First registered in November 1983, with 89000 recorded miles and a plethora of previous owners, my Esprit S3 had evidently had a hard life. At some point the engine had been replaced with one from a slightly newer car, though this of course may mean that it'd done more miles than the rest of the chassis! The engine was dated 1984 and the transmission was a Type C35 which, depending on which page of the workshop manual you read, was introduced in late '83 or early '84; so I was never really sure whether it was the original unit or not.

There were a number of stress cracks in the GRP, notably around the nose, suggesting lots of bump-parking. Also of concern was the noticeable lean to the right that the car had; this appeared to be due to the shell not sitting squarely on the chassis. One result was that the steering column lower UJ was fouling the chassis crossmember, this took a fair amount of loosening and repositioning of things to create some clearance prior to MOT time. I supposed it'd be a matter sometime of slackening all the mountings, shimming the shell and nipping everything back up, but as with many things on these cars, it almost certainly wouldn't be that straightforward.

When I first got the Esprit, it had been stood for some time and wouldn't start. Specifically, the starter motor didn't operate, nor did the fuel pump. Persistent gentle application of a clouting-stick to the offending items soon restored operation and the car then fired up easily.

It didn't take long to compile a list of defects with the car that needed attention before I'd dare show my face at the MOT station:  having bought the car in February 2004, I think it was June of that year before I got to drive it. In the meantime I stripped and rebuilt the front suspension and steering, overhauled the rear brake calipers, replaced all the brake lines, rebuilt the clutch slave cylinder, fiddled with the carbs, repaired the cooling fans, replaced the horns and fixed a couple of electrical gremlins. Then there was the interior. Issues included:

1. The presence of some rather horrific cheap carpet that had been glued to the centre armrest and the top of the dashboard (!!) - the strip just below the windscreen. The original panel here was missing, but the armrest turned out to be undamaged when the carpet was removed. I planned to make a new dash trim panel and fit some new mounting clips to the armrest as these were also missing. 

2. The glovebox lid was no longer attached to the dashboard. Fairly easily resolved with nuts and bolts, but you have to despair at sports car owners who will ignore simple stuff like this.

3. The left-hand screen demist vent was hanging under the dashboard: the plastic lip had broken and I ended up fabricating two alloy brackets to keep the vent in place. Incidentally, the cheap carpet bodge was obstructing this vent completely.

4. There was a lack of carpet on the driver's side floor (wear and tear); sluggish windows, split passenger seat ( it was OK when I got the car but split before I had chance to get any leather treatment on it that may have prevented the damage), no gearshift gaiter, a clock that drifted like fury, leaking sunroof (only slight but wasn't helping the interior).

A further list of jobs (some of which I hoped to tackle in 2005 but didn't get round to) included: strip and rebuild rear suspension; replace timing belt, oil seals and whatever else falls off the engine;  fix blowing exhaust; repair worn gear linkage pivots (it has the most horrendous shift action).. etc. etc. !! Update Dec. '05: as the engine is now being rebuilt most of the foregoing is irrelevant... or has been made easier by having the engine out of the way.


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