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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I just put a down payment on this S4. I'm going to be paying $19,500.00 for it. Look at it and tell me what you think. What you see here is all I know about it, too. It's local to me so that had something to do with the decision. Please be brutal if you have to.
Thanks.

Lotus : Esprit S4 Lotus : Esprit S4 | eBay
 

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Hey guys, I just put a down payment on this S4. I'm going to be paying $19,500.00 for it. Look at it and tell me what you think. What you see here is all I know about it, too. It's local to me so that had something to do with the decision. Please be brutal if you have to.
Thanks.

Lotus : Esprit S4 Lotus : Esprit S4 | eBay
Doesnt look too bad and the mileage is actually nice for a change since the car has actually been driven fairly regularly. It'd be nice to know when some of the major wear parts were last changed, EG clutch, belts, etc, etc.

The price seems extra good too for an S4. Under $20K for one of those is a bargain, IMO. Thats what I paid for my '87HCi(albeit extremely well sorted/updated w/38K on it at the time).

Its quite a change going to an S4 from a G-car. Did you want an S4 specifically? Curious why you didnt persue another G-car?

Also curious why there are 45 auto-check records for a car that was owned by just one person? Might be nothing, just wondering.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Doesnt look too bad and the mileage is actually nice for a change since the car has actually been driven fairly regularly. It'd be nice to know when some of the major wear parts were last changed, EG clutch, belts, etc, etc.

The price seems extra good too for an S4. Under $20K for one of those is a bargain, IMO. Thats what I paid for my '87HCi(albeit extremely well sorted/updated w/38K on it at the time).

Its quite a change going to an S4 from a G-car. Did you want an S4 specifically? Curious why you didnt persue another G-car?

Also curious why there are 45 auto-check records for a car that was owned by just one person? Might be nothing, just wondering.
I don't know about the auto check. This one just looked good to me. I like the way the "G" cars look better, though, but being newer, it may have some ov the older bugs worked out of it.
 

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From the pix it looks like a very clean, well kept car. I would try to get a look at the most recent service ticket from the place it was serviced in Houston. Even if it needs a "C" service it sounds like a good price. Are you getting both roofs, tool kit, owner's manual etc? Run a Carfax. Make sure you are getting a clean Title. Expect to a clutch and all of the fluids at the very least. At least budget for it.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I paid for one of those "AutoCheck" things through e-Bay and it came back that there were no problems. Of course, that means problems "reported".
 

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It looks pretty good except the fake carbon fibre instrument mask is tatty by the speedo.

The photography skills of the salesman seem to be of the hit or miss variety, he may be concealing faults with that "accidental" lack of focus in some shots.

What concerns me is the mileage and the "300 bhp upgrade", IMO 57,000 is pretty high for a car that has probably been thrashed , I know mine had less on it (50,000 kms) and was only the 215 hp version and had to be rebuilt, so the engine in that car has either been done (good) or needs doing (bad)

You have to remember as well its 17 years old so probably has all of those niggling faults that go with the age of the car, so dont be surprised If stuff doesnt work that they claim to have not noticed.

At the end of the day, you should go round to the dealer, put it up on a hoist and go over it with a fine toothcomb then drive it before parting with the money so you dont have any nasty surprises later.
 

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I wonder what happened to the wing? Also, the I wonder why someone painted the engine pieces in red, but forgot to paint the "chargecooler" plate? Just makes you think the engine might have been apart. Looks like it has a custom dual exhaust. It has the good JAE "race" timing belt on it. that a plus! The price seems fantastic, though.
 

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Is it just the pics or does the car look to sit low on the rear? Suspension work may be in the cards.

The engine has definitely been out, and whoever did it, did not take care to get the right color paint, which may or may not mean something about how they treated the engine work.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The wing causes downforce due to drag. Remove the wing, not as much downforce, but much faster. Just saying....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Plus, I hope someone's been in the engine. I'll get my mechanic to check it out for me.
 

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you have a pm.
i'd be wary about any "horsepower upgrades". there are very few horsepower upgrades that are good/quality/and long-term for this car. the engine was made to be as is. (and it's good enough). if the installer didn't REALLY know what they were doing, it could be bad for the engine.
tomas
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The seller doesn't say anything about engine work. He said the ECU was updated to 300hp, which means they added the S4s software. Easy change. Technically it won't be quite 300 because it doesn't have the S4s larger valves, but I doubt anyone could tell the difference. Looks like a nice car and a good value for the price in spite of the miles. I think you did well.
 

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I have a 93 and a 95 S4. Based on the VIN this would be an early 95, and it has the better Brembro brakes. Don't know the story of the ECU upgrade, but it is an easy and common chip upgrade that is quite safe.

Never seen an S4 without any wing, I love the S4 wing, don't like the look without.

The engine has the "blue" belt which is good and means it has been changed.
The engine has clearly had major work to the peripherals. Looks nice, but not original. Would wonder whether internal work was done. This can all be good if well done.

Miles are medium, body looks good, as does interior.

I would say you probably got a good deal, but would want to drive and check it out. Main thing is to check tranny, clutch, and compression. This is the mileage where those become isssues in some cars, and problems there can be expensive to fix, but you have a bit of a cushion based on the price.

Randy
89, 90, 93, and 95 Esprits
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, I'm going to see it in person tomorrow. I put $1K down to hold it. If anything is amiss, I'll just tell 'em about it and indicate I want the grand back. I'm not worried about whether the engines been out or not, depending on why. They all have to come out eventually for major work (rings, bearings, etc...). Maybe someone did all of that prior to me getting it. They name the shop which actually used to take care of the car and supposedly it's a one owner. I can contact them, too. These could be pluses. Yeah, there are concerns about the wing, but I can allways get one. Maybe I can presbyter them down on the price 'cause it doesn't have the wing. I'll definitely drive it tomorrow. I'll let ya know. Thanks for the input. This helps.
 

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The wing causes downforce due to drag. Remove the wing, not as much downforce, but much faster. Just saying....

:clap: :clap: :clap:






The car looks OK. Have a good look at the bolster on the drivers seat, they can wear quickly from entering the car. (Nobody ever takes a picture of THAT.)

Agree with David about the service history, if the car has been driven regularly (and there is proof of service done) you are better off than with a garage queen. (I noticed the blue Gates Racing timing belt...that means the belt can't be more than 3 years old...)




BTW in today's (buyer's) market you should be able to do better than the asking price....
 

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:clap: :clap: :clap:

The car looks OK. Have a good look at the bolster on the drivers seat, they can wear quickly from entering the car. (Nobody ever takes a picture of THAT.)

Agree with David about the service history, if the car has been driven regularly (and there is proof of service done) you are better off than with a garage queen. (I noticed the blue Gates Racing timing belt...that means the belt can't be more than 3 years old...)

BTW in today's (buyer's) market you should be able to do better than the asking price....
Yep - the gates blue belt is nice to see. means something at least. I know its a buyers market but there is a floor with these and any other car. I mean - selling them $17K means a car like mine would sell for what....$13K? Yeah right. You can pry it from my cold, dead hands for $13K. :D

IMO 57,000 is pretty high for a car that has probably been thrashed , I know mine had less on it (50,000 kms) and was only the 215 hp version and had to be rebuilt, so the engine in that car has either been done (good) or needs doing (bad)
Its hard to know if its been thrashed or not but that kind of miles doesnt mean the engine needs major work - not at all. Plenty of people get double that mileage(or close to it) before anything major has to be done. Its had regulra use which IMO is a good thing and assists in longevity as opposed to hurting it. Esprits that get driven and used are healthier than garage fixtures. Weve all seen that play out. I wouldnt let the miles scare me at all. Just MO.
 

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Yep - the gates blue belt is nice to see. means something at least. I know its a buyers market but there is a floor with these and any other car. I mean - selling them $17K means a car like mine would sell for what....$13K? Yeah right. You can pry it from my cold, dead hands for $13K. :D



Its hard to know if its been thrashed or not but that kind of miles doesnt mean the engine needs major work - not at all. Plenty of people get double that mileage(or close to it) before anything major has to be done. Its had regulra use which IMO is a good thing and assists in longevity as opposed to hurting it. Esprits that get driven and used are healthier than garage fixtures. Weve all seen that play out. I wouldnt let the miles scare me at all. Just MO.
Hi Mike,

You are a true optimist, sure the car may have been driven considerately by an elderly gent on sundays to church thus the engine is hardly run in, but in my experience alot of these cars were thrashed, tracked etc by drivers keen to extract every ounce of performance out of them.

Why would a gentle and considerate driver upgrade the power to 300bhp?

Expect the worst, but hope for the best.

Wayne (pessimist when buying used sportscars)
 

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Hi Mike,

You are a true optimist, sure the car may have been driven considerately by an elderly gent on sundays to church thus the engine is hardly run in, but in my experience alot of these cars were thrashed, tracked etc by drivers keen to extract every ounce of performance out of them.

Why would a gentle and considerate driver upgrade the power to 300bhp?

Expect the worst, but hope for the best.

Wayne (pessimist when buying used sportscars)
Wayne - I probably am overly optimistic. Ive had great luck with my own car and I do drive it a lot(as far as a toy goes) so my initial perceptions of fragility and all that fear have been quelled for the most part. There is also a difference between being driven spiritedly and abusively. Many of us here drive our cars hard from time to time but dont beat on them. If we did, they wouldnt last as long as they do.

You are right though - this car might have been hammered. We can never know. I agree with the expect the worst but hope for the best. That usually works. I just think my perceptions/expectations have changed a bit. Its not as scary as it once was with older exotics. Get a good one, keep a close eye on things, drive it regularly, and the odds are stacked in your favor. The F-Chat guys seem to experience the exact same phenomenon: They buy an older 308/Mondial with some miles on it but with anal-retentive maintainence schedules and regular use - the car defies the "odds" and treats them right. If they buy a bad one - just like us Lotus guys they end up pissed off. Im sure Lambos, Jags, whatever have the same stories.
 

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There are lots of people who drive sports cars well and don't trash them, just as there are lots who abuse them and trash them.
It isn't usually that hard to tell the difference.
Trashed cars tend to have bumps and bruises, bad synchros, poorly conceived mods, dirty engine bays, mega sound systems, and worn tires.
Sure dealers will sometimes do cheap fixes to hide issues, but so do private sellers.
This car looks clean Undamaged and well cared for on the pics. Pics sometimes don't show all, so an in person inspection is best, as is a test drive. Records are important.
The "300hp" chip is common and safe. It is a little more driveable, and has the "3k stumble" minimized. It only allows a few more hp and slightly higher boost when driving hard. Most "thrashers"will be running race chips.
The Stevens 4cyl Esprit had incremental factory mods and changes that were quite modest. You can pretty safely upgrade to any factory change without a problem. Many of the changes were improvements, and most don't consider factory non-cosmetic changes as having a negative effect on value, in fact the opposite is true.

Randy
 
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