For $12,000, This Esprit Is Not So Mellow Yellow

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Live ordnance is not something you'd typically want to have driving around, but a bargain basement exotic like today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Lotus Esprit, could easily grenade your wallet at any time. The question is, does its purchase price pull the pin?

Many of you living outside the United States probably take small fuel-efficient diesels for granted, there being plenty from which to choose. Here however, if we want uber-high mileage we have to go with something called a bicycle as our small cars don't seem to get all that much better mileage than those the next size up. That's what made yesterday's special guest VW Polo SDI so intriguing. Unfortunately, not even the prospect of fuel tickling $5 a gallon by Memorial day could make its nearly twelve grand price palatable, and that Pennsylvania Polo took home a Consho-honkin' big 89% Crack Pipe loss. Geez, you probably hate Polo by Ralph Lauren too.


Ralph, of course, has a car collection that makes Jay Leno's look like Urkel's Hot Wheels collection, and if you want to be like the fashion magnate you might just start with this Lotus Esprit Turbo which packs what the seller claims is a rebuilt 910s. It's also fly yellow and sports a set of gold BBS basketweaves that are so ‘80s they probably hum Duran Duran when they spin.

The Turbo edition of Lotus' long-serving Esprit wasn't just an S3 with a garrett snail bolted on, it received an imperial tonne of other changes as well. The front suspension was reworked to offer better geometry and fewer Triumph Herald parts, while the rear portion of the steel backbone frame was widened like a college freshman's ass to accommodate the V8 engine Lotus was intent to get out of its dreams and into its cars.


This one however comes with that DOHC, turbocharged 2.2-litre whose lineage dates back to the early ‘70s. The seller makes no mention of model year, but seeing as the engine sports the Chargecooler air-to-water intercooler, it's a post '90 engine. That means it has the Delco electronic fuel injection and EMS. That also means that the claimed 200-mile four pumps out somewhere in the neighborhood of 280-bhp. Behind the rebuilt pressure cooker is Renault's UN1-16 5-speed gearbox, and that whole hot mess is good for flinging the car from a standstill to sixty in about six an a half seconds.


The rest of the car (which is a pre-'90 body style) is claimed, in the less than 20 word ad, to be in perfect condition. Now, I have know from personal experience that no Esprit is ever in perfect condition, each having some evil lurking within like a Shillelagh-toting Leprechaun ready to knee cap you at the first opportunity. What will it be with this car - the sunroof leaking? An interior returning to its base elements before your eyes? Or perhaps my own personal favorite, a massive electrical fire, on the freeway! Whatever the cause, with an old Lotus failure is never a case of if but of when, and usually how much collateral damage it can cause. Call it the Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman curse.


Perhaps however, this Esprit will be different, having possibly escaped that gypsy hex. After all it does have an engine with but 200 miles on it, and the reason for the sale is claimed to be due to a move, not an empty bank account. And who wouldn't want to join the ranks of the exotic car set - rubbing elbows with the likes of Ralph Lauren and those fat guys who wear sunglasses at night that inexplicably and almost exclusively comprise the bidders at the big auctions?

And to do so will only cost you $12,000.

What do you think, is that a price that might get you to assume the Lotus position? Or, does that make this Esprit es-pensive?


You decide!


Los Angeles Craigslist or go here if the ad disappears.

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