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Has anyone here owned a Lotus Esprit V8?

Discussion in 'British' started by QWKDTSN, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. QWKDTSN

    QWKDTSN Formula Junior

    Oct 14, 2006
    373
    WA, USA
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    Steven Patch
    From the time I was in high school I have been in love with the Lotus Esprit V8. I used to walk down the street to Symbolic Motors and fog up the windows gazing at all of the brightly colored Esprits on the showroom. Probably the most appealing thing to me about the Esprit V8 - despite the idea of a mid-engine, twin-turbo V8 auto made by Lotus - was its bargain price, in the same range as an NSX.

    I know the Esprit has some drawbacks, like the Renault transmission, but I really think that an Esprit V8 would make a great 'first Exotic car'.

    Does anyone own or have experience with an Esprit V8? I would love to hear your stories and see your pictures! Thank you so much!

    Cheers,
    Steve
     
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  3. L8Braker

    L8Braker Formula 3

    Nov 10, 2003
    1,561
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    Jeremy Stafford
    The Esprit is a great first "exotic." I owned a 99 V8 and generally loved the car, but I had a clutch/flywheel issue passed on from the previous owner. That was a big setback, and with a kid on the way I decided to sell it. Exclusive Motors in Charlotte is now selling my very well sorted car.

    Go to all the Esprit websites & join Lotus Ltd. Everyone is very helpful. PM me if you want specific details.
     
  4. Tifoso1

    Tifoso1 F1 Rookie

    Nov 18, 2003
    2,572
    Pacific NW
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    Anthony C.
    Hey, I think I know you from AW.

    Like you, I have always admired and liked the classic Lotus cars. They are easily on par with any other exotics in term of performance and styling, but they do have a terrible reputation with reliability and service/parts issue. Even with the Elise, their dealer network is still tiny by comparison, this makes me want to shy away from them, especially as a first exotic. But I guess just like any other classic cars, if you do you homework, find a well sorted out car and knows exactly what you are getting into, you should be fine. I would probably go to the Lotus forum and find out more about these cars as I am sure you will find much more reliable first hand informations there. I do believe you can access it from the Lotus website.
     
  5. early93viper

    early93viper Formula Junior

    Mar 17, 2006
    257
    Olathe, KS
    Full Name:
    Dan
    I have a good buddy who has a 2002 Lotus Esprit and it is rock solid. No problems and he absolutely loves the car. He drives it a lot and has even tracked it a couple of times. Again NO PROBLEMS.

    I love the way that it looks and the interior is just incredible. When ever we go driving (I have a 93 viper) he easily gets more looks. Most people think his Lotus is a Lamborghini. :)

    I am a Viper guy but my second choice for a affordable super car would definatly be a Lotus Esprit.
     
  6. L8Braker

    L8Braker Formula 3

    Nov 10, 2003
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    Jeremy Stafford
    #5 L8Braker, Dec 11, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
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  8. indaville

    indaville Formula 3

    Oct 6, 2005
    2,275
    Louisville, KY
    I own one now, it is for sell in FerrariAds. http://www.ferrarichat.com/ferrariads/showproduct.php?product=1857&sort=1&cat=17&page=1

    The car is great! Like any exotic they have their little qirks but for the most part they are great cars! The Lotus forums are very helpful and any good independant mechanic can work on these cars. If you get a V8 try to find a 2000+ model. Most of the problems with the V8 were fixed by 2000. Feel free to PM if you have more questions.

    Matt
     
  9. QWKDTSN

    QWKDTSN Formula Junior

    Oct 14, 2006
    373
    WA, USA
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    Steven Patch
    Last night I watched a series of videos where Tiff Needel and the gang from Fifth Gear bought a used Esprit V8 in an attempt to break 200mph on a budget. They drove the car 5 miles before the gearbox broke. While it was being fixed, they added some hop-ups to the engine. When it was all back together the gearbox broke again. The next time it was running, the engine blew up. The next time it was running, the clutch burnt up. Then the engine fried itself again! Not very confidence inspiring despite the various circumstances of their testing!

    It does sound like the later models are the way to go. Jeremy, Anthony, and Matt, thank you very much for your comments and the pictures.

    Anthony, yes, you know me from AW, though I'm surprised you recognize me. I actually try to be polite on FChat :D EDIT: I just looked at your profile and see that you aren't who I thought you were. I assumed that you were Brazil@Mirrorworks with the white Esprit SE, my mistake!

    Thanks again for the replies so far!
    Cheers!
     
  10. MufflerMan

    MufflerMan Formula 3

    Jun 12, 2005
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    Colby Sandman
    #8 MufflerMan, Dec 11, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    What sort of updates did they recieve after 00 (besides the cosmetic)?

    Here is mine. A few mods: Forged pistons, Hardened head studs, Lotus Red ECU, reflowed Turbos, test pipes, Magnaflow center out exhaust, Momo Steering wheel (the ugliest airbag steering wheel in history is the GM sourced stock wheel), and aluminium radiator.

    Mine makes a conservative estimate of 450 HP and I have had zero problems with the Transmssion. It is however in the shop for a starter and the intake manifold has to be removed to replace it. Not looking forward to the bill. In the whole scheme of things it has been one of the easier exotics I have had to own.
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  11. darkalley

    darkalley Formula Junior

    Aug 17, 2004
    822
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    Jim
    http://www.stableltd.com/

    The Stable in Gladstone NJ has a one owner 99 that I took out for a spin a few weeks ago. The car is absolutely like new. From some of the Lotus guys I spoke with the price is about $3k high even with the newer rims. It reminds me of an 80's Ferrari with a lot more speed. Have you ever looked down the side of an Esprit in the sun?? Lotus didn't have enough money to replace the fiberglass molds so they were forced to over use the molds leaving every car with body that is less than smooth. Still a great car though.
     
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  13. QWKDTSN

    QWKDTSN Formula Junior

    Oct 14, 2006
    373
    WA, USA
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    Steven Patch
    Colby,

    You just made your 666th post my friend! :) Quite fitting to post up pictures of that evil black beast...

    I quite agree with you on the steering wheel, and the one you chose works very well with the gated shifter. That is an aesthetically pleasing upgrade over the very tall boot of the stock shifter, but I'd be concerned that it would make shifting less user-friendly? How is it?

    Definitely a gorgeous car, thank you so much for posting up those pictures and information!

    Cheers!!
     
  14. MufflerMan

    MufflerMan Formula 3

    Jun 12, 2005
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    Colby Sandman
    That's funny, I didn't notice the post number. Funny you should mention the shifter, I have since removed the gated portion of that and upgraded the panel to the late model with the aluminium surround, same ball and stick though. The gates were a little frustrating compared to the butter smoothness of my 360. I have toyed with selling the car if you have any interest.
     
  15. dave_fonz_164

    dave_fonz_164 Formula 3

    Mar 11, 2004
    1,656
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    Davide Giuseppe F.
    Lovely cars, Giugiaro design. my 90's dream car choice with the 355 and 993 Turbo
     
  16. senna21

    senna21 F1 Rookie

    Jul 2, 2004
    3,317
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    Charles W
    Agreed. But, you can get a RAID Steering wheel that's got an airbag in it. There's a write up on it on one of the Lotus boards. Very nice looking 3-spoke design and fits in perfectly with the interior. No need to eliminate safety for style.
     
  17. MufflerMan

    MufflerMan Formula 3

    Jun 12, 2005
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    Colby Sandman
    I looked into the Raid. It was a little plasticy for me, I also didn't care for the silver paint on it. I am a traditional leather wheel guy. I never think about the lack of of a airbag when I drive older cars like the 328 I used to have.
     
  18. Tifoso1

    Tifoso1 F1 Rookie

    Nov 18, 2003
    2,572
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    Anthony C.
    Me as Jake?! Please don't think that I am Jin next *LOL*. It is actually not that hard to spot you from AW as your user names are very similar. Anyway, I don't have enough guts to own a Lotus, plus I have always been a diehard Ferrari guy for as long as I can remember.
     
  19. ShopBoy87

    ShopBoy87 Karting

    Jun 27, 2006
    79
    Sacramento,Ca
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    Matthew H-McCormick
     
  20. ASK328

    ASK328 Formula 3
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    Sep 23, 2005
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    Andrew
    i hear the 2002 - 2004 cars are bullet proof with very little problems. I have been looking at a few cars and feel like I am going to pull the triger in the next 3-4 months. I REALLY like the look of the late model Esprit's, just very, very good looking car. I still have to drive one, that will be the closer for me. Am I right about the late model cars being bullet proof?

    Andrew
     
  21. ECTurboGSX

    ECTurboGSX Formula 3

    Dec 26, 2004
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    Bay Area, CA
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    Eric
    Stevens actually designed the Esprit from 88 on.
     
  22. ShopBoy87

    ShopBoy87 Karting

    Jun 27, 2006
    79
    Sacramento,Ca
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    Matthew H-McCormick
    Yes, you are right about the late model cars being fairly more reliable. From the late production 2000's to the 2004's, you should be fine. Keep in mind that the Renault transaxle was never changed throughout the production from '98 to '04; however, the sport 350's did get a somewhat strengthend gearbox to handle the increase in torque and hp from the upgraded ecu, but it can be a weak spot if the car becomes significantly modded. Applying full throttle and essentially full boost in 2nd or 1st for that matter is a big no no, which is unfortunate. A couple of modifications I'd recommend for any esprit is the twin HKS SSQV blow-off valve kit, and upgraded aluminum radiator. Any remapping of the ecu does significantly increase power to the point where the car will out accelerate most everything on the road, but at the cost of increased wear and tear on the engine/drivetrain. Without strengthening of the engine internals such as forged pistons, etc, the $400 ecu remap can become a $5-10k nightmare very quickly. The esprit V8 is a great car and is one of the best handling exotics if not best that I have ever driven. I can't think of many negatives for the car. Just set aside a little fund for repairs if something goes wrong, but the esprits are generally reliable cars. They NEED to be driven just like any other exotic and when they are not, problems will arise. For the price, you can't beat the looks and performance of an Esprit. It's an affordable exotic that will perform and get just as much attention as cars worth 2-3 times as much. Read as much information on this site as possible. It is truly the Esprit bible! Best of luck in both of your searches! http://www.lotusespritworld.com/

    -Matt
     
  23. Cajun

    Cajun Formula 3

    Mar 20, 2004
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    MJG

    Great post! Thanks for the link.
     
  24. Rachane

    Rachane Formula 3

    Sep 5, 2005
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    Rachane
    Try this link too:

    http://www.espritfactfile.com/

    I think it was the 2004 Esprit that Lotus called the "Final Run", with a number of extra bells & whistles.

    Curiously because of US emissions changes the 2004 was unable to be sold here, so a number of "Final Runs" were labeled "2003" by the factory and sold here accordingly. The visual cues would tell you it was actually a FR: different rear valence, E-award decal, shorter shifter, different seat & door panel leatherwork, Elise dashboard dials, etc. Additionally some revised suspension work. There used to be a "FR" site detailing all this, but I think it's gone now.
     
  25. Rachane

    Rachane Formula 3

    Sep 5, 2005
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    Rachane
    I am thinking that if you really like Loti, why not a new Elise, which (except for the pretzelyoga in/egress experience, is in many ways a better drive than the Esprit. You could get one new with full warranty.

    If you consider this, look for: Touring Pack, Sports Pack, Stage Two exhaust, and limited slip diff. I've tracked the car with/without the SP, and believe me it transforms the car. The Stage Two exhaust gives it a nice, rich growl instead of the ricer sniffle of the regular exhaust.

    Am waiting for the new Esprit, which by all spy info should be a real pistol.
     
  26. Cajun

    Cajun Formula 3

    Mar 20, 2004
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    I agree with you on the Elise. It is a REALLY nice car. A buddy of mine had one and I was able to put some miles on it. I was impressed with how quick it is. HOWEVER, at 6-3 & 220 athletic lbs, I could not help but feel like Tom Selleck in MAGNUM when I drove it around!!! :) I also did not like the fact that when he was in the car with me, we were constantly shoulder to shoulder.

    The Elise is one of those cars that I would LOVE to own if only I was a few inches shorter!!! :)

    Thanks again for the link. I have been considering adding a Esprit V8 to the stable for a couple of months now. My same buddy with the Elise used to own a '93 Esprit with the 4 cylinder. I have yet to drive the V8.....

    Can anyone speak to the differences in speed between the 4 & 8 cylinder versions????
     
  27. gmendoza

    gmendoza Rookie

    Oct 9, 2005
    34
    Alta Loma
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    Gonzo
    #24 gmendoza, Dec 23, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    That is correct. I have a FE and it had to be registered as an '03 here in CA

    SE & S4 vs V8 = no challenge

    slightly modded S4s vs early V8 = close

    late V8 = fastest of all V8s

    slighty modded V8 = not much can touch it.

    Here's my slightly modded FE :d
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  28. MamoVaka

    MamoVaka Formula 3

    Jul 31, 2006
    1,394
    Los Angeles, CA
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    Pano S.
    I had my viper totalled this past summer (friend drove it) and I purchased an
    Esprit V8. It has a modded chip(Johan), LSD install and a few other mods to the car. The car is easily as quick as the viper with the mods it has 0-150mph.. if not quicker.. it's a beast no question..

    Basically I adore the car, however I had a primary shaft fail (4k) as well as a driveshaft fail (1,500) on me within the first 4k miles of ownership since I purchased it.


    I have done no standing starts with the car.. buit it has cost me 6k in maintenance since purchasing it this summer.. What I basically do is carefully shift the car from 1st to 2nd gear, and I give no more than 30-50% throttle in 1st gear with this car.. after I get into 2nd gear I usually can open her up.. However that damned transmission is terrifying.. especially if you chip the car.. it's VERY easy to do some major damage to it..

    I will chime in after a year and another 5k miles to let you know how she is holding up.. so far it's been dissapointing with the failures but I'm sure the parts were wearing down as I purchased the car with 30k miles.. (engine rebuild at 21k miles)..
     

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