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Jeremy Worthington's 1985

Jeremy Worthington from Northampton, England, owns a 1985 Turbo Esprit in Gold with a Tan half leather Interior.


Year: 1985
Colour: Gold
Interior: Tan Half Leather
Driving Style: Fast
Miles per year: 2 – 4,000
Owned Since: August 2002
Purchase from: Private
Serviced at: Orchard Dealership
Other Cars: Vauxhall Carlton for business miles and the missus Alpha 156 Selespeed
Previous Lotus': None, but did own the French Esprit copy - a 1.6 Matra Murena. Have a history of classic cars. Will be keeping the Esprit though.
Why an Esprit:  
Upgrades: Audio upgraded including multichanger installation in front end. Gearlinkage upgrade (SJ parts). Secondary door seals to be fitted. Recent C-service (see comments).
Problems: Interior heat control system didn't function – traced to leak in vacuum line. Easy fix. Rad fans trip thermal switch a lot – especially using aircon. Fault not traced at this time.
Info: A rare exterior colour - never seen another one.


I started looking for an Esprit last summer, having just sold my Matra Murena (for those unfamiliar, it is the French copy of the Esprit – mid-engine, wedge shape, pop-up lamps etc. etc.). Photos Below. I looked exclusively through the Lotus Owners Club classifieds because I wanted a well cared for vehicle. It had to be a Turbo, with aircon, and a sunroof (I'm tall). I surveyed several cars and then came across this gold example only 40 miles away.


The car was purchased in a private sale from a seller in Derby who had been reworking the vehicle over a number of years. The bodywork is excellent, the chassis is sound, and there were no major mechanical faults. I had some issues when I bought the car: The waste gate was seized, but the seller had this fixed before I agreed to buy.


As he had been conducting the work, the service record was lacking. However the general good condition, and the unsual colour, of the car convinced me this was a good purchase. After driving the vehicle (with a huge smile on my face) for some time, I noticed some other issues: There was a slight tappet noise on idle before the engine warmed up. Electric aerial stopped fully retracting. Drivers mirror stopped responding. The side door wind noise was loud above 80mph. The heater/cooler distribution in the cabin was stuck, and there was no heat at all!

The heater issue was only a leak in the vacuum circuit which had prevented the control from opening the main distibution flap in the heater box. One dab of superglue later – fixed. Only after I drove the missus to York and back in December with no heat - she was distinctly unimpressed. Still we got there quickly...

The electric aerial I simply retracted the offending portion, and the rest of the aerial goes up and down a treat. It just isn't as tall as it should be. To celebrate I upgraded the stereo system with a Clarion unit complete with 12 disc autochanger under the front bonnet. So far it's watertight and happy there!

Drivers mirror – adjusted it once, never had to again. No problem! Side door wind noise. I have invested in some secondary door seals from the later S4 Esprit doors. I'll fit them later this summer.

Tappet noise and lack of service record – I decided to get the car serviced at Orchard Dealerships. A full C-service. Expensive, but an investment in the maintenance record of my vehicle. When I took the car in the guys pointed out that the exhaust gaskets were leaking. This meant an engine out repair. I swallowed the bullet (I'd bitten straight through it) and authorised the job. As the car was being disassembled anyway, I ordered a new clutch disc (makes sense) and a gearshift modification kit from SJ. I also had the rear discs skimmed.


To cut a 3-month long story very short. Orchard weren't geared up for major work on an older Lotus yet. Their main guy - Neil (one of the owners) does exemplary work on historic Lotus cars, but is the only one at Orchard with enough experience to work on mine. He has a second business to run so the work on my car took a lot longer than any of us expected. Even with a discount for inconvenience (and some side issues) the bill came to £1700.


I'll post details of what was involved (with progress photos) subject to Lotus Esprit World OK'ing the file sizes. It's a hard call between the loss in value of the vehicle thorugh an inadequate service record, and the high price of genuine Lotus maintenance. I have now invested in Lotus service manuals and intend to solve minor issues myself. Fully documented with photos and receipts for genuine Lotus parts of course.



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