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Discussion Starter #1
Hmmmm
Cant quite get my head around this one, shows as an 88 MY and did arrive in the U.S in 88 however AFAIK there were no 88 SE's imported into the U.S, the first were the late 89 SE's, early89's were non (no chargecooler) SE's. Every federal 88 i have ever seen has had the Citroen transmission with inboard brakes, this has the Renault which wasn't available in the U.S on an 88, or so the records state?
 

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Not sure why you are concerned about the Trans and the SE or not. It has been converted to a Chevy 350 engine with a very bad looking intake, this engine is very heavy compared to the 4 cylinder or the later V8.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Because anyone who knows these cars knows the difference, the entire car presents as a 90 SE (multiple differences from dash to gas flap activation to wing,entire front end, sills etc etc) Agreed its heavier, and in reality isn't a performance improvement, yes you can pull away in second gear (almost HAVE to) and the torque will get you to 60 or 70 quickly, but then the mismatch in engine RPM to trans gearing causes it to run out of steam (i've owned two V8 conversions) Don't recall saying i was 'concerned' about it, merely an observation, if i were to be concerned about anything it would be the VIN, and the fact it had a rear end collision in early 90's then resurfaced with a chevy V8. A quick check with Andy at Lotus UK would confirm what it left the factory with.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Perhaps the compliance sticker on the driver's door pillar said Built X 1988? I could get any info by Googling the VIN number.

Obviously an SE for the reasons you observed.

Perhaps the accident damage resulted when they damaged the rear transom when the V8 was shoehorned in? :rolleyes: 😈
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi Atwell, The Vin decodes as an 88 MY 50 state federal car, but as we know that meant a different thing in the U.K during manufacture as it did in the U.S. To further confuse the issue it was imported and first registered at the end of the year (mid December 88) This would still make it, at best an 89 non SE but would have had the scalloped sills and a black dash. Its entirely possible this is a unicorn that left the U.K with a renault trans and just slipped under the wire to be registered as an 88 because it was imported, sold and registered within two weeks of the end of the year. However, it would not have had that interior or front end. That's why i raised the VIN, not saying this car didn't leave the factory with that VIN, but its very very unusual to see this combination in an 88.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Or, the accident at the rear end of the car damaged the Citroen trans. Or maybe, the installer of the V8 knew of the weak power capacity of the Citroen.

In any case, you would have to agree with me: it was an act of insanity to install a rear WING!!! 🥴 💀 :ROFLMAO:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
HA!, The rear wing is clearly an oversight, where if a swap was planned a V8 wing would have been a better way to go ;) and a rear end collision doesn't explain the entire interior, side and front of the car being a 90 SE. I would love to know if this is a unicorn, which would be unfortunate but as all Esprit are in fact 'limited editions' and this one is no longer original, its kind of irrelevant. I remember seeing only one other Esprit that was equally unusual, an 89 pearl white with unique interior Commemorative edition with the Renault transmission right out of the factory, even had the dash plaque, It was a Canadian car in Toronto.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Who needs a V8 when you can squeeze a V12 in???? No WING needed.

 
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Discussion Starter #9
Also noticed that the dash VIN plate appears to be missing, Hmm, the drivers door jamb ID plate is missing hmmm, and all of the other decals that would give an indication to the year, such as the vacuum diagram and EPA compliance decals, have been removed, Hmmm. I'm zooming in on the under hood factory ID plates and decals but they aren't clear, i need to check others and compare but the passenger side plate is not an SE plate. Also on the 88 the under hood plate is rivited on the passenger side wheel arch, but on the 90 SE it is on the firewall, hmmm.
 

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FWIW... VIN 62248 was sold by LCU to Mark Laprade, Inc. (Florida?) in Aug 1988 and retailed in Nov 1988. Color code A62 with 011 interior (tan).

Kiyoshi
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That is interesting, as that shows it left the U.K earlier than the trans changeover period, also it was originally Claret in color (Atwell A62) I do love a good mystery
 

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Without knowing the history of the car, one guess is that it is a car that was wrecked (or burnt) and they took 2 cars and made one out of them and did an engine swap. Without convincing proof, it is hard to say it is a unicorn. You CAN say it is unusual. To say it came out of the factory that way (minus the engine swap of course) takes too many assumptions.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Agreed, it’s what I’m trying not to say here😉 but.....the ID Plate is in the wrong location and the rivets are not OEM (the OEM rivets sit inside the ID plate border) which you can draw your own conclusions from 🤔 I know what I’m thinking, but I have no proof, that being said I would like this as an ’around town toy’ somaybe I’m in, with the understanding that it may have had a VIN switch, damn, I said it 😂
 

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With the engine change, a VIN discrepancy is the least of your worries.
 
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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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We are now waiting for @esprit888 to buy it and tell us how it REALLY is! :giggle:

BTW, in the past we haven't posted FOR SALE adverts as we don't want folks bidding against each other. (We can make an exception for Colin, though) 💀 😈
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm waiting to see where it goes, to be honest though i think it may get pulled by BAT because AFAIK VIN switching is illegal (though i don't know U.S laws as title washing appears to occur frequently) I am not posting any comments on the BAT auction page as apparently someone on here thinks that its a way of keeping the price low, not sure how that works when there is a reserve! guess that would apply to them also though :rolleyes:
 

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From lunchtime on BaT - my post:

RE: VIN – I read all the comments and noted the key point that, ignoring the VIN, this Esprit has EVERY component consistent with an 89 Esprit SE. I owned my late 88 Esprit from 2011-2015 for 50K miles/49 months daily driver and very familiar with 88 Esprit features. The 88-specific features are not present here as others noted – the Citroen C35 transmission, 5×108 PCD ET -20 rear wheels, the flag external mirrors (this has ‘CX’ mirrors), the non-SE front and rear valances, different side skirts. The interior has all the 89 features from map compartment to Check Engine Light (88 did not have that – I had to got to California Bureau of Automotive Repair to prove it) and the reverse lockout not used on 88 Esprit USA. Another curiosity is the dashboard – 88 never had the wood veneer – black plastic only. Even for 89, the VDO clock resides where a boost gauge should be. VIN says it’s a USA car yet the oil pressure and water temperature are metric with an SAE speedometer. The exhaust ‘cutout’ on the left side is consistent with a non-USA body. The VIN, if the ‘J’ (88 model year) was replaced with ‘K’ (89 model ) – J and K are next to each other on the keyboard and likely typo – that hypothetical VIN doesn’t exist on a Google search. And the The VIN plate is somehow mounted on the front ‘firewall’ and not on the right fender arch as it was on my late 88 Esprit.

Lastly, my late 88 Esprit had VIN of x62332 – this one is x62248. Unless it was some ‘rare’ 89 change over in 1988, that would make sense. But why would an earlier serial number car have newer body/mechanical changes than a later VIN?

As someone mentioned, the seller really needs to address this VIN controversy – it’s definitely not a minor issue.

RE: V8 conversion – I agree with other comment that if treated well (no dump-the-clutch action), this conversion should be reasonably OK if driven with that in mind. But the Renault transmission, with the factory Lotus V8, can use some reinforcement; that would apply to a 350 Chevy engine too.
 
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