My "other car .."

Sold.. but I'll keep the pictures

Tail of the Dragon NC/Rt129Tail of the Dragon Rt129/NC
September 2007 - 1700mi  Sussex (WI)  to "Deal's Gap" a.k.a. Rt 129 a.k.a. the Tail of the Dragon (North Carolina)           -- Pics by --

More pics of the car in motion can be found at Killboy's site:
(hit continue when entering the site)
Pics were taken during the RX8 Brotherhood run Sept/2007.

 Main Page

  What's a Seven?




  Zetec vs. X-Flow

 Gearbox upgrade

 50th Anniversary

  Conversion to Zetec

  Maintenance Log






1984 Lotus Turbo Esprit      USA spec Turbo 210HP/200ftlbs

1976 - 1988

Original design by

Giorgetto Giugiaro

Arrival, Wisconsin from Boston-MA - Fall 2002
Classic Italian Lines
Sussex British Car day
May 2003
Classic Giugiaro lines and edges

Fall 2005, Wisconsin B-roads
Wisconsin roads, for driving

Some words about this car..

I really do appreciate reliability, to be able to jump in the car and go to where-ever and back. Yet, in 2002 I finally broke with the mold of consumerism expectation and decided that between the 7 and another British made vehicle I should be able to get around. Since I do not mind carrying tools around, a Lotus and another "Lotus-that-Colin-didn't-want" should work well.

   In 2001 I was looking for an upgrade for the Crossflow engine for the 7 and located a Lotus TwinCam engine somewhere in Boston. Someone had an Elan 2+2, a very clean Giugiaro Esprit and... a TC engine.  I flew out to look at what he had (this was Sept 9, 2001), and the 2+2 had already been sold. The Esprit and the TC were still there. The  low mileage Esprit was very clean but needed mechanical TLC (I think all Loti probably do). The TC was in bits, but also a Stromberg version, where the 1+2 and 3+4 intake manifold channels are paired and part of the head casting. In a high(er) performance engine this results in charge stealing of the 2+3 or the 1+4 cylinders during exhaust/intake overlap. With individual chokes, as offered by the Weber DCOE's this issue is resolved. The DCOE TC's are the sought after engines, although supposedly they have more charisma than reliability.  I left the TC in it's boxes, but they did offer me to test drive the Esprit. Compared to the newer Peter Stevens cars, the Giugiaro cars have several nice design elements, such as the original rear suspension layout with the gearbox mounted disc brakes. This design functions without requiring a rear anti roll bar. The drive was impressive, in fact the car really surprised me. I had been told that the Esprit was just a large Europa, but it's clearly a lot more than that. This car is powerful and nible and comfortable to drive. It sounds good, has sharp steering, free of a power assist, and it brakes very well.

  There were issues and we couldn't agree on a price. Then 9/11 happened and I lost interest in car shopping. A year later I called and they still had it.... the rest is in the picture page below!

   The original Esprit was not a design Colin Chapman was closely involved with, supposedly the Lotus engineering team "owned" this one. In it's original S1 form it was intended to compete with the Ferrari 308 and Porsche 924. With the early S1's 2.0ltr / 160 BHP, performance was good, but not sufficient for that class.
The addition of the Turbo and added displacement (2.2ltr) changed all that. The small Turbo and the novel blow through carb design offered very good performance with minimal turbo lag. The 45dg left banked short stroke engine design itself is very robust and smooth with great attention given to cooling and lubrication!  This all-Alu engine with it's 16V DOHC head is very well engineered.  The temperature of each individual head section is separately maintained with considerable cooling (coolant and oil) capacity by means of an array of three blowers and radiators that nearly span the width of the front of the car. They lay nearly flat and with spoiler ducting provide top down cooling while maintaining a low nose profile.

Personally I appreciate the styling, which was Giugiaro's opportunity to compete with Bertone and Pininfarina. The Peter Stevens models have rounded edges and loose  "the edge" (again, in my opinion) of the original design. I call it the "Origami car" - (Japanese paper art).

Driving the car: 
The handling and balance of this car are outstanding. When "loading" the turbo (early application of throttle in the turn), it's easy to provoke the rear in wet conditions, but the balance is such that it comes back instantly with lift throttle. Power is good, and really good at speed. No need to downshift. Floor it in 5th gear at 3000rpm, and power is there, making freeway passing effortless. Yes, there is wind noise, esp. around the air intakes, but there is also a very nice engine note. The 4cyl Turbo sounds sonore at low rpms and builds a nice wail with throttle applied!  On upshifts there is the characteristic gurgling noise from the right side intake duct. I drive it with the passenger window open whenever I can, just for that sound!

Long trips work well. There's room in the back for a couple softbags, or a medium size roller, tools and laptop and camera gear. There's room in the front compartment as well, next to the spare tire.

Maintenance record

Date / mileage
Event Comment

9/11/2002   23,000 Flew out to Boston with my wife Lia and we drove it back to Wisconsin, a 1400 mile journey.

The owner had the battery and engine oil replaced in preparation for our trip.

Thanks, Geri and Alan S. !

A true Lotus experience.  At speed this car is magical...
Around Toledo, the temp guage starts to climb... we slow down, but it keeps climbing.... goes to 140C (#@$!). Yet, the engine sounds and feels fine. At a gas stop, we carefully check the coolant, which is ok too. Then, the T-Gauge settles back to 85C and the journey continues. 
Lucas effect ?
(PS: this turned out to be a bad "regulator" for the fuel and temp guages.
Believe it or not, this non-documented bi-metal item is burried in the console.... replaced it with a conventional 3-pin regulator - all is well)

 9/12/2002 24,400 Arrival 
Interstate 80 (NY - Chicago)
 9/19/2002 24,500 Fuel smell in interior Found the Lotus Factfile website.. this is an invaluable and  critical resource

replaced the fuel vapor line between the left and right fuel tanks.

gear crunching when warm replaced "red hose" clutchline with braided stainless steel line from David Bean Eng.
brake rubbling, heavy vibration in steering. Probably from standing for the past two years.  replace front brake rotors. David Bean had them in stock. Not bad parts availability for an '84 car!
9/25/2002 24,800 tires unround - sitting for 2 yrs... 195/60-15 and 235/60/15  Michelin Pilot's all-season version. These are excellent in the wet and dry.
9/25/2002 24,800 Heater does not work reattached vacuum hoses under dash
10/3/2002 25,100 Odd noises when accellerating and decelerating in lower gears Replaced left front motor mount (rubber melted) - common Turbo Esprit issue
12/29/2002 28,000 it's dirty again... Wash, Wax....
4/20/2003, 29,000
AC still does not work (sitting too long..)
recharge was all that was needed. Been fine since.
5/30/2003 31,000 Exhaust header leak somewhere search,  locate and fix mission...Turned out to be one of the 8 air-injection feedtubes had rotted through. Tied it off and plugged the port entry - fixed. In 2005, removed the air injection system and it still passed emissions!
6/21/2003 31,800
9/19/2003 33,500
Engine bay fan no longer comes on
Fuse holder cracked - replaced.
12/24/2003 36,400
Right (front) trunnion nearly seized, causing steering pull ground-off trunnion (to protect tread) and replaced (used Mobil synth W75-90)
3/20/2004 38,000
Timing belt looks suspect
replaced along with all other belts. Done with engine in the car. Not easy but doable.
Vacuum pump is tricky. Need contorted 3/8" allen wrench(es) - I cut & bend 2.
Bottom view. I marked the belt position before removal, and locked auxiliary
and both cam shaft pulleys with ty-raps.

It's close quarters, but lots of light and mirrors (no smoke) work. Crank pulley and thermostat pipe (the curved one on top) must be removed first. After locking the 3 pulleys, the tensioner is removed. Check the ground strap, replace if suspect. This is important to bleed off static, which otherwise attracts dust onto the belt and increases wear.
Transfer belt pencil marks to the new belt to ensure position and thus timing.

Ty-rap assembly before removal,
otherwise parts may fly everywhere.
Note ground strap.
4/2/2004  39,000
Heavy steering, pulls to one side under breaking
Right front trunnion has seized - replaced, problem solved. At the same time, replaced both balljoints as well.

oil filler hole

Trunnion screwed

onto upright.
Upper A-arm balljonts

Fresh Top Ball joints

9/22/2005  47,000
Just running, some wind noise, right side
Realign passenger-side door
Oct 2005 48,000
Got collectors plates as it's now 21 years old,  and it still passed Emissions! The latter being a WI requirement before applying for Classic / Collector status for the car.

Nov 2006, 54,000
Runs like a top. Need more polishing..

Feb 2007, 54,500
Passenger door still sagging, strike plate bolts not tight.

Dec 2007,  59,000
Just running flawlessly
In September '07 we made a nice 1700mi trip  to and from  Route 129 ( Rt 129 ) ... great stuff.

Sept 2008, 60,500
Less driving this year, but no troubles.

October 2010  66,500
Clutch master cyinder fluid leak
replaced master and slave cylinders, issue resolved

November 2010, 66,700 New front brake rotors and pads

June 2011, 69,000
had Mraz upgrade the A/C R12 to R34 fittings, to be compliant.
Worked out excellent.

August 2011, 70,000
Time to polish the rims

June 19,2012, 72,400
Sold - time for something different