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've since discovered that there's a very precise method of installation for the steering column which I didn't know back in 2004; it's detailed in the Lotus manual which can be downloaded from various places around the internet...

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 various bodges and neglect, most of which were relatively easy to correct although the entire dash trim panel just below the screen was missing altogether for god-only-knew what reason. In addition 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 and a leaking (probably aftermarket) sunroof (only slight but it wasn't helping much).


Whilst the following pages largely refer to the car shown above, a mate of mine recently acquired a 1981 Esprit Turbo so I've had cause to roll up my sleeves and assist with one or two problems that he's been having, so some of what we've learned will find its way onto these pages just to add to the knowledge base for those of you who may need it...!



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