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Has anyone ever owned a Lotus Esprit?

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by L8Braker, Dec 4, 2003.

  1. L8Braker

    L8Braker Formula 3

    Nov 10, 2003
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    Jeremy Stafford
    Hello,
    Just a curious question to you fellow car nuts. I'm in the market for an exotic sports car and after doing some exstensive research I'm trying to compare cars which fall in the same price category. Specifically the 348 and Lotus V8 esprit. Both cars can be found for 40-60k depending on mileage and so on.

    Given the same price point doesn't it make more sense to buy the lotus which would be several years newer, quite possibly more reliable, just as exotic, handling similiar, better braking, much quicker straight line and so on?

    Yet at the same time I still understand that Ferrari has a certain prestige. Obviously the Lotus won't have near the sound of the Ferrari. Even if I bought a Lotus I'd still love to have a Ferrari........so what would you guys do?

    Thanks
    Jeremy
     
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  3. TimN88

    TimN88 F1 Veteran

    Jun 12, 2001
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    A few guys here own loti (is that the plural of the word "lotus"?). One of them is Billy Z. He has i think a 98 or 99 Sport 350 version. He said out of all the cars he owns (NSX, F355, testarossa, Esprit), it is his favorite. When he took me for a ride in it, i understood why.
     
  4. L8Braker

    L8Braker Formula 3

    Nov 10, 2003
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    Jeremy Stafford
    That is impressive to say the least, has he ever had any trouble with it do you know?
     
  5. netviper

    netviper Formula Junior

    Nov 2, 2003
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    Dave
    Allan loved this lotus - i am sure he will chime in.

    They are very fast and can be made even faster with just a few simple mods. I don't know about reliability as I have heard that they are not very reliable.
     
  6. L8Braker

    L8Braker Formula 3

    Nov 10, 2003
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    Jeremy Stafford
    Come on Mr Lambo hahaha Chime in!! :)

    Yes I read into the reliabilty issue and it seems the more you drive one the better it is. I guess my main question is will they be as reliable as a Porsche? I've owned 2 911's (996 & 964) and one boxster no troubles out of them. I plan on using the car quite a bit when the weather is nice. Not a daily by any means but a weekly for sure.
     
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  8. TimN88

    TimN88 F1 Veteran

    Jun 12, 2001
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    From what he said, he had no major problems with it. He installed a 6spd gearbox and race ECU's to give him over 400hp. From what he said, the weak point are the halfshafts, so this means hammering it out of the hole is generally a bad idea.
     
  9. karmavore

    karmavore Formula 3

    Dec 29, 2002
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  10. L8Braker

    L8Braker Formula 3

    Nov 10, 2003
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    Jeremy Stafford
  11. lotustt

    lotustt Formula 3

    Aug 28, 2002
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    Right, he wasnt having problems with his half shafts. He is upgrading so naturally they could go and would have to be beefed up. He is rebuilding his engine now for even more horsepower. The tranny is not so bad, but if you continually beat on it, sure it is highly possible it will blow. The shift from first to second is the weakest part of the tranny. NOt to imply it will blow just cause you use it. As most exotics go there all expensive to there own degree, but still the Lotus will be cheaper for service. Its very fast, has incredible handling, looks exotic and is super rare. But if you have always wanted a ferrari then so be it. I like ferrari to but my first exotic will be Esprit.
     
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  13. L8Braker

    L8Braker Formula 3

    Nov 10, 2003
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    I think this is what I'm thinking right now. Just gotta try to research even more before I buy one. Maybe a few months.......unless a 355 with perfect service/history comes up for sale for 50k hahaha Not Likely!
     
  14. Alxlee

    Alxlee F1 Rookie

    Apr 8, 2002
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    Hi Jeremy,
    I'm one of those on the forum that have an Esprit, although mine's the four cylinder and not the V8. I can't speak from a V8 perspective, but I can tell you what I've experienced with mine.

    Maintenance has been pretty easy on the wallet so far. Mostly just oil changes. I did have a leaky slave cylinder, bad thermostat and I changed the clutch line out so that was about $150 total there. (I'm mechanically inclined enough to do some of the work myself.)

    The car is in the shop now for a major which will include timing belt, water pump, upgraded clutch and turbo, etc... and I expect that to run around $3.5K.

    In the four years that I've had it, my upgrades have cost more than my maintenance. (Knock on wood)

    In terms of performance, I'd say the Esprits are on par with the 355s and possibly the 360s. 0-60 is in the mid 4 second range, quarter mile in the high 12/low 13 second range, and yes it does actually "corner like it's on rails."

    Dissappointments for me, braking. I have the Brembo brakes in mine and it just doesn't quite have the same feeling as the AP's I have on my 300ZX. A bit vague feeling. I'm told the V8's with AP brakes are significantly better, but the Brembo brakes IMHO could have been better.

    You are right, the Lotus definitely does not have the sound a Ferrari makes, any Ferrari. I can't tell you what to get, but I suggest driving both the V8 and 348 and seeing which one you like most.



     
  15. L8Braker

    L8Braker Formula 3

    Nov 10, 2003
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    Thanks for the great review/write up!

    Why don't you let me drive your Esprit hahaha JK. There is a guy with a 348 just down the road I need to contact him. There used to be a red V8 in town but it hasn't been spotted in a year or so. The problem is finding a dealer who has them nearby. I may need to make a trip to Atlanta to accomplish this.
     
  16. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
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    Apr 3, 2001
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    have you bled the system lately? and perhaps tried a different compound for pads?

    thanks for the writeup. I've always loved the esprits.
     
  17. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Dec 1, 2000
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    I think the late 80's Esprits selling for $16-19k are one of the best exotic values going. I've driven the 4 and 8, both had a similar feel except the 8 was of course a little faster and nicer. The 4 is a great car, kick you back in the seat at low speeds and a very exotic cockpit feel.
     
  18. Alxlee

    Alxlee F1 Rookie

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    I strongly believe bleeding it wouldn't make a difference. I've driven another example with the Brembo and it feels the same. Different compound might make a difference, but I have yet to do brakes as the PO had a full brake job completed before he traded it in. I'm likely going to try Porterfield pads when these do need replacement. Don't get me wrong, the brakes are sufficient for stopping the car and while I'd like them to be exceptional, my biggest complaint about them is the lack of feedback.

    BTW, I erred in my write-up, I've only owned the car for two years, but wrote four years for some reason.
     
  19. Alxlee

    Alxlee F1 Rookie

    Apr 8, 2002
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    Hey, if you're ever in my area, look me up. I'd be more than happy to at least take you for a ride...and if I'm feeling generous that day I'd let you take it for a spin.
     
  20. davem

    davem F1 Veteran
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    Jan 21, 2002
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    I have sat in Alex Lee's Esprit (thanks Alex). Very nice indeed!
    IMHO the 94 S4 which you see around mid 20k an the 95 S4S low 30k are great deals. Dollar for dollar better than a 348. That is of course, if you fit. Never sat inside 348, Esprit is kinda tight. Im 6.0, mostly torso.
     
  21. tvrfreak

    tvrfreak F1 Rookie
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    Mar 31, 2003
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    Lotus will handle far better than the 348. It will also be at least as exotic as the 348, if not more.

    Where are you located? I have just been made president of the local Lotus club (!), and I am on numerous Lotus mailing lists. I can put you in touch with owners and racers, and refer you to cars for sale. They certainly will not be as bulletproof as a 911, but all my friends who have Esprits usually have them off the road for only 2-3 weeks out of the year for servicing or repairs.

    Only problems I am aware of are all minor, and fixable. It's a fabulous car on the road and on the track.
     
  22. Bmyth-FDC

    Bmyth-FDC F1 Rookie

    Oct 4, 2002
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    I was in the market for a S4S a few years back... back in 2000, the price for a 95 S4S was in the mid-30's... they are still selling for that price today - not bad for re-sale value...SURPRISINGLY!! On the whole, though, Lotuses don't hold up well on the re-sale end ... I think it's b/c it was the S4S model. In the end, however, after I drove a few, I chose the NSX.

    I currently own a 348 challenge... and I have to say, the three are totally different. The NSX is a great everyday "exotic". The Lotus just felt amazing fast - with the small slits they call windows/windshield, it felt SO low to the ground. An amazing car in/out... I just needed more of an everyday car at that time. To compare the three, I love the 348 the most b/c of its raw sports car nature. Nothing compares to the howling engine of the Ferrari. :)

    I would go and drive a few (I say a few b/c no 2 cars drive totally the same). If you decide on the lotus, I would buy the S4S (the best of the 4's)... and maybe consider a 97-8 V8 TT...for mid 40's... the car didn't change much through the years - just got faster. Just keep in mind that for long term resale, the ferrari probably has the lotus beat. Both models you are looking at are probably at the bottom of their depreciation curves, but still, just think long and hard about what you may want to keep in your garage forever. For me, that was the Ferrari.

    My advice, drive the Lotus, then the Ferrari. You will know your decision only after you can compare the two for yourself.

    Good luck.

    Byron
     
  23. allanlambo

    allanlambo F1 Rookie

    Jun 9, 2002
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    The Lotus is a fantastic car! I prefer it to my 355 or old 348 anyday. It has been completely reliable so far, had it about a year. There are tons of mods available which make it not only ultra fast, but more reliable. The gearbox is the weakest link when you get into high hp #'s, but i race the piss out of mine with no problems. As for being exotic, the Lotus gets far more attention than either of the Ferraris do. Mine has the AP brakes which are incredible, and the car is much more nimble and tossable over either Ferrari. Id buy the Lotus in a heartbeat over any competeing Ferrari, including the 360. As for resale, buy it right, buy it used, and you will be just fine. They get down to a point, and they seem to stay there.

    Also, id stay away from the S4s, and buy a 98+ V8. Worth the extra money.
     
  24. EspritSE

    EspritSE Formula Junior

    Dec 1, 2003
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    Ahhhh... Perfect place for my first post here!

    I own a 1990 Esprit SE. First year for the intercooled 4cyl. Been lurking here for info on 348's. White of course ;) I think the 348 would make a great stablemate for the Lotus.

    I looked at numerous exotics before deciding on my Esprit. NSX's, 911's, 308/328's etc...

    The Lotus just had the most bang for the buck for me.

    I have done a few things to it to bring it up to my spec.

    1st. BRAKES,BRAKES, BRAKES!! The stock setup on my car was directly of the Toyota parts shelf. Celica crap I think. I have upgraded to Willwood Billet Calipers and 12" front discs, and now she'll suck the eyeballs out of my head! Not to mention it shaved 12lbs per corner of unsprung weight.

    2nd. Stainless Steel clutch line and Brake lines. I think we all know why.

    3rd. Motoconcept de-cat, sports exhaust, and blow-off valve kit. Now she sounds like an exotic and the BOV takes some stress off of the turbine. Oh yeah, K&N of course.

    4th. Motoconcept clutch kit. MUST HAVE!! if your are planning some mods. rated for +25% more torque. Stock clutch didn't last very long.

    Have removed around 150-200lbs of useless crap so far.

    Right now with those simple (and cheap) mods my car produces an uncorrected rwhp of 262.5 and 309.4 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. That's uncorrected for 16% driveline drag and 5300 feet above sea level. Dynojet 248x. That's with no airflow over the chargecooler radiator, and on stock ECU/memcal.

    There are a number of memcal/turbo/intercooler etc... upgrades out there for some serious power of the 2.2L

    Redline MT90 has solved any gearchange quircks, and she now shifts quick and smooth.

    For anyone wanting to mod, you must talk to Marcus @ P.U.K.

    http://freudhoefer.de/lotus/esprit/

    Have had some seat time in a couple different V8's (3.5L twin turbo, bot no stock intercooler(s)), and can say that they are EVIL FAST! Definatelymore refined. Ideally I would lover either an X180R (4cyl) or a Sport350(V8)

    Ok, I'm rambling....

    Thanks for the space! EXCELLENT SITE!!!

    Craig
    P.S. of course www.espritfactfile.com has been the best help in esprit ownership. Read every word on that site!
     
  25. Bmyth-FDC

    Bmyth-FDC F1 Rookie

    Oct 4, 2002
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    Craig,
    Great first post - and welcome to F-Chat.
    If you ever need any tips on 348 ownership, let me know! :)
    I can also help you locate the right car...
    Byron
     
  26. TimN88

    TimN88 F1 Veteran

    Jun 12, 2001
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    The 97 (or maybe early 98's) V8's will be a great value becasue they have the older interior design (same as or very similar to the 4 cyl). For this reason they are a few grand cheaper. the reason you can buy a used lotus for so cheap compared to an F355 is because their praces as new were so much different. The msrp on the Esprit is around that of an NSX.
     
  27. Alxlee

    Alxlee F1 Rookie

    Apr 8, 2002
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    My 95 had a sticker of $78K, I ~believe~ the F355s were around $130K?
     
  28. allanlambo

    allanlambo F1 Rookie

    Jun 9, 2002
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    97=old interior.
     

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