Esprit Models
Esprit History
For Sale
Other Stuff
Buying & Running
Parts & Specialists
Other Esprit Stuff

Esprit Model History '88 MY to '99 MY

'88 Model Year Introduction: Oct '87
Esprit (N.A.); U.K. & Export 85 D 3000, 85 A/E/G/H/S 1000
Esprit Turbo; U.K. & Export 82 D 3000, 82 A/E/G/H/S 1000
Esprit Turbo (H.C.P.I.); USA F- 2000
As prior '88 M.Y. cars except:

Peter Stevens designed body; Lotus 0.Z. wheels; open back (N-A.) or glazed (Turbo) tailgate. Non-USA cars;
Renault transmission. USA spec.: Citroen transmission (as prior '88); Bosch fuel injection.

USA Esprit Turbo 'Limited Edition': March '88
As '88 M.Y. USA cars except:

Pearlescent white body, wheels & mirrors; open back tailgate; strut mounted rear spoiler; Sony compact disc autochanger; elm instrument masks; silver fascia plague.

'89 Model Year: Oct '88
Esprit (N.A.); U.K. & Export 135 D 3374, 85 A/E/G/H/S 1087
Esprit Turbo; U.K. h; Export 82 1.) 33‘14, 82 R/E/G/H/S 1087
Esprit Turbo (M.P.F.I.); USA F- 2500
As '88 M.Y. cars except:

Heated door mirrors; central door locking; electric filler Il.ap release. USA spec.: Lotus/Delco multi-point fuel injection; Renault Transmission.

40th Anniversary Ccmnemorative Esprit Turbo (Except USA): Nov '88
As '89 M.Y. cars except:

Carburettor Turbo (U.K.) or M.P.F.I. versions. Pearlescent white body, wheels & mirrors; strut mounted spoiler; front spoiler bib; Sony compact disc autochanger; elm instrument masks; silver fascia plague.

Esprit Turbo 'S.E.' (Chargecooler): May '89; 82/F - 5000
As '89 M.Y. cars except:

Air/water charge air cooled turbo engine with Lotus/Delco fuel injection; 16" rear wheels and Goodyear Eagle tyres; revised suspension geometry; restyled front spoiler and sill ducts; strut mounted rear spoiler.

Commonisation of 'Eagle Chassis': May '89
N.A. RHD 85 D 3582
Turbo RHD 82 D 3587
N.A. & Turbo LHD 85/82 - 1152
USA RHD spec. 82/F - 2728
USA LHD spec. 82/F - 2749
As '89 M.Y. cars except:

Chargecooler type chassis and suspension, with 16" rear wheels and Goodyear Eagle tyres.


'91 Model Year Esprit, Esprit 'S' & Esprit 'SE.': Oct '90; I4 0001
U.K. only - Carburettor Turbo (Esprit)
U.K. only - M.P.F.I. Turbo (Esprit 'S')
Export - M.P.F.I. Turbo (Esprit)
Worldwide - Chargecooled M.P.F.I. Turbo (Esprit S.E./Esprit)
'SE' designation dropped for chargecooler cars in non-USA LHD markets to avoid trademark infringement. (N.A. model discontinued)
As 'Eagle Chassis' or Esprit Turbo S.E. except:

ABS brakes. Carburettor model has open back tailgate, 4-slot rear valance (as previous N.A.), and 'no fogs' front spoiler.

USA 'Indianapolis 25th Anniversary Esprit': Nov '90
As '91 M-Y. USA Chargecooled Esprit except:

British Racing Green with Yellow side stripes and detailing. Yellow wheel centres and polished rims.
Yellow/gold leather trim with 'Indianapolis 1965' embossed in headrests. Stainless steel dashboard plague.

'92 Model Year Esprit h Esprit 'S.E.' (Except USA): Oct '91; N 0001
U.K. only - Carburettor Turbo (Esprit)
Worldwide (Except USA) - Chargecooled M.P.F.I. Turbo (Esprit S.E./Esprit)
'SE' designation dropped for chargecooler cars in LHD markets to avoid trademark infringement.
As '91 M.Y. cars except:

Increased interior space with revised pedal box and interior trim, wider door opening. back tailgate with oval vents and high mounted spoiler, front spoiler bib.
C/cooler models; open
Carb. model; 'S.E.' type sills.

USA '93 Hadel Year (Phase 1) Esprit 'S.E.': Jan '93;
P 0186 b P 0190 to P 0244
As '91 M.Y. Chargecooler except:

Increased interior space with revised pedal box and interior trim, wider door opening. Open back tailgate with oval vents. Re-angled (low mounted) rear spoiler. S-spoke gunmetal centre road wheels.
P 0190 & P192 RH shift transmission. Front spoiler bib.

USA '93 Model Year (Phase 2) Esprit 'S.E.': April '93; P 0245 to P 0306
As 'Phase 1' except:

New door lock mechanism & CDL, with single key operation of vehicle locks; new window lift mechanism;
Megamoss vehicle alarm. Restyled interior trim ('S4' style); P 0257 & P 0259 onwards
'High Torque' RH shift transmission; new wheelchanging jack.

Esprit S4: March '93
(U.K. & Export, not USA);
VIN: P 0001 to 0010, 1011 onwards
As '92 M.Y. Chargecooler specification with following changes:

Restyled front bumper and spoiler, bonnet, sills, rear aerofoil, transom spoiler, rear valance.
Power steering.
Front suspension geometry altered with provision for camber adjustment.
Rear suspension camber changed, with provision for adjustment
17 inch Lotus styled S-spoke alloy wheels, with 215/40 ZR17 (front) and 245/45 ZR17 (rear) Goodyear Eagle GS-A tyres.
New door window lift mechanism, incorporating 'one touch' and obstruction sensing.
New door lock mechanism and CDL, with single key operation of vehicle locks.
Megamoss vehicle alarm includes 'deadlocking' and engine crank immobilisation.
Restyled interior including; fascia, crash pad and glovebox lid, seat upholstery, instrument layout and carbon fibre look-alike masks, centre console and tunnel trim, door panels, steering wheel.
Elan type front side/turn lamps, new front fog lamps and interior lamp, electric vacuum pump, tailgate mounted radio aerial.
Revised 'High Torque' RH shift transmission.
New wheel changing scissor jack.

Sport 300: June '93
U.K. & Export (not USA)
VIN: P 8001
As Esprit S4 specification with following changes:

Lightweight body, bonded-in roof, scuttle brace, front bumper/spoiler, enlarged wheel housings with wheelarch extensions, '92 style fog lamp recesses now brake cooling ducts, '92 style rear bumper, valance and sills. New rear aerofoil.
Reinforced chassis, bolt-in engine bay brace, roll cage mountings.
300 bhp engine with T3/T4 turbocharger, increased boost pressure, recalibrated ECM, larger inlet valves and ports, raised fuel pressure, combined chargecooler radiator/condenser on non a.c. cars.
Lotus limited slip differential, uprated clutch cover and flywheel
Revised front and rear suspension springs and dampers.
Larger front and rear brakes, with AP Racing 4-piston calipers and ventilated discs at all four wheels. Separate parking brake calipers.
3-piece 0.Z. wheels with 245/45 ZRl.6 (front) and P315/35 ZR17 (rear) Goodyear Eagle GS-C tyres.
Alcantara interior trim, Senotex instrument masks, larger tachometer and electronic speedometer, mouided bucket seats, anti-slip pedal pads, individually numbered header rail plague.

'94 Model Year Introduction: July '93
Esprit S4 (U.K. & Export_ inc. USA); VIN: R 1090
Sport 300 (U.K. & Export, not USA); VIN: R 8012
U.K. and Export S4 and Sport 300 unchanged. USA S4 introduced with following changes from U.K./Export spec.:

Different window lift motors with no 'one touch' or obstruction sensing.

Dual S.I.R. for USA and LHD Export: September '93
Esprit S4 (USA & LHD Export); VIN: R 1163
Introduced as legal requirement for USA cars, and as option in some LHD markets. S.I.R. equipment as driver only S.I.R.
with following changes:

Passenger side inflator module mounted in place of glovebox.
Passenger side knee bolster.
New DERM and dual pole arming sensor.

Revised Wiring Harness: December '93
Esprit S4 LHD; VIN: R 1242
Esprit S4 RHD; VIN: R 1250
Sport 300; VIN: R 8030
As previous with following changes:

Wiring harnesses rationalised.
Electrical components resited inc. engine bay components to RHR wheelarch,.
Addition of sensing switches to front bonnet and tailgate for alarm and illumination.
Addition of front luggage compartment lamp, and 'lights on' buzzer (non-USA).
New type inertia switch RHF engine bay, and Elan type electric aerial for some markets, LHR quarter.
New engine coolant header tank, with incorporation of chargecooling system.

Brembo Brakes on S4 Models: June '94
Esprit S4 Non-USA; VIN : R 1443 (+ R 1377) July '94
Esprit S4 USA; VIN: S 1391 June '94
Applicable only to S4 models. Introduction on USA cars coincides with intro. of otherwise unchanged '95 M.Y. USA S4.
Changes include the following:

Front brakes; four piston calipers and larger discs. Rear brakes; new calipers and larger ventilated discs.
Rear circuit pressure limiting/proportioning valve deleted.
Revised front hubs and rear hub carriers.
16" spare wheel supplied to clear new brakes.

'95 Model Year Introduction
Introduction of 'CFC Free' R134a Air Conditioning System : March 1995
Esprit S4 VIN: S 2031 (RHD) S 2017 (LHD)
Esprit S4S (non-USA) VIN: S 4035 (RHD) S 4006 (LHD)
Esprit S4S (USA) VIN: S 3012
Sport 300 VIN: S 8059
Changes include the following:

Compressor; changed to accommodate different oil requirement, high pressure relief valve incorporated on rear cover, service Shraeder valves replaced by snap connectors in the suction and dischage hoses.
Condenser; pair of square shaped parallel flow condensers mounted side by side and mounted in parallel. The condensers are sandwiched, as previously, between the engine radiator and a new, separate chargecooler radiator.
Receiver-Drier; new type due change of molecular sieve material
Hoses and Pipework; modified due increased permeability of the new gas.

'95 M.Y. S4S & non-USA '95 M.Y. S4: January '95
S4(non-USA); VIN: S 2000(+ 1496)
S4S(USA) VIN: S 3000
S4S(non-USA) VIN: S 4000
As previous with following principal changes:

Caerbont instruments with 100 mm speedo and tacho, analogue clock. Oil temp. gauge and ice detection deleted. Footwell lamps added.
Revised trim stitching. Walnut veneer replaces 'carbon fibre' instrument panel and door finishers. Sport 300 style seats on non-USA S4S.
S4S: 285 bhp engine with revised turbo, inlet valves and ECM. Uprated clutch cover.
Non-USA S4S: Enlarged body wheelhousings, wheelarch spats, Sport 300 rear aerofoil.
Non-USA S4S: Wider O.Z. Futura 3-piece-wheels with Michelin 235/40 ZR17 front and 285/35 ZR18 rear tyres. Revised springs and dampers.
USA S4S: O.Z. Futura 3-piece wheels in unchanged size with unchanged Goodyear tyres.
Non-USA S4S: Uprated chassis with reinforced backbone and revised rear spring platforms.

Esprit V8: May ‘96
Esprit V8; VIN: T 5009
As S4S with following principal changes:

New Lotus type 91 8 3.5 litre twin turbo V8 engine. No chargecooling. Lotus/vertronix engine management. Kelsey-Hayes ABS-415 antilock brake system. Chassis modifications to accommodate engine and exhaust system. Cooling system includes recirculation pump and diverter valve. Larger capacity ‘pull-type’ clutch. Type UN1 027 transrnission with higher 5th ratio and reverse gear brake.

New one piece road wheels and restyled front spoiler. New variable disolacement a.c. compressor.

Esprit GT3: October '96
Esprit GT3; VIN: T 2100 (not USA)
Based on S4 model with following changes:

2 litre (type 920) 250 bhp engine. No back pressure valve or throttle jack. No tailgate mounted aerofoil. Swiss type rear transom spoiler lip, Single fuel filler on LH side. GT3 decals along door bottoms. Sport 300 type seats with backs painted body colour. Cloth/vinyl interior trim. Senotex instrument masks. Body colour composite gear lever shroud. Aluminium gear lever knob. Optional panel lamps rheostat; alarm; door edge, bonnet and footwell lamps; lights on buzzer; one touch windows.

97 M.Y. Esprit V8 & GT3: May ‘96

USA V8; VIN: V 5075 (May ‘96)
Non USA V8; VIN: V 5215 (Oct. ‘96)
GT3; VIN: V 2111 (Oct. ‘96)

Specification unchanged.

Introduction of V8 Twin Plate Clutch: February '97

Esprit V8: VIN: V 5289
Many cars also retro-fitted.

New lightweight flywheel, low inertia twin plate clutch‘ assembly. cast iron clutch housing, pedal downstop, re-caiibrated ECM.

98 M.Y. Esprit V8 & GT3: October '97
Esprit V8; YIN: w 5408 plus 5374, 5382, 5385
GT3; ViN: w 2200 plus 2192
As pevious with foilowing principal changes:

GT3: Restyled interior with compact instrument binnacle, new centre console and tunnei top. Four instrument set, new tell tale clusters, Elise style push switches. Deletion of boost and oil temperature gauges and time clock. Cobra 6422 security system with remote operation. evised interior climate control system, with rotary selector switches and electro-pneumatic flap operation, Stepper motor water valve. New face lever gas strut for tailgate : New low effort clutch release system with new hydraulic cylinders and rigid pipe. Revised clutch fork and stiffer alloy clutch housing.

V8: Revised twin cable gearchange mechanism dispenses with translator. Modified transmission selector cross shaft. Adopted on GT3 together with lower final drive and iower 3rd gear in June ‘98 at VIN W 2272.

New Kelsey-Hayes EBC 430 anti-lock brakes electrohydraulic control unit. Single fuel filler.

Esprit V8-GT: January ‘98
Esprit V8-GT; VIN: W 5442

As Esprit V8 with following principal changes:

No rear aerofoil. Long type rear body spoiler. Matt vinyl interior trim. No a.c. (compressor retained for belt routing). V8-GT decal in rear quarter wind

Esprit Sport 350: October ‘98
Sport 350; VIN: W 5603
Limited edition of 50. As Esprit V8-GT with following principal changes: (Esprit V8 adopts V8 S.E. moniker to aid identification)

Lightweight handlay lower body half (except S.I.R. cars). Carbon fibre ‘GT1’ style rear aerofoil with alloy end plates, Sculpted alloy mounting plinths. Front spoiler extension skirt and rubber lip. New Aluminium body colour with ‘Sport 350’ graphics on doors and sill treadplates. Blue decal tape in sill ducts and radiator air intake. Grilles in front valance coloured titanium. Magnesium ‘Crono’ O.Z. wheels in charcoal, with Pirelli P Zero tyres, marginally wider on rear. Larger A.P. Racing discs with curved vanes and cross
drilling on both front and rear. A.P. Racing 4-pot alloy front calipers, finished in blue with ‘Lotus’ lettering. Seats with increased lateral support on cushion and backrest. Seat facings in blue Alcantara. Centre console, instrument binnacle, gear lever tray& lower switch panel in satin finish carbon fibre. HRS switch moved to upper switch row. Blue Alcantara door insert panels with body colour feature strips. Anodised aluminium instrument mask, gear lever knob & gear lever gaiter ring. Aluminium plaque on windscreen landing with limited edition no. Drilled alloy pads on brake & clutch pedals. Monroe N65 dampers and stiffer springs front & rear.
Uprated anti-roll bar. Increased wall thickness chassis tubes around engine bay Re-calibrated ECM with re-profiled boost curves. Blue painted cam covers

‘99 M.Y. Esprit V8 S.E., V8-GT, Sport 350 & GT3: November ‘98
V8 models; VIN: X 5657
GT3; VIN: X 2287
Non-USA models unchanged. USA only:

Revised evaporative emission system. Anodised aluminium instrument mask, gear lever knob& gear lever gaiter ring. Drilled alloy pads on brake & clutch pedals.


return to top
home email news esprit models road tests buying an esprit running an esprit esprit owners maintenance pictures for sale history Lotus models links