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Should I buy an Esprit V8?


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The blue V8 that was on BAT but didn't sell is now at a dealership in Hilton NY. It's a 98 with 11k miles. They are asking $48,750 for it. I'm not at all in the market but it's close to me and I'd be lying if I said I was not tempted.
 

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Never seen or heard about any moisture on those.
It is always worth looking for sealing from the fuel fillers entrance.
Cheers,
Redfox
 

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I dove in to my 98 Esprit by doing what everyone here does all the time........I was looking at Craigslist just looking at cars and I was looking all over the states. So I see this Esprit.....Black with Tan interior about 36,000 miles on it looking just seriously Bad Ass, It was on the Long Island New York Craigslist, but it showed the car in a town near me.........could that be true......Yes, I call the guy and he is on hard times and the car is in a storage facility.......not in storage out in the open with a shitty blue tarp over it. Sometimes you just gotta pay penance and save a car regardless for all the cars that you messed up in your youth. No real paperwork a little bit we made a deal.......It was a steal looking back. I hid it from my wife at the storage facility for about 7 months. Once I found my balls I brought it home. I have done a lot of work to it since then and 95% all myself. Do I love the car.......Yes. Is it perfect....No...... Is it the only one in town......Yes........and it absolutely is a beast to drive, so my experience is well.......GOOD I would say. Go to any cars and coffee and you are it!!!!!
 

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Well described. You gotta love your Esprit.
The truth of the matter is, that with any special car, it is going to need things done either by return of the level of performance you get, or by age. And these cars are old by now (2019), and since the Esprit was never a really expensive car relative to other super cars, say Ferrari or Lamborghini, the have often changed hands to owners who sometimes mistook what the car is: a supercar, not doing propper service on the car, but skipping after one Summer's worth of driving up and down the main road in front of their friends and maybe passing by some fast food crappy "restaurant", doing burn outs. That doesn't mean super performance by being a super cheapskate owner. No, that means a super high level of performance for the price of... a supercar.
Actually, if one have the patience and a little skill to service cars and be a little cautious and not just use a blowtorch and a sledgehammer per se as in many movies, it's a little time consuming and takes a little effort, but not that hard to service and keep in prestine condition. And spare parts are 1/3 of other super cars.
Can some of you remember how pricy it is to renovate a dead 911-996/997-boxter engine, when it kills the left side middle cylinder? Or a service on a 348? Or service on a Testarossa? And can someone remember how expensive it is to have the ecm's repaired because of ingress of water by desigh fault on Testarossa?
And can someone remember how much faster the Esprit is from 0-100 km/h than a similar year 12 cylinder Testarossa?
In that light, the Esprit is seriously cheap to own and maintain, once you've done a thorough going through the cars systems and changed a few bits and bobs here and there, and corrected adn caught up on previous pwners neglect. And no, the gearbox lasts just fine. In fact, in the light of truth, I'd say that the Esprit is a super bargin of a supercar by performance and running costs. If you want a 2cv or käfer 1302, then by all means go get that, but don't expect super car performance.

Have you noticed how often now, the Esprit is compared to much newer much more modern high level performance supercars? Yes, it happens a lot. And have you noticed how often an old aircooled 911, a 328 or a 348 get's compared to the same new lamborghini's or similar? Very rarely. There's a reason for that. The Esprit not only talks high level performance and driving capabilities, it simply screams: "Find me some good curves, drive me now and do it fast"!!!
But really, the Esprit doesn't have to be compared to many other more famous super cars, as the Esprit really is a supercar in it's own right, by it's own performance and with a driving level that many other super cars should be compared to, not the other way around.

As for many of all those videos out there on flutube by now at the end of 2019, as many a car mag on paper and online, have suddenly "discovered" the Esprit, when they're done being surprised of how fast the Esprit can accelerate from any speed, they should try it out on a propper back road with lot's of curves and hills instead. That's where it REALLY excels!
Yes yes yes, by today, there are plenty of much faster rockets, but that is not the idea: only driving fast. The idea is to find the right curvy road and enjoy the moment when driver and machine melts together and the Esprit is now the extension of the driver's thoughts and senses. When 1 + 1 is no longer two, but an astronomical high number into infinity. That precious moment where the driver experiences the perfect series of corners and feels what can only be very near what a certain Mr. Armstrong felt, when he first put his feet down on solid ground, outside planet Earth. That is what an Esprit does to it's driver.


ps: Hush! Please just keep it a secret!
So all of us in the know, can keep getting the real dream super car for a super low price, before they are all going to be snapped up and become garage queens and die a slow painfull death on a thick carpet, admired by politically correct people in high heels and shiny wallets, by some socalled car investor, looking only for the chance of earning huge profit over time, rather than driving and enjoying one of the world's best sportscars of all times.

Now, what are you waiting for?

Cheers,
Redfox
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As far as enjoyment of owning and driving the Esprit, based on my experience so far owning a 2003 V8 I would say this Lotus brochure does not exaggerate:

The Esprit from Lotus is unlike any other supercar. Drive it and be thrilled beyond your wildest expectation.

Settle into a semi-reclining driving position - the classic racing position - and brace yourself for takeoff. This supercar, powered by the Lotus designed 3.5 litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, is relentlessly fast.


Couldn't have said it better myself. The Esprit can be docile enough around town when necessary, and outward visibility for maintaining situational awareness in traffic is surprisingly good with the rear quarter windows. But get it out on the open highway and it really comes into its own, feels like the acceleration is endless. Of course the handling and road manners on the twisty parts are superb. So in my opinion it's just a matter of finding the right example that has been maintained properly. Expect to pay more for one of those as compared to the molested or neglected cars that have been allowed to deteriorate, but well worth it in terms of ownership enjoyment.

1256139


1256140
 

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Sorry guys but I disagree on a few points:

1: Liner issues."If they haven't leaked and been replaced by now it is a non-issue ". This is SO far from the truth. The ones that were severely leaking due to an assembly error (waiting too long to assemble at the factory) were repaired under warranty. Unfortunately there were several that had slight seepage that slipped through the cracks and were never repaired. Then you have the issue of overheating. A V8 that has been overheated one too many times WILL have liner issues too. There are MANY V8s with liner issues where the owner's are oblivious to the issue. Think I'm wrong? Call up blackstone labs and ask them what % of V8 oil samples they have processed are free of coolant; hint, very few.

2. PPI's are a must unfortunately finding someone that knows what they are looking at will be a challenge. I recently looked over a car that was serviced at a facility on the Esprit repair shop list posted here. Issues I found ranged from the customer being billed for work not done to parts installed incorrectly because they are not familiar with the Esprit. Also, most people performing PPIs will not perform an oil analysis to see in there's any coolant and the oil. An oil analysis is a must when buying an Esprit (I4 or V8) IMO.

3. Shifters. I wouldn't say late V8 shifters are "better", they both gave their advantages. Late shifter mechanisms are less prone to wear and do require less effort to shift but IMO they feel a little rubbery. Early translator shifters can require more maintenance, can feel sloppy with wear, require more effort to shift but they feel awesome when sorted properly

4. I4 vs V8, early vs late. I've been lucky enough to have had lots of seat time recently in everything from 89's to Final Editions. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. I love the narrow, supportive early seats, S4 and newer seats are a little too wide for me. Non-charcooled models are missing performance IMO. The fact there's no power steering in the 89-93 is OK with stock wheels but I don't like it with larger wheels. S4 and S4s feel perfectly balanced, a pleasure to drive, much more confidence-inspiring than a V8, without a doubt my favorite of the I4s. The V8s feel a little lazy in comparison, specially with the non high torque ECU, mostly due to the taller gearing, less peaky power curve, and very restrictive ECU but very easily become monsters. 97s come with critical gauges like oil pressure & boost gauge, 98+ do not. I personally like both interiors. The thing that makes the biggest difference to me on the V8 is brakes and ECU. One thing not mentioned are brakes. Most need upgrades. Brembos are good for the I4 but not for the V8. APs work very well in the V8. Ironically, I installed a set of V8 brembos on a 89 and they were perfect, As for maintenance, the V8 may have more factory weaknesses than the I4 but I dont think one has a clear advantage over the other. Some things are much simpler on the V8 and vise versa.

In the end, I find esprit ownership very rewarding. Esprits are a blast to drive. Id get rid of may cars before I get rid of the Esprit. One HUGE mistake many people make is that regardless of how "affordable" Esprits look, they are still quirky, hand built exotics that were close to $100k when new and service cost is on par with the Italians but with less options.
 

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An oil analysis can't tell you what is causing coolant to get into the oil, only that it is in the oil. Could be because of the liner seals but could also be a head gasket. Could be because the liner seals were not done right, could be because the motor was overheated. Doing an oil analysis on a car you might be buying is fraught with problems. Will they let you do it? When was the oil changed last? Do you actually have the time to send it out and wait for the results? I don't consider it part of a PPI unless you are buying an airplane. More telling would be a compression test, a leak-down test, and a combustion gas test. All doable and the results are immediate if the seller will allow you to take the car apart a little.
All the rest is based on personal taste. While I admit I don't have as much experience as you driving that many different Loti, you must take into account that not every Lotus you get to drive is in it's best condition. That would mean you won't get a good representation of that particular model and year. We are talking in generalities, any buyer's choice will come down to a particular car. The biggest variable is going to be condition. Getting a good PPI done by someone capable of doing a proper one is not that hard but it can be costly. It might take having to pay to fly someone to the car. IMHO money well spent. There are people who can (and will) do it and do it right. For anyone buying a Lotus, they are going to have to develop a relationship with a good shop and there is no better time than to start in the beginning. Owning a Lotus can be rewarding but like any old car, buy a bad one and you will be very disappointed. At the very least you can send out a copy of the car's service history for review, that is if the car has one. If it doesn't then maybe that is a sign that you need to keep looking for another.
David Teitelbaum
 

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My car sneezes
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An oil analysis can't tell you what is causing coolant to get into the oil, only that it is in the oil. Could be because of the liner seals but could also be a head gasket. Could be because the liner seals were not done right, could be because the motor was overheated. Doing an oil analysis on a car you might be buying is fraught with problems. Will they let you do it? When was the oil changed last? Do you actually have the time to send it out and wait for the results? I don't consider it part of a PPI unless you are buying an airplane. More telling would be a compression test, a leak-down test, and a combustion gas test. All doable and the results are immediate if the seller will allow you to take the car apart a little.
All the rest is based on personal taste. While I admit I don't have as much experience as you driving that many different Loti, you must take into account that not every Lotus you get to drive is in it's best condition. That would mean you won't get a good representation of that particular model and year. We are talking in generalities, any buyer's choice will come down to a particular car. The biggest variable is going to be condition. Getting a good PPI done by someone capable of doing a proper one is not that hard but it can be costly. It might take having to pay to fly someone to the car. IMHO money well spent. There are people who can (and will) do it and do it right. For anyone buying a Lotus, they are going to have to develop a relationship with a good shop and there is no better time than to start in the beginning. Owning a Lotus can be rewarding but like any old car, buy a bad one and you will be very disappointed. At the very least you can send out a copy of the car's service history for review, that is if the car has one. If it doesn't then maybe that is a sign that you need to keep looking for another.
David Teitelbaum
Well, regardless of what the cause of the coolant getting into the oil is, the fix is the same; engine rebuild. 99% of the time a blown head gasket on a V8 will not be the cause of coolant mixing with the oil, usually you'll have compression gasses mixing with coolant.

I think we can agree an Esprit does not sell overnight unless the owner is giving it away. I've been part of negotiations where an oil analysis was part of the deal and most owners are OK with it. You can easily get results back in 2-3 days, more than a reasonable amount of time.
 

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I like to take my Esprit out for dinner. And tip the waiter for a perfect view. So fun to watch the lookie loo's take photos with their kids. My car continues to make fond memories for the masses. Merry Christmas LotusTalk fans.
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Hi Redfox. Love the Sport 300 seats that you acquired. Is SJSportscar my only source of the same?
Mine are original Sp300, but to the best of my knowledge, the SJ SP300 copies are okay. Either as a shell that you work with, or as an upholstered seat as you like. Their seat sub frame is maybe a bit different from the original SP300 one, but should work none the less. Maybe someone who bought their seats and sub frames from SJ's could fill in here.

Kind regards,
Redfox
 

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I wonder if I bought 10 of them and brought them over if the economy of scale would be enough to get the shipping cost down significantly. I wonder if I could sell eight of them? Probably a lot of folks would be intimidated by having them upholstered them selves.
 
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