I have an 85 that has been lowered. I don't know exactly how much, but it is probably to the max possible. I know that it is at least a couple of inches lower than my friends 84 TE.
Several things that you need to be aware of, in that how much you lower results in the suspension geometry being changed. My fronts now have a pronounced toe-out(that I need to get around to adjusting), and that is ok for autocross, but you'd need to re-align your front to correct that. Lowering my rears have actually resulted in creating a more expensive set of problems, which is that the halfshafts now come out of the gearbox angling up to the hub carriers. This doesn't sound like a big deal, since they usually angle down to the hub carriers, until you remember that taking bumps, or compressing the suspension further causes those halfshafts to turn at a more extreme angle rather than straighten out to relatively straight out, contributing to not only more oscillation of the actual ball joint with each revolution, resulting in faster wear, but the rubber boots also keep on wearing out/cracking due to increased flexing.
Also, I got tire rub in the fronts when I went over bumps when the tires were new, but that went away fairly quickly as it was just the outside corner edges of the tires that rubbed off about 2mm worth of edge just at the corner of the bend. After about a month of driving on those tires, the rubbing no longer happened, unless I hit a severe pothole or other scary bump.
I also severely increased the size of my tires. I'm running: front 215/45 r17, rear 275/40 r17
Because of the extra fat rear tires, I have more of a tendency of the car to want to plow ahead (understeer) when cornering, but this is something I live with as it is only noticeable at extreme cornering, or accelerating real hard and turning over a high speed wide turn (such as a freeway cloverleaf). I guess it keeps me from driving too fast and crazy on turns, keeping me alive longer
Now on to the mechanicals of how the car got lowered. It has adjustable coil over shocks on all four corners, with a 6 stage hardness adjuster selector knob on the shock body as well. (the company that makes the shock strut is Alder. I believe they make off road applications mostly, but couldn't find them on the internet, although they are located south of downtown Los Angeles as I just recently brought one of them in to be repaired, and they rebuilt it immediately as I waited... great service). One bonus to having the adjustables is that I was able to adjust the rear drivers side coil to make the car sit straight and even in relation to the ground... no more left sagging look.
Now as to the looks, I wouldn't trade back to "original" ride height for anything as it looks SOOOO DAMN GOOD riding lowered. It just fits the overall look of the car so much..... When I go and look at old promo pictures of the Esprit from Lotus from the 80's era cars, they now look like they have been raised for off roading driving.... weird...... My wheels now have literally such a tight visual match to the wheel wheels that I can't even put my little finger in between the front wheels and the top of the wheel well.
Here are some pics, enjoy, and feel free to give me a call if you have any questions or comments at (951)206-9156 anytime (that goes for all you others reading this post as well)
hey thanks for the message and advice great looking car you have ,,,however the 83and 85 model has a bit different suspension,,,i think its 85 when they changed ,,to what you have 83 wouldnt work with the set up you have
still looking and hoping to find someone who has done this on an early model turbo
thanks to anyone in advance
I am not sure about the spring mounts being different on the front between our years. I do know that the 85 front suspension bits resemble the Toyota as they use those brakes, etc, and the earlier Esprit more resembles the Elite(or Elan?) in the linking details.
I do, however think that the same coil over springs would work just fine. Even if they have to make a different mounting bracket/bolt at the top/bottom, it still should be basically the same. I know Adler charged $260 for the entire assembly new, including springs, and they had all kinds of spring rates to chose from.
If anyone else has more info on what bits are different between the 83 and 85 years chime in!
Now, I believe that you could get your exact wish list of combination spring rates and shock compression and rebound rates all customized to what you all individually wish for. I've been super happy with mine, and have you had any experience with them?
I was really happy with how they didn't even bat an eye when I told them that these were going on a Lotus Esprit... They did all the end mounts custom.... just bring them one of your shock coil-overs from any year and they match the pieces while you wait.
Of course, you don't need to go with all chromed and pretty-pretty