The Lotus Cars Community banner

1 - 20 of 66 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am contemplating between the Esprit, C6 Corvette Z06 (2007-2008), and a 2006-2008 Porsche Cayman (base).

From what I have researched, the outright cost for all the above ranges from $20,000 to $35,000 at auction sites. I love the looks of all of them, but the Esprit looks pretty cool in almost all angles due to the windows, low stance and sharp lines.

Top 2 choices are Corvette Z06 and Esprit. BUT.... choosing which Esprit model is the toughest choice for me.

I looked at some 1988-1990, 1993.5, and various later 90's models. I can't really tell the difference to the main body from 1988 to 1999. I know the spoiler wing and taillights were different, but that's about it. I know later models had V8 which I also heard is more reliable than the previous 4 cyl.

I want the one that is sleekest, but I think 1988-1990 might be the one. Were there any special editions within each of those years that had slightly different chassis?

Lastly, maintenance cost has to be asked. I heard it's very expensive due to some Lotus being unreliable and the premium gas intake. If I plan to drive these cars 3-4 times a week, is that a good idea or not? I am not a car junkie, nor am I mechanically inclined. I wish I was but I'm not.

Excluding insurance, what do you guys suppose the estimated maintenance cost be annually for a 88-93.5 Esprit?

Thanks for reading and time! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,328 Posts
I think you need to more research on Esprits before buying one...

Start here: www.espritfactfile.com, www.lotusespritworld.co.uk

Furthermore, the V8's are NOT more reliable than the 4's...and on the topic of reliability, if they have been taken care of, you should be pretty problem-free. They require attention and vigilence, not so much money...however if the car has not been maintained well throughout it's life, run away, or prepare to spend big...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
284 Posts
Since you are not mechanically inclined, both the porsche and the corvette are an easier to service vechicle. Parts, knowledge, and turn key service are much more available. Both the porsche & corvette are much more reliable daily drivers. I know I will get flack from my fellow Esprit owners on that, also most Esprit owners are more mechanically inclined than the average driver and tend to be dedicated to the Lotus marque. What you get with the Esprit is unbelievable handling and response, exclusivity, very good power to weight ratio. But not for the drive it and forget user.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,150 Posts
If you do not have a good qualified shop nearby to work on your Lotus, you should not get one. It is a used car and depending on how it was taken care of your experience can range from trouble-free to a nightmare. Especially if you are considering buying it at an auction. Generally the newer the car you buy the better it is, but in any specific case it will come down to how each car was taken care of. Always try to buy the best car you can afford, it is cheaper in the long run than buying a fixer-upper (and you paying to fixer-up!) With a budget of $35K you are probably not going to get a V-8 (at least not a good one)
David Teitelbaum
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
911 Posts
My thoughts on my Esprit when I purchased it was I would not buy one unless it was extremely cheap (not a tremendous loss if the motor blows or it needs major repairs or parts I cant find), I bought one that was one step above a project, but I looked at a few that owners said were in good condition and they were seriously still only a step from needing restored. I messed around with buying an Esprit for about 10 years before I did.

If you are not mechanically inclined, dont buy it, the only thing different about the Esprit than the others you mentioned is its rarity and it has slightly more "WOW" factor, and people that see it that are not car savoy think its a $150,000 Ferrari or Lamborghini. Until you get on highway and they race you with their Neon and beat you because your notchy transmission gets stuck in limbo gear LOL.

The Vette and Porsche will have better build quality also since they are more mass produced. And there are dealers that will know something about them still. I've seen Lotus techs on this forum asking questions to us DIYers about these old Esprits because the new ones use Toyota motors.

But if you do buy it I guarantee you will stare at it for hours, of course part of that may be staring at it thinking "what the heck could it possibly be causing this problem" as I have been already.

Good luck with whatever you buy, but get a good deal.
 

·
Wingless Wonder
Joined
·
5,442 Posts
I want the one that is sleekest,
rotfl

I'm only mentioning this because the folks here expect me to:



IMHO: Buy an 88 or 89 non-SE.

Those models are sleekest because they do NOT have a rear wing!
:D

They also look sleeker because the lower body panels are painted a contrasting color.




I was getting by spending an average of $2K a year, but recently my costs have gone up a bit... -eek-
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
rotfl

I'm only mentioning this because the folks here expect me to:



IMHO: Buy an 88 or 89 non-SE.

Those models are sleekest because they do NOT have a rear wing!
:D

They also look sleeker because the lower body panels are painted a contrasting color.




I was getting by spending an average of $2K a year, but recently my costs have gone up a bit... -eek-

Darn, is 2K a year for maintenance costs? Is that in the realm of "high maintenance"?

I just googled the 1989 Esprit, and it looks longer in profile with the rear wing. The 1988 looks great too, with or without. Does the 1990 Esprit the same exterior as the 89? Watched Basic Instinct yesterday just for the Esprit and the black one in the film looks very nice!

I thought Sharon Stone had two 80's Lamborghinis when I watched the film 2 years ago, LOL


I think my city should have decent independent mechanic/auto shops and hopefully they know how to work with Lotuses. I will have to go through the Yellow Pages to see if my assumption is correct.

Exclusivity is what still has me attracted to the late 80's/early 90's Esprit. I had just learned of this car this Monday, and also read it is considered an exotic, rare, and was in the league of Ferrari and Lamborghini during this time. The price is unique since it's anywhere from 15K to 35K, and I would be the only one on the block with one
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
184 Posts
The chances that you will find the right Lotus mechanic in the Yellow Pages are somewhere between slim and none, and as they say, slim just left the bar. Better to say where you are, how far you're able wiling to go for qualified service and ask for recommendations here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,505 Posts
I think Wayne and Amanda nailed it. Judging from the sound of your questions do more research on these cars. Also check out TheLotusForums which is a UK site with lot's of helpful information and Lotus Esprit World aka LEW.

The best way I could explain Lotus ownership is it's a 'Paradox or Pandora's Box' Alot of people buy X cars {X meaning brand} drive them until a major service is needed for $$$ and unload them because they either do not care about the car, do not want to spend the money for required service, or it's had the living crap beat out of it.

Personally. I think because of your skepticism you should go for the Vette or Porsche. As the others said owning a Lotus is interesting because these cars are not 'run of the mill' as Vette's or Porsche plus could be harder to re-sell should you not like the car.
Perhaps there is a chap in your area whom owns one and will let you drive it and get a 'feel' for the car so it may help yor decide. Also you didn't state your weight and height which is a very serious factor for these cars. The seats are very narrow and the back rake is not adjustiable... at least on my '87.

Where are you located? I would be happy to let you drive my car to get a feel of what it is like.

Robert
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,228 Posts
Do You Want a Lotus?

A while back someone started a thread on this theme - "I really like the Esprit and think I might want one". Here is what I wrote at that time and I think it applies here as well:

I think the “Lotus Experience” is tempered a great deal by the realistic
expectations of what you think the car is capable of providing you and how
much you have an interest in all phases of the car. I generally tell people
the following (brief version) opinion when they strike up a conversation
about an Esprit but have never owned or driven one:

1. Yes, they are incredibly beautiful to behold and they will start
conversations everywhere you go. You will meet a bunch of interesting
people.

2. They are sort of supercars, but by modern standards they are pretty
simple, and they are NOT “luxury cars”. They are made to drive and be
moderately comfortable and accommodating but they are no Lexus or Acura

3. There not all that expensive to buy by modern standards. A nice SE
will cost you ½ of what a medium-fancy SUV costs new.

4. You either should (a) like to work on cars and derive satisfaction
from taking them apart and putting them back together or (b) have an
enormous bank account and a high financial shock threshold.

5. They don’t make them anymore. They are now historic. Your experience
is enhanced if you keep in mind that you are now preserving a legacy car.
You are keeping alive something beautiful, increasingly rare, and something
which will never come around again. Almost all of us will pass these cars on
to others at some point. The car will outlive us and so some of your true
self is invested in the car and will live on.

6. If you buy one try it out for a few months and determine whether it
is really what you want and if it is really providing you with the pleasure
you anticipated

7. You will never forget the experience of having one no matter how it
turns out. I meet people who say “I used to own a Lotus” and it is always
said with a smile, a wistful expression, and one of great memory – the way
one might recall a first serious girlfriend, or a great set of years at
college, etc.

So, for what it is worth, that's how I would express my views to a potential buyer of an Esprit. Good luck!
 

·
Ticket Magnet
Joined
·
1,055 Posts
If you posted your location you might get more relevant answers and even an offer of a ride or two.

The one thing I would most consider regarding location is that it might be easy to find a Lotus you like at a nearby population center (large city). But if you decide it is not for you, and you are not conveniently located IN a population center, it might be difficult to get prospective buyers to drive out and take a look. I have that problem selling common cars! This means that you might have to consign it or ask much less than you paid for it.

But if you do buy an Esprit, see #7 above. The longer you keep it, the more you will find yourself going to the garage just to check something on it and look at it.

Good Luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
The best way I could explain Lotus ownership is it's a 'Paradox or Pandora's Box' Alot of people buy X cars {X meaning brand} drive them until a major service is needed for $$$ and unload them because they either do not care about the car, do not want to spend the money for required service, or it's had the living crap beat out of it.t
The three dollar signs scared me a bit. I would have just went with the Corvette had you used an extra $, lol I intend to drive it normally, not race it anywhere, maybe going past the speed limit from time to time, but nothing strenuous on the engine.


Personally. I think because of your skepticism you should go for the Vette or Porsche. As the others said owning a Lotus is interesting because these cars are not 'run of the mill' as Vette's or Porsche plus could be harder to re-sell should you not like the car.
What still draws me to Esprits over the common Z06 and Porsche, is it's rarity and the fact something so exotic looking (some angles remind me of a Lamborghini Diablo & Countach) is selling for such a bargain price. True, it will be harder to resell, if I happen to dislike it...but, I can always use eBay or this forum's classifieds section to get rid of it.


4. You either should (a) like to work on cars and derive satisfaction
from taking them apart and putting them back together or (b) have an
enormous bank account and a high financial shock threshold.
How much money would it be normally (not the scary 1 in 10 chance odds of an expensive repair/replacement)? I know Lambos and especially Ferraris could be very expensive, yet some owners have low costs with the same models. E.g. F355 owners discussed maintenance/ownership costs. One guy spent $20,000 in his first year, another guy spends about $3000 per year to take care of it.

P.S. I weigh 160 pounds, and 5'11, and I live in Alberta Canada. :eek:
 

·
Wingless Wonder
Joined
·
5,442 Posts
Darn, is 2K a year for maintenance costs? Is that in the realm of "high maintenance"?
That's an AVERAGE. Some years, it costs little more than a daily driver Nissan.

Other years, it's a bit higher.... ;)




Maintenance and repairs are labor-intensive. As an example, you should do timing belt maintenance (C service) every 25K miles or three years. If you pay someone to do that, it could be $3K that year (and I'm talking USD).

TADTS
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,744 Posts
rotfl

I'm only mentioning this because the folks here expect me to

IMHO: Buy an 88 or 89 non-SE.

Those models are sleekest because they do NOT have a rear wing!
:D

They also look sleeker because the lower body panels are painted a contrasting color.

I was getting by spending an average of $2K a year, but recently my costs have gone up a bit... -eek-
I agree with Atwell 100% and being totally objective, here's the image he references:



FYI you're comparing a 5 year old Corvette Z06 vs. a 20+ year old Esprit - the cost of the older, lower volume car is always like to be higher - $2K/year (after initial refresh) is a conservative number.
My 88 has a run rate of $3K/year at this time for maintenance and surprises (daily driver, 6700 miles since Oct 1 2011).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
P.S. I weigh 160 pounds, and 5'11, and I live in Alberta Canada. :eek:
Best - where in Alberta?? I am in Red Deer, and there is actually quite a large community of Lotus owners around. We have a group based out of Calgary that has at least 8 V8 Esprits in it, which is quite amazing when you think about the numbers. I also know of a few for sale in AB. There are only a few people in Alberta that can do the major service on the Esprit, but lots of options for the basic service/ oil change etc.

Feel free to PM or email me if you have specific question, or if you're around Red Deer I'd be happy to let you see my car, have a ride once it's out, etc. Everyone else has made great points about Esprit ownership, but there's no comparison to actually seeing one in the flesh or getting out for a ride in one!!

PS - you'll fit fine, I'm 6'0" and 180 lbs and it's totally fine for me. The older cars are smaller though; I hopped in the black one at Distinctive Collection last year, and couldn't sit upright or see out the windshield at all! I think it was about a 1990.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I agree with Atwell 100% and being totally objective, here's the image he references:



FYI you're comparing a 5 year old Corvette Z06 vs. a 20+ year old Esprit - the cost of the older, lower volume car is always like to be higher - $2K/year (after initial refresh) is a conservative number.
My 88 has a run rate of $3K/year at this time for maintenance and surprises (daily driver, 6700 miles since Oct 1 2011).

That is ONE NICE car, from that angle. The rear wheel looks huge in that shot. Anyways, yeah, $3000 a year is very costly, so I will keep the range of 2K to 3K in mind. If it's $2500 a year for me, than it's doable for sure and wouldn't mind paying that annually to keep a car that reminds me of Lambo (in a good way, not the way where you dream of owning a Lambo,lol).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,150 Posts
Depends on several factors. How much you can do to the car yourself, the general condition of the car, etc. The more you use it the more it will cost. For instance, tires don't last very long, less than 20K miles or every 7 years. A battery every 5. Having the tension on the belts checked every year, doing an a, b, or c service. Also figure premium gas, insurance, and registration. Then there is the inevitable (hopefully minor) problems that need to be fixed. Some years you may spend much less than $2K, others more. If you do budget $2.5K a year you will not be far off. Especially if you have a shop do all of your work. If the car was not well taken care of the first years of ownership can be expensive to get the car back into good shape.
David Teitelbaum
 
1 - 20 of 66 Posts
Top