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Adrian Mugridge's 1999

Adrian Mugridge from Chester, England owns a 199 Sport 350 in Ice Blue, with a Black interior.

Model:

Sport 350
Year: 1999
Colour: Ice Blue
Interior: Black
Driving Style: Normal, but sometimes very fast just to cock off Nova drivers.
Miles per year: 5,000
Owned Since: February 2004
Purchase from: Peter Smith Sportscars
Serviced at: Christopher Neil
Other Cars: 1.0 Nissan Micra ( no, really )
Previous Lotus': 1986 S3, 1989 Turbo, 1997 GT3, See below for details on all 3
Why an Esprit: I always wanted one from being a boy. Got my first one at 23 and have had one ever since ( 12 years now ). What else can you buy for the money that goes that fast and looks that good ? Mind you, buying it is the cheap bit, running it is a different story.
Upgrades: None
Problems: None yet!
Info: My garage looks like the Halfords cleaning product shelf !! I can spend 2 days at a time cleaning and polishing. But it does look brand new, even if I do say so myself.
      

After 12 years of owning Esprits I’m now on Esprit number 4. My latest one is an Ice Blue Sport 350 ( number 18 ). Not only did Lotus only make 42 Sport 350s ( plus 8 for the U.S. market ), the only made one in this colour, Ice Blue ( or Steel Blue ). The car was originally owned by Chris Knight, former CEO of Lotus Cars. As nearly all Sport 350s where silver, I suppose he got to choose his own colour. To start off with I was not to taken by the colour, having previously had an orange GT3, but with the GT1 style rear wing and the huge Mag wheels and flared wheel arches this one is even more in your face, even if the colour is a bit more subdued.

At the time of writing this I’ve only had it for 2 weeks and it’s rained for most of that time, but when it’s been sunny I’ve been out washing and polishing and driving it. The power of the V8 is awesome, the best thing I think is that total lack of Turbo lag, just plant the accelerator and away you go. On a bumpy surface it will leap about the road but it does have huge AP Racing brakes to slow it down again. I’m still struggling with the gear change a bit ( it’s a bit jerky and in 1st I’ve had the odd bit of kangarooing ) but I think I’ve sussed out what my problem is so I’ll have to put a bit more practice in, I’m sure I’ll work it out shortly.

This is my Third Esprit

Lotus only made a few GT3s, between 1996 and 1999, mainly in orange, yellow, blue and silver. The GT3 graphics were an option, as were leather seats and AC.Mine has the graphics but not the AC or leather. The car has a 2.0 litre turbo engine with a chargecooler (like the SE) and delivers 240 BHP with 210 lb/ft of torque. 0-60 is in about 5 seconds and the top end is 164 mph.

   

My model is a 1997 which I bought with only 4700 miles in April 1998. After 5 and a half years it's now got 67000 miles on the clock as it was my daily transport to and from work but now it only comes up of the garage at weekends. It's been fairly reliable, being towed to my dealer three times. Once with a jammed PAS belt ( looks and sound very serious, but not too costly ) and once with a blown turbo ( sounds very serious, and cost a fortune to replace ) and once with a stuck, then snapped throttle cable. A stuck throttle cable can be a bit scary when your on the motorway and the cars gets faster when you want it to slow down.

  

The colour is called Chrome Orange and as you can see the interior is all black apart from the backs of the body hugging seats ( no rake adjustment, only forwards and back ) and the around the gear stick. The brushed aluminum gear knob looks great but has a major disadvantage; it's very susceptible to the temperature. In summer, leave it in direct sunlight and it will burn your hand off and in the winter it feels like a block of ice on a cold morning. So, to keep it warm in winter, my mother-in-law knitted me this rather natty knob cosy!

 

I've made two modifications to the car : The rear wing was added in March 2003 and I think it's a big improvement. It makes it look more mean !! The other thing was to replace the memcal ( ECU chip ) which increases the maximum boost to around 1 bar and now gives 280 BHP. The car feels more urgent and easier to drive, especially from cold.

This is my second Esprit which I bought in 1996.

It's a 1989 Turbo with a rather 70's leather interior ( as you can see ) ! It had A/C and a glass sunroof which you can take out and stow in the boot if you can pass the Krypton Factor like test to make it go in. Later, I added a Sport 300 wing but unfortunately I don't have a picture with it fitted.

 

A friend of mine's wife said it was the whitest car she had ever seen and I think she might be right. This model has the 2.2 litre engine producing 215 bhp and 210 lb/ft of torque. 0-60 is 5.2 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph. I kept it for 2 years before trading up to the much newer GT3.

This is my First Esprit

 

I bought my first Esprit, a 1986 S3, in 1992 from Paul Matty Sports cars in Bromsgrove. I traded in my 1.4 Nova for it !! The first thing I did was drive off, straight onto the M42 with the hand brake on. I stopped on the hard shoulder after 200 yards wondering why my new motor wouldn't go above 40 mph. Then I notice the big red 'BRAKE' on the dash a smelt the burning. It went much better after I took the hand-brake off. After a couple of weeks of ownership I was wondering what the hell I had bought. I could hardly see out of it, I couldn't park the bloody thing and it was a nightmare to start with a hot engine. I also span it twice in the first 3 months of owning it.

However, I kept if for 4 years and it nearly ruined me. Huge servicing bills, large insurance premiums etc meant in went in my parents garage for nearly a year until I paid off my overdraft and vast credit card bills. One of the major disadvantages I found with it was that other road users assumed it had shattering performance when it did not. 0-60 was 6.5 seconds with a top speed of 135 mph. It had 160 bhp and 160 lb/ft of torque, which is no better than an Astra GTE or Golf GTi. But I still spent ages washing and polishing it.

It anybody has any question or comments, my email address is mail@adrianmugridge.co.uk

www.adrianmugridge.co.uk

 

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