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Ive been into corvettes my entire life but have really only now been considering the purchase of a 93 Esprit turbo since Ive gotten back from deployment. I am big on reliability and the ability to perform repairs and maintenance on my own. I have a lift and full set of tools at my disposal and just wanted to know how difficult it is to work on these things. And do they require a crazy amount of upkeep usually? Of course I expect some. I assume parts are also pretty expensive also?
 

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Depends entirely on the car you get. If it's been well looked after and not neglected, it shouldn't require any more maintenance than most other sports cars (though probably more than your average 'vette).

If you get one that's got issues, there will be a lot more things that need attention, obviously.

Once everything is sorted out, they're no more painful to upkeep than anything else, barring a few idiosyncrasies. Parts in some cases are relatively cheap as they're cross-referenced (or direct replacements for) various Delco and GM parts. Some of the Lotus-specific stuff can get pricy.
 

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Thanks alot! Ill have to check this car out. Its always been an interest of mine. I love how lotus' look and especially how they perform. I just need something that can be stable.
 

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Ive been into corvettes my entire life but have really only now been considering the purchase of a 93 Esprit turbo since Ive gotten back from deployment. I am big on reliability and the ability to perform repairs and maintenance on my own. I have a lift and full set of tools at my disposal and just wanted to know how difficult it is to work on these things. And do they require a crazy amount of upkeep usually? Of course I expect some. I assume parts are also pretty expensive also?
***Disclaimer: I've never owned one, but have bid/called/test driven a few. And I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night. I'm still looking for the right one.***

Esprits seem to be maintenance heavy compared to regular cars, but less than other exotics.

Be especially careful of any Esprits that have been hooned. I test drove one in Kansas that had $15,000 in repairs in the 24 months prior, and still wasn't right. Probably needed another $6,000-$8000 in repairs which didn't make much sense on an 88.

With that said, a disproportionate part of the cost comes from labor. There aren't many mechanics who know how to repair one of these, so labor adds up quick. The mechanics who do know how to repair them are often at the dealer which means ~$100/hr.

If you're willing to do repairs yourself, I think the repairs aren't bad at all.
 

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Wingless Wonder
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Also look at Lotus Esprit World While this is a UK sight it may educate you a LOT.

Most of us Esprit addicts know where the good mechanics are.

I don't agree with the statement that dealer techs are always that good on the cars...they probably see a lot of Elises but not Esprits. The one advantage the dealer may have is, they have the special tools that you may not be able to afford (or buy anywhere, anymore).
 

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Ive been into corvettes my entire life but have really only now been considering the purchase of a 93 Esprit turbo since Ive gotten back from deployment. I am big on reliability and the ability to perform repairs and maintenance on my own. I have a lift and full set of tools at my disposal and just wanted to know how difficult it is to work on these things. And do they require a crazy amount of upkeep usually? Of course I expect some. I assume parts are also pretty expensive also?
The Esprit is a great car, but after reading your opening post, I don't think it is the right car for you. Coming from a Corvette, you are going to find the working environment in the Esprit engine bay cramped and difficult to deal with. You are also going to find the Esprit is very finicky compared to a Corvette and harder to repair and obtain parts. Also the service intervals for the Corvette are going to be much longer than for the Esprit and you are going to spend a lot more time just doing regular maintenance on the Esprit compared to the Corvette.
 

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Having owned both, I can say quite plainly that a Corvette is a Chevrolet and an Esprit is a Lotus with all that that implies both good and bad.
 

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I've worked on my Esprit (working on it right now), worked on several Corvettes (own one, 1970). They are definitely different.

The Esprit is more of a spaceship. You sit lower, wedged in tighter. You don't drive this car as much as you wear it. Handling is definitely more exotic. More so that the Corvette, the Esprit rewards a student of driving.

Maintenance? It's a little harder to do, but not that much worse. Things are packed in pretty tight, but same can be said for a Corvette. Some parts are a lot more expensive, but with a 93, some parts are not. Electronics are GM, some chassis and body parts are Toyota. There are several cross indexes that show you what Esprit parts can be purchased as GM/Toyota. The majority of wearing parts tend to fall into those categories, so with a bit of diligence, you can keep daily costs fairly low.

The maintenance intervals are a bit higher, but again, it's not that bad - for an exotic, the Esprit is remarkably reliable.
 

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god help you
 

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There is a white SE for sale...good condition...see the other post.
 

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You will either love it or sell it and never get another one.
Are you a mechanical genius? That will help.
I have had 3 esprits since 1999 and do my own work. It has been a lot of hell but they are the most rare cars...and drive great.
Just plan on paying $5k if u have a problem. If the turbo plenum cracks...it is $2500 for the part..dealer cost.
I HAVE SURVIVED BECAUSE I LEARNED HOW TO PREVENT REPAIRS by really paying attention. These cars require attention. If u want low maintenance, buy a lotus elise. The engine is a toyota 1.8
 

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Haha!... *ahem* sorry all... but "reliability" should never be used in the same sentence as "Esprit." I love mine, but its very temperamental. I agree with colinebrucechapman. If reliability is a big factor for you, go get an Elise.... Toyota will bring you around the world and back....but good thing though they don't make the Elise's gas pedals.
 

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A. Thank you for serving and protecting this country.

B. Have you ever dated incredibly sexy but high maintenance girls? They usually fall into two categories:

- the one that doesn't appreciate you no matter how much you take care of her b/c she's bi-polar, a lingerie model and speaks French.
- the one that does appreciate you IF you take care of her, b/c she's well mannered, have her Masters in Fine Arts from Cambridge, and is great at communicating.

The first is a Ferrari and the latter is the Lotus Esprit...hope that helps.
 

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I'm only a few weeks into this, but the esprit (4 cyl) seems very easy to work on, at least after my Toyota MR2. There is a lot of space around the engine and easy access underneath. The parts availability might be an issue, though others don't seem to say so. Having a detailed manual sure is great (after dealing with my Volvo).
 

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A well sorted, taken care of Esprit should last you a long time. Do a lot of research, ask a lot of questions, and read all you can on the Esprit web sites mentioned earlier.
A key factor with these cars is are they garage queens or driven regularly. The Esprit does not do well in the long run if it is left to sit and decorate a garage. THe more it is driven the smoother it gets.
Also, having a soft touch with the Esprit, or any Lotus for that matter, is important. A heavy hand/foot will bring on problems quickly.
Parts are not to much of a problem, but because of time and the limited production numbers some parts are becoming hard to find.
Try finding a front spindle for example.
If you have the tools, time, and patience the Esprit should serve you well.
My 89 has lasted for 108k miles and still runs great.
As someone said before, it is a drivers car.
There are some bad ones out there so beware and look over any candidate with a magnifying glass. If you get a good one you'll be rewarded with a lot of driving smiles. Get a bad one one and you'll become a bitter old codger like Maz. (Sorry Maz, just kiddin).

Good luck and enjoy the ride!

Al B.
 

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A. Thank you for serving and protecting this country.

B. Have you ever dated incredibly sexy but high maintenance girls? They usually fall into two categories:

- the one that doesn't appreciate you no matter how much you take care of her b/c she's bi-polar, a lingerie model and speaks French.
- the one that does appreciate you IF you take care, b/c she's well mannered, have her Masters in Fine Art from Cambridge, and is great at communicating.

The first is a Ferrari and the latter is the Lotus Esprit...hope that helps.
+1 :)
 

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Having owned two of them, I can say the following:

1.) Look for a regularly driven and maintained one. Lots of them adorn peoples's garages, but this creates a lot of additional problems that could have been avoided if they had been driven more regularly.

2.) Best years are late I4's (SE, S4, or S4s). Early V-8s had some issues. The V-8s remind me a lot of Corvettes - lots of straight line acceleration but a little heavy and ponderous feeling. I prefer the I4s which are almost as fast but drive better.

Maintenance costs are pretty low (for a vintage exotic) on the I4s, unless you are unlucky and have to buy a Lotus proprietary part, as has been mentioned. Gas milage is excellent if you stay out of the turbo. There are cheap good quality replacement tires (Toyo, Kuhmo) available.

3.) Most important things to look for when (actually before) buying one are a documented maintenance history. You should also look for a good Lotus mechanic in your area, and have the car inspected by him WITH the prior maintenance documents in hand.

My car, for example, a 1991 SE, had equipment failure issues which were all consistant with cars of that vintage, and the service documents DID reflect this - ABS system, master and slave clutch cylinders.

They are certainly a fun car to drive. Turbo lag on the I4's takes some getting used to but when it FINNALY comes up it feels like you have just ignited the afterburner!

Good luck in your car search!
 

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All good info here. Ive read the fact file and various other websites/books on the Esprit. Im coming from BMW 3-series cars, Nissan 300zx, older 911, so believe me when I say that all those cars had their share of "sorting" required from time to time. They are all easier to work on being front engined cars but parts cost-wise: The Esprit cant be much worse!

I say go for it - You only live once. :D
 
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