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Darryl Hickman's 1981 S3 V8

Darryl Hickman from Retford. UK owns a 1981 S3 with a Rover 3.9 V8 in Black, with a Red interior.


Esprit Turbo (originally)
Year: 1981
Colour: Black
Interior: Red
Driving Style: Normal
Miles per year: 4,000 - 8,000
Owned Since: May 1997
Purchase from: Specialist Cars, YORK
Serviced at: @ home
Other Cars: Rover Metro 1.4, TT600 Triumph (m'bike)
Previous Lotus': Esprit S2, Elcat
Why an Esprit: The ultimate car that does everything
Upgrades: Rover 3.9 V8, stage 1 heads, performance push rods, anti-lift followers, 382 cam, Magnicor leads, extra capacity (s/s) header tank with separate plastic expansion tank, s/s exhaust. Rear brake upgrade 300mm vented + grooved disc's 4 pot calipers, hand brake with individual/own caliper. Fronts also 4 pots etc
Problems: Brakes/braking


Update on work
October 2005
Having blown the Citroen gearbox (unable to select all gears), and as I wanted to increase the power/torque of the 3.9 Rover V8 engine I would need to upgrade the gearbox. I decided to go for the later Renault type gearbox as fitted to the late Lotus V8 twin turbo engined Esprit. Although I have since got the telephone number of a company who will take the 5 speed box and extensively modify resulting in a six speed box capable of excepting 600+ bhp, yes this will have to wait?

As most of you are probably aware that too remove the gearbox you have to remove the exhaust silencer, (I had replaced the silencer previously with a stainless steel unit) while under the car discounting the exhaust pipes noticed a hole in the right hand down pipe.
So decided to remove all the exhaust system and replace with stainless steel which led to problem number two (yes and Maria believed me) one of the manifold bolts would not budge and therefore had to cut the head of the bolt off.


After much discussion (with my finance manage/partner Maria) decided to bring forward partial engine upgrade and have both heads re-worked. So heads and flywheel where dispatched to V8 Developments, who converted the stage 1 heads to stage 4 and removed just over 3.5 kilos from the flywheel. MORE ON THE ENGINE UPGRADE LATER!

Sourced a recondition gearbox from South West Lotus Centre, which had to have the input shaft extended this was done by Mach 1 Transmission. Having measured up the release bearing had a local engineering workshop manufacture a new unit.

However all was not good with the Lotus (clutch) slave cylinder and the Rover starter motor wanting to use the same space, yes the starter motor won and I had to have a special bracket made to locate and hold the original Citroen gearbox slave cylinder, which resulted in having to change the master cylinder to get more fluid to the smaller slave cylinder.


The Citroen gear change rods, drive shafts and hubs are not inter-changeable with the Renault ones, I did however manage to source second hand ones and replace as with the suspension top link. The later Renault gearbox does not have a speedo sensor unit as the later/newer cars use an electronic speedo, so have utilised one of the ABS sensors although the Demon Tweeks speedo has been back once and still does not appear to work that well, I will need to investigate this further.

Although the car drives well, I am still awaiting for (hopefully this will be sometime this year) Hi Spec Motorsport to manufacture new rear 4 pot caliper with integral handbrake system as I was unable to reuse the stand alone handbrake caliper as there was now no where to fit the bracket for it.


The Rears, 300*28mm also 2 part Disc's and 4 Pot caliper, with individual sinnngle pot caliper for the Handbrake. Front Disc's 300*28mm with 4 Pot caliper

The car now wears 17” Route Oz wheels all round yes the friendly engineering workshop modified the front hubs to suit the different wheel centre and larger wheel stud.


Future upgrades for the engine are fitting an electronic fuel injection system this will probably be done over the Christmas holiday two week period, and next year fitting a new more extreme camshaft. Both items supplied by Lund engines.

Gearbox Work


If anyone one needs/wants further info or phone numbers please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Darryl.hickman@atkinsglobal.com or darryl.hickman@btinternet.com

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