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I have been looking for a clean, no stories 2003-04 FE esprit for quite some time. I found one with low miles and clean Carfax. The car has under 7k miles which is rare. However, the interior looks very worn, especially the driver seat bolster area and center console. I have been scratching my head over how it could be worn this much with so few miles. Even with infrequent leather conditioning, etc... a low mile car that's been garaged should haven't this amount of wear. It just doesn't add up. Then I started thinking, what if the car has many more miles and someone replace or disconnected the odometer.

Does anyone know if the ECU logs miles? Is this something that happens with these cars?

Thanks!
 

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Never heard about rollbacks with an Esprit, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

Do you have pics to show the wear?
 

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I don't know if ECU logs miles. Some people are really hard on seats, consoles, etc. Watch them get in and out; you'd wince. But check the pedals, the gear shift knob and lever and steering wheel. They can be better indicators of useage than seats. Also, the front bumper area and wheel wells. A car w/say, 30K miles on it should have more chips, dings etc than one w/just 7K.
 

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I looked at an SE a few months ago. I don't want to say which one because it might be a member. Claimed to be 18k miles. Car had rough interior, worn steering wheel and everything else you touch. No way that car had 18k. I feel bad for the seller, I think he got taken when he bought it a year ago.

US odometer laws don't apply to cars over10 years old. Title will say "exempt" the next time it's retitled. By the time the final editions were built, the Esprit was one of the few remaining cars with a mechanical odometer. The mileage is not recorded in the computer of that generation. If the car doesn't look like 7k, it probably is not.
 

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V8 FE has a digital odometer.

There is software and services that will change, zero and put any number into the Odometer so please be careful.

Check the service history from the car. If it makes sense then it is just heavy wear by a fat bloke.

There is generally no service outlets, oil change guys or DMV;s that will intentionally detail the wrong millage in the cars history and being an FE it has probably had 2 or 3 owners already. If there is zero traceability with the car then walk away. Most Esprit owners know what the car is and have meticulous record keeping.

Carfax will also give clues. Google the VIN number.

Good luck. :UK:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Here are a couple pics

2003 FE. 6k miles. Does this look like normal wear? I didn't realize odometer rollback was an issue with these cars. May scare me away from getting one....
 

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Don't suppose this was a red SE that lived in California at a some point? To the OP, if that seat really is the result of just 7K worth of miles, then I'd be worried how the rest of the car has been treated.

I looked at an SE a few months ago. I don't want to say which one because it might be a member. Claimed to be 18k miles. Car had rough interior, worn steering wheel and everything else you touch. No way that car had 18k. I feel bad for the seller, I think he got taken when he bought it a year ago.

US odometer laws don't apply to cars over10 years old. Title will say "exempt" the next time it's retitled. By the time the final editions were built, the Esprit was one of the few remaining cars with a mechanical odometer. The mileage is not recorded in the computer of that generation. If the car doesn't look like 7k, it probably is not.
 

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Let's see more of the interior. Those pictures don't tell the whole story.

The pedals are some aftermarket screw on types and probably cheap ones, so that makes that photo not so valuable.

The side bolster is going to take a beating by large people that throw themselves into the car, especially if they are wearing clothes that are pretty coarse like jeans.

The hand brake is going to get a beating too by said heavy-set folk as well as they drag in their feet.

With regards to mileage, you just don't know what their driving patterns were to know what that really means. Did they take 7 trips of 1000 miles each, or did they drive it practically every day only 1 or 2 miles, or did they do 28,000 balls-to-wall trips down the 1/4 mile at their local dragstrip?
 

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If you have doubt bail out. That's the advice I give to anyone buying a used car.
One owner cars are the best so you can interview the only person that drove the car. If you are really hell bent on getting a particular car then bring a friend for a second set of unbiased eyes.

Also don't think the newer ECU logged digital odometers are more secure. In fact most are hackable and even easier than a mechanical odometer to "adjust".
 

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the leather on the side bolster looks like vinyl.

my esprit has 9K on the odometer and there is some wear on the driver's side bolster, but not like the picture above. look at the rest of the leather....up on the dash. alot of miles will show signs of sun damage up there.
 

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It is tan which is I'm sure a nightmare to keep clean but I have a very low mileage car ( 3500 ) and its looks EXACTLY what you would expect that car to look like. I have to say just from those pictures, something isn't right. Seems impossible to be that dirty in 7k miles and if it IS then I cant imagine what it says about the treatment and maintenance of that car.
 

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Looking at the pics, i don't see anything suggesting higher miles, but I do see a car that was in a very hot and sunny environment all the time. Probably not the right car to buy unless you want to redo the entire interior. As for the seat bolster wear, I suspect the owner was rather heavy. That can be fixed.

Famous words you learn as a young guy in the used car business..... "you can't shine ****".
 

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What about the details on service receipts etc ? Normally you would be able to see the recorded milage on each service invoice or stamped in the service record book. If there is no service records to refer to, i would be walking away.

Also look at the tyres which usually have a date code on them, with low milage the tyres might have an old date code. If they have a recent date code with lots of wear that could be a clue also.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I think I am going to pass on this one. I know FE Esprits are rare, but upon further evaluation, he has no service receipts. He is only the second owner (a plus), but says he performed the maintainance himself. However if you are that astute and take care of the service yourself it doesn't add up that the car would be this dirty and show this much wear. Apparently the exterior shows very well, but the interior leaves me thinking this could be a rollback or abused car. Thanks everyone for your input!
 

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US odometer laws don't apply to cars over10 years old. Title will say "exempt" the next time it's retitled. By the time the final editions were built, the Esprit was one of the few remaining cars with a mechanical odometer. The mileage is not recorded in the computer of that generation. If the car doesn't look like 7k, it probably is not.
Not true. I spent a couple of years as a Criminal Investigator for the US Department of Transportation (NHTSA, specifically) and enforcement of odometer rollback laws and title washing were under my jurisdiction. Although a title will in many states be listed as "Exempt", it doesn't mean that the odometer is exempt from tampering under the federal law. I had several convictions in the Southeast of dealerships that were doing this.

In my opinion, that car was likely rolled back. Almost any vehicle odometer can now be tampered with and it is still extremely common. Whenever a manufacturer comes up with a way to defeat it, someone in the criminal element will circumvent the manufacturer's countermeasures. A good example was BMW came out with a system where the mileage was stored in 6 different locations in the car's electronics to include the key. It was less than a year when a service was offered to reprogram the car to include the key.

Good advice has already been given to check other areas of the car for wear. Seat bolsters should not look like that with only 6k miles on the car. Pull a Carfax AND an Autocheck and compare the two. Missing service records are also suspect.

For the record, I'm a big guy and I also wear a duty weapon on my belt, and I don't cause anywhere near this much damage to seat bolsters in 100k miles, let alone 6k.
 
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