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Old 03-26-2012, 11:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Do you know this car? 1984 Turbo For Sale

I'm considering my first Lotus purchase, and came across this:

1984 Lotus Esprit for sale at Streetside Classics

Given the limited number of these cars out there, and the close community, I thought it would be worth the shot to see if anyone knows about this specific car. I'm not new to cars by any means, but new to Esprits, so any advice is appreciated. I've been searching and now know just enough to be dangerous. Thanks!
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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75 views and no comments, so let me ask some more questions. What do you think about the value of this car? Other concerns?
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't know much about the 80's Esprits in particular, but the only thing I would be concerned about in general is the mileage (58,000+) and age (almost 30 years). Unless you can get documentation of meticulous service, it's always a bit of a gamble about what needs to be done.

I think with any exotic it's a good idea to have a significant chunk of cash on hand for repairs and such in addition to the purchase price. Get a pre-purchase inspection by a reputable Lotus mechanic if possible.

Just my $.02 though. I'm sure others can be more specific about that particular model.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Unfortunately there is not a lot of documentation on this car. Brakes and clutch are supposedly done recently, and a repaint 8 years ago. Crap shoot....
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That wing has to go
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Cars are considered Antique at 25 years (AFAIK). An Antique car will almost certainly need parts regularly if driven regularly, and it will certainly be hard to find parts for. Inevitably, some parts on cars that old are made of Unobtainium, and can only be found when cars/wrecks/parts are sold somewhere like LT.

Have a mechanic you trust check it out to ensure that it might work for at least a little while, and set aside several grand for every 20k miles you plan to put on it. Also, you must be able to have it out of service for a month or more while you hunt for a part.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Surprised that almost nobody has commented, KC!

Don't know the car personally, but I do have some thoughts that I hope might be helpful.

Hard to tell from the pictures without actually being there as pictures can hide quite a bit, but if you're specifically looking for a G model, you could do a lot worse. Overall, it looks pretty nice and the price itself could be lower, but for a dealer/consignment place, doesn't seem outrageous.

That black rubber trim strip on the front bumper really bugs me for some reason as I don't believe that to be factory. Can't tell if the a PO (previous owner) thought it to be a slick addition to maintain styling continuity or if it's there to hide a potential huge gap from a ill-fitting front bumper as a result of a shoddy repair or previous crash damage. It's something I would definitely want to check if I was interested in the car. From the pics, the front bumper looks like it might be tilted a little more downwards than usual thereby increasing the gap although it's really hard to say without actually being there in person.

I'm sure Atwell will chuckle when I say this, but for the first time, I wish that wing wasn't there. That G model has such nice lines already, the SE wing that someone added just doesn't do anything for me. If it were my car, it would be the first thing I'd unbolt.

Lastly, I bet the value of the car would increase by at least another thousand if those three stickers were taken off the back bumper. Also, when I see repetition or duplicate stickers anywhere, my radar goes off and tells me something is up. Seeing two US flags indicates to me that the previous owner was either a total patriot after 9/11 or that the stickers are there to cover up some flaws.

Another common Esprit problem is leather shrinkage and pulling away on the dash and console. The vent area by the windshield is a common problem area, but looks pretty good in the photo. The radio console on the forward right edge does show signs of shrinkage and will require attention at some point in the future. This may or may not be a concern to you, but is something to keep in mind and is a potential concern during price negotiation. Both windshield pillars also show some signs of leather shrinkage as well, so this too is something to keep in mind.

Also, the ad waxes nostalgic about British special agents and exotic cars, but says nothing about recent maintenance or service. Definitely another thing to ask about.

Lastly, these are just my observations...this is a 28 year old car, so obviously, nothing will be perfect. A sarcastic car friend of mine once told me that they have cars that don't have any of these flaws...they are called NEW ones. LOL

Anyway, just my $.02, wishing you the very best in your Esprit search.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The car would have to be extremely well sorted for that price but IF it all checks out then that helps a lot. The '84 Turbo didnt have the upgraded, beefier internals that the 86/87 HC models had so the mileage is a bigger issue than the later years but I wouldnt let it sour the deal. It'd be nice to have some paper work in hand for whats been done recently. The timing belt and everything on the front of the engine should be fairly fresh or you'll have to plan on doing it. Honestly, these cars do better when driven regularly, thats why the miles couldbe viewed as a positive thing.

The wing isnt my thing but the car does look pretty nice. How many owners has it had? Thats critical. If its only been through a few hands then to me thats a plus, especially if the most recent owner has had it for a while. When these cars bounce from owner to owner in short periods, things get ugly quick with any exotic.

Is this the first car you've found? I shopped for years and years and it helped me see what the "deal" is with these cars after seeing a few of them. I know they are rare but it would be nice to have something to compare it to. Can you test drive it? Does it fire up fairly quickly? Idle reasonably nice? Any leaks? Does it make good power? Those are all things to help assess the health of the engine. A compression test would be great too. Any big leaks or obvious signs of half-assed repairs or botch-jobs? Again, the ownership trail helps here - the fewer the owners, the less likely a hack-job was done somewhere along the line!

Try to get more info on the previous ownership chain and when the last major service was done. Its good that the clutch was done but the najor would be even better. Make sure it shifts really good too - the Citroen gearbox was never the best to begin with and parts are tough to find although Harry Martens has made it more reasonable.

If you want more info, Id be glad to talk more with you about it. Just by shopping for so long, I learned a lot about these G-car Esprits and would be happy to talk with you. Send me a private message, if you'd like
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Old 03-27-2012, 06:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the responses. I'm early in my search, 3 months in. My garage is pretty full, old trans am, big block chevelle, 2 motorcycles, boat, but I've got the Lotus bug. I keep going back between Exige, Elise, or Esprit. I may try to find a Lotus fanatic in the NC area to check this one out, but it's not looking so good at the surface. I agree, that rear bumper treatment is at least a $1k deduction. With no records, that's a tough sale. Mikey, I will take you up on your offer as my search continues, I really appreciate that.
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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KC,
I don't know much about the G body Esprit's but would be willing to chat with you about anything you are looking at. There is another Lee's Summitite that has an older S2 and another G body Esprit and he is quite knowledgeable about them. I am much more familiar with the Stevens SE and S4(s) variant Turbo 4. Shoot me a PM, I'm in Lee's Summit as well. I will get you my mobile so we can chat.
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:08 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks for the responses. I'm early in my search, 3 months in. [snip].
This car was on eBay at least twice in the last 9 months. The bidding never got above $12-$13K (they were asking $17K like they are now).

The pictures on eBay seemed better - the front bumper is really wavy, possibly due to crash damage, but also possibly just old and saggy.

While the G(uigiaro) Esprits are different style wise than the S(tevens) Esprits, the pricing is similar. I paid $16.5K for my 88 in July 2011 and it was in 99% like new condition - from paint to leather, 30K miles, stored at least 12 of its years in a climate-controlled garage in Northern California.

But all the mechanical services (timing belt, etc, aka Service C) were NOT done. You need to budget $$$ for that possibility. I had part verbal and written history that went back about 14 of its 23 year history.

While I have an S Esprit, I really like the G Esprit styling - but I traded off the G styling for an S Esprit in great original cosmetic condition. After all, unless you find a fully-serviced Esprit, you will be paying for Service 'catchup' $$$ anyway.

If you have time, my recommendation is holding out for a nice 86/87 G Esprit.
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Can't tell precisely from the pix, but it looks like the air pump and air rail are gone, so it is not emission compliant. To reinstall those you not only have the cost of the parts, but to get the air rail back on you have to partially lift the engine out of the bay.

I owned an 84. Loved it. Sold it with about that mileage, and it has since re-appeared on this very forum some 15 or so years after I sold it.

I can tell you they need regular preventive attention. It was very reliable for me, but I spent part of one weekend a month going over most moving parts on the car. Religiously changed the oil with synthetic.

You would not want to buy this car without a thorough PDI by an experienced, knowledgeable Lotus guy. The guy who worked on my car when it needed something major has rebuilt several of these motors, and he said it is not at all uncommon for them to be needing a rebuild at about 60K to 65K, depending on how they were driven and maintained. You will hear guys getting well over 100K with no troubles, but you will also hear the opposite.

See if you can talk the guy into changing the oil, then visually inspect the oil that comes out, looking for metal shavings. Send the oil off for analysis. Get a compression check done. This is a d'ellorto carb car, so someone who know them should check them out.

These are notorious for 2nd gear syncro going out, so look for that in a test drive.

Check all the bushings, check for worn wheel bearings, check the brakes/brake lines. Take a good look at all the cooling system components. These have been known to have some radiator issues, and this car ain't no Spring chicken.

I love the G bodied cars, but anymore an absolutely stunning looking example can be hiding a hideous money pit, so I would never consider one unless there was some reasonable service history/records, and that expert PDI. Absent that, I'll just admire someone else's G bodies Esprit at car shows.
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:13 AM   #13 (permalink)
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If you have time, my recommendation is holding out for a nice 86/87 G Esprit.
Fantastic advice - the HC cars really did improve the package and I believe have potentially higher value down the road too for being the best of the G cars. That being said, if an earlier model does check out and the price is fair, by all means scoop it!

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Originally Posted by lotusforsale View Post
Can't tell precisely from the pix, but it looks like the air pump and air rail are gone, so it is not emission compliant. To reinstall those you not only have the cost of the parts, but to get the air rail back on you have to partially lift the engine out of the bay.

I owned an 84. Loved it. Sold it with about that mileage, and it has since re-appeared on this very forum some 15 or so years after I sold it.

I can tell you they need regular preventive attention. It was very reliable for me, but I spent part of one weekend a month going over most moving parts on the car. Religiously changed the oil with synthetic.

You would not want to buy this car without a thorough PDI by an experienced, knowledgeable Lotus guy. The guy who worked on my car when it needed something major has rebuilt several of these motors, and he said it is not at all uncommon for them to be needing a rebuild at about 60K to 65K, depending on how they were driven and maintained. You will hear guys getting well over 100K with no troubles, but you will also hear the opposite.

See if you can talk the guy into changing the oil, then visually inspect the oil that comes out, looking for metal shavings. Send the oil off for analysis. Get a compression check done. This is a d'ellorto carb car, so someone who know them should check them out.

These are notorious for 2nd gear syncro going out, so look for that in a test drive.

Check all the bushings, check for worn wheel bearings, check the brakes/brake lines. Take a good look at all the cooling system components. These have been known to have some radiator issues, and this car ain't no Spring chicken.

I love the G bodied cars, but anymore an absolutely stunning looking example can be hiding a hideous money pit, so I would never consider one unless there was some reasonable service history/records, and that expert PDI. Absent that, I'll just admire someone else's G bodies Esprit at car shows.
Yes, yes, and more yes. I can attest to keeping an eye on things closely and always peying close attention to whats going on. I dont even mean actual service - just checking belts here and there. wheel bearing play, leak-checks. etc, etc. LotusforSale nailed it!
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:21 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks again for the responses. My hunt will continue. I looked 15 years for a 1992 ZX7, so I can be patient. The options seem very limited.

Artie, I've followed your paint/body posts, and somehow never noticed you were in Lee's Summit too. I love your car. Look forward to talking with you.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:55 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks! I don't think I had filled out my location portion until recently so it might not have been on there. Shoot me a pm and I'll get you my mobile.
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