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Old 11-29-2012, 09:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Late 80s Model Question

Hi there!
I hope I'm asking the right people... if not maybe you could point me in the right direction.

I've always preferred the late 80s Esprit models without spoilers, and with the "full" rear window.

Based on a (slightly confusing) website I found, I've boiled it down to two models that fit that description, seen here:
Esprit S
Esprit Turbo

Is this correct? What are the main differences between these two models?
I'm also curious what years these models were made, and if any improvements were made over those years.

I would really appreciate some help! Thanks so much.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Even though I have what I consider the most badass version of the car, I am really getting a soft spot for those more simple days of the Stevens Esprit.

They made a lot of them. More than any other year. And while the exterior is just understated cool without all the bling, the interior seat and center console design is crazy ugly until the SE arrived. But that could be fixed.

The wierd part is how sellers of the most common Esprit with the least seem to want $10K more than the superior SE's, and many of them seem beat up.

I still want one, and hopefully I won't run across one in good condition with a reasonable price.

Here's a cool video:

They have some aftermarket wing on it, but it's very understated and doesn't ruin the simple look.

Here's more info on the models that you wanted: http://www.espritfactfile.com/Mod_Info.html#00 Changes
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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They are both "turbo" cars. Be careful in researching the European websites as there were some variances of the Esprit that never came to America.

The one you would like to get is the SE as it has the "chargecooler", which is a nice performance addition. However, the SE is most likely going to have the rear wing. The body style you are describing I believe is the 89-91 models. These cars are great as they had the benefit of electronic fuel injection. They are also the most reasonable in pricing. Finding a well cared for and unmolested example might be challenging however.

The downside would be the brakes. They use Toyota units, which for normal street use are just adequate. Easily upgraded though.

Best,

Jeff
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Great input!

From what I understand, every SE model has a spoiler of some kind.

My primary concern is how the car looks (stock), followed by performance. This may seem backwards to most people but I'm a visual person

So, I think what I'm looking for is the 1989 Esprit Turbo. Same look as the 87-88, with the best performance of the three (except brakes?).

Does anyone object to this deduction?


I think what has confused me the most is this:
http://www.lotusespritworld.com/EModels/Esprit_S.html
Does he mean "SE" rather than "S"??? Maybe it's a Euro version? The car pictured there looks like just a plain Turbo to me.

Last edited by ccs88; 11-29-2012 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The Esprit S did not make it to the US, nor did the 87.. You are looking for an 88 or 89 stateside. The difference is actually a lot between the two. The 88 cars use a Bosch mechanical f.i and also a Citroen transaxle with inboard brakes. Both the Bosch f.i and Citroen trans are becoming very scarce on the available parts list theses days.. So keep that in mind. The 89 car is the precursor to the 89se.. It uses the delco f.i and the Renault transaxle.. Parts are more readily available for the 89's although there are less 89's made, it would be a better option. They can be had for around 20k for a nice example..
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The Esprit S did not make it to the US, nor did the 87.. You are looking for an 88 or 89 stateside. The difference is actually a lot between the two. The 88 cars use a Bosch mechanical f.i and also a Citroen transaxle with inboard brakes. Both the Bosch f.i and Citroen trans are becoming very scarce on the available parts list theses days.. So keep that in mind. The 89 car is the precursor to the 89se.. It uses the delco f.i and the Renault transaxle.. Parts are more readily available for the 89's although there are less 89's made, it would be a better option. They can be had for around 20k for a nice example..
Perfect! Lots of misinformation on the internet unfortunately.

My dream car is now set in stone. Now to pick a stock color...

Thanks everyone
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ccs88 View Post
Great input!

From what I understand, every SE model has a spoiler of some kind.

My primary concern is how the car looks (stock), followed by performance. This may seem backwards to most people but I'm a visual person

So, I think what I'm looking for is the 1989 Esprit Turbo. Same look as the 87-88, with the best performance of the three (except brakes?).

Does anyone object to this deduction?


I think what has confused me the most is this:
Esprit Models
Does he mean "SE" rather than "S"??? Maybe it's a Euro version? The car pictured there looks like just a plain Turbo to me.
I would only "object" by saying that the Giugiaro-bodied(the '86 and '87 are the best US models to get) turbo cars are the best looking but thats subjective. Oh, I have one too. The angular edgey lines are just insanely exotic looking and still make most modern sports cars look boring by comparison. The only cars you'll cause as much of a ruckuss with is something Italian and very expensive

Get what ya like though.... nothing wrong with the SE turbo. They are killer performers!
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I would only "object" by saying that the Giugiaro-bodied(the '86 and '87 are the best US models to get) turbo cars are the best looking but thats subjective. Oh, I have one too. The angular edgey lines are just insanely exotic looking and still make most modern sports cars look boring by comparison. The only cars you'll cause as much of a ruckuss with is something Italian and very expensive

Get what ya like though.... nothing wrong with the SE turbo. They are killer performers!
I did honestly consider one of the '81-'87 Giugiaro turbo models, particularly these (not sure what they are):




...but I don't know how fond I am of rear window louvers. They could grow on me I suppose. Can you explain the difference between HCi and normal Turbos?
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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There's a nice 89 on eBay red/tan. It looks in good condition in the pics. $25 is more than I think is reasonable given that you can find a super nice SE for less.

And you would need to budget to refinish the wheels from super pimp back to stock $600-$800.


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Old 11-29-2012, 01:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Isn't it all about the "G" ? that does it for me. The louvers are '80's tacky, can't see $h1t backing up but that was the thing at the time.

Esprit engines build a lot of heat back there and with the louvers at least it can vent out. Having a solid glass window holds a lot of that heat.

UMM... maybe I could be on to something...

The picture of that 'Gun Metal G' is pure splooge!
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Isn't it all about the "G" ? that does it for me. The louvers are '80's tacky, can't see $h1t backing up but that was the thing at the time.

Esprit engines build a lot of heat back there and with the louvers at least it can vent out. Having a solid glass window holds a lot of that heat.

UMM... maybe I could be on to something...

The picture of that 'Gun Metal G' is pure splooge!
I agree the gunmetal is awesome. What's this "G" you're mentioning?
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Really nice low mileage early Stevens cars can be had for ca $15k
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:38 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I agree the gunmetal is awesome. What's this "G" you're mentioning?
For Esprits there are two body styles - 1976-1987 is the Giugiaro-styled body (sharp edges - think 'James Bond - For Your Eyes Only, The Spy Who Loved Me'). AKA 'G' car or G Esprit.

1988-2004 the core body is the 'S' car or 'S' Esprit (Stevens-styled body). Softer edges - think 'Pretty Woman', 'Basic Instinct.


I think this is what you're describing - my wingless S car Esprit @ UC Santa Barbara:

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Old 11-29-2012, 03:43 PM   #14 (permalink)
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[snip

Here's a cool video: Mustang V.S. Lotus - YouTube
[snip]
Wow! My Esprit looks identical down to the color scheme in this video AND I also have a 2006 Mustang GT (convertible) in Tungsten gray - great coincidence for me. Guess I gotta create a cool video like this one

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Old 11-29-2012, 04:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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A few of the 89 Turbo Esprits had wings on them. Mine does, for example, and it was made at the very end of the run before the SE went into production. It's not that big a deal to take the wing off the car if you really object to it. There's a guy named Atwell that would probably come over to your place and take it off for free.....

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Old 11-29-2012, 04:21 PM   #16 (permalink)
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A few of the 89 Turbo Esprits had wings on them. Mine does, for example, and it was made at the very end of the run before the SE went into production. It's not that big a deal to take the wing off the car if you really object to it. There's a guy named Atwell that would probably come over to your place and take it off for free.....

You have the newer mirrors than my 'flag' mirrors. However, I noticed the later Esprits seemed to have relocated the MOUNTING hole too (your mirror appears to be mounted in same location as my 88).

Question:

With your driver side mirror, is the black window frame in the center view (like mine)?

If not, I'm definitely going to consider changing to that mirror type - the window frame really bugs me when I'm scanning traffic for, uh, certain vehicles...
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:32 PM   #17 (permalink)
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No interference from the window frame with those mirrors. I also add a small convex "bug eye" mirror for better scope. And I have thought about a back-up camera. Probably the next time I upgrade my sound system I will get something with an integrated screen and add a back-up viewer. The double glass view straight out the back is not good.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:07 PM   #18 (permalink)
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No interference from the window frame with those mirrors. I also add a small convex "bug eye" mirror for better scope. And I have thought about a back-up camera. Probably the next time I upgrade my sound system I will get something with an integrated screen and add a back-up viewer. The double glass view straight out the back is not good.
I did those horrible bug eye mirrors on my SE because I didn't know how to adjust my mirrors. Big blind spots and those bug eye mirrors are terrible.

Now that I use the side mirrors properly, I have no blind spots with the Esprit.

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Old 11-29-2012, 10:47 PM   #19 (permalink)
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[snip]
Now that I use the side mirrors properly, I have no blind spots with the Esprit.
[snip]
I don't have a blind spot per se. The issue is the mirror is mounted center of the 'wing window' for symmetry (?). While the mirror looks symmetric mounted on the door, on the driver side, the black window frame is in DIRECT field of view of the mirror. On my 88, there is no way to adjust the mirror to avoid the window frame.

I noticed the later year Esprits - some have the mirror mounted 2-3" more forward, removing the black window frame out of the mirror's field of view.

Seemed like a oversight error on the factory's part for the early 88s.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:47 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I did honestly consider one of the '81-'87 Giugiaro turbo models, particularly these (not sure what they are):




...but I don't know how fond I am of rear window louvers. They could grow on me I suppose. Can you explain the difference between HCi and normal Turbos?
Yep - those are the ones! Love the arctic blue and the grey colors too!

The HC cars have quite a few improvements such as:

1) Bosch fuel injection. Works great and is way better than carburetors
2) Better cooling system all around
3) Slightly higher compression for more torque and power
4) Beefier engine internals
5) Higher value initially and IMO the HC turbos will be the most desireable of the G-body Esprits for all of the reasons I mentioned above.

I totally agree that the louvers are cheesey. Ive seen people paint them the color of the body but that doesnt work for me either. So, chalk the louvers up to being a little shady but other than that.... you cant have a more exotic looking car.
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