OK so - as many of you know I sold my 87 HCi to a fellow member here and after some time to get settled into NOThaving the car anymore I thought I'd share my very honest opinions about the car and owning it for 5 years & 30,000+ miles.
1) It was well worth buying a car in top-condition and paying more to do so. I was able to drive the car for years and years without worry and that made the whole process much more enjoyable than having to dick with it immediately.
2) The car was VERY reliable for me. Other than clutch hydraulics(slave/master) and tires, I didnt have to spend anything on unscheduled services. She always fired up and ran great for me. I just kept the fuids fresh and drove the car OFTEN and it seemed to like that treatment.
3) The car is a definite attention getter and in most cases this is a positive thing. Its fun to own a cool car like this and to share info about it. Makes ya feel good. It carries the "exotic" persona very well.
4) The car drove and rode amazingly well for a hardcore sports car. We used it on some longer trips and it was just like a regular car except WAY cooler. Mileage is also very good. Extremely happy with the driveability and overall "quality" of the ride and such.
5) It is soooooo damned good looking that I found myself constantly peeking in the garage frequently just to "cop a look". The design cannot possibly get old and this car STILL makes 99% of whats on the road look lame and boooring. Sorry in advance to owners of "regular" cars but until you've owned an exotic you have NO idea about garage peeks
6) It makes the neighbors think you're crazy and/or have a lot of extra cash to waste. My car wasnt expensive per say(minivan money) but as a TOY its a little overboard for our modest neoghborhood. They probably thought I was selling crack or something. Ultimately though - its COOL and strokes yer ego a bit. Cant deny it
7) Oh yeah - the Lotus family of owners is quite the group. Ive had luck with BMW clubs and Porsche clubs too but the Lotus posse IS the best. I mean that too. Should you have issues, there is always help and the Lotus guys will do whatever it takes(Atwell???
) to get you going again.
1) The "value" of these cars seems to be stuck in a perpetual mode of being stagnant or dropping making them a very dodgy "investment". Now, I understand that few people buy these cars with investment in mind but if you look at competing cars from Ferrari and such, like the 308 which are always going UP it does upset you that the Esprit just cant crack $20K, even for almost perfect ones. Yet, a dodgy, 2-valve 308 fetches $30K now. makes ya sick. It just seems like even these great HCi cars will NEVER go any higher. They are stuck forever in the $15K to $20K range. Sucks. In other words, you WILL lose money on these cars faster than most other exotics. The low values add to the shady reputation and it allows any jacka$$(like me) to afford one. Thats NOT a good thing
2) Most of the regular service items, like the oil filter and air filter are in HORRIBLE locations making service a complete pain in the arse. Its maddening how "dumb" they were to do this. Just be prepared to scratch your head a LOT when working on this car. And, the major service is even more night-marish, IMO. My goodness why didnt they do a horizontal engine mount like the 308? ARRGGHH!
3) Lots of people do NOT know what these cars are and assume they are a Lambo or a Ferrari. Whats wrong with that? Well, its disappointing to some when they find out its not Italian. I believe it also hurts the cars image from a standpoint of people assuming that "Oh look, that clown thinks hes cool with his cheap English car trying pose as a Lambo guy" kind of thing. Some may not care about this but Im puting in the negative column nonetheless.
4) Certain parts are getting harder and harder to come by and it will get worse before it gets better. This is true for any small-production run exotic but at some point it could get really ugly. There just arent many of these left so there is little incentive to make parts.
A great sports car from the 80's that should make any owner happy. Thye good points outweigh the bad as long as you are privy of the value issue and the PITA service stuff. Anyone hunting down a G-car Esprit would be wise to stick to the HC models from 86/87. They are simply better cars than the earlier ones and dont cost a whole lot more.
Ill still be here for questions and such. I DO feel I know the cars well!