The Lotus Cars Community banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
252 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all!

Like so many stories, this one starts out...

...So I was in a bar...talking with a bunch of people about cool cars. I mentioned that I always liked the Esprit, a few people weren't sure what it was so I pulled up my trusty eBay app to browse some pics. I found a Yellow '91 SE with some cosmetic issues but a solid service history "Needs nothing, won't disappoint" or something to that effect.
After another 6-pack (or two) it seemed like a good idea to put in a lowball bid (or at least what I thought was a lowball bid at the time), so I did.

I rolled out of bed early (afternoon) the next day and checked my phone. "Congratulations, You're the Winner!" it said. The message seemed entirely too cheerful given the way my head was pounding.

"Oh crap, now what?" and "Where's the damn Tylenol?" were my first thoughts of the day.

Not being one to go back on a deal I decided to follow-through. It took a week to get financing and insurance together. That Friday I rented a U-Haul trailer and my 18yo son and I rolled out on the 400 mile trip to pickup the car.

I hadn't seen one up close in 20 years. It looks a LOT bigger in the pictures. I squeezed into my new car and immediately noticed my knee was firmly wedged between the steering wheel and the console and my neck was bent at an awkward angle from the lack of headroom. "This could be a problem", I thought. Adjusting the seat didn't help. I took it for a quick test drive (quick because I couldn't steer with my knee pinned to the wheel), it seemed to run fine, shifted sort-of-OK (no noise at least) and felt pretty tight. It looked like the pictures and had tons of documentation so I had no excuse not to pay the guy and put it on the trailer.

We got home late that night. Unloading the car I noticed the headlights didn't pop-up. Probably should have checked that. Fixed the headlights the next day with some modified plastic bushings from the local hardware store, total cost $2.84. Feeling pretty smart, I went for a drive. I found that Sans-shoes and Sans-sunroof I fit a little better. Filled up the car and went cruising. Wow! this is pretty cool I thought. Brought back my youth, noisy, harsh, demands your full attention. No unnecessary gadgets, a pure driving experience (although it didn't feel as quick as I thought it should).

Got home after an hour or so and noticed the familiar smell of gasoline. Looked under the car and gas was trickling out of the right-side tank. Awe man.

Studied the problem on LotusTalk and LEW, spent the weekend supervising as the kids climbed over the engine and under the car undoing various bits to allow the tanks to come out. "Should the header tanks have holes in them?" my youngest asked...no, probably not I responded. "Dad, the chargecooler is leaking water into the manifold" my oldest says. "OK, thanks buddy". A little later I get "is the impeller for the chargecooler pump supposed to have veins on it?". "Yea, I'm pretty sure it is" I replied. "This timing belt looks kinda worn, didn't the guy say it was just replaced?" they say, "OK, guys, that's enough for today, I'm going for a drink." was my only comeback.

So there it sits in the garage partially disemboweled. Tank is at the swiss-cheese repair center, packages from JAE and ebay arriving daily, bank account dwindling.

I'd call it a sad story but it really isn't. My 16 and 18 year old sons have been steadily drifting away as boys do at that age. Its been too long since we went trail riding or got up early to go fishing. Since we got the Esprit, now I get texts all day at work with suggestions of what we should do next, most nights we're in the garage tinkering and having actual conversations. They haven't been this excited since Christmas morning when they were little. For that alone it's been worth every penny.

I do think I should produce a little breathalyzer device that connects to your phone. After 5 on Fridays and Saturdays you need to blow into it and have a BAC under .1 to use the eBay app. I suppose it could also block u from texting old girlfriends and posting pics to Facebook.

If anyone has a chargecooler they're willing to part with at a reasonable price, please let me know!

Pete
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
663 Posts
That is a great story on how you got your first Lotus! I'm sorry it wasn't as mechanically sound as you expected... but sure sounds like your sons will get an awesome learning opportunity out of it! I remember when I had my first sports car... I had never given a damn about cars until I had a cool one to care about.

Now... do you trust the 16 year old to take that beauty out on a date...? :huh:

Still, great story and even better experience. Thanks for sharing and welcome!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
342 Posts
Hey Pete, if this what the Lotus is doing FOR you and your family then it will be worth every penny. I also have an Esprit and my son is always a willing helper or do'er on the car. He can get into parts of the can I cannot reach in my Old fart years : )
He also seems to get a real grasp of the engineering ( and sometimes lack thereof ) on the car. Its a real win win.
My son now (as a result of 6 Lotus cars over the years) bought his first Elise a year ago and now this summer got his Exige ( race prepped ).

Congratulations !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
676 Posts
Cool story.. My boys are still on the young side but I'd like to get a fix-er-up-er Lotus and work on it with them.. Back when I was a kid me and my dad would always work on our cars (out of necessity) and I learned quite a bit about mechanics of cars, it would be fun to have a car which would actually be worth it to work on.

PICS!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
616 Posts
Yup, thats worth the price of admission! Congrats on your car and 'new' family.
 

·
Absolute power does what?
Joined
·
3,201 Posts
What a fantastic story, congrats all the way around. As someone who is a horrible sleeper I often take an Ambien to get some sleep. I (now) have a very firm rule, once I've taken an Ambien all email devices get put on the charger and I'm done. As you'd guess there's a reason I have this rule and yes it involves a girl....

Seriously though great story and welcome to the club!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
400 Posts
That is a great opening chapter to your Lotus adventure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
252 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to all for the warm welcome!

For those that asked, here are a few pics:

I've already pulled off all of the extraneous badges (badges? we don't need no stinking badges!) I think somebody bought them at Wal-Mart and stuck them all over the car...who does that?

Check out the way-cool fake air intakes! Stick-on plastic junk that's too cheap for a Yugo. Those were the first things to go.

The front spoiler was painted with some sort of cheap truck bedliner stuff. Fortunately, it flakes off really easily, I don't think any surface prep was done underneath. It's sooo ugly in black, can't wait to get it back the way it's supposed to be. It's missing the fog lights.

I plan to have the Ronal wheels powder-coated silver, black just doesn't look right. It has 235-40-17s on the front that rub the wheel wells pretty badly.

I peeled off the GB sticker on the rear bumper, the paint was all burnt off, guess I'll need to respray it. :facepalm

Driver's seat is a little ratty, shift boot (gaiter) needs to be replaced.

The dash has a carbon-fiber looking sticker over the wood. I have a receipt that shows a previous owner paid $450 to have it applied (5 hrs @ $90/hr)! It looks pretty crappy but it will stay for now, I have enough to do already. At some point I'll refinish the dash underneath.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
252 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Quick update...
I had a custom tank made for the right side and refinished the left one. Both are in now. I'm waiting on a "green dot" pulley and some gaskets from SJ Sports cars, got the gates blue timing belt from JAE. I'm building my own custom header tanks out of square-section aluminum tubing (4x4" for the engine coolant and 2x4" for the chargecooler). I replaced the fuel pump with a Bosch unit, installed a chargecooler blockoff kit and ordered a Bosch intercooler pump (Mustang GT/F150).
Still looking for a chargecooler. I bought a generic one on ebay but looking at it I decided I'd rather have the OEM one.
I'll post more details and pics when I get a chance.
Thanks to all!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
301 Posts
Story brought a smile to my face remembering me and my dad bonding over projects like this. Your boys will look back this as some of their best memories with you. Congrats on the purchase....and the relationship building. :)
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top