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I have never owned/purchased a Lotus before, but have always wanted to. Seriously considering a '88 Espirit advertised at the Beverly Hills Car club website. Has less than 40K miles, asking $30K. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me, seats need repaired, but rest of car looks solid. Unfortunately I live in Kansas (and there's a pandemic if you haven't heard yet), and would have to purchase the car and have it shipped to me. Anyone with more experience with this car, problems to look for, and value would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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Are you familiar with the service requirements (A,B,C including timing Belt)?

Some one else said: the nice thing about the 4 cylinder Esprit's, there are no $20K surprises like there can be with other exotics. If you are handy and patient the biggest surprise might be $7K or $8K, and that would be a whopper.

One nice thing about buying from SO Cal, there are several shops that are familiar with Esprit and can do a PPI.

For grins I checked flights the other day to the west coast from Atlanta. SHOCKER!!! $200 round trip!.

How brave are you (I mean for a driving adventure), mask up, bring your credit card and fly in and drive home. The credit card is plan b for a towing service if the car has issues on the way home :)
 

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That seems kinda high to me, especially for an 88 and still needing upholstery work. Like high by over double. And the 88 has some quirks: Bosch EFI with lots of PITA issues that no one but Atwell understands, Citroen transmission full of unobtainium parts.
 

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Great point - you can get a Charge cooled version for that money with a Renault box (oh joy :). Dr Hess went over to Toyota's so he may not realize that some of the Citroen box parts are now being produced in improved versions! The inboard brakes are cool but - what are your interests with the car?
 

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1988 Esprit Turbo
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Hey @KS Paul , If you are near Kansas look up nearby Art Baldwin here or on FaceBook. He could educate you on Esprits.

Disclaimer: I don't claim to understand Bosch K-Jet FI any better than I understand my wife. 😉

And, both MRDangerUS and Harry Martens have now sourced or produced any hard to find transmission parts that you need.

ALL Esprits have shortcomings that have been well-documented and can be accommodated. They are WONDERFUL cars IMO.
 
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Yeah, I know Harry is making some differential parts now. So, there's ONE supplier in the ENTIRE WORLD that makes some parts that WILL GO BAD IN ALL OF THEM. Oh, and "It's perfectly normal for your transmission to gouge a hole in the back of your crank shaft. They all do that, sir."

Thirty large will get you an S4s these days, from my looking. I think about them occasionally.
 

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I would be very cautious dealing with BHCC. They buy anything in any condition, clean it up and over price it. While they don't outright lie, they don't disclose everything about the car. At the very least you should have the car inspected by someone competent. Then the worst case is you would be over paying for the car but you would know what you are getting. If you don't get a service history you have to figure it needs everything and that can be expensive. Bad enough to overpay for the car and then find out it needs a lot of work! Common tactic for sellers. If the service history is out of date (it needs a lot of work) you just say you don't have it and hope the questions stop there. A novice buyer would not pursue that and figure it isn't that important. By now, with 40K on the clock, you have to worry about that notorious circlip.If it hasn't been done (or you just don't know) you will be doing it. As Dr Hess says, if you have $30K burning a hole in your pocket, you should be able to do better than an '88. The newer the Lotus you can buy, the better it can be.It will be newer and more refined and more modern and more powerful. If you are patient you can even find a V-8 in the high $30K's.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Beverly Hills Car Club has a bit a of reputation for selling over-priced garbage. I've heard some real horror stories about cars purchased from there. That doesn't mean you can't get a nice car or a reasonable deal, but you should be extremely cautious dealing with them; they don't sound like the type of dealership to be honest about condition.

What the others said about the price is really true. This car, for example, has the V8 wing on it (with paint that doesn't seem to match quite right in the photos, but that could just be the lighting). If I was going to pay a premium for a limited edition car, I'd want it to be original.

I love my V8 for its updated features and raw power, but the Stevens cars always feel a little more "special" to me when I drive them (in a good way). Make sure you shop around, because I think you'll find nicer cars for the same price. If you really want this one, go see it in person and work hard on the price.

Jake
 

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I have never owned/purchased a Lotus before, but have always wanted to. Seriously considering a '88 Espirit advertised at the Beverly Hills Car club website. Has less than 40K miles, asking $30K. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me, seats need repaired, but rest of car looks solid. Unfortunately I live in Kansas (and there's a pandemic if you haven't heard yet), and would have to purchase the car and have it shipped to me. Anyone with more experience with this car, problems to look for, and value would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Check the '89 SE on BaT...better, faster, better maintained.
 

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Well, while we are beating it up......the interior has been redone, and very poorly, so poorly it needs doing again (see drivers seat) The OEM 88 anniversary cars had a baby blue/pigskin interior which was an 'acquired taste' (personally i loved mine!) so its far from being worth any more money than say a 90 to 95 Se/S4/S4s (though the S4s is not typically found under 35k)
 

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I have never owned/purchased a Lotus before, but have always wanted to. Seriously considering a '88 Espirit advertised at the Beverly Hills Car club website. Has less than 40K miles, asking $30K. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me[snip]
Welcome to the forum.

Disclaimer - I became a Lotus Esprit owner first time in 2011- bought a pristine 88 with 30K miles (99% like new condition but the Services were neglected).
In the beginning I didn't mention prices or labor I paid the shop to keep me running (daily driver 50K miles/49 months 2011-2015 - car was totaled).

But now it's 2020 and that car is long gone.
By the numbers:

Paid in 2011 $16.5K for 99% cosmetically and mechanically great car
Spent ~$9K to get it daily driver ready in late 2011 (check out my gallery for details on work done)
Spend about average ~$3-5K year 2012-2015 for various maintenance and upgrades (Quaife LSD) -
When totalled, the insurance company had nothing much to compare so they paid me $19.5K when it was totaled because there was an 88 with 67K miles ASKING $19.5K.
At the time, they rarely sold anywhere above $16K

$30K for an 88 is high from what I've seen.

FYI - I got an 87 - mechanically the same including Bosch CIS. I'm one of those nuts that like Bosch CIS because I grew with it on my converted 76 VW Scirocco (put over 150Kmiles on that configuration. But admittedly, unless you like debugging an ancient fuel injection system, once something breaks, you need to roll up your sleeves and get dirty and ping the World Wide Web for info. Not impossible but some folks don't have patience to do that. The later Stevens Esprits with GM fuel injection less problematic that way.

In 2020, I personally would not spend $30K on an 88 - best to spend a few months researching it on a forum like this before pulling trigger.

Yes - I didn't spend that time when I bought my 88; I took the approach of building up a bank account with reinforcements and bought the best condition car I could find locally,
But to each his own. With the pandemic going on, I would think the prices would be dropping - not everyone can afford to buy a 2 seater older exotic when the economy is impacted.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That seems kinda high to me, especially for an 88 and still needing upholstery work. Like high by over double. And the 88 has some quirks: Bosch EFI with lots of PITA issues that no one but Atwell understands, Citroen transmission full of unobtainium parts.
Thanks the insight and issues to look for.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey @KS Paul , If you are near Kansas look up nearby Art Baldwin here or on FaceBook. He could educate you on Esprits.

Disclaimer: I don't claim to understand Bosch K-Jet FI any better than I understand my wife. 😉

And, both MRDangerUS and Harry Martens have now sourced or produced any hard to find transmission parts that you need.

ALL Esprits have shortcomings that have been well-documented and can be accommodated. They are WONDERFUL cars IMO.
Thanks, I am in eastern Kansas, I'll look him up.
 

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Beverly Hills Car Club has a bit a of reputation for selling over-priced garbage. I've heard some real horror stories about cars purchased from there. That doesn't mean you can't get a nice car or a reasonable deal, but you should be extremely cautious dealing with them; they don't sound like the type of dealership to be honest about condition.

What the others said about the price is really true. This car, for example, has the V8 wing on it (with paint that doesn't seem to match quite right in the photos, but that could just be the lighting). If I was going to pay a premium for a limited edition car, I'd want it to be original.

I love my V8 for its updated features and raw power, but the Stevens cars always feel a little more "special" to me when I drive them (in a good way). Make sure you shop around, because I think you'll find nicer cars for the same price. If you really want this one, go see it in person and work hard on the price.

Jake
I would be very cautious dealing with BHCC. They buy anything in any condition, clean it up and over price it. While they don't outright lie, they don't disclose everything about the car. At the very least you should have the car inspected by someone competent. Then the worst case is you would be over paying for the car but you would know what you are getting. If you don't get a service history you have to figure it needs everything and that can be expensive. Bad enough to overpay for the car and then find out it needs a lot of work! Common tactic for sellers. If the service history is out of date (it needs a lot of work) you just say you don't have it and hope the questions stop there. A novice buyer would not pursue that and figure it isn't that important. By now, with 40K on the clock, you have to worry about that notorious circlip.If it hasn't been done (or you just don't know) you will be doing it. As Dr Hess says, if you have $30K burning a hole in your pocket, you should be able to do better than an '88. The newer the Lotus you can buy, the better it can be.It will be newer and more refined and more modern and more powerful. If you are patient you can even find a V-8 in the high $30K's.
David Teitelbaum
Thanks for the info, I'll probably start looking for something a little closer to home. Everyone seems very passionate and knowledgeable about Lotus cars on this forum
.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Welcome to the forum.

Disclaimer - I became a Lotus Esprit owner first time in 2011- bought a pristine 88 with 30K miles (99% like new condition but the Services were neglected).
In the beginning I didn't mention prices or labor I paid the shop to keep me running (daily driver 50K miles/49 months 2011-2015 - car was totaled).

But now it's 2020 and that car is long gone.
By the numbers:

Paid in 2011 $16.5K for 99% cosmetically and mechanically great car
Spent ~$9K to get it daily driver ready in late 2011 (check out my gallery for details on work done)
Spend about average ~$3-5K year 2012-2015 for various maintenance and upgrades (Quaife LSD) -
When totalled, the insurance company had nothing much to compare so they paid me $19.5K when it was totaled because there was an 88 with 67K miles ASKING $19.5K.
At the time, they rarely sold anywhere above $16K

$30K for an 88 is high from what I've seen.

FYI - I got an 87 - mechanically the same including Bosch CIS. I'm one of those nuts that like Bosch CIS because I grew with it on my converted 76 VW Scirocco (put over 150Kmiles on that configuration. But admittedly, unless you like debugging an ancient fuel injection system, once something breaks, you need to roll up your sleeves and get dirty and ping the World Wide Web for info. Not impossible but some folks don't have patience to do that. The later Stevens Esprits with GM fuel injection less problematic that way.

In 2020, I personally would not spend $30K on an 88 - best to spend a few months researching it on a forum like this before pulling trigger.

Yes - I didn't spend that time when I bought my 88; I took the approach of building up a bank account with reinforcements and bought the best condition car I could find locally,
But to each his own. With the pandemic going on, I would think the prices would be dropping - not everyone can afford to buy a 2 seater older exotic when the economy is impacted.
Thanks, that seems to be consensus of all the other people who have responded.
 

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.....The newer the Lotus you can buy, the better it can be.It will be newer and more refined and more modern and more powerful. If you are patient you can even find a V-8 in the high $30K's.
David Teitelbaum
I will second the motion on the V8 option. Yes the earlier 4cyl cars are lovely, both Giugaro and Stevens models, but the V8 is in fact more modern with OBD-II compatibility (helps with troubleshooting), brake system, power steering, functional AC, interior roominess (relative term), transaxle/shift improvements, etc, all of which make the car feel more "comfortable" to own and drive. And of course that powerful, but fairly low-stressed, free-revving V8.

Of course it's personal preference ultimately, nothing wrong with a more "classic" experience, just a different set of issues to deal with.

Bottom line advice like others have offered, buy the best condition most well maintained car you can find, preferably from a Lotus afficianado that cared for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I will second the motion on the V8 option. Yes the earlier 4cyl cars are lovely, both Giugaro and Stevens models, but the V8 is in fact more modern with OBD-II compatibility (helps with troubleshooting), brake system, power steering, functional AC, interior roominess (relative term), transaxle/shift improvements, etc, all of which make the car feel more "comfortable" to own and drive. And of course that powerful, but fairly low-stressed, free-revving V8.

Of course it's personal preference ultimately, nothing wrong with a more "classic" experience, just a different set of issues to deal with.

Bottom line advice like others have offered, buy the best condition most well maintained car you can find, preferably from a Lotus afficianado that cared for it.
Thanks for your
I will second the motion on the V8 option. Yes the earlier 4cyl cars are lovely, both Giugaro and Stevens models, but the V8 is in fact more modern with OBD-II compatibility (helps with troubleshooting), brake system, power steering, functional AC, interior roominess (relative term), transaxle/shift improvements, etc, all of which make the car feel more "comfortable" to own and drive. And of course that powerful, but fairly low-stressed, free-revving V8.

Of course it's personal preference ultimately, nothing wrong with a more "classic" experience, just a different set of issues to deal with.

Bottom line advice like others have offered, buy the best condition most well maintained car you can find, preferably from a Lotus afficianado that cared for it.
Thanks for the case of getting a V8. I guess I haven't posted anything on my car philosophy (since I just joined the forum), but I kind of have a preference for 4cy cars. I am currently restoring a '73 Opel GT, and my dream car collection would include the first gen MR2 and a '60's Karma Ghia. Probably not a great choice if you look at it from an investment standpoint, I just prefer the design elements of car over the actual HP. That said, if I had the funds, I would definitely consider a more modern Lotus due to the improvements in the driving experience that you mentioned.
 

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RE 4 cyl - the 95 S4/S4s Esprit is considered the pinnacle of 4 Cyl Esprit - they can be pricey, but they are also more powerful, have power steering and a marginal ABS system. I drove one once (95 S4s) and surprised how heavy it felt despite the power steering. The steering was light but just cruising on the test drive, it felt heavy.Note that my 87 Esprit (USA) is the last of the Giugiaro Esprits - it's a 33 year old car so it has some challenges to own. But if kept up and addressed (the Citroen C35 circlip is the biggest known issue), it's non-eventful to own. Just keep in mind it's a 33 year old car and plan accordingly.
 

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I’ll basically parrot what most others are saying here. This seems really high for a non-Delco, Citroen box car in this kind of shape. I bought my ‘91 SE with less than 30k miles in pretty much showroom-new condition for not much more than that a few months ago. That ‘88 is probably a 20k car at best.

I’d take a look at the ‘89 on BAT. It has some nice upgrades, including the Wilwood brakes and the 18” wheels from a V8 car. It’s pretty high mileage. The seats are from another car so the color’s a bit off. And the dash panel is cracked pretty bad (but a replacement’s included in the sale). Overall it’s not bad and can probably be bought for around 20k-23k depending on documentation. Not a bad buy for a Delco/Renault car.

There are also some nice cars, both 4-cylinder and V8s, on eBay at the moment (including the BHCC car you’re looking at). I actually considered the black 4s in Michigan before buying mine. It’s been up for awhile and I have a feeling could be bought for close to 30k.
 
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