Seeking advice on 01 - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12
Seeking advice on 01

Hello all!

I am currently considering taking the plunge on an 01 and, to be honest, am somewhat terrified. I just learned that I live about 10 mins from RDent, so that helps a bit, but I am still not sure I completely understand the total cost of ownership with these cars.

For background, I have owned two NSX's, a Vette and a 911. I am jumping back into a new toy car and was evaluating Gen2/Gen 3 Vipers and my old favorite, the 911TT.

Then I ran into this:

eBay

My trust level is of course very low, but Art (dealer) seems ok and would have no problem with me arranging an inspection at Lotus of Cleveland. Any advice for me at all? Any help would be really appreciated!
mlambert890 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 10:35 PM
Registered User
 
shokwaves's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Carson, California
Posts: 1,019
Sorry, link, no good.
01? Esprit?
shokwaves is offline  
post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 10:38 PM
Registered User
 
jhnmdahl's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 852
jhnmdahl is offline  
 
post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12
Sorry about the link!

Yes, 2001 V8 with 20k miles. Looks like Smith Lotus had it in April, said they were going to do a major on it. Seem to have maybe sat on it. Went to auction and now is at some dealer in Cleveland.

I am going to contact Lotus of Cleveland tomorrow (the folks here seem to speak highly of the mechanic there) and see if he can do a PPI. The dealer agree to take it over (thats a good start)

My excitement is starting to build! The fear is still strong though
mlambert890 is offline  
post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 09:29 AM
Registered User
 
Mr. Know's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Marin, California
Posts: 4,116
Garage
Looks nice! I'm not so sure about the color though.
And what's the deal with the mismatched tires?

07 Magnetic Blue Exige S
"Mostly though, it's just a triumph of British engineering." -Jeremy Clarkson
Mr. Know is offline  
post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 09:57 AM
Registered User
 
Simba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 580
One of the tires appears to have a screw in it, and they are mismatched (some original, some not), that would be a potential red flag for me. Either someone being miserly with the car, or having very little of a clue about taking care of it.

That said, it has fairly low miles, and appears to be quite clean. However, the price is also considerably lower than I'd expect for that year/miles, which may indicate issues.

Certainly do a full PPI, and a good service history would go a long way to establishing the car's overall shape.

On the upshot, the 00+ cars had virtually all of the "issues" fixed, and had the very awesome AP brakes, so if it's in good shape it would be a hell of a deal.

As to running costs, if the car is in good shape, they're considerably less than most exotics. Many of the parts are GM or Delco and can be had easily and relatively cheaply. Some of the gotchas are that many of the "GM" parts are european market only from various Vauxhall cars, and hence finding comparable parts stateside (versus ordering them through lotus for 3-4x the cost) can be interesting.

For a ballpark figure on a well-maintained car, I would toss out around $1,500-2,000/yr to keep it happy. More, of course, to replace things that have issues.

One thing you should factor into your thinking is replacing the radiator with a good aluminum unit. The stock rad is an unimaginable piece of crap.

Another is that these cars are inherently difficult to get through emissions testing, with o2 and evap system codes being quite common. If you live in a state with a smog gestapo, it might not be the best choice.

A few things to check:

- A/C and heater. Make sure they both work well. Also open the front hood and verify that the air recirculation flap works as it should. If it doesn't the motor could be toast, or as is more common, the motor arm broke. (Easy fix, PITA to get at)

- Central locking, make sure the fob locks and unlocks both doors.

- Scan for OBD codes. Any o2 or Evap codes, as noted, could be problematic.

- If possible during the PPI, have all four wheels inspected for roundness. They're very easy to bend on the inner rim.

- Check that the gearbox shifts smoothly. A slow or grindy 1-2 shift is an indication of worn synchros. If the gearbox oil has been changed, per the service history, on a 20k car, that would be a good indication of someone taking good care of it.

- Check that the car brakes in a straight line with no wheel pull.

- Check the dash leather around the passenger airbag, it can shrink. Not the end of the world, but good for knocking a few bucks off from the dealer.

- Check that the gas door solenoid works, the button is hidden behind the shifter.

- Check for transmission oil leaks, especially around the rear CV joints.

- Check the coolant header tank for any discoloration or cracking, this can indicate head gasket or cylinder sleeve issues.

- If possible during the PPI, have the mechanic (or yourself) take a look at the exhaust manifold studs/nuts. They can sometimes work loose and cause an exhaust leak (evident by black soot around the loose bolt and a ticking sound when running)

- Check that the car runs reasonably cool. It should read between "80" and the mark between 80 and 100 in virtually all cases.

- Check that there's no fuel odor in the cabin while driving, this can indicate a leaking fuel tank crossover hose.
Simba is offline  
post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 10:06 AM
maz
Registered User
 
maz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: chicago
Posts: 1,347
look for dry axle seals

a heavy clutch is a worn clutch

make sure the hydralic fluid looks clean

find out when the last cam belkt service was

make sure all the cooling fans kick on

make sure you have the alarm reset tool

get a shop manual

you want a leak-down, and compression check

look for worn suspension bushings

let it idle through a fan cycle or two to see if it can keep itself at normal temps with the AC on

smell for burning or leaking fluids

listen for power steering hum



I will pray for you...

www.lotuscarclub.org
"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know." (rumsfeld)
maz is offline  
post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 11:11 AM
Registered User
 
mvesprit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Gainesville Ga
Posts: 180
Guys you are going to scare this person into not owning an awesome
sports car. Its exotic, it has quirks, it is fairly expensive to maintain,
your wife will give you crap about " why is it always being worked on??"
Etc. My only concern is DUDE its Purple!!! that being said I am not afraid to
wear pink shirts, sooooo dont let the color get in the way. Everything noted
above is great advice, but you can be bogged down in the details. Own it
if you can afford to feed it, if not pass and get one when you can..
they are just protecting you from getting a dog, B/C if they are bad from the start... you will be an owner that will poopoo the Esprit and not realize it is the best friggin exotic made ( past or present ) -- I mean its friggin timeless
deep breath...., Im done now. Please buy wisely and enjoy
mvesprit is offline  
post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12
You guys ROCK

And... the internet is AMAZING...

check this out... I Googled the VIN... I found an old entry from Smith Lotus cached. So I called them and I actually spoke with the owner. What a cool guy!

He told me that he had grabbed this car at auction (his son actually picked it up), but it turned out it failed the inspection. Tranny issue!!! So they dumped it right back on Manheim!

Needless to say, PPI cancelled! He told me to RUN so I RAN!

But what a GREAT piece of luck it turned out to be. I found another for sale in my backyard at Princeton Lotus (I know those guys fairly well). It is a one owner that is on consignment and was bought and maintained by them. I am going to check it out Wed and am going to try to bring Ralph from RS Motorsports along!

It is a 2001 V8 with 21,000 miles... Red... Honest condition. All records and maintenance done and documented at Princeton Lotus including recent belt service.

Only thing odd in its entire history is that 6 mths into its life back in 01 there was a motor replacement under warranty. According to them it was just a factory issue and Lotus did the swap. 19,500 miles later and the car has been rock solid.

Now Im getting genuinely excited!
mlambert890 is offline  
post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 05:18 PM
Registered User
 
mvesprit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Gainesville Ga
Posts: 180
way to go... nice pick up!!!
I am excited for you
BTW Like Red Better!!
mvesprit is offline  
post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12
Thanks! This is the metallic burgundy, I believe. Very nice color - always one of my favorites on the Esprit.

I can say that if the Esprit roughly equals the 911 in terms of total cost of ownership, Id be a happy camper. I wont be driving more than a few k per year, so I dont need the kind of reliability a Porsche would bring, I just dont want to be crushed by regular maintenance bills.

It seems this expectation is reasonable. The only caveat seems to be that the Esprit has certain problem areas (gear box being one) that if not well sorted can be big money. In addition, any car that has not been properly looked after will require a TON to get right. This is true of any sports car really, but the Esprit seems more vulnerable to it.

So I am hoping that this car has a genuine clean bill of health and is currently solid, well maintained and needing nothing. At that point, I can take it from there and ensure that it has its regular care and feeding (which will be no big deal based on the kinds of estimates Im seeing here and in the FAQ - couple of thousand a year)

My real fear was F355 type maintenance - $7500 engine service that you really need to do every 15 k or every couple of years if the car is just sitting.
mlambert890 is offline  
post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 04:30 PM
Wingless Wonder
 
carbuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: In the Back of your Mind
Posts: 5,264
Garage
Mark, PM sent

Atwell Haines
'88 Esprit
Succasunna, NJ USA


"Not all angels have wings." - Turbo R
carbuff is offline  
post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12
So prelminary check went very well. The above info was a fantastic help. The car tracked straight, accelerated and stopped smoothly, stayed cool (tick below the line above 80). Air and heat worked fine. No sign of leaks. Tranny was smooth.

It seems like a genuine honest one owner car that was driven. What that translates to is real world body condition. Paint and panels are in fantastic shape, but she has the usual collection of minor scrapes, scratches and chips that a car in NJ collects. Nothing big and nothing worse than I put on in 8 years (I have bad luck)

The interior was a mixed bag. The overall condition inside is decent, but I suspect that the really light colored leather just never wears well. It would benefit from a deep cleaning and leather reconditioning, I think.

The worst parts are some wear on the driver side lower bolster that is unsightly and the absolute worst is that there is about an 8 inch section in the center of the dash liner that has pulled back. Hard to describe, but at the point where the dash meets the glass it looks like a central section of that leather liner shrank. Is it possible to replace that, by any chance?

Other than those nits everything was solid and worked (switchgear, radio, alarm, power locks, etc) The body is the body of a car that has traveled 20,000 miles in the NE piloted by someone who isnt entirely neglectful, but isnt incredibly anal either.

Right now the car is on its way to Ralph at RS Motorsports for a deep look. If he gives it the thumbs up, I think Im going to buy it.

I figure that it seems an Esprit is a genuine gamble and that the only way to stack the deck is to ENSURE that the car is mechanically rock solid. I cant imagine when Id be able to find another local, one owner car under consignment at the original dealer that sold it and has maintained it for 8 years. Plus I have the great fortune of being located local to RS as well.

The exterior I figure is no big deal (Im sure a good detailing and professional touch up would solve 99% of it anyhow). The interior will become a project.

So any advice on the dash and the seats?

Thanks again!!!
mlambert890 is offline  
post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 05:51 PM
Wingless Wonder
 
carbuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: In the Back of your Mind
Posts: 5,264
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlambert890 View Post
So any advice on the dash and the seats?
The "new" leather (different supplier than previous) on 93+ Esprits always wears on the driver's bolster...unless you put your hand there when entering the car. (So that your pants don't rub across it)

It can be re-dyed with Leatherique. They give discounts to Lotus Club members...

Home Page | Leatherique Restoration Products




As for the dash, its:

"They All Do That Sir"


Back in the day even NEW Esprits would be found with tight leather just below the windshield.

Unfortunately, that piece of leather is wrapped up and over where the windshield goes....and the windshield is GLUED in place.

If you are feeling lucky, you might have a shop remove and reinstall the glass to replace the leather. It's an $800 - $1200 gamble!


Hopefully Ralphie will give his blessing!

Atwell Haines
'88 Esprit
Succasunna, NJ USA


"Not all angels have wings." - Turbo R
carbuff is offline  
post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12
Thanks Atwell! This is a big help and very reassuring! I will post an update once Ralph gives the verdict. I cant wait to hear his report!
mlambert890 is offline  
post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 08:24 PM
Registered User
 
Simba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 580
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlambert890 View Post
So any advice on the dash and the seats?
Both can be redone, it's just a matter of time and money. And, if you're going to spend that kind of coin, you may as well just recover the dash with alcantara. The leather is nice, but causes a lot of windshield glare.

Any halfway decent upholstery shop should be able to do either.
Simba is offline  
post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12
Thanks! Ill start to research dash/seat refinishing just to see. Removal of the windshield sounds tricky though, from Atwells post.

While Ralph has the car tomorrow Ill see what he thinks. For me, it would be worth it to spend a reasonable sum to get the interior looking solid again (reasonable in this case being a few thousand) Beyond that Id probably leave it for now.

The body Im, ironically, much more forgiving. I suspect some detailing and minor touchup and Id be happy.

Anyone know where to get touchup paint at this point?
mlambert890 is offline  
post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 12:52 AM
Wingless Wonder
 
carbuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: In the Back of your Mind
Posts: 5,264
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlambert890 View Post


Anyone know where to get touchup paint at this point?
I use PaintScratch Touch-Up Paint


Only 8 Esprits were made in my color. I have had good luck with them.

Atwell Haines
'88 Esprit
Succasunna, NJ USA


"Not all angels have wings." - Turbo R
carbuff is offline  
post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12
The verdict is in! Looks like Im passing on it unfortunately. Ralph indicated that it needed rear shocks, new rubber and of course some kind of dash and seat repair. Allowing for condition also, he suggested I negotiate down by about four thousand. The owner isnt budging from a thousand less than his number. Ralph felt at that price in this market it isnt worth it considering the car is a bit rough.

He did indicate that a customer of his has a creampuff 2004 black Esprit that he would let go for a great price (talking mid 40s) b/c he needs to sell. Unfortunately black is a non-starter for me, but that would be a great deal for someone else!

The red one is a decent deal as well, but the owner is firm at $38k and it would probably need at least $3k to bring it up to date with shocks and rubber and then whatever it would take to do something to the dash. That brings it over $40k which for me personally, doesnt seem worth it given the overall condition. Ralph felt that $35k would make that car a pretty good deal (assuming one didnt mind some scrapes/chips/minor scratches and a less than pristine cabin)
mlambert890 is offline  
post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 06:39 PM
Wingless Wonder
 
carbuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: In the Back of your Mind
Posts: 5,264
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlambert890 View Post
The verdict is in! Looks like Im passing on it unfortunately. Ralph indicated that it needed rear shocks, new rubber and of course some kind of dash and seat repair. Allowing for condition also, he suggested I negotiate down by about four thousand. The owner isnt budging from a thousand less than his number. Ralph felt at that price in this market it isnt worth it considering the car is a bit rough.

He did indicate that a customer of his has a creampuff 2004 black Esprit that he would let go for a great price (talking mid 40s) b/c he needs to sell. Unfortunately black is a non-starter for me, but that would be a great deal for someone else!

The red one is a decent deal as well, but the owner is firm at $38k and it would probably need at least $3k to bring it up to date with shocks and rubber and then whatever it would take to do something to the dash. That brings it over $40k which for me personally, doesnt seem worth it given the overall condition. Ralph felt that $35k would make that car a pretty good deal (assuming one didnt mind some scrapes/chips/minor scratches and a less than pristine cabin)
Too bad...but don't fret. I know of several potential owners who took years to find the Esprit they wanted. Knowledgeable shoppers get the best cars.

Atwell Haines
'88 Esprit
Succasunna, NJ USA


"Not all angels have wings." - Turbo R
carbuff is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

  LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community > Lotus Discussions > Lotus Esprit

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in











Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome