The Esprit's handling was always leading man material, but its engine was little more than a walk-on extra. Today, Nice Price or Crack Pipe has an S2 that's had a cast change, and it says the SHO must go on.
While The Hangover was one of last year's most well received comedies, the overhangs on the Lincoln MK VI from yesterday were not greeted as warmly. Those massive protuberances caused near universal derision, although surprisingly only 65% thought those, plus the Avatar-aping interior, lackluster drivetrain and price were enough to push that car to crack-a-toa, and then on into the drugcano's hazy caldera. Whoa, I gotta' lay off those drinks with the little umbrellas in them.
Okay, so let's have something different today. One thing that usually makes a car - or person for that matter - stand out is when they've had a heart transplant. With people that change means you might not want to be sneaking up on them any more, or ask them to "pull my finger." With cars, it usually means the opposite - that you want to be a little (or a lot) more aggressive and forceful in playing with them.
Today's 1980 Lotus Esprit S2 was originally powered by the Lotus 907 four cylinder. That all-aluminum two-cam four valve engine sucked through a pair of Stromberg straws and farted out about 145-bhp in its U.S. guise. Not bad, and good for zero to sixty runs of less than 7 seconds, but not good enough to live up to what the sex-on-wheels Giugaro-designed body was promising.
That brings us to the heart transplant. The seller of this Esprit has ditched the torque-less wonder for something with a couple more cylinders and more than half-again as many ponies. That's because this Esprit is rocking an SHO motor out of a Ford Taurus. Staring in Ford's slippery sedan, the SHO gets 220-bhp out of 3.0 litres and could get that 3,300-lb family hauler to sixty in six and a half seconds. Imagine what it must do in a car weighing about 900 lbs less.
This is a very appropriate match up as the Yamaha-engineered SHO engine was originally intended to power Ford's Fiero-fighting Cobra ME. Once Ford got a good look at the anemic Pontiac two-seater they cancelled their own mid-engine development, and started looking for a new home for the nest of snakes atop the V6. There was room at the inn over in Taurus Town, and the rest is history. Well, Taurus SHO history, but you could make some history yourself in this gold over black plastic fantastic.
The Esprit is a uniquely assembled car. The mechanicals all attach to a central steel backbone, which tees at the nose for the front suspension mounts, and Ys at the back to cradle the engine. Atop that rests the fiberglass body which has first been shot into two molds - an upper and a lower - that are then joined at the middle. The joint is hidden by the rub strip that encircles the car, and the whole thing is then lowered onto the backbone. When you're riding in one, the only thing separating your ass from the road is that quarter inch of fiberglass and the ball-cup seat - which is also made of fiberglass.
Right behind those seats is a plywood bulkhead intended to keep errant fingers from slipping into a cog, or your hippie friend's hair from getting sucked into the intake. The SHO looks right at home back there, and strangely it looks like it bolts up to the Citroën five speed like it was born to be there.
Not only does it look teh hawt, but it sounds pants-rippingly good too-
The rest of the car is. . . oh who cares, just listen to that v6 howl again. That howl is all legal because the builder used the Ford ECU and kept the cats. That'll go a long way towards registering the car or deducing engine problems down the road.
The SHOtus here is offered on eBay with a By It Now of $15K, which is not bad. But savvy shoppers will want to go to the Craigslist ad to take advantage of the $5,000 lower price that bargain venue offers. That's right, $10,000 for this all-singing, all dancing SHO-powered Esprit. Is this a great country or what?
So, what do you think, does $10,000 for this SHOtus seem like a show-stopper? Or, does that ticket price set the stage for this Esprit to get a staring role in your driveway?
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