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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I am a Esprit fan and decided to simply type "Lotus Mexico for sale" (I am working remotely from here) and found this beauty for sale. I went ahead and bought it with no previous experience in restoring cars. I have a great guy that will do all the work but I have some questions for you guys as he has never worked in a lotus before:

1. Car is originally Blue, does it lose value if I decide to paint it in other color? It will be completely stripped down for new paint
2. Engine has not moved for more than 10 years, how much would it cost to rebuild this bad boy? It is missing the top parts of the engine.
3. Does changing also the interior color and fabric affect selling cost? I don't want to sell it but if I do would someone say "this is not how they looked in the 70's" I like suede with leather seats like the new Evoras

Also any people to reach out with parts would be highly appreciated. I am excited about this project but also afraid it might cost too much. Things to watch out in the process let me know.
 

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You have a lot of work to do!

The Lotus marketplace (for now) is not as into the matching numbers/all original thing as some other marques are. So, paint the car whatever you would like. I would recommend that if you are doing a color change - do a color change! By that I mean painting the door jambs, under the hood, any other places where the original color was applied. You are in luck that the body is pretty complete. The only things obviously missing are the bumper covers. The same is true of the interior. The mouse fur dash and velour seats aren't everyone's cup of tea, but they do look pretty sharp when they are fresh. I would recommend staying with the interior style. There are some missing bits in the console, but they should be relatively easy to find - see the parts providers list below.

Has your restorer worked with fiberglass bodies before? Especially relatively thin fiberglass bodies? These cars suffer from stress cracks in the gelcoat, and there are specific processes for repairing them properly. Do not overlook this as your new paint will crack in no time.

Engine parts are available. From the photos, you will need a head, intake, carburettors, intake trunking, exhaust maniford, and exhaust at a minimum. There are several parts providers you can choose from, each with their own specialties. Lotusbits and SJ in the UK will be your best sources for S1 mechanical bits. JAE and Dave Bean Engineering are excellent US based providers who have TONS of experience.

Definitely get ahold of the S1/S2 parts manuals and service guides. They will be your bibles for determining what you have, what's missing, and what you need. The parts manuals are most important because they have exploded diagrams of the cars' systems - you can see how they come apart and go back together. There are some PDF versions out there and the physical manuals are available - keep an eye on eBay. There is also an early Esprit mailing list which will be helpful as well.

These cars are amazing to drive when they are done right. Resist the temptation to "improve" the car until you have had a chance to drive it the way Lotus built it. Enjoy!
 
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Hey guys,

I am a Esprit fan and decided to simply type "Lotus Mexico for sale" (I am working remotely from here) and found this beauty for sale. I went ahead and bought it with no previous experience in restoring cars. I have a great guy that will do all the work but I have some questions for you guys as he has never worked in a lotus before:

1. Car is originally Blue, does it lose value if I decide to paint it in other color? It will be completely stripped down for new paint
2. Engine has not moved for more than 10 years, how much would it cost to rebuild this bad boy? It is missing the top parts of the engine.
3. Does changing also the interior color and fabric affect selling cost? I don't want to sell it but if I do would someone say "this is not how they looked in the 70's" I like suede with leather seats like the new Evoras

Also any people to reach out with parts would be highly appreciated. I am excited about this project but also afraid it might cost too much. Things to watch out in the process let me know.
Nice find. This is one of those times, though, when asking these questions BEFORE you buy would've been prudent.

When you say you have a 'great guy' who will do all the work, what does that mean? Has he ever worked on an Esprit, a vintage Esprit at that? Has he ever rebuilt a 907 engine. Is there competent machine shop expertise locally? Is the guy going to get right on it, or is he going to get it apart while he works his real job, and he runs out of steam, or you money, then you're stuck with a disassembled car?

Generally Lotus, vintage Lotus was the exception about needing original color. That's changing, if you're looking at value. The S1/S2's are going up in value as collector cars, the best rivaling what you can get a low mileage V8 for.

If you ever sell and want top dollar, put it back to original, with the improvements limited to things that enhance reliability and safety. If you do a complete job on this car...and that is what it needs, you'll want it as close to spec as you can get it.

BTW...any chassis rust?

Just being honest, to do this car justice, it's going to take a boatload of cash, especially if you're paying somebody else to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You have a lot of work to do!

The Lotus marketplace (for now) is not as into the matching numbers/all original thing as some other marques are. So, paint the car whatever you would like. I would recommend that if you are doing a color change - do a color change! By that I mean painting the door jambs, under the hood, any other places where the original color was applied. You are in luck that the body is pretty complete. The only things obviously missing are the bumper covers. The same is true of the interior. The mouse fur dash and velour seats aren't everyone's cup of tea, but they do look pretty sharp when they are fresh. I would recommend staying with the interior style. There are some missing bits in the console, but they should be relatively easy to find - see the parts providers list below.

Has your restorer worked with fiberglass bodies before? Especially relatively thin fiberglass bodies? These cars suffer from stress cracks in the gelcoat, and there are specific processes for repairing them properly. Do not overlook this as your new paint will crack in no time.

Engine parts are available. From the photos, you will need a head, intake, carburettors, intake trunking, exhaust maniford, and exhaust at a minimum. There are several parts providers you can choose from, each with their own specialties. Lotusbits and SJ in the UK will be your best sources for S1 mechanical bits. JAE and Dave Bean Engineering are excellent US based providers who have TONS of experience.

Definitely get ahold of the S1/S2 parts manuals and service guides. They will be your bibles for determining what you have, what's missing, and what you need. The parts manuals are most important because they have exploded diagrams of the cars' systems - you can see how they come apart and go back together. There are some PDF versions out there and the physical manuals are available - keep an eye on eBay. There is also an early Esprit mailing list which will be helpful as well.

These cars are amazing to drive when they are done right. Resist the temptation to "improve" the car until you have had a chance to drive it the way Lotus built it. Enjoy!
Thanks a lot for all the comments. He is an expert in fiberglass, he will remove gelcoat and apply new one. I will definitely look into getting all the manuals and service guides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nice find. This is one of those times, though, when asking these questions BEFORE you buy would've been prudent.

When you say you have a 'great guy' who will do all the work, what does that mean? Has he ever worked on an Esprit, a vintage Esprit at that? Has he ever rebuilt a 907 engine. Is there competent machine shop expertise locally? Is the guy going to get right on it, or is he going to get it apart while he works his real job, and he runs out of steam, or you money, then you're stuck with a disassembled car?

Generally Lotus, vintage Lotus was the exception about needing original color. That's changing, if you're looking at value. The S1/S2's are going up in value as collector cars, the best rivaling what you can get a low mileage V8 for.

If you ever sell and want top dollar, put it back to original, with the improvements limited to things that enhance reliability and safety. If you do a complete job on this car...and that is what it needs, you'll want it as close to spec as you can get it.

BTW...any chassis rust?

Just being honest, to do this car justice, it's going to take a boatload of cash, especially if you're paying somebody else to do it.
He restores old Renault Alpines and makes replicas as well. This will be the only car he will work on until finish. Labor costs here in Mexico are much lower than other countries, he is definitely not an expert in 907 engines. My second bet was to have someone do the rebuilding part in the US but this I am assuming might be expensive. I have read some blogs that say it is not that complicated engine once it is out of the shell.
 

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Fantastic find! 👍 I'm excited for your project, it's going to be a ton of work but an incredible learning experience. You have a world of discovery in front of you.

I agree with @mike.griese. Don't spend two minutes wondering or debating about future value. Make it what you want. Great candidate IMO for a restomod. But if you go that route make it subtle, modernize systems (brakes, etc) but keep the classic vibe, especially that way-ahead-of-its-time interior configuration. Amazing it has all those original pieces like the Wolfrace wheels, World Champion badge, and interior parts. Restore as needed and use them. I think some judicious application of Alcantara and maybe a bit of leather inside would be nice. Even some kind of engine swap might be worth considering.

Definitely recommend to pull the body and do a thorough chassis inspection for rust and structural integrity, as mentioned. I don't think those early cars had galvanized chassis so some kind of protective treatment is in order.

Good luck with this, hopefully you can document the process on this forum as the work moves forward.

Try this for the S1 parts and service manual:

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Fantastic find! 👍 I'm excited for your project, it's going to be a ton of work but an incredible learning experience. You have a world of discovery in front of you.

I agree with @mike.griese. Don't spend two minutes wondering or debating about future value. Make it what you want. Great candidate IMO for a restomod. But if you go that route make it subtle, modernize systems (brakes, etc) but keep the classic vibe, especially that way-ahead-of-its-time interior configuration. Amazing it has all those original pieces like the Wolfrace wheels, World Champion badge, and interior parts. Restore as needed and use them. I think some judicious application of Alcantara and maybe a bit of leather inside would be nice. Even some kind of engine swap might be worth considering.

Definitely recommend to pull the body and do a thorough chassis inspection for rust and structural integrity, as mentioned. I don't think those early cars had galvanized chassis so some kind of protective treatment is in order.

Good luck with this, hopefully you can document the process on this forum as the work moves forward.

Try this for the S1 parts and service manual:

Thanks a lot! I will not sweat it much and get a color I like. Thanks a lot for the link, do you happen to have the workshop manual link?
 

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Hmm if it were me I would either go full resto mod or original. If Restomod I would follow advice above. If original I would keep the color and everything. Could end up being pretty valuable. If original I might make some subtle reversible changes such as Euro bumpers and things such as a very nice stainless exhaust system. The engines are not too exotic and I think a lot of the parts are from Fords and British Leyland. I wonder if you could find a slightly used or rebuilt long block? I think the 907 was sued in a few other cars.

When i hear that your guy will be working on it full time that means you are paying his entire salary for the whole time plus parts and materials. That sounds expensive. Time to get out the spreadsheet and be realistic with the planning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hmm if it were me I would either go full resto mod or original. If Restomod I would follow advice above. If original I would keep the color and everything. Could end up being pretty valuable. If original I might make some subtle reversible changes such as Euro bumpers and things such as a very nice stainless exhaust system. The engines are not too exotic and I think a lot of the parts are from Fords and British Leyland. I wonder if you could find a slightly used or rebuilt long block? I think the 907 was sued in a few other cars.

When i hear that your guy will be working on it full time that means you are paying his entire salary for the whole time plus parts and materials. That sounds expensive. Time to get out the spreadsheet and be realistic with the planning.
I really appreciate all the tips for the engine. I will try ti look into that and find a cheap solve. As far as the guy, his salary is not that high so it will be the same as him working on one of his replica cars. He only takes one car at a time plus it's México haha labor is very affordable
 

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Although I’m dating myself, I saw a similar year and color Esprit. It was absolutely beautiful. I’m not commenting on whether a color change will increase or decrease the value of the car, but if I would’ve bought an Esprit back then it would’ve been that color. You should try to find a picture of that color on that car as you’re barn find does not give you any idea how beautiful the cars looks in blue. I think you’ve got a lot of good advice what modifications to make if you wanted to keep the car original. Just safety, a stainless steel exhaust and European bumpers. Please keep posting pictures.
 

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I’m not commenting on whether a color change will increase or decrease the value of the car,
That's a laugh.

A local owner whose Esprit SE needs an alternator, was told by a Lotus dealer mechanic that an aftermarket part (Bosch vs. Valeo) would decrease its desirability when resold... :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: 😏
 

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I'm writing this from my childhood town of National City, California - about 15-20 mins from the Mexican border and the city of Tijuana.
This story reminded me...

Back in the 1970/80s, there were a number of car theft rings operating in the area. Cars in Tijuana were found to be stolen from the USA (California in particular) and some were foudn to be used by the local police.

Now - it's been decades since that story. However your S1 Esprit is from that time line. I suggest you take the VIN (driver side lower windshield, driver side door jamb, and (I think) passenger side front trunk) and verify the car is not a stolen vehicle. Would be a pity if you started pouring in work only to find it's got a questionable title.
 
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