My Lotus Esprit

My love affair with the Lotus Esprit

NOTE - All restoration, upgrades and servicing on my Esprit S1, Esprit S2 and Esprit Turbo have been carried out by myself... it's an easy car to work on. 

My love affair with the Lotus EspritAs with most people, my first encounter with a Lotus Espirt was in the James Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me.  However, although the gadgets were cool, it was the shape of the car that really caught my attention.  

  

Whether its in white or yellow, I love Giorgetto Giugiaro's design... look closely, its not just a wedge! 

 
 
 

    

I love the futuristic design of that "boomerang" instrument pod and yes, even the burble of that 4 cylinder engine is music to my ears. Since 1977 the Esprit has been the car of my dreams. This is my story of how I fulfilled that dream, that's since become an addiction.

About This Web Site - There are many more photos on the Restoration & Photo Gallery page. Click on the photos will present larger versions descriptive comments. The slide-show option is worth a go!

    

The Start of Something Wonderful - Although I like the newer Stevens re-shape, it had been the original Giugiaro design that first caught my attention and in my eyes, the S1 is still the most pleasing. Before buying my first Esprit, I did some research and discovered that the early Esprits were plagued with problems and poor build-quality. I don't like the bumpers introduced on the S3, so I decided to compromise on the S2. It had some minor improvements over the S1, but still retained much of the original look. If you don't mind the S3 bumpers, then it probably makes the most sense, it introduced the galvanised chassis that was also used in the later Turbo models. 

So I fullfilled my dream in April 2001 when I purchased my red 1978 S2. Over the next few years I took my S2 on numerous classic car runs and shows, while undertaking the following improvements as a rolling restoration:

  • New chrome rims to the instrument dials.
  • Seats and interior retrimmed in cream leather.
  • New high-torque starter motor.
  • Replacement badges - nose, "Champions" and side "Esprit" and "Designed by Giugiaro"
  • Silican water hoses.
  • Stainless steel sill protectors.
  • New Suspension all around (dampers and springs)

One Is Never Enough! My S2 gave me the taste for Lotus driving, so much so I decided to buy a younger Esprit that would be more suitable for everyday use. The 1989 Turbo fits this requirement perfectly, it benefits from having a galvanised chassis and many more upgrades that are important improvements over the earlier cars.

 

The V8 engine obviously took Esprit performance to another level, but they take a lot more looking after and more frequent servicing. I also decided not to go for the chargecooler versions of the 4 cylinder cars, such as SE, S4 or S4S. The chargecooler came with a plastic impeller which has a tendancy to self-destruct, these cars also added the Exhaust Back Pressure Valve (EBPV), Electronic Control Unit (ECU), Cat and fuel injection. The additional performance that these features bring, over the standard Turbo car, just weren't worth it - most of the theoretical gains were soaked up by the Cat. The EBPV has a tendancy to stick, which can be a pain.  

So in December 2006 I added to my Esprit fleet, by buying a white 1989 Esprit Turbo. I used it as my every day car for 2 years, it was always very reliable and never let me down. However, as with the S2 I carried out a program of gradual improvement, replacing parts before they failed or to further enhance the reliability of the car. During my ownership of the Esprit Turbo, I installed the following new parts/upgrades:

  • EBC rear brake discs (Turbo Groove) and Green Stuff pads.
  • Bendix rear brake calipers fully refurbished - better than new!
  • Goodridge stainless steel braided (race spec) brake hoses.
  • Stainless steel braided clutch hose, new clutch master and slave cylinders.
  • Stainless steel gear transfer rod ends (with rubber boots) and pivot bearings.
  • Stainless steel sports exhaust, with twin active (both are used) pipes.
  • 4 new tyres (Kumho).
  • New Starter Motor.
  • Refurbished water Expansion tank.
  • New coil.

All Change - Although I could never imagine selling either car, in August 2009 I very reluctantly sold both my Esprits. 

      

A New Beginning - However, my love affair with the Lotus Esprit was far from over! This time fulfilling my original dream of owning an S1. On 31 May 2011, I made the long 150 mile drive home from Birmingham in this yellow 1976 S1. It's now mine for life... finally, one Esprit is enough!!!

     

For more details on my cars and their restoration, see the link at the top of this page. I'm still working on the S1 and have made some good progress, having completed:

  • Fitting of aluminium fuel tanks
  • New fuel lines & pump
  • Carburettor rebuild
  • Returned to original spec single exhaust (new stainless steel system fitted)
  • New exhaust manifold (higher grade steel)
  • New tailgate lock 

Reputedly there were only 718 Esprit S1's made, 474 of which were for the USA market, the remaining 244 were divided between the UK and other European nations. DVLA currently has 387 registered cars but this includes S2 and S3 as well. As far as I can tell, we only have 47 of the S1 left in the UK. This could account for the recent price rises, I've seen values double in the past 5 years.

These pages were last added to on:  22 April 2014

 
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