocks fitted to both sides of the rear wheel,  now put washer or large nuts behind between the hub an wheel,  using the wheel bolts to go through your packing washers/nuts.  and put the wheel bolts in a couple of turns to hold in place.  This will give you an idea of what look you are after regarding as to how much you want to go out to the wheel arhes,   then add or remove packing washers/large nuts to get you desired effects. 

Once you are happy with the look,  measure how much packing material you have added and add that measurment to the lotus wheel ET,  So say you usd 15mm worth of packing washers, it would make the wheel you need ET MINUS 35 :)

 

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Looks fantastic .Hope it all goes well when you get the car home....Mike

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Hi All,

Yesterday the windows went in and the car came home.  Didn't have a lot of time yesterday but I found an hour to fit a tail-light and the world championship badge...

20170930_101608.thumb.jpg.a57269ca6a454871920a33ba99686920.jpg

IMG-20170930-WA0003.thumb.jpg.aa8e52f6a5c109c99c38ac8942011633.jpg

20171001_092820.thumb.jpg.9fb8f8d3b360b31c1a72434b89e31c2f.jpg

Cheers

Darren

Edited by iambadgerous
typo
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Darren that will look stunning dressed as a S2, you will have all the looks with the benefit of a superb chassis and power plant.

Keep up the good work and post more photos.

That Mk2 Escort looks nice too.

Dave :) 

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1 hour ago, LOTUSMAN33 said:

Darren that will look stunning dressed as a S2, you will have all the looks with the benefit of a superb chassis and power plant.

Keep up the good work and post more photos.

That Mk2 Escort looks nice too.

Dave :) 

Thanks Dave. Yeah, that Escort is stunning. It belongs to the guy who runs the paint shop. It's a standard 2 door shell upgraded to Mexico spec with a Cosworth engine, type 5 gearbox etc. It's as clean underneath as it is on top. Beautiful.

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Hi All,

Slow progress so far, I only managed to spend a couple of hours on the car at the weekend (we're doing a complete house refurbishment hence the scrap wood next to the car and the lack of time!)

Got the other tail-light on and the rear hatch gas-struts fitted.  I spent a good hour trying to adjust the latches but couldn't get the hatch to sit right  The nearside is fine but it sits high on the offside and a I have to really push it down to make it latch, it's almost like the tailgate is twisted or warped in some way...

Put the LOTUS letters on the boot too which was strangely satisfying.

20171007_112855.thumb.jpg.4d7033487b3a43e43d9a8d4abaa70b8b.jpg

20171007_112842.thumb.jpg.dbce533c0051f306921789965128cc75.jpg

Edited by iambadgerous
typo

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Very nice,

Don't forget the fine double striping on both sides of the car that is so typical to the S2 and S2.2 cars. It makes the giugiaroline even sharper and lower. In your case that would be a black striping. It really makes a difference . I stole a picture from the internet :

 

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor esprit S2 yellow
Edited by gvy

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Just now, gvy said:

Very nice,

Don't forget the fine double striping on both sides of the car that is so typical to the S2 and S2.2 cars. It makes the giugiaroline even sharper and lower. In your case that would be a black striping.

Yup, already got some...

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Pity , you have the 5 bolt wheelhubs, because these wheels would give you almost the complete S2 picture:

Apart from the compomotives, I find the S2 speedlines by far the most beautifull wheels on an early esprit, especially the deep disch rearwheels

 

Edited by gvy
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Just now, andydclements said:

I'd have thought the 5 stud hubs can easily be re-drilled to suit 4 stud of the correct PCD. That would be a nice touch.

5 stud hubs are easily replaced with 4 stud, but I'm not going down that path with my car.  I'm going to stick with the BBS wheels for now, but I have a different idea for what I would like to do longer term.

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 You should consider those wheels. Look at the picture of that yellow esprit I posted. Yours could be identical. It's just stunning.

The problem with the 14" wheels is that you can't convert to a bigger brake system. But the nice thing is that those tall tires give you a decent comfort over bigger wheels with low

profile tires

What is the planning in the future?

Edited by gvy

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14" wheels might make it look a bit odd with the inherent higher ride height the the S3 has.

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I think he is plannng to lower the car a bit. My S3 sits lower as it is than most - not sure why.. Would intrigued to know what wheels will be going on this...

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9 minutes ago, skiing said:

I think he is plannng to lower the car a bit. My S3 sits lower as it is than most - not sure why.. Would intrigued to know what wheels will be going on this...

I sure he is, but as far as I´ve understood it, the rear suspension design is limiting factor, so you won´t be able to go as low a S2.

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Hi All,

Thanks for the interest in my car.

Regarding the ride-height, I have a coilover kit from Lotusbits which will get fitted as soon as I find the time.  I plan to drop the car at least down to S2 spec and possibly a bit more.

Regarding wheels, I don't want to go with Speedlines mainly due to the cost of converting the hubs to 4 stud; I would rather spend that on new wheels.  It would also limit my choices in brake discs and particularly 14" tyres, although I appreciate that the availability of 15" tyres isn't much better!

Long term I want a wheel that looks a bit more 70's.  I've narrowed it down to a few options but these Campagnolo replicas are my current favourite:

 59dcbc877e8c2_PAGStratos2.thumb.jpg.485f40c0a0c6fedbd03014d5dceb14ea.jpg 

However, I've already spent far too much and I can't justify extra expense right now, so my spare set of BBS are with a refinisher having charcoal grey centres and diamond cut rims.

Cheers

Darren

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Those are lovely - there are set of those (polished) on an S2 in Japan... is that your inspiration? It can be found on this picture thread... http://www.speedhunters.com/2011/11/event_gt_gt_lotus_day_japan_2011_pt_1/

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