Esprit Turbo SE Year: 1989 Colour: British Racing Green Interior: Tan Leather Driving Style: Fairly hard but sensible! Miles per year: 2,000 Owned Since: January 2002 Purchase from: Barry Ely, London Serviced at: Home Other Cars: Reliant Scimitar, Morris 1000, Mini Estate, Bedford Ambulance, Zafira, Bentley Turbo R. Bedford Val 53 seat coach. Previous Lotus': None Why an Esprit: Looks, performance, handling. Affordable supercar. Always liked the shape / concept. Upgrades: big brake kit from PNM Problems: Faulty connection on Lamda sensor after purchase. Smell of fuel when on boost or driven hard. Exhaust manifold now cracked. Otherwise trouble free. Info:
Has had: o/s fuel tank, window motors, clutch master cyl, chargecooler pump, ECU, windscreen in its lifetime. Now covered 34000 miles and getting a deal of TLC over the winter including cat / back pressure bypass, new manifold, clutch and fuel breather hoses.
This SE was the 11th of the production line at Hethel.
Always liked the shape and appeal of the Esprit since I first saw an "ESSEX Turbo" in my home town of Kirkcudbright. Very unusual exotic for a small scottish town. I have always been interested in cars and wanted more power and better handling than standard so "modified" my mini as you did aged 17-20. Any way.. In my day we upped the power first and worried about brakes and handling later..and we did it ourselves. Not the "Bolt on bean-can brigade." God its a wonder I'm still alive.....
L otus were always seen to be innovative and their racing pedigree reflected on the road cars. My brother had an Elite which I thought went and handled really well so a bit of Lotus enthusiasm rubbed off there. I had been infected. A spell working in a garage where I had to remove a gearbox from a Turbo Esprit (crownwheel and pinion u/s) kept the bug at bay for a while.....
Years later and after becoming a Reliant Scimitar fan (still plastic and gavanised chassis!) the onset of a family stopped my personal goal of "Having an Esprit turbo by age 35" however I seemed to be reaching the male menapause. Aged 37 with 3 small children, the sudden death of a close relative brought it all together. Why put off a dream when you never know whats around the corner ? - Outcome- The search went on (I'd always kept an eye out, yearned for one, and viewed a few to get a good baseline on condition vs price e.t.c.), sharesave sold, and wife very understanding (Bless her- "Go on then, you've always wanted one...").
Barry Ely in London had 3 SE's in stock which sounded good over the phone so a quick trip to "Dat London" to view another 3. I did'nt want red, fancied white, liked the claret (better than it sounds) and loved the British Racing Green. Just like the one in the books. In fact mine was the 11th built, probably the same first batch as the press car as it was also BRG. Road test. Deal done. Dream fullfilled? Yes. After the initial shock when a stutter followed by "CHECK ENGINE" light coming on I thought here we go....Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious. As it happened it was "O2 sensor open circuit" which Barry had changed. A quick call solved the problem- a faulty connection.
Since then, no warning lights. Yahoo! Performance is awesome, but you have to learn to drive the car. It is not a Eurobox. However the warnings about "heavy clutch", "poor gearchange"," heavy steering" "poor rear visibility" are all rubbish.... well except the last one. Anyone who has driven a decent number of cars will be able to pick out differences (as opposed to faults) and I have found cars with worse gearchanges, heavier clutches e.t.c. As part of the attraction is , you need to know what you're doing. They're drivers cars. Once you have learned how to use the car, it's very rewarding.
The car had done just under 30k when I bought it and had been serviced at SGT all its life. It was originally F725 RTF. In that short time its had: 2 window motors / regs, clutch m/cylinder,new ECU, windscreen, dashboard replaced (veneer), chargecooler pump, exhaust, gearbox translator (from French to English I presume !!), steering rack, cambelt and servicing. Phew, I hope that will be all for a while....... My costs to date are for an owners manual, wiper blade and pretty little "lotus" valve caps for the wheels - well its a new baby.....Oh, and 2 rear tyres gulp! Dreams fulfilled, no more vehicles to buy.....well except perhaps a Bedford Val........
Oh, and the website: Alas the failed Rock Star in me. Still, wait long enough and our music will come back into fashion. Just wish I had the hair......... Scott.
Been in my garage for nearly 2 years awaiting time / money to change exhaust manifold. Finally got the car back after a 4 month stint in the garage!
Exhaust manifold replaced, fuel tank reconditioned and painted, timing belt and tensioner, aux belts, thermostat, water pump, clutch, spiggot bearing, braided clutch hose, cat bypass pipe, breather hoses, water hoses, "C" service inc. oils and filts e.t.c.
Car now undergoing "learning" and shakedown tests. Idle still erratic and it used to start first turn of the key but now requires cranking for a few seconds?
I can use my Freescan to take some logs for records and for sending off if there is a problem. Why am I looking for problems when there doesn't seem to be any ?? Just playing with new toys!
Now at 35k miles and ready for the spring! Just need to dry out the interior as the car was stored outside while at the garage......
The car has now been recommissioned and being prepared for a respray. Now 43k miles.
Update on Lotus Esprit Turbo SE EIW 6109 (supplied June 2021)
Engine out and replacement exhaust manifold fitted. Fuel tank removed and treated to prevent rust, water pump, belts and gear selector upgrade.
PNM Vented disc kit fitted front and rear. Handbrake cables replaced.
MOT’d and little used due to work commitments
Replacement oil cooler and hose repair. Full respray. Replacement grills.
Replacement PNM springs and shock adsorbers. New gear cables.
Replacement chargecooler pump. New coil packs. New ball joints. Manifold found to be cracked.
Car delivered to ALUNOX for a replacement manifold (tubular special for Esprit SE). Engine out and huge list of parts from PNM for a major overhaul – hoses, belts, wastegate actuator vacuum pump, water pump, fuel pump…)
New front discs.
New rear wheel bearings.
New turbo oil drain pipe.
Headlamp mechanism overhauled with new bushes.
When recommissioning, oil cooler weeping. Hoses 30 years old radiator getting a bit crusty. Decision made to have the car overhauled.
Alunox upgraded radiator kit purchased. New condenser, charge cooler, radiator, and oil coolers. Car delivered to Chris Foulds for a major overhaul.
Major overhaul over the last few months. Electric chargecooler pump kit and all pipes replaced F/R – they were blocked solid! All oil hoses replaced F/R and crossover. 3 pages of work completed including steering column joint, oil leaks, water leaks all sorted. Alunox radiator kit fitted.
Car now back to the way it should be. Drives like a new car. AC still not working, but new condenser fitted. Awaiting a suitable specialist to repair when I can find one. Anyone recommend someone who understands the Esprit AC system?
I have all the receipts for the above work but to scared to add them up!
On my other vehicles, I do now own a Bedford VAL coach. I have a small collection of BL classics and a Bentley Turbo R. Something for every occasion.
Other cars update:
Reliant Scimitar, Morris 1000, Mini Estate, Bedford CF van, Bentley Turbo R, MGF, Rover 800 SI, Rover 800 Turbo Coupe, Metro, Allegro, Maxi, Ambassador, and a Bedford Val 53 seat coach.