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I'm sort of looking to get an Esprit, but from year to year I have no clue how much they are worth. Is there any guide for pricing mechanically sound ones?
 

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Very tough question. I just went through the buying process, and the prices are all over the map. The condition/history/mileage of the cars is also all over the map. There doesn't seem to be a reliable price guide. Everyone will tell you to pay more for one in good condition instead of a project car because you'll never get your money back out if you have to spend big bucks for repairs, and I agree.

Start your quest by reading about the different model years here because you have to make that choice first:
Esprit Models

and

http://www.espritfactfile.com/Mod_Info.html#00 Changes
 

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Buy a basket case for a low low price, and restore it you will get the appreciation of knowing you fixed it yourself, and if something breaks in the future of owning it, since it already needed almost everything when you bought it you will know the car like the back of your hand.

Plus, the reason I chose to go this route, little investment up front, I think buying one of these cars is risky especially with the buying experiences I had with it, and the unknowledgeable owners (sellers) I ran into. I was on this forum before buying its a wealth of info. here, the best thing I did before buying my car. Read posts, ask questions.

You would be surprised how many people consider carbon fiber adhesive backed vinyl matierial as installing a new interior.

I will admit it was hard for myself to not give in to the shape of the car and just buy the first one I saw, I havent seen many in person prior to shopping for one, it was hard for me to keep my check book at bay.

If I had to do it again, I would buy one a year newer, 1989 or later due to fact that I would of already known alot about the fuel injection system, the Bosch CIS took some research to understand its operation.

And the prices of these cars are all over the place you are right, I bought the cheapest one I looked at, only because it actually drove better than any other that was $5,000-$10,000 more that all smelled like fuel, and we all know what the fuel smell means.
 

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Restore if you are willing to work,,,,

I agree that the best route is to buy a weak car and restore. But, it requires the will and a least a reasonable level of basic mechanical sense. I also vote for the Stevens car, I especially like the SE or the 89+ turbo with the GM fuel injection system. Plan on doing EVERYTHING to the car, and step by step work your way through. If you have the time, place, and inclination it is a tremendously satisfying experience. And you are bringing an Esprit back to life....

:)
 

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do you know what body style you are looking for?

Guigaro? Stevens? Thompson? or put it this way....are you looking for a Bond car, a Pretty woman car, or a modern looking car? lol.

next question: are you looking for an I4 or a V8?

next questions: are you planning on doing your own maintenance? do you have a full set of tools and the facilities for that?


For me,it was pretty easy. I fell in love with the Esprit as a very young boy when I first saw the Spy who Loved Me. I had the Corgi toy submarine car and I also had a toy JPS formula 1 car. I rediscovered the Esprit in high school from reading car mags, and I used to see an '88 Pearl White anniversary edition fairly often that was always parked at a restaurant near my school. Pretty Woman and Basic Instict got me revved up once again. I had to have an Esprit SE.

In the spring of 92, I found a used 89 SE for about $30,000. I was ready to jump on it,but better sense took over and I knew this was not the right car to have as an only car for a guy in college! so, I put off the Esprit for a bit. BUt, in late '93, I stopped by the Collection in Miami just to look and I saw the best looking Esprit I had ever seen. It was a 93.5 model - red with saddle leather. The bigger, more aggressive rear spoiler with the "open" hatch area and "soon to be" S4 interior had me gaga!!! Alas,I couldn't pay for a brand new Esprit.....so I put the dream away yet again.

Over the years, I would follow the Esprit market, watched the S4 come out and thought it looked good, but the high wing was kind of wierd. Then, the big wing Esprits started coming out.the first ones had a hideous (IMO) wing, but the later ones looked pretty good. The V8 was a nice idea, but it seemed castrated by Lotus. It seemd like they went through an awefull lot to design a new engine for it to only put out about 75 HP more than the turbo 4. Plus, I always felt that the V8 Esprit was Lotus cowtowing to the media naysayers that always said you can't have a supercar with only a 4 cylinder in it. Colin Chapman wasn't about giving in to what others thought. He was about cutting weight and keeping it simple.

So,to make a long story short, there was something about the SE model, particularly the lonely North American 93 and 93.5 Esprits that got to me. Periodically,I would look for one and kick the idea around. Ifollowed numerous ebay auction over the last couple of years. I'd checked the autotrader from time to time also to see what the Esprit market would do. Finally, the right car popped up and happened to be about 50 miles from me, in the color I preferred and it was a 93.5! unreal...........and the mileage so low that I was in disbelief!!!!! So, I that's when I finally knew that this was MY CAR. everything was just falling into place too perfectly, and now I own it!

I know my story is a long one of decades of fascination for the Esprit, but you need to really study the Esprit and figure out which one really IS YOU. I can see myself owning a Guigaro someday and also a final edition V8 model, too. I love all the Esprits, but I own the one that meant the most to me. find that car and watch the market. drive some cars when you can and then you know what the right price to pay is when the right car comes along for you.

Best of luck. I hope your journey is as rewarding as mine has been. I hope yours doesn't take as long, though!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Very tough question. I just went through the buying process, and the prices are all over the map. The condition/history/mileage of the cars is also all over the map. There doesn't seem to be a reliable price guide.
Thanks. I've been sort of "looking" for two years. I bought a commuter instead so put my purchase off a bit. I'm coming back into the market soon but don't want to rush it or miss out an a good opportunity. I want to enjoy the car. Which means I want to drive it... a lot.

Buy a basket case for a low low price, and restore it you will get the appreciation of knowing you fixed it yourself, and if something breaks in the future of owning it, since it already needed almost everything when you bought it you will know the car like the back of your hand.
I know what you mean, but I would like to be able to DD it right away. I'm mechanically inclined but I'm not great with car electronics or clutch/transmissions. I can deal with circuit issues generally but fuel injection is something I never got to work on. I've been through many 427 and 455 rebuilds so I know engines pretty well. All the other stuff is pretty easy.

I agree that the best route is to buy a weak car and restore. But, it requires the will and a least a reasonable level of basic mechanical sense. I also vote for the Stevens car, I especially like the SE or the 89+ turbo with the GM fuel injection system. Plan on doing EVERYTHING to the car, and step by step work your way through. If you have the time, place, and inclination it is a tremendously satisfying experience. And you are bringing an Esprit back to life....

:)
do you know what body style you are looking for?

Guigaro? Stevens? Thompson? or put it this way....are you looking for a Bond car, a Pretty woman car, or a modern looking car? lol.

Yes please, I think they are all have character. I think a Guigaro S2 is off the table for me. I could do an S1 just based on the fact it's the first production design that started it all. Any models between 1987 and 1997 are probably on the table. I've been most attracted to the 1993.5 and S4s

next question: are you looking for an I4 or a V8?

For now, the I4. V8 is to pricey for me. I can probably spend up to $25k but I'd like to keep it between $10k-$20k.

next questions: are you planning on doing your own maintenance? do you have a full set of tools and the facilities for that?

I have tools, not enough for everything but I have the ability to buy it when needed. I'm always buying new tools when projects pop up and I imagine it will be the case with this. Space is a bit of an issue for long term jobs but I can kick the woman's car outside for a few days if needed.

It was a 93.5 model - red with saddle leather.

There was a 93.5 I was very interested in but I don't want to buy something and have it be less. This was right before I bought the commuter and I didn't want to get it and then have issues and not be able to get to work. Also, overpaying was a huge fear.
Thanks for the input guys. I'll keep doing research and keeping an eye out. Maybe something will pop up too good to let pass.
 

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As someone who is also considering to buy a newer -say 2000 + model year Esprit.

Can someone tell me are all the parts still readily available?
Thanks.
 

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Buy And the prices of these cars are all over the place you are right, I bought the cheapest one I looked at, only because it actually drove better than any other that was $5,000-$10,000 more that all smelled like fuel, and we all know what the fuel smell means.
Yup, in an Esprit a fuel smell usually means the surgical tubing for the fuel tank venting is rotted. About a 30 minute fix and about $10 in cost. One of the easiest fixes on the car.
 

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Very tough question. I just went through the buying process, and the prices are all over the map. The condition/history/mileage of the cars is also all over the map. There doesn't seem to be a reliable price guide. Everyone will tell you to pay more for one in good condition instead of a project car because you'll never get your money back out if you have to spend big bucks for repairs, and I agree.

Start your quest by reading about the different model years here because you have to make that choice first:
Esprit Models

and

The Lotus Esprit Fact File - Model Information
Yep - Esprits, along with most other limited run exotics are impossible to get price guides for. Just too many variables and such a limited pool of cars for sale make it really tough. From my own extensive shopping experience, heres what I know:

1) The best cars are worth a lot more than average ones. The best cars are owned by sports car and/or Lotus enthusiasts, not some bloke that just decided he wanted an Esprit one afternoon.

2) It is well worth paying top dollar for a top car. The enjoyment level and satisfaction far outweighs a few grand you might save on what appears to be a "deal". My '87 has been a terrific car in every respect and when I first found it for sale I thougt it was overpriced because I had seen other cars for sale that were $3K to $5K less. Boy was I wrong. Best thing I ever did was pay more for my current car. Its been cheap to operate - yeah, I said cheap. :)

3) Speaking of deals, there are hardly any. The best cars get the best money. You get what you pay for and dont get what you dont pay for. If its cheap, there is a reason.

The year of the car obviously matters but a superb condition '86 Turbo is worth MORE than an average condition '90, IMO. Its not just service history either - its the current owner and how well they stayed on top of things. The details matter a lot.

I know, this is no help to you. Best thing to do is find a few cars for sale, check them out and come back here and tell us about them and we can work off of that.

Stay patient and you'll find the right car for you.
 

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As someone who is also considering to buy a newer -say 2000 + model year Esprit.

Can someone tell me are all the parts still readily available?
Thanks.
After I found my Esprit, I identified a few items that needed to be fixed/reparied/replaced. Before makingmy purchase/offer, I spoke to JAE Parts a few times to figure out what the parts cost and if they were available. Those calls were great, for me. the parts I needed were readily available and not too expensive.
 

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I'm sort of looking to get an Esprit, but from year to year I have no clue how much they are worth. Is there any guide for pricing mechanically sound ones?
Simple, buy the best one you can afford.

If I were to buy one today, I would pick a really nice low mileage example that needed minimal work and pay more.

Bought a fixer up over 10 years ago and by the time it was really nice it owed me way more than buying an already nice one would have.

Had no choice though as they were not many for sale back then and you had to take what was available.

OEM Lotus parts are not getting any cheaper, neither is labour If you cant do the work yourself.

I strongly urge you to do a thorough inspection of any car you are considering buying, and If you cant do it yourself be prepared to pay to have an independant inspection done by a legit, knowledgeable Lotus technician.

Sometimes you are further ahead to pay for an inspection and not buy the car.
 

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Every once in a while a car seems to sell for a lower price than you'd think the condition warranted. Example: Lotus : Esprit Turbo in Lotus | eBay Motors

But then the car gets relisted and you wonder what happened ?

I've been watching the Esprit market for a few years. You can get a very nice 89-93 SE in your price range. I saw a white 89SE with about 50k miles, original doctor owner, sell for 20k about a year or two ago. Locally, there was a black 89SE with V-8 bodywork, pristine condition, enthusiast owned and lotus talk forum member, he was asking 18k IIRC. Lots of "okay" looking SEs sell in the 13-15k range.

The "good" S4 cars sell for above 20k. Don't follow Giugaro prices as much, but like the Stevens cars, they seem to be all over the place. I remember a few years ago, I saw an average looking red 87 Turbo HCI sell for 13k. And I saw a decent looking collectors edition sell for only 12k. Lots of other ones priced in the mid teens that never go anywhere. I'm sure a good quality Esprit Turbo could be worth 20k as well.
 

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Every once in a while a car seems to sell for a lower price than you'd think the condition warranted. Example: Lotus : Esprit Turbo in Lotus | eBay Motors

But then the car gets relisted and you wonder what happened ?

I've been watching the Esprit market for a few years. You can get a very nice 89-93 SE in your price range. I saw a white 89SE with about 50k miles, original doctor owner, sell for 20k about a year or two ago. Locally, there was a black 89SE with V-8 bodywork, pristine condition, enthusiast owned and lotus talk forum member, he was asking 18k IIRC. Lots of "okay" looking SEs sell in the 13-15k range.

The "good" S4 cars sell for above 20k. Don't follow Giugaro prices as much, but like the Stevens cars, they seem to be all over the place. I remember a few years ago, I saw an average looking red 87 Turbo HCI sell for 13k. And I saw a decent looking collectors edition sell for only 12k. Lots of other ones priced in the mid teens that never go anywhere. I'm sure a good quality Esprit Turbo could be worth 20k as well.
You are pretty much dead on. Every car warrants a different price. Just a few things being better or more sorted does a LOT for the price. If the car recently had a major service performed then thats worth a few thousand easy, if not more. If the clutch is newer, if cosmetically the car is in pristine shape, or if the car simp,y runs perfectly and realy needs nothing - thats worth a big chunk of bucks too.
 

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[snip]I want to enjoy the car. Which means I want to drive it... a lot.
[snip]
I know what you mean, but I would like to be able to DD it right away.
I'm mechanically inclined
[snip]
Maybe something will pop up too good to let pass.
Same here - I bought July 2011 - 88 Esprit, 30K miles - 99% cosmetically like new, always garaged, etc.

My goal - daily driver - and I mean DAILY - 7 days a week. I have about 11K miles after 1 year (9 months of driving - 3 months in shop being brought to full service level).

Key observation - I consciously decided that 99% of maintenance would be done professionally to maximize drive time. Yes, there are times when I could have done the work myself and save money, but it might mean several weekends of downtime, etc. I bit the bullet and keep writing checks - all in the interest of maximum drive time - not for everyone.

But if you really want to "...enjoy the car...", that says to me you want to DRIVE it, not fix it. Then I recommend sticking with s2mikey's recommendation - buy the best condition car you can. Don't be afraid to walk if the car isn't what you want.

My 88 Esprit was 99% of what I wanted - perfect shape for an old car, local car, a reasonable service history. The 1% part I compromised - I wanted a 87 G car, but the Stevens car has really won me over. Someone, I may get a G car, but no regrets getting the Stevens car.
 

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There actually is a Black Book for collectible and exotic cars that has
pricing info on cars as far back as 1946 models. It is called the CPI... Cars of particular interest and includes nearly all Lotus models. It uses a fair(beater),good, and excellent grading system, with the latter being the pristine examples.

It is meant to be a good estimator of value and is based on sale data from various sources. The price range is quite large for older cars, unlike cars that are only a few years old.
I find it to be reasonably accurate for the Lotus and most other cars I have dealt with.

Example 1995 S4S $12200-$31200, 1990 SE $7100-$20000

It confirms what has been mentioned. The condition of these cars varies a lot, both cosmetic and mechanical.

As to what to buy, emotions, budget, esthetics, and mechanical acumen all matter, so there is no right car for everyone.

I like working on cars, and fixing up my car and improving it. I don't want to start with a pristine example that needs nothing. I don't want it as a daily driver. I like having multiple cars. On the other hand a car that is well sorted, and mechanically up to date, but needs a few cosmetics can be a great starting point

Hell the Esprit is cheap, where else can you get a true exotic for less than the cost of a new Kia?

Yesterday morning in Vegas I drove a Ferrari 458 Italia AWSOME-WOW-FANTASTIC! AND a Lamborghini LP 570-4 Performante Spyder VERY NICE!

Both of those are close to $300,000 which is well out of my budget. No way is the Lamborghini worth FIFTEEN times my SE as it handles similar and is only a little faster.

The Ferrari I would pay some serious money for if I had it, but the Esprit is still a great car for the money.

The point is buy what you want and can afford, just know what you are in for so you can have a good experience. If $9000 is what you have and it gets you in then go for it. If you can afford $40,000 and want to spend it go ahead.

Randy
89 SE, 90 SE, 94 S4, 95 S4
All are for sale "for the right price"........... So I can get another!
 
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