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It would be my first Lotus,any recommendations or suggestions would be helpful.It has 48k and looks great,but I know nothing about these cars...yet.I would appreciate any input.
:)
 

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Where is the car located? What else can you tel us about it? Any pics? How many owners since new?

More data required.... :)

There are a ton of things to know about Esprits. Research as much as you can and learn about the car. Have you owned any other exotic cars prior to this? Are you handy or will the car be worked on by a local shop/dealer? Lots of info to be absorbed!
 

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You need to be able to do your own work on the cars first and foremost. There just isn't a network of experts anymore.

Second, no matter how much research you do (which is good) before buying, you really need to get a longtime SE owner to look at the car for you. Dealer PPI's aren't that helpful because of point #1. An owner will know what looks right and what needs fixing.

Where is the car?
 

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I have an 89 Turbo (non-SE) and it has been great. But the best situation is if you have some mechanical skills and are prepared to work on the car yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies,I dont know much about the car other then its a 89 SE "runs great" with 43k on her.Im waiting for a reply.I can do minor work on my cars but no major jobs esp on a car I dont know much about.I dont want a Sunday cruiser then can take the occasional "opening up" and not break down every other drive.Glad to hear the 89 was a good year.I will keep you posted once I find out more.
Sean
 

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Thanks for the replies,I dont know much about the car other then its a 89 SE "runs great" with 43k on her.Im waiting for a reply.I can do minor work on my cars but no major jobs esp on a car I dont know much about.I dont want a Sunday cruiser then can take the occasional "opening up" and not break down every other drive.Glad to hear the 89 was a good year.I will keep you posted once I find out more.
Sean
'runs great' is about as meaningul as a blind date with 'a great personality.' It's a meaningless term in this context.

You'll want service records, hopefully showing a recent timing belt replacement. That's a $2K plus job by a knowledgable lotus mechanic, it's not for the faint of heart. Often while the car is partially apart for that, water pump, clutch and other pricey bits are addressed.
If you don't have recent records of oil, coolant, trans fluid, and brake fluid refresh, you'll want to do that for your piece of mind. Again, paying someone to do those things can add up fast.

89 with 50K miles means just over 2K miles a year average, meaning it sits a lot, for long periods of time. Rubber seals, CV boots, etc. will need to be inspected.

Brakes looked at, wheel bearings, clutch hydraulics...

If all this stuff has been attended to, you might get a gem. If all this has been neglected, tack many thousands onto the purchase price to get it up to snuff if you can't do the work yourself.
 

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I have an 89 SE also, it was my first Lotus.

All the above comments are relevant. These can be good cars or nightmares.

I have learned tons about them, because I had to. Guys like Travis and Jim know way more.

Where you are located, and what help you can get in the area will make a big difference unless you are a good mechanic to start with. The owner network is great, but small.

We are presently working on an S4 and a '90 SE. The good news is that the cars are only modestly compex, and parts are available. The problem is that they are rare cars, so few mechanics know them.

As Jim said be aware what you are buying, and be aware that the car you are looking at should have had a timing belt change within the last 3-4 years to be safe to drive. Otherwise you risk a destroyed motor every time you drive it.

contact me if you just want to chat about the car or need more info.

We are always looking to welcome new Lotus enthusiasts, and want you to have a successful experience.

Randy
 

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Thanks for the replies,I dont know much about the car other then its a 89 SE "runs great" with 43k on her.Im waiting for a reply.I can do minor work on my cars but no major jobs esp on a car I dont know much about.I dont want a Sunday cruiser then can take the occasional "opening up" and not break down every other drive.Glad to hear the 89 was a good year.I will keep you posted once I find out more.
Sean
The SE's are definitely good cars. My 91 was super reliable while I had it until it was about 10 years old when I sold it.

You on the other hard are buying a car that is 23-24 years old. With almost any car that old, you pretty much have to be buying it as much for the fun of working on it as for the fun of driving it.

Every part on a car has a life expectancy. To be happy you'll have to budget upfront to spend a lot of time working on the car yourself or paying someone crazy money to do it for you.

Driving the car sparingly will not save you. Older cars tend to develop more problems just sitting.
 

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I wouldn't say that car looks great to me, but that's a personal opinion.

To me, it doesn't look right to mix and match body parts from the SE and V8. The curves just don't match up for the side skirts and the wing. And on the interior, the black seats don't look good to me with the tan interior.

The rear wheels poke out to much for my taste as well since it's missing the V8 wheel arches.

Here's one where they went a little further with the V8 body conversion. The side skirts must be a massive pain to change, because they didn't do it on this car either:
http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=77478&endYear=2013&modelCode1=ESPRIT&startYear=1981&makeCode1=LOTUS&searchRadius=0&listingId=317585577&Log=0

Despite the fact that the owner spent big money, those changes may make it hard for you to sell the car later since it's so far from original.

With regards to the engine/tranmission work, that could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how well they did the work. There's a lot of questions there since a lot of corners can be cut rebuilding engines and gearboxes. You would want to do a compression and leak down test before buying, and a knowledgeable SE owner to drive it to see if it feels right.

It's not a super bargain at that price, so you might want to look at your other options.
 

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$15-20K

There is no reliable price guide for these cars when they are bone stock. It's what anyone would want to pay that day. And with a modded car, everything is out the window.

I would say those mods take $5K off the price, but the next guy might see $15K in value that they won't have to pay to add them to a car that is stock.

So make him an offer and see what happens. I doubt he'll sell it anytime soon with those low res pics, and just offering it on Craig's List. It hasn't shown up on the more common sites like AutoTrader, eBay, and AOL (which seems to have the most Esprits listed of any site).
 

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What is a fair price for a 89-94 turbo generally speaking ?
It's the market again.

Check out asking prices on eBay, AutoTrader, and AOL to get an idea of what's going on in the market at this moment. The 89-91, 93s, and 94's are going to be priced differently since they have significant changes between those years.
 

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It's the market again.

Check out asking prices on eBay, AutoTrader, and AOL to get an idea of what's going on in the market at this moment. The 89-91, 93s, and 94's are going to be priced differently since they have significant changes between those years.
You can use those venues for a range but people tend to be looking for steals on eBay so the prices there are pretty low compared to the real market. A well-sorted, no excuses car is NOT going to be available for $15K or even $17K unless the owner is outright desperate. Top cars get top dollar. Auto Trader and all those are likely a little more realistic. However, each car has to be taken on an individual basis. I paid a premium for my '87 but its paid me back big time with 20K+ miles of trouble-free motoring. There were cars I could have bought for $3K to $5K less but my oh my am I glad I didnt do that ;)

That all being said, the toy car market is in a little rut right now and Lotus cars arent exceptions to that so buyers can get a lot of car for their money. Take advantage of that!
 

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I have seen the white Miami car for sale before.
It might be a good car, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don't like white, but it looks well done. These type of mods have been done to several SEs.
If the drivetrain was well done that is worth a lot, but you do need to know why and what and by whom.
If you like the mods then the car is priced fairly, if not look elsewhere.

SE Esprits have not attained collector status so I don't agree that mods decrease value. Bad looking or badly done mods decrease value.

I also agree that Ebay prices tend to be low.

Randy
 
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