@ Heythrop Park, Oxford
21st August 2005
The Lotus Esprit World Oxford Meeting took place on 21st August 2005. Lotus Esprit World (“LEW”) have runs these meeting for the last few years and they’ve been getting more popular every year. Usually run twice a year, this year only one was run due to the Esprit Driver Training that was organised earlier in the year. 2006 should include two Oxford Meetings, plus another Esprit Driver Training Day, which proved very popular.
The meeting has attracted the attention of Lotus Cars Ltd, who sent down two Esprit Engineers in the company’s Esprit V8, which is a federal spec car. This was the third time Lotus have attended the LEW meetings in Oxford. Both engineers where available all day to answer questions and gave a 30-minute talk after the meal about current Esprit issues, including many parts they’d brought to show owners.
The meeting was very well attended, with between 40-50 Esprits turning up at Peartree Services on the A34 at 10.30 am on a very Sunny day. A wide variety of models attended the meeting. With a few Giugiario’s and plenty of SE’s, S4, S4s, GT3’s and V8’s. Also attracted was a new ‘Exige’ demonstrator from Lotus Dealer Peninsula and an Elise (with an Esprit owner on-board). A TVR and a Ferrari 360 Spider also gatecrashed as friends of Esprit owners.
The day is broken up into socialising time, driving time, eating time and a talk by Lotus Engineers, before it’s time to leave and drive the Esprits back home. People started turning up from around 10.00 am with Esprits from all round the country and one from Europe. By 11.00 am there were over 40 Esprits in the car park with over 50 people chatting and talking Esprit. Around 11.45 am a short talk about the Esprit Run was given and it was ‘Start Your Engines’.
This meeting also had a surprise install as the Esprit brought down by Lotus had something different about it. It was fired up at the meeting point for people to guess what. It was later revealed that it was fitted with a ‘Only one in the World’ Cross Plane Crank version of the Esprit V8 engine. The standard engine (flat plane crank) was being accessed now it’s reached 25,000 miles and Lotus have fitted this ‘one-off’ special for the next few weeks. The sound is so different from the normal V8 engine. Much more of a ‘57 Chevy sound.
The two images above centre and right are small movies of the cars leaving for the run. Click to play.
With 45 Esprits lining up and filtering out of the services it was time to get heads turning. A pre-planned route had been set out and maps supplied, which contained motorway, A-roads and some beautiful B-roads through the Oxfordshire countryside. A half-way stop made to make sure everyone can catch-up. After a 20 minute stop for more chatting it was off to complete the run by about 2pm at Heythrop Park.
Heythrop Park (www.heythroppark.co.uk) is a beautiful setting to have 40+ supercars for the afternoon. On arriving the Esprits were lined up outside the house, which was quiet a sight for Esprit Enthusiasts. More socialising and plenty of picture taking followed. Fix’s, mods, parts and stories where swapped again before it was time for some well deserved food.
Heythrop provided a great setting and 60 people sat down for a wonderful three course meal for £15-a-head. The main subject over lunch was of course the Esprit with everybody wanting to talk about Lotus’s greatest car.
After eating it was time for more Esprit talk, but this time from people who know the Esprit better than anyone. The Lotus Engineers with nearly 45 years of Esprit time between them held court for a talk on the latest issues on the Esprit. Lotus continue to support the Esprit and are working hard to keep us all on the road. Subjects included Lotus’s new suspension package for all models, wastegates, tyres, oil, chipping and then an open floor for any questions owners had. This was all set outside in the wonderful grounds of Heyford Park under a beautiful blue sky.
After the talk a demonstration was given on how to set the wastegates on Esprits, which the factory believe is a problem on a lot of older Esprits. The engineers answered any queries owners had and general were the centre of attention all day. After the group photo, it was time to get back to the cars and continue socialising and looking over everyone’s cars. At around 4pm people began the journey home and a great Esprit day came to an end.
Lotus Esprit World would like to thank Dermot O’Hare, Rob Ellis and Paul Chandler for help organising the day, Lotus for making the engineers and Esprit available and Heythrop Park for having us. The next Oxford Meeting will be around April-May 2006, so if you fancy coming along keep an eye on www.lotusespritworld.com.
TEAM ESPRIT OXFORD
See some great pictures here: www.lotus-esprit-se.de
NOT EVERYBODY MADE IT!
Nearly at the Oxford Run
by Jason Smith
The sun was shining and the car was freshly washed, looking good and running sweetly, I was all set for the Oxford run 2005, so off I trot, just time to fill up before I collect Paul, my passenger. I pull up at Fishers Garage in Braodbridge Heath, next to lovely Giugiaro and start chatting, then Red-Leader pulls up followed by an S4, wow! I only left home 2min ago and already the Esprit action is thick and fast!!
So I scoot off and pick up Paul and head on up the motorway hoping to meet the others along the way, everything is going swimmingly and we are pulling in the M40 miles at very decent rate, I decide I want to show Paul some REAL esprit speed and accelerate, the boost comes on good and strong and My S4s decides it wants to be in the next county, RIGHT NOW! Then the acceleration just stops, nice and smooth, but no faster, like there is a brick under the accelerator, so I back off, check all the gauges, listen carefully, Hmmmm, check the mirrors and try again, same thing happens at the same speed, seriously worried now so I slow down a lot and do the checks again, is that a hint of smoke I see out the rear or am I getting paranoid now? Everything looks and feels ok, try to accelerate and nothing....Oh oh.....slow further more looking at gauges,
I am sure that is smoke....maybe dusty window...PLEASE dusty window...going quite slow now, try to accelerate, holds the speed but no
more, ok junction coming up so slow lane lets get off for a little look-see. Mirror-signal-manoeuvre, mirror again, OH DAM!!! The whole of the M40 behind me just disappears in a HUGE cloud of white smoke, Hazards on, dive off motorway, up slip road into a field entrance and engine off. Smoke everywhere...PLEASE no fire..... After a few moments we dare to open the engine cover and there is oil EVERYWHERE.
So we called the breakdown service who sent a truck the car wouldn't go on (ramps too steep) and then waited in a nearby hotel for another truck. 4 hours later we were at home looking in disgust at my dead engine.....Oh well, at least all the phoning around and getting it sorted will keep me too busy to get distressed. One of my friends opinion? "Lotus Espricey!"