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So those of you who saw my previous thread know that I'm shopping for a V8 Esprit and thx for all the input so far. I've had a few owners contact me with vehicles for sale and I'm also looking at a one local to me.

So the two I have most info on right now are somewhat similar in modifications and have a lot of things that I would want to do myself so both attractive that some of these have been done already. The main difference is mileage and I wanted to get more informed opinions on this.

So the first car is actually listed on this site.

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f94/1998-lotus-esprit-twin-turbo-sale-178002/

I've been chatting with Harold over the past few days, seems like a nice guy and seems to have put a lot of effort into his car. He's done the center exhaust mod that I like although has left the rear lights but has used the clear turn signal cover which freshens it up a bit. Also has done steering wheel upgrade and some performance enhancements, so overall quite an attractive car to me.

The other car I'm looking at is currently listed on ebay.

Lotus Esprit Turbo | eBay

This one is local and I'm going to look at it today. It has the rear light mod which is nice, does have upgraded exhaust but not the center exhaust mod, and has performance chip upgrade also. Nice interior mods including new steering wheel.

So to some extent these are similar however Harold's car has 27,800 miles and the silver one has 38,520. Not necessarily a huge difference in most cars but maybe more so with this type of car. The kind of curve ball here on the silver one, and where I need more input, is that while it seems to have good service history, and had its "C" service at the approved mileage, this was done seven years ago, so yeah the car has only been drive some 3K miles in 7 years. The back story is the owner was an older gentleman who actually had other esprits, but fell in bad health, sold the other ones and kept this one to see if his health improved but has now decided to sell it. The dealer that is selling it is a personal friend of his so is selling it for him. I talked to the dealer yesterday and he said that he actually has had the car since late last year and has been driving it to iron out any issues of it sitting and not been driven.

So the sort of questions I have are should I be concerned about the time and low miles since the last C service? I don't believe either car has had a new clutch so given that the silver one has almost 40K miles should that be a concern? I'm going to drive it today so at least I'll get a feel for it but Iv'e never driven an Esprit so don't have anything to compare against other than I've driven manual sports cars my whole life. Is a car with below 30K miles a more attractive proposition given that it does have its "C" service coming up?

I'd appreciate peoples thoughts on this who are more experienced. Also if any of you guys know either of these vehicles it would be great to hear, especially Harold's as I can't see it in person. Wouldn't mind hearing peoples thoughts on valuation, both have pretty much the same asking price and both have not sold for that, so I suspect some wiggle room but would just like to hear what folks think. I don't mind paying for what I want, obviously no one wants to pay to much but this is a purchase for pleasure and something I will hopefully keep for quite a while so I'm more concerned about getting the right vehicle.

Anyhow enough rambling, lol, looking forward to hearing peoples thoughts.

Jerry
 

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IMHO.. one with most records is a HUGE PLUS...

ESPECIALLY if C service already done somewhat recently seeing as C service on a V8 runs from what others have posted between $3,000 on low side to some have said around $5,000
 

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Hey Jerry - 7 years is a pretty long time between belt changes. Actually, its probably even worse that the car hasnt been driven much during that time either. Oddly, regular driving "wears" some things out slower than sitting around does.

So, you'd have to figure a C service or at least some of a C service very soon on that car. The large amount of down time is always a problem for me. I much prefer a car that gets used regularly. Ill take higher miles & driven versus low miles & sitting EVERY TIME. These cars arent exactly super collectible or whatever so keeping the miles super low doesnt realy get you much.

As for the clutch, I have no idea why a clutch would have to be replaced at 40K miles so not having had the clutch done is NOT a big deal to me. But, Ive always gotten lots of miles out my clutches in sports cars. Maybe I drive it like a grandma too much but it is what it is. I woudlnt plan on doing a clutch on that car buy maybe V8s burn through them worse. A testd rive wil help indicate overall tranny health and clutch condition. Any slipping or strange engagement points are red flags.

Good Luck - and be sure to use the right 'head" when shopping. Its VERY easy to fall in love with ANY Esprit when you go see once since they look better than almost any car even in shady condition :)
 

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And if need clutch, V8 clutch parts alone are approx $1,000+

Another reason to love the 4 cylinder!
 

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The closer you are to 50,000 miles the sooner you will be doing a clutch. If the car had a complete "C" service any previous history is not all that important since a "C" service kind of resets things back to zero for the most part. 7 years is overdue for a belt but you could still drive it some before you change it. Now you need to check the date codes on the tires. Pick which one you want and have a PPI done. In most cases the lower mileage car is the preferred one but the mileage is not all that much different as to make a big difference. How they were cared for and their present condition is what is important. There are also the other things like color preference, what is included, where the car is, etc. E-bay can be a good deal but there is not enough time to do a proper PPI. A clutch, if you have a shop do it, can cost $5K and a "C" service (if you ONLY do a "C" service) can cost $3K. Unless the car was very well maintained a "C" service can quickly turn into a lot of additional work meaning it can cost substantially more than $3K. A clutch can't cost you too much more than $5K but a service can cost way more than $5K if you wind up having to do a lot of things.
David Teitelbaum
 

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1995 Esprit S4S
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Buy what you want but expect to invest a lot of money. Over the long run you might end up spending more on the car than it is worth. I spent several years looking for an S4S and when I found one I had it inspected. The car lasted 2K miles after the inspection and then I had to rebuild the engine. Over the last 3 years i have spent close to 26K in parts, labor, and machine shop work. It is easy to do with these cars. They are hungry for $$$ if they have been mistreated. It seems like you have a service history and that is good. I have a service history on my car and it didn't save me from spending big $$$ to set the engine right. If money is a consideration for you then don't buy an Esprit. If you have deep pockets then get the one that is in the nicest condition, it's a hobby, drive and enjoy it. Just to give you an Idea, I put tires on my car last week. It was $1100. I replaced the brake master cyl, it was $1000 from lotus. I had the transmission axle seals replaced and the clutch hydraulics replaced it was around $200 in parts and $800 in labor. I don't even want to tell you what it cost to pull the engine, transmission, disassemble, baby blue print and jet wash everything, reassemble with new parts from Lotus, along with custom rings etc etc...Hell the Lotus exhaust manifold alone was $2100...just for the part. On and On and On I could go. But I love the car and I would never sell it. I also knew what I was getting into and I have the means to put the car right. This week I just dropped $3600 on injectors and a new Turbo. These cars are getting along in years so you need to expect things to go wrong, especially if a car has been sitting or a previous owner has neglected routine maintenance but even with the best of owners, you will pay $$$ to keep an Esprit on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thx for all the input so far, keep it coming, its always nice to hear from informed folks with real experience. Hopefully one day I'll be one of the guys able to help a newbie also and pay it forward.

BTW David your car is still in the mix and I got your other photo's.

The ebay car is local so I do actually have the opportunity of a PPI and I can actually look at the car in person and drive it. I agree though that whatever vehicle I'm really interested in having someone qualified check it out is a good thing. That ebay car has brand new tires so not an issue there. It definitely a conundrum, lol, having the C service is good, but the length of time not so much. Local is nice, bird in the hand as they say, but its not everything. Color is one of the things I've been wrestling with as you can see from my other thread but at least I'll get to see a silver one in real life today so that will be a data point.

Jerry
 

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Buy what you want but expect to invest a lot of money. Over the long run you might end up spending more on the car than it is worth. I spent several years looking for an S4S and when I found one I had it inspected. The car lasted 2K miles after the inspection and then I had to rebuild the engine. Over the last 3 years i have spent close to 26K in parts, labor, and machine shop work. It is easy to do with these cars. They are hungry for $$$ if they have been mistreated. It seems like you have a service history and that is good. I have a service history on my car and it didn't save me from spending big $$$ to set the engine right. If money is a consideration for you then don't buy an Esprit. If you have deep pockets then get the one that is in the nicest condition, it's a hobby, drive and enjoy it. Just to give you an Idea, I put tires on my car last week. It was $1100. I replaced the brake master cyl, it was $1000 from lotus. I had the transmission axle seals replaced and the clutch hydraulics replaced it was around $200 in parts and $800 in labor. I don't even want to tell you what it cost to pull the engine, transmission, disassemble, baby blue print and jet wash everything, reassemble with new parts from Lotus, along with custom rings etc etc...Hell the Lotus exhaust manifold alone was $2100...just for the part. On and On and On I could go. But I love the car and I would never sell it. I also knew what I was getting into and I have the means to put the car right. This week I just dropped $3600 on injectors and a new Turbo. These cars are getting along in years so you need to expect things to go wrong, especially if a car has been sitting or a previous owner has neglected routine maintenance but even with the best of owners, you will pay $$$ to keep an Esprit on the road.
Alot of those Lotus parts are really GM parts and your paying 3 to 6 times more than what the part is worth IMO.
 

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Alot of those Lotus parts are really GM parts and your paying 3 to 6 times more than what the part is worth IMO.
In my experience searching for many parts that makes them cheaper. Was curious before I bought to looked up basic stuff like alternator, AC compressor, ABS computer, brake pads and such.. Lotus part: $$$$, O'Reilly equivalent (after search for part number by me) $ or $$

Compared to my prior fun car, 1989 Porsche 928 S4, damned near ALL the parts were Porsche only and $$$$$ if you they were even still available.
 

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Buy what you want but expect to invest a lot of money. Over the long run you might end up spending more on the car than it is worth. I spent several years looking for an S4S and when I found one I had it inspected. The car lasted 2K miles after the inspection and then I had to rebuild the engine.

Out of curiosity, how many miles were on your S4S when it needed an engine rebuild ? I've heard there are 4 cyl Esprits with over 100k miles on the original engine, and others that need a rebuild at 50k.
 

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98 Esprit V8 Calypso Red
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C Service or belt change - I think both cars need that done ASAP. Belt change is not only a mileage thing...it's also a time thing.

Clutch - Parts alone is $2500 - $3000 for the AP Racing Twin Plate, I've seen some cars with clutch gone in 5K miles and I've seen some with 40K miles, and it's still going really strong. So this really depends on the previous owner. Drive both cars and try the clutch, the lighter the clutch pedal is, the more life left.

One thing about the 98, it has the AWI wheels...Lotus had a recall on those wheels, so get the vin & talk to David Simkin to make sure those AWI wheels on the car are good.

Recall info:

1997 Lotus Esprit Recalls & Problems - Motor Trend Magazine

Last - don't be afraid to buy one with high mileage as long as it has good service history, I would stay away with a car that has been sitting for years. A car with 3K miles over 7 years means avg of 35.71 miles per month...that's scary low.
 

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There is a lot of great information already posted, and I don't think I can contribute much more. However, having just purchased a 2004 Esprit in April I had certain requirements that needed to be met with my purchase. From what everyone has said, and most online reviews have indicated, the last few years of these cars are relatively reliable. But the exclusivity can become a little bit of a burden when it comes time to find parts and service.

When I started looking, I wanted to find the newest Esprit, as close to me as possible. That wasn't too difficult living in S. Florida, three Esprit's were for sale were within 3hrs of me. One was just 5 miles from my house. User Esprit02 bought one that I passed on. I passed on it because the dealer treated me like [email protected], and I didn't trust them. Thus I didn't want to give them my business. They ended up selling the car for less than they offered me the car for, so Esprit02 got a nice deal.

My next requirement was that I needed to find a car with all of the service history. I had that with two of the three cars. Although, having all the service records doesn't guarantee that the work was done well. I had all service documents with my car from an Authorized Lotus dealer and my car had a few issues. Some of the work done was sloppy and shortcuts were taken which needed attention. The issues were taken care of and I'm good to go until the 30k mile service.

The major thing that I had to take into consideration was the mileage on the car. The 2002's I saw both had between 13,000-15,000 miles on them and they were in excellent shape. The 2004 I bought had 26,xxx miles on it. Yes a little on the high side, but I will hopefully be keeping the car for 10-15yrs so it's no big deal for me. Plus, having been driven any issues that were likely to pop up, did, and were fixed by the previous owner.

Lastly, and I cannot stress this anymore, you need to have a knowledgeable mechanic within one hour from your house. My independent mechanic is a Lotus factory trained tech and knows these cars inside-out. I had some concerns about my car and he told me they were nothing to worry about. I can sleep at night knowing my engine won't grenade unless I mess with it.

Most importantly though, is that the community here is excellent. There is a wealth of information available. Many of the long term owners are extremely knowledgable and helpful in answering questions. They are also very honest. For that reason, Esprit ownership should not scare you away as friends and family of yours might think otherwise.

Good luck in your search and you'll know which car is right for you.
 

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1995 Esprit S4S
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Alot of those Lotus parts are really GM parts and your paying 3 to 6 times more than what the part is worth IMO.
If you know a cheaper place to get parts do share. I get my parts from SJsportscars, Dave bean, Merlin Motorsports, and Lotus PBC, and lotus. Which part do you think was too much? The delco master cyl that you can't rebuild or find anywhere in the country? Yeah, I got the last one lotus had available in dealer stock so I paid what they wanted. Hard to argue with last one. How bout the 2100 manifold? Again a lotus part. I called all the usual places and at the time of my engine rebuild it was the only thing available. I didn't want to wait for fresh stock elsewhere so I paid it. What a part is worth and what suppliers charge are two different things. I think te oil guage in my car is worth 20 bucks. SJ charged me 150... So if I want an oil guage I pay the 150. As far as parts being GM...I've tried to get various parts through GM with no success, it seems lotus would take a GM part and modify it for their purpose. Take the headlamp lift control unit. It's a GM part. I ordered it through GM only to get a part that didn't have the right mounting points to be properly set up in the car. A waste of money in the long run. I've found that whenever it try to save money by purchasing a part on the cheap I end up spending more to modify the part to make it work than I would have spent if I had just bought the dealer part in the first place.
 

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So this week we just finished tearing down the our 8th motor. All GM era 4 bangers.
Today we took in a car with a major overheat event that will be number 9.
I just sold my great 89SE to South Carolina. That one was not torn down and has been a stong car with only 29k.

Motor #8 is an S4S that caught fire at 95k. The motor except for fire damage to the top and some bent valves is otherwise looking quite good, with minimal liner and bearing wear.

From what we are seeing a lot of these motors are showing only minimal wear to bearings and pistons at 70-90k.
Minor oil leaks are common(although not on our rebuilds)
Poorly maintained motors show more problems, meaning fluids, hoses, chargecooler pump.
Valves are the most likely place to begin losing compression due to carbon buildup.
Any entry of water/antifreeze into the internals causes major damage very quickly.
The motors with catastrophic failures had either been poorly repaired, or or something broke.

So mileage is not always that big of an issue, proper repairs and maintenance are. And so is what stress the motor has been under.

If the motor has an event that leads to any metal getting in to the motor it needs to be torn down, rebuilt and the oil coolers need to be replaced.

The fact that some motors are looking very good tells us that with good maintenance, modest driving, and modest upgrades these motors can actually last quite a while, and fortunately a rebuild may not be necessary before 100,000 miles. But lack of care and trying to pull too many HP may lead to issues.

IMHO
Randy
 

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If you know a cheaper place to get parts do share. I get my parts from SJsportscars, Dave bean, Merlin Motorsports, and Lotus PBC, and lotus. Which part do you think was too much? The delco master cyl that you can't rebuild or find anywhere in the country? Yeah, I got the last one lotus had available in dealer stock so I paid what they wanted. Hard to argue with last one. How bout the 2100 manifold? Again a lotus part. I called all the usual places and at the time of my engine rebuild it was the only thing available. I didn't want to wait for fresh stock elsewhere so I paid it. What a part is worth and what suppliers charge are two different things. I think te oil guage in my car is worth 20 bucks. SJ charged me 150... So if I want an oil guage I pay the 150. As far as parts being GM...I've tried to get various parts through GM with no success, it seems lotus would take a GM part and modify it for their purpose. Take the headlamp lift control unit. It's a GM part. I ordered it through GM only to get a part that didn't have the right mounting points to be properly set up in the car. A waste of money in the long run. I've found that whenever it try to save money by purchasing a part on the cheap I end up spending more to modify the part to make it work than I would have spent if I had just bought the dealer part in the first place.
Next time try JAE and Sports Car World too when looking for Lotus parts. Oftentimes your old part can be fixed depending on what it is and what is wrong with it. Of course it may take longer and in some cases cost as much as another part, that is assuming you can still get one! There are many venders that can take your old part and repair it. Look in HMN under "Services". For instance your brake master can probably be repaired by White Post. As for the headlight motor you could probably take the new one apart and put the new parts into your old one and then it will fit and work. Sometimes you have to be creative, not everything will just bolt on. That is what Lotus did. In many cases they took stock parts from different manufacturers and modified them to do what they needed. BTW, many of the GM parts are European so either you can't get them in the US or they are not the same as their US counterparts.
David Teitelbaum
 

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1995 Esprit S4S
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So this week we just finished tearing down the our 8th motor. All GM era 4 bangers.
Today we took in a car with a major overheat event that will be number 9.
I just sold my great 89SE to South Carolina. That one was not torn down and has been a stong car with only 29k.

Motor #8 is an S4S that caught fire at 95k. The motor except for fire damage to the top and some bent valves is otherwise looking quite good, with minimal liner and bearing wear.

From what we are seeing a lot of these motors are showing only minimal wear to bearings and pistons at 70-90k.
Minor oil leaks are common(although not on our rebuilds)
Poorly maintained motors show more problems, meaning fluids, hoses, chargecooler pump.
Valves are the most likely place to begin losing compression due to carbon buildup.
Any entry of water/antifreeze into the internals causes major damage very quickly.
The motors with catastrophic failures had either been poorly repaired, or or something broke.

So mileage is not always that big of an issue, proper repairs and maintenance are. And so is what stress the motor has been under.

If the motor has an event that leads to any metal getting in to the motor it needs to be torn down, rebuilt and the oil coolers need to be replaced.

The fact that some motors are looking very good tells us that with good maintenance, modest driving, and modest upgrades these motors can actually last quite a while, and fortunately a rebuild may not be necessary before 100,000 miles. But lack of care and trying to pull too many HP may lead to issues.

IMHO
Randy
Randy, were you able to determine the cause of the s4s fire?
 

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If you know a cheaper place to get parts do share. I get my parts from SJsportscars, Dave bean, Merlin Motorsports, and Lotus PBC, and lotus. Which part do you think was too much? The delco master cyl that you can't rebuild or find anywhere in the country? Yeah, I got the last one lotus had available in dealer stock so I paid what they wanted. Hard to argue with last one. How bout the 2100 manifold? Again a lotus part. I called all the usual places and at the time of my engine rebuild it was the only thing available. I didn't want to wait for fresh stock elsewhere so I paid it. What a part is worth and what suppliers charge are two different things. I think te oil guage in my car is worth 20 bucks. SJ charged me 150... So if I want an oil guage I pay the 150. As far as parts being GM...I've tried to get various parts through GM with no success, it seems lotus would take a GM part and modify it for their purpose. Take the headlamp lift control unit. It's a GM part. I ordered it through GM only to get a part that didn't have the right mounting points to be properly set up in the car. A waste of money in the long run. I've found that whenever it try to save money by purchasing a part on the cheap I end up spending more to modify the part to make it work than I would have spent if I had just bought the dealer part in the first place.
It takes a little bit of searching sometimes I was able to source that headlamp left control unit for 150 on ebay and i think someone offers a rebuild service for them for the same price. You just have to know where to look. a lot of info here as well.
What failed on you motor and you needed a rebuild at 50K?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lotus-Espri...Parts_Accessories&hash=item51ba88d26c&vxp=mtr
http://www.ebay.com/itm/88-04-Lotus...s&fits=Make:Lotus&hash=item23393776d7&vxp=mtr
 
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