Wednesday, June 10, 2009

1977 Lotus Esprit

I was driving home Sunday evening when a Lotus Esprit blew by me on the Mass Turnpike. Black, with a tuned exhaust, it looked and sounded amazing. Inspiration for the blog...

Right up front I should say that if you're on a tight budget or don't like to maintain a car, the Lotus Esprit is not a good choice. Parts are expensive and, maybe more than any other car, maintenance is a must.

There are quite a few Lotus Esprits available for sale, I've chosen this S1 (Series 1) for a couple of reasons, none of them logical (Logic takes a backseat in my world when it comes to cars.) First of all, it's yellow. I usually don't like yellow cars, but for some reason I like the Esprit in yellow. Secondly, it still exists. Early Esprits self destructed in spectacularly amazing ways. (The line between internal combustion and spontaneous combustion often got blurred.) In Colin Chapman's days Lotus built cars to perform. If it ran OK for more than a few days in a row and didn't catch fire, that was OK too, but not a priority. (Over the course of the 28 years the Esprit was built it received engine upgrades - ultimately getting a V8 - and a body restyle. By the time Lotus stopped manufacturing the Esprit in 2004, it had become a relatively reliable super car, but still one that required a lot of maintanence and attention)

S1 Esprits had the Lotus 2.0 liter engine and a french built 5 speed transaxle. It was not as quick as it looked, but was still capable of hitting 60 MPH in the 6 - 8 second range, thanks to its light weight (around 2200lbs). Later Turbo Esprits made it to 60 in the 5 second range and V8s hit 60 in 4.7 seconds.

Honestly, if I were in the market for an Espirt I'd probably buy a later V8 model. The restyled body looks more modern and Lotus started using better quality parts. It's slightly more dependable and a lot quicker than the earlier cars. It's a car that can be driven often. But, if I wanted a Lotus to bring to car shows and drive every now and then this 1977 S1 would be a great choice. This Esprit is the Esprit as Colin Chapman planned it.

The car being offered on eBay appears to be in good condition. A previous owner has added some later Esprit parts to help with engine cooling. The car comes with documented service history, which, while not mentioned, hopefully includes a recent major service (expensive if you pay for it, a pain in the ass if you do it yourself).

Click here to see the eBay listing for this 1977 Lotus Esprit.

Click here to see Lotus Esprit Fact File. This is a great enthusiast website, one of the best I've seen.

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