Esprit Discussion
Thanks to the help of Dave Edmonston and the fine folks at PistonHeads.com the Esprit Fact File now has its own discussion Forum. To enter the forum, click here or select Forum from the chapter menu on the left. In the forum you can participate in discussions with other Esprit fanatics from around the globe on a variety of Esprit-related topics. This forum is not meant to replace, but rather complement the great discussions that can already be found in the Mailing Lists discussed in the topic below. I urge you to use both of these tools to become a member of the great Lotus community.

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Esprit Internet
Mailing Lists
At one point there was no support for the Esprit on the Internet. Lotus enthusiast Alan Perry came to the rescue and created a mailing list called the Lotus Mailing List. The concept was simple: you send an email to a server with your name and email address. Once you did this you became a "subscriber" to the list. You could then send an email to a specific address and every other subscriber gets a copy of the mail. It's kind of like a non-real-time version of the chat rooms you see on AOL and other places.

As time went by, membership in the Lotus List grew to many hundreds. This was both good and bad. Since Lotus makes several models, it became a nuisance for some list members to sift through hundreds of non Esprit-related emails to find emails that were of interest to them. On the plus side, those who were open-minded enough or had the time to read the emails about other cars got the benefits of the knowledge and experience of a much larger audience. 

Several years later, Bryan Boyle decided to take the challenge to create an "Esprit Only" email list called the TurboEsprit Onelist. He used a list server called Onelist (later bought by Yahoo) which has the advantage of being much faster than the original Lotus List. Messages posted to the turboesprit list are sent to all members in a matter of seconds as opposed to minutes or sometimes hours in the original list. Membership has now grown to several hundred members and it has become a wonderful community for the interchange of thoughts and ideas. 

Later on, members from the UK Lotus groups decided to form their own mailing list. However, there is no restriction to joining this list even if you don't live in the UK, so I recommend you join both lists.

To join the original list, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/turboesprit. From here, click on the "subscribe" button and follow the directions to become a subscriber and participate in all our discussions.

To join the UK Lotus Esprit list, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UKLotusEsprit and follow the instructions to become a subscriber.

If you are an Esprit owner, contemplating ownership, or a hardcore enthusiast I strongly recommend that you become an active member in these lists. There's much that you can learn and contribute.

If you decide the email traffic is too much for you to handle or for some other reason you decide to remove your name from the subscription list, each email has unsubscribe instructions in the footer of the mail message.

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Very Special
Esprit Internet Sites
There are many wonderful Esprit sites on the Internet. Some, however, are worthy of special mention. I include them here in no particular order:


Kato's extremely well put together web site has grown by leaps and bounds in the last year. Its is well polished, with a slick look and tons of great content. I highly recommend it.
Johan Hybinette and Larry Marsala are two of the undisputed kings of Esprit performance. Their quest for speed has taken them to modifying their cars, to building a competition race team (Hybimars), to designing, building and selling upgrade parts for Esprits. Most of the focus has been on the Esprit V8, but there's something for everyone here.
PistonHeads is a wonderful source for news on Lotus cars as well as other British and European brands. They contribute the Classifieds and Discussion Forums to the Esprit Fact File.

Roy Olivier's web site is a relative newcomer to the Esprit web world.  This well put together site focuses on all Lotus' recent models. I suspect that this site is going to get better and better in the coming weeks and months.

Joe Saturnia's EspritRegistry.com

Joe Saturnia has put a lot of effort into creating a very clean web site documenting his quest towards the purchase of an Esprit. However, I predict that his biggest contribution will become the online Esprit Registry. This tool will allow fellow Esprit owners to track car history as well as meet other owners in their area. You can access the Registry directly from the chapter menu on the left.

Where would we be without Andy Whittaker? This man took it upon himself to tackle the monumental task of writing a Windows-based PC software package to aid in diagnosing and repairing 4-cylinder Esprit problems. Then he had the audacity to provide it completely for free! FreeScan is the tool you want to use if you have a 4-pot Esprit and his site is where you can download it from.
Tony's Black89Lotus Page Tony wins the award for the most pristine Esprit on the face of the planet. His car is the epitome of cleanliness and perfection. When someone says you could eat off his engine, they aren't exaggerating. This man's obsession with maintaining the perfect Esprit is mind boggling and the quality of the work on his upgrades is second to none. His web site documents many of his improvements with many detailed pictures.
Keen Young's Lotus Page Keen single-handedly defied the laws of mathematics by proving that 1+1=1. He bought two wrecked Esprits and turned them into a perfect Esprit daily driver and autocross machine. His persistence after his many misfortunes with windshields only proved his determination to complete the job. Amazingly enough, once he was done he sold the car and is now in the process of resurrecting another Esprit.
Guy Therien's Lotus Page Guy took Keen's idea of resurrecting an Esprit and ran with it. Currently he has enough Esprit carcasses laying around to start his own factory or Esprit junk yard - depending on how you look at it. His site has lots of nice pictures documenting his progress.
Ernie McManaway My friend Ernie has an absolutely beautiful Azure Blue Esprit V8 and a beautiful we site to match. Here you can see lots of pretty pictures of some of us Central Florida Esprit owners in many of our events and gatherings.

If you know of an Esprit web site that is truly worthy of mention, send me an email so it may be considered for addition to this list.


Other Esprit Internet Sites In addition to the Lotus Cars USA  and Lotus Cars UK Web Sites, there have been a growing number of sites that provide Esprit Information recently. I truly appreciate all the sites who have so kindly and graciously added links (and wonderful compliments) on their sites. 

Rather than attempting to duplicate the great efforts of others who have spent a lot of time compiling a list of related links, I suggest that you go to Ron Bennett's Lotus Links site and work your way from there. Click Here and you will be on your way to more Esprit sites than you ever thought existed.

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Brief Lotus History

Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman (1928-1982) - (the ACBC monogram is incorporated in the Lotus badge) built and raced his first competition car in November 1948. So successful was this and his subsequent designs that in 1955 he formed Lotus Cars Limited operating from small premises in London.

Lotus Production 1957 - The Lotus Seven
The Lotus Seven was conceived as a no-frills, low-cost, simple sports car, which delivered staggering performance. Produced mainly in kit form, it enabled many enthusiasts to own a dual purpose road/racing sports car at a reasonable price. Four basic variants were produced by Lotus until 1973, when the rights to manufacture were taken by Caterham Cars Ltd, which still produces the Caterham Seven today.

1957 - The Lotus Elite - Type 14
The Lotus Elite was the first closed passenger car to carry the Lotus badge. It featured a unique advanced glass fibre monocoque structure comprising eight moulded sections reinforced with steel tubling and plates. The original Elite is still judged to be one of the most beautiful cars ever produced. Road versions were powered by the famous 1216cc Coventry Climax engine. The model ran until 1962 when it was replaced by the Lotus Eland.

In June the factory moved from Hornsey to Delamare Road, Cheshunt, into a new purpose-built facility.

1962 - The Lotus Elan
This classic sportscar featured neatly styled glassfibre bodywork on a steel backbone chassis, pop-up headlamps and a new Lotus engine. The engine was based on a Ford 1500cc block, bored to 1588cc. It sported a Lotus twin overhead cam cylinder head equipped with two twinchoke Weber carburetors, and produced 105 bhp at 5500 rpm. Through the years the engine was progressively developed to the Big Valve form by Tony Rudd and the power increased to 126 bhp with surprising economy and flexibility. During its 11 years' production run, the Elan became a legend; it was a sports car by which other were judged

1966 Drophead Elan Coupe introduced - known as the Elan S3.
The Lotus Europa was introduced with the Renault 16 engine, and was initially marketed in Europe. The design of the car featured a mid-engined layout similar to racing practice. It was one of the first mid-engined coupes available on the market.

The Company moved from Cheshunt to present purpose-built home in Norfolk, which was originally one of the many wartime airfield; USAF B24 bombers were based here - 389 Bombgroup, 8th Air Force.

1967 Elan +2 launched
A full 2+2 seat coupe utilising the 1588cc twin-cam engine developing 118 bhp.

Lotus Cars Limited went public

In this year Tony Rudd left BRM to join Lotus as engineering director. He assumed responsibility for the development of the Twin-cam and the new 16-valve 2-litre type 907 Lotus engine.

In April the first deliveries took place of the new +2S model. This was luxurious update of the existing Elan +2, featuring cast wheels and the 115 bhp Special Equipment engine. The Plus Two range dropped the Elan name, kit cars being dropped from the range simultaneously. In June the Lotus Europa was launched on the British market.

In October the Elan won a gold model for coachwork at the London Motor Show for the second year running.

In December, ACB Chapman was awarded the CBE for "Services to Esport". 1970 The Elan Sprint was introduced with the new 126 bhp Big Valve engine. The Big Valve engine was also utilised in the +2S which was redesignated the Lotus +2 S130.

Road version of the LV 220 2-litre engine announced. The new engine (Type 907), though derived from the earlier LV series racing engines, was specifically developed for road use and to meet the stringent emission laws already enforced or proposed. Based on a light alloy block, with four linered cylinders, the 907 had a 16 valve cylinder head with twin overhead camshafts and a displacement of 1973cc. Despite a fairly modest compression ration of 8.7:1, power output was 140 bhp. The engines were sold to Jensen for use in the Jensen-Healey. It was no secret, however, that one day Lotus would utilise it in a road car of its own.

The Europa was derived and appeared as the Europa Twin-Cam. The new bodyshell incorporated cut-away rear fins to increase three-quarter visio, and modified seats plus a lower floor pan contributed to a better driving position.

The engine was the 105 bhp Lotus Twin-Cam unit as opposed to the Renault preciously used. This boost of power transformed the Europa into one of the world's quickest cars. A well driven Europa Twin-Cam was almost uncatchable along a winding road.

Lotus was already an engine manufacturer and in 1972 produced its own 5-speed gearbox as well, based on proprietary gear-clusters. It was produced to cater for long distances, on major roads and allowed cruising speeds in excess of 100 mph. At 70 mph a car fitted with a five-speed gearbox would need little more than 3000 rpm.

The new gearbox was offered as an option on the +2 S130 and a 5-speed was introduced on the newly announced Europa Special. The Special differed from its predecessor in minor details and was also fitted with the 126 Big Valve engine. The bodywork featured a spoiler under the nose and gold coachlining.

The middle of the year saw two very sad occasions for Lotus enthusiasts. The Lotus Seven and Lotus Elan were dropped from production. Their combined production time was 27 years and yet they still remained well ahead of the opposition in performance and handling. The majority of these cars were sold in kit form and with the introduction of VAT, kit-car building was no longer a money-saving exercise. Happily, however, the Seven lives on: its limited manufacture having been transferred to Caterham Cars Limited.

1974 - Elite awarded DON Safety Trophy by Minister of Transport
Award Citation:
"Whilst recognizing the limited clientele for the Elite owing to its price and the sporting type of vehicle it represents, the Panel nevertheless felt the successful use of GRP body construction plus the wide margin by which the Elite meets the US and European Legal Safety Requirements and the emphasis placed on reduction of the risk of fire in the case of a collision, allied to the good fuel economy and low emission of pollutants, added up to a substantial improvement in terms of both primary and secondary safety in a high performance car."

October: Paris preview release of new mid-engined Esprit, styled by Giorgetto Guigiaro.

Worldwide launch of Esprit and Eclat (2+2) at Earls Court London International Motor Show. Both new models incorporated GRP coachwork on a steel backbone chassis and the Lotus 2-litre 16-valve 907 engine. Lotus received coachwork medals at the Motor Show: Esprit - Gold; Eclat - Gold; Elite - Silver (unlimited price class). The Elite was approved for exhibition in the Design Centre, London, by the Design Council.

March: Royal visit tot Lotus by HRH Duke of Kent.

November: Lotus celebrated 10 years of operation at its Hethel factory, Norfolk.

February: Launch of Eclat Sprint option pack model. Available only in white with black body lining: specification included black interior trim, "E" cam version of the Lotus 907 engine, oil cooler, alloy wheels.

July: The James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me" was premiered in the presence of HRH Princess Anne, the mechanical star of the film being 007's Lotus Esprit.

The Design Council Car Assessment Committee examined the Lotus Esprit and declared the model eligible for exhibiton in the Design Centre.

August: Release of S2 Lotus Esprit

October: Launch of Limited Edition Esprit S2 to celebrate the Team Lotus World Championship. Only 100 of this model built for each of our three markets, each car being numbered in gold script on the exterior of the car from001 to 100. Available only in black with gold coachlining and insignia, specification included radio/cassette, competition steering wheel and commemorative plaque.

November: An agreement was reached between the De Lorean Motor Company and Lotus Cars Limited whereby Lotus would co-operate in the completion of the design and development of DMC-12 sports car to be produced in Northern Ireland for the American market.

December: Chrysler United Kingdom (Talbot) and Lotus Cars Limited signed a contract to co-operate in the production of a high performance version of the Chrysler Sunbeam to be known as the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus. The rally version went on to win the World Rally Championship in 1981, using a 2,2 litre version of the 907 engine.

January: Lotus Cars Limited took over the marketing of its products in North America from its four independent distributors and proceeded to stabilize the market and re-evaluate the dealer strength. Following this move a facility was established at Costa Mesa in Southern California.

September: An arrangement was negotiated with Rolls-Royce Motors Inc., to distribute Lotus products in the USA through a Lotus/Rolls-Royce dealer network.

October: Royal visit to Lotus by HRH Duke of Edinburgh.

February: Essex Lotus Turbo Esprit launched at spectacular Essex Petroleum party at Royal Albert Hall, London. First 100 units in Team Essex Lotus racing livery. Modified competition-based body shape. New galvanized chassis, new suspension and 2.2-litre 210 bhp 16-valve turbocharged engine. 150+ mph 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds.

May: Introduction of 1980 model range: Eclat Series 2.2 - Esprit Series 2.2

All models updated with 2.2-litre Lotus engines. The entire model range, including the Esprit Turbo, incorporate galvanized chassis - guaranteed for five years.

October: Announcement of formation of Lotus Engineering and Technology unit made at Motor Show.

April: Release of Lotus Esprit Series 3 incorporating chassis and suspension of Esprit Turbo allowing rationalization of components between S3 Esprit and Esprit Turbo thus permitting a considerable price saving on both models to be passed on to the market place.

June: Press statement announcing term engineering and manufacturing co-operation between Lotus Cars Limited and Toyota Motor Corporation.

July: Royal Premiere of the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only" featuring the Lotus Esprit Turbo.

August: Visit to Norwich by the Prime Minister, Mrs Margaret Thatcher, to have a close look at the Lotus road and racing car activities.

October: Launch of Lotus Excel 2+2 at Paris and UK Motor Shows. Replacing the Eclat, the Excel had a softer body shape, new chassis and suspension.

December: ANTHONY COLIN BRUCE CHAPMAN, Founder and Chairman, died on Thursday 16 December, aged 54.

December: Formation of Lotus Performance Cars to import and distribute Lotus products throughout North America.

May: Lotus Active Suspension System was announced and demonstrated to the press.

June: Completion of refinancing package for Group Lotus Car Companies. At end 1985 holdings were as follows:
British Car Auctions 29%
Toyota Motor Corporation 20%
JCB 18%
SchrŲder Wagg 10%

October: Motorfair, London. Introduction of updated 1984 Excel and Turbo Esprit. December: Mr. David Wickins, Chairman and founder of British Car Auctions, elected Chairman, Group Lotus Car Companies.

April: Completion of two of the most sophisticated computer controlled engine test cells in Europe at a cost of £500,000.

May: Completion of the 30,000th Lotus car from the Norfolk factory during 1966-1984

October: Worldwide accolade for Etna, Giugiaro-styled V8 concept car shown at the British International Motor Show in Birmingham, featuring the prototype Lotus four-litre type 909 V8 engine.

The Lotus Excel was displayed with major body styling changes resulting in a sleeker and smoother-looking car.

March: Announcement that the Chrysler Corporation USA had signed a contract with Lotus Cars to develop and engineer a family of high performance 16-valve engines for future passenger cars.

June: Announced at annual general meeting that work-in-hand had jumped from £3 million. In June 1984 to £31 million in June 1985. The massive growth of contract work (96 per cent export) from clients worldwide resulted in a major factory expansion plan to increase floorspace by 45 per cent.

One new factory of 28,500 sq ft had been completed, and occupied. Another 28,500 sq. ft was completed early 1986. By then the total increase in factory floor space was 87,000 sq. ft.

Group Lotus Car Companies name change to Group Lotus plc. Staff numbers had grown to over 600.

January: Announcement that General Motors had acquired a majority shareholding in Group Lotus plc, with subsequent formation of new Group Lotus plc board in May.

October: Launch of Esprit Turbo HC (High Compression), at Motor Show. A limited Edition version of the Esprit Turbo also shown to mark 20th year in Norfolk. Also announced was a four-speed automatic Excel option designated the Lotus Excel SA.

January: Group Lotus acquired control of its USA importer and established a new importation and distribution operation, Lotus Cars USA Inc., based in Atlanta Georgia.

March: Team Lotus announce new Type 99 F1 car fitted with Lotus Active suspension. Ayrton Senna wins two races and demonstrated 25,000 miles of race & test durability.

April: group Lotus acquired the Millbrook Proving Ground for £7.5 million. Located in Bedfordshire the 700-acre site contains 30 miles of test tracts and surfaces including a two-mile high-speed bowl. With its emission laboratories, HYGE sled and crash-testing facilities, Millbrook is the mist advanced, independent test and validation facility in Europe.

October: Launch at Motorfair of a new Esprit Turbo. Styled in-house, the entirely new body featured a smoother more rounded appearance. A more modern interior completed the package. A normally aspirated version of the new Esprit was shown at the same time.

October: Limited edition of the Esprit Turbo announced to commemorate the company's 40th anniversary. Available only in pearlescent white, it featured a rear spoiler and came with a blue leather and suede interior and comprehensive in-car entertainment system including a CD player.

May: Esprit Turbo SE announced, the most powerful and quickest road-going Lotus to date. It is powered by a 264 bhp charge-cooled version of the Lotus 2.2-litre engine giving a top speed of 164 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 4.7 secís.

Detailed chassis changes further improved the Esprit's ride and handling, while specially developed Goodyear Eagle tires were specified as standard equipment.

External changes included a deeper front bib, side sills and a boot-mounted spoiler to achieve neutral balance throughout the speed range.

Standard equipment included full leather interior, air-conditioning and tilt/removable glass sunroof.

October: London Motorfair. The new Lotus Elan two-seat convertible sports car was unveiled to universal acclaim. Lotus first front-wheel drive car, it featured unique, patented "Interactive Wishbone" front suspension.

February: Vauxhall/Opel announced the Lotus Carlton (Lotus Omega outside UK) - the ultra-high-performance production four-door saloon car developed and built by Lotus Engineering. Featuring a 3.6 litre, 24-valve twin-turbocharged six cylinder engine giving 477 bhp at 5200 rpm and 419 lbs-ft of torque at 4200 rpm, the Carlton is the "fastest four-door saloon" with 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds, 0-100 mph in 11,5 seconds and a top speed of over 175 mph.

May: £2 million semi-anechoic chamber opened by Rt. Hon. Cecil Parkinson, then Secretary of State for Transport.

1990 also saw the return to the race-track for Lotus sports cars. A works supported team of 3 Lotus Esprit Turbo SE's were entered in a "Showroom Stock" series in the USA, contesting 9 races. The team took 4 victories, 6 pole positions, 6 fastest laps and 2nd place in the Manufacturer's Championship.

March: Lotus Elan wins British Design Council Award.

Team Lotus, still privately-owned, reforms under new management led by Peter Collins and Peter Wright. The new Lotus 102B F1 car reaffirms the Lotus tradition of elegance and efficiency, and carries heritage-inspired green and yellow racing colors.

In USA, Lotus Engineering supports Lotusport Inc with 3 new '91-spec race Espritís for a revised driver lineup which includes film star Paul Newman.

June: Lotus announce development of "Sound Synthesis" - the addition of computer-generated engine sound through the ICE, which follows the development of Antinoise.

August: Lotus Engineering's Design Analysis Group commission Cray supercomputer to accelerate customer service. 300 jobs go as recession bites in Lotus Cars.

September: Lotus reveals '92 Esprit range with significant customer-inspired improvement for more passenger room, better access, and improved rear visibility. Alan Curtis, Group Lotus Chairman, retires, to be succeeded by Michael J Kimberley, (previous Group CEO).

January: Lotus Engineering exhibits "SID" Dynamics Research vehicle, and 'JEWEL" (lightweight high-efficiency engine concept) at SAE Show in Detroit. Lotus Cars announces further job losses.

March: Due to unprecedented worldwide recession, Lotus halts all production for 5 weeks to control stock levels.

April: Forthcoming emission legislation forces cessation of Lotus Excel 2+2 production.

May: Lotus Engineering reveals Alvis Scorpion tank fitted with Lotus Active suspension featuring high-bandwidth energy-saving control of corner bogies. Carried out in conjunction with UK & US defense departments, work is ongoing.

June 15: Lotus Cars announces cessation of Elan production with loss of 300 jobs, after total build of 3857 cars. Worldwide recession and introduction of USA "luxury tax" is blamed.

July 29: Chris Boardman takes Olympic 4000m Gold Medal on epoch-making "Lotus Sport" carbon-composite monocoque bicycle.

August 22: Boardman and the Lotus "superbike" smash World 5km pursuit record by over 8 seconds. Boardman's unofficial Olympic 4km record is ratified also

October: Doc Bundy, driving the Lotus Sport Esprit X180R, takes the driver's title in USA national sports car series. Tom Langeberg wins Dutch Production Car Series in Lotus Esprit.

Launch at NEX of Esprit Sport 300 - the highest performance Lotus so far. Based on the X180R, the Sport 300 blends racetrack performance with road manners in a dramatic variant of the classic Lotus Esprit shape.

January: Lotus Esprit S4 introduced - new elegant bodyshell encloses dynamic improvements such as power steering (standard).

March: Lotus Engineering wins major contract with Taiwanese government to design new family of engines.

May: Lotus Esprit Sport 300 goes into production.

June: Two Lotus Esprit Sport 300's race at Le Mans - first works-supported entry for over 30 years.

July: New Lotus Sport 110 road bike debuts on Tour de France with Team ONCE.

August 27th - Bugatti buys Group Lotus from General Motors; Romano Artioli of Bugatti Industries named Chairman, Group Lotus Limited. (Millbrook Proving Ground retained by GM)

September: Lotus reveals E-Auto concept in model form at Frankfurt Auto Show. E-Auto is proposal developed by European consortium for practical 4-seat saloon with minimum fuel consumption - computer simulation predicts 140mpg.

January 27: First Lotus Sport 110 production carbon bicycle sold at Sotheby's to raise funds for Transport Trust.

March: Elan S2 shown at Geneva Show. Featuring new 16" wheel/tyre package and other improvements, car will enter production in Jine for mimited run of 800 units only.

June 19: Chris Boardman is re-united with a Lotus bicycle (the new Lotus Sport 110) for the first time since the 1992 Olympics and wins 30 km stage of Tour de Suisse.

July 2nd: Boardman is set new record average speed on the Prologue of the Tour de France, riding the Lotus Sport 110. He keeps the "yellow jersey" as Tour leader for two further days.

September: Lotus Esprit Sport 300 driven by Thorkild Thyrring wins British National GT series.

Chris Boardman wins World Championship in Sicily, in 4 km Pursuit and 30 km Road Race both on Lotus Sport 110, proving his and its competitiveness and versatility.

October 18: Lotus S4S announced at Birmingham Motor Show - 300 bhp peak power in S4-based body, with new wheels, Michelin tyres and revised suspension settings to suit increased performance. Lotus Esprit Police Car turns heads too !

December: Group Lotus announces £12 million turnaround to profitability after first year under Bugatti ownership.

January: Sad day motorsport enthusiast as Team Lotus (not part of Group Lotus since 1986, except in name and spirit) lays off all its staff and finally joins forces with Pacific Racing. A sad end to an illustrious and unforgettable period of motorsport which saw Team Lotus win the F1 World Championship seven times, Indianapolis once, and many other formula victories including class wins at Le Mans. Its success was a tribute to one man - Colin Chapman.

February: Lotus GT program comes in-house in preparation for an all-out assault on sportscar racing in 1996 - outright victory in the top GT1 category is the goal.

The GAN team, featuring Chris Boardman, takes delivery of nineteen Lotus Sport 110 frames for use in all its time-trial events during the year.

March 24: Lotus celebrates the completion of the 50,000th car since the birth of the marque in 1948. The car, a Lotus Elan S2, is donated to a major national charity with the help of former Lotus driver Britt Ekland. With the help of the "Sun" newspaper, over £65,000 is raised through competition to win the unique car.

May 8: Lotus GT car, driven by Allessandro Zanardi and Alex Portman, stunts spectators at Donington, leading the GT2 class by over a lap and running up to third overall. Only a transmission fault five minutes before the end of the four-hour race prevents the team taking a fairy-tale result.

July: Lotus Esprit sales worldwide buck static market, recording 11% increase in first six months against previous year.

August 19/20: Lotus is featured marque at Monterey Historic Automobile Races in California, USA. Hazel Chapman attends as Guest of Honour. Unique collection of Lotus F1, Indy, sports and road cars on display; Lotus enthusiasts attend from around the world.

August 25: Last ever Lotus Eland is completed. Car 799 goes to long-time Lotus dealer; car 800 is retained by Lotus as "the last:" for display.

September 12: Lotus Elise is unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show. Immediately billed as "star of the Show", Elise is superlight at 675 kg with advanced chassis of epoxy-bonded aluminium extrusions - a world's first. Other "firsts" include extruded aluminium suspension uprights and aluminium metal matrix brake discs. Promising breathtaking performance (0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds) at a price "under £20,000" with stunning looks, Elise earns praise from onlookers, and many advance orders are taken. First deliveries are expected mid 1996.

September 17: Works Lotus Esprit GT2 car driven by Zanardi and Portman takes superb class victory and fourth overall at Silverstone, after four hours' grueling racing against international field.

October 16: Building work starts on Lotus Engineering's new £3.5 million engine test facility, comprising ten state-of-the-art dynamometers with full computer control and data analysis. The facility will come on stream in July 1997.

October 25: HRH Duke of Kent visits Lotus as Chairman of British Overseas Trade Board.

February 1: Lotus hands over new minibus to Prince's Trust Volunteers group in Sudbury, Suffolk - first fruits of ongoing three-year fundraising programme for Prince's Trust in UK.

March 1: All-new Lotus Esprit GT1 car (type number 114) unveiled at Paul Richard circuit for first race of 1996 GT series. The new racer features the still-secret Lotus V8 engine, a new six-speed racing transmission, F1-style aerodynamics, carbon brakes, and is down to the 900 kg minimum weight limit. After showing promise, retires due to fractured exhaust. Dutchman Jan Lammers enthuses about car's potential.

March 5: At Geneva Show, the Lotus Esprit V8 is unveiled. The all-new Lotus-designed 3.5 litre twin-turbo V8 delivers 350 bhp and 400 NM of torque with a very flat torque curve. Unit is very compact and meets 1997 regulations world wide. Detail changes to the car include improvements to the brake system with a new Kelsey-Hates ABS controller and a new vacuum servo system. Top speed increase to 178 mph. Lotus Engineering also announces technical partnership with design software house Concentra, to develop and market the revolutionary Concept Car Designer expert system.

March 24: At Monza, Lotus GT team enters two cars. Driver line-up is Lammers with British driver Perry McCarthy, Alex Portman with Mike Hezemans. Team's steep learning curve continuous.

March 25: Lotus Elise si finalist in 1996 Prince of Wales Award for Innovation - positive recognition of an exciting new product with far-reaching implications.

April 14: At Jarama, GT1 car's potential is unleashed. Lammers gets second place on grid and leads McLarens etc. for four laps before a driveshaft problem slows car.

April 18: GT team announce their return to Le Mans will take place in 1997. The BPR-run International GT series is priority for 1996.

May 12: Lotus GT team returns to Silverstone for next round of BPR series.

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Esprit Acronyms and Anagrams Although the true reason for why Colin Chapman decided to name his company "Lotus" remains a closely guarded secret that only his wife knows about, it hasn't caused others to speculate on what it might mean. Many think it's an acronym for something else. The most common suggestions are:
  • Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious
  • Leave Off The Un-necessary Stuff
  • Low Orbit Transport of Unbelievable Speed

Re-arrange the letters in "Lotus Esprit" and what do you get? Well here are a few suggestions: 

Sister Pluto  Spot Its Rule  I Slur To Step 
Resist Pluto  Stop Its Rule  I Step Or Lust 
Ross Put Tile  Put Less Riot  Step Oil Rust 
Title Ross Up  Less Trip Out  Setup Or List 
Slot Rust Pie  Less Tip Tour  Rest Lit Soup 
Site Plus Rot  Less Pit Tour  Rest Til Opus 
Petrol Situs  It Rot Up Less  Sure List Top 
Petrol Sit Us  Let It Spur So  Split So True 
Slope I Trust  Rope Its Slut  True Piss Lot 
Lose Tip Rust  Rope Its Lust  Split Our Set 
Lose Pit Rust  Protest Luis  Pest, Oil, Rust 
I Splutter So  Posture List  Sour Spittle 
Pulse To Stir  Sir Poet Slut  Priest Lotus 
Pelt IRS To Us  Sir Poet Lust  Opel - It's Rust 
I Post Result  Eros Pit Slut  Opel Is Trust 
I Spot Result  Otter Slip Us  Pit Toss Rule 
I Stop Result  Otter Is Plus  Super, It Lost 
Tip Toss Rule  Toe Slip Rust   
And a final anagram for Lotus founder, Colin Chapman, himself: 
 Champion Clan 
 OK, OK, I'll stop now...

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Bushings Primer Generally the bushings don't make noise. They might provide a little clunk if they are so far gone that the inner metal tube can reach the bushing holder or that the suspension part is hitting chassis. You would be able to see that the rubber was that deteriorated and be able to move the suspension part with your hand and see the slop.

As a general rule of thumb, if it's a cyclic sound it's something that goes round and round. If it's not cyclic it's something that goes up and down.

If your clicking is cyclic, check the wheel bearings and u-joints. Or check the trans-axle or even engine. If it's only when you're in gear, chances are you rule out the engine. Also, determine the rate of the click. An engine at 1000rpm would click some 16+ times per second. Gear reduction in the transmission would make this much slower at the wheel. So if the click is slower look between the transmission and the wheel.

If it's not cyclic, it will generally depend upon the suspension movement on the car; little while driving straight on a very flat road; lots while on a twisty, bumpy road. Suspension noises generally don't depend upon car speed or gear engaged, so you'd hear them in all gears. Another non-cyclic, though more of a one time noise at startup, are damaged engine and/or transmission mounts. Torquing by the engine can wear on these.

These are rules of thumb for guidance. There may be exceptions. Start with the rules of thumb to get you to one end (wheel or engine (cyclic)/chassis (non-cyclic)) and move towards the other end checking every joint or moving part out. Try jacking the rear up and hand turning the wheel with a quick jerk for cyclic, or just try to shake the wheel for non-cyclic.

Try some of these things out and let us know your findings. The collective wisdom and experience on this list should add up to the knowledge of a good number of master mechanics.

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Transmission I thought of a few more tips that will help you extend the life of your transmission. You may already know these, but many Esprit owners don't:

1) Don't use second gear until the transmission is up to temperature. It has a weak second gear synchro, but it works fine when up to temperature.

2) Don't sit for any length of time with your foot on the clutch - like at a red light. The pilot bearing is not very strong, so should be loaded as little as possible. Charles Seabrook wrote Colin Chapman a letter about this, and the response he got was something like (I'm paraphrasing Charlie's paraphrase) "The bearing is designed sufficiently strong to hold up, so long as the friction plate remains in constant contact with the fly wheel."

3) Change the transmission oil over to a synthetic. Synthetics have more lubricity for a given viscosity.

4) Double-clutch when down shifting. It reduces the wear and strain on everything.

5) Always go into another gear before shifting into reverse.

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Esprit Do's and Don'ts Upon the request of another list member, Dave Hsu was kind of enough to suggest a list of Do's and Don'ts for Esprit ownership. Although some are Esprit V8 specific, many are good advice regardless of what model of Esprit you own:
  • Don't abuse your drivetrain by doing burnouts, hole-shots, nor by rushing the 1-2 shift. This is the price you must pay for owning a car whose engine output has evolved beyond the rest of the drivetrain. 

  • Don't skimp on maintenance. If something needs fixing, fix it now and fix it right. Use the best parts and supplies, and use the best mechanic you can find, even if you have to do it yourself. Remember, if you're buying a 4 year old or older car, plan on changing every fluid in the car (except the A/C Freon and maybe the power steering fluid) unless you know it's fresh. 

  • Do learn as much as possible about the Esprit, and about Lotus. Start by reading everything in the excellent Esprit Fact File (which you are now reading) at: http://www.espritfactfile.com (ed. Thanks for the plug, Dave).

  • Do drive your car regularly. Not only does regular use help keep the car in top mechanical condition, but it gives passersby an opportunity to see of the rarest exotic sportscars, and you an opportunity to answer their questions. We need all the serious Lotus enthusiasts we can get. A Lotus sitting in the garage is an invisible Lotus, and a marque whose products are invisible is a marque which is quickly forgotten. Read the Joe Martz' "Personal Code of Conduct as an Owner of an Exotic Automobile".

  • Do have your timing belt checked frequently. Lotus will provide a tension adjustment every 1 year or 10k miles, but if you drive your car with particular vigor, you should consider paying for extra in- between inspections and adjustments. 

  • Do pay attention to what your car tells you. Listen and feel. Lotus consistently builds the most tactile and visceral road cars in the world, and you must develop the automotive equivalent of body awareness. Nothing is hidden from you. If something feels strange, it probably is. 

  • Do anything possible to improve your driving. For many owners, this will probably the be the first, if not the only, car you own in your lifetime that has no glaring performance inadequacies out of the box, and that you cannot easily improve by buying fancier parts. Those of us who are spending a fortune on upgrades are doing so for incremental improvements and vanity. Only a few, are able to come close to fully and consistently exploiting the car's potential, and still want more. You can, however, buy better training, and should budget accordingly. 

  • Do have your dealer perform the factory ECU upgrade if you're not running the latest firmware and maps. Previous advice notwithstanding. The expense is modest (<$500) and provides the biggest mechanical improvement per dollar you can buy for a '97 or '98 V8.

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Exotic Car Owner's Code of Conduct

Joe Martz (nsxguy@RT66.com) has owned 2 NSX's plus several Italian exotics. He posted this to the Ferrari list and I thought it was worth repeating.

  1. My cars will always be clean and well presentable. I will ensure that my cars are in the highest state of mechanical condition and maintenance. Exotics are indeed rare, and to see one is a special experience. I have an obligation to present these cars to others at a high standard.

  2. I will always be polite, courteous, and friendly. I will not talk down to or ignore anyone, and I will cheerfully answer all questions. Exotic owners wrongly suffer from a "snob" label. By actively and always countering this, I will strive to change this perception among all whom I meet.

  3. Where feasible, I will encourage inspection and observation of my cars. If someone is clean and courteous, I will encourage them to sit in my cars. I will actively encourage photographs. In particular, I will encourage this among younger children. On occasion, I will offer rides to admirers under the appropriate circumstances.

  4. With one exception (see 5, below), I will obey all traffic laws or local traffic customs. Especially, I will pass other cars only in marked, safe passing zones, and I will always respect traffic speeds and noise ordinances within city limits. I will always drive in a defensive manner to protect myself and my vehicle. I will not initiate nor will I respond to challenges to race my cars on open public roads.

  5. Operating my cars as God, Enzo, and Ferruccio (or Colin) intended will occur only on open, rural routes free of heavy traffic or on appropriately designated race courses. On public highways, I will use my highest powers of observation and diligence to ensure that I place myself, my vehicles, and the public in no additional danger. I will be aware of the environment and road conditions, and I will not drive at excessive speeds on unknown or suspect roads. When approaching blind corners or hills, I will assume that an obstacle exists and will take appropriate defensive measures.

  6. I will share my passion and excitement for exotic cars with others through community service and charitable events. I will actively seek out community organizations such as local police departments and schools and offer my cars for use in events such as DARE programs, homecoming parades, pep rallies, etc. Many communities have "Make a Wish" foundations for sick children. If given the opportunity, I will offer a day with myself and my cars to such organizations in an effort to brighten an otherwise trying life for someone less fortunate than I.

  7. I will be honest and open with other enthusiasts, and I will accurately represent my cars to prospective owners and buyers. I will keep complete records, and I will always follow up with purchasers of my cars to ensure that they continue to gain maximum satisfaction and appreciation for cars that I have owned and serviced.

  8. I will always have a smile on my face when inspecting, driving, or showing my cars to others. I will never forget how fortunate I've been to own such automobiles and I will constantly remind myself that the future is uncertain, and that today may be as good as it gets

(© Copyright 1998, Joe Martz)

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S1-S3 Giugiaro Esprit  Facts I know that this Fact File is woefully deficient when it comes to the S1-S3 Giugiaro Esprits. Steve Brightman has come to the rescue by providing the following information.

Basically it's woefully inadequate! A mod was done to better position the rad for cooling, a very early car may not have this done.

Aftermarket A/C systems were often fitted and with them additional cooling fans installed. If you don't have a full array of 4 fans get them fitted, regardless of whether or not A/C is fitted. (my A/C was fitted very unprofessionally, the fuse boxes were left stuffed under the dash. I elected to rewire and relocate the fuses on the rear bulkhead in the front compartment).

I also recommend recoring the radiator in brass vs. the original aluminum.

The otter switch is supplied with a very ineffective spring metal clip to hold it in place. This should be discarded and the switch safety wired in place (careful not to short the contacts).

A radical mod is to replace the rear glass with the turbo style louvers. If this is done the rear carpeting should be replaced with rubber matting (the car is operated with the engine cover removed). You may elect not to do this for aesthetic reasons.

The headlamps on the S1 have only a single motor and a torque tube for driving the other lamp. There are two aluminum "straps" in the mechanism which are easily distorted. They can be replaced with steel equivalents. Vibration of the headlamps can be alleviated somewhat by careful adjustment such that the rubber stop in the motor mechanism is engaged when the lamps are fully raised (otherwise they are free to bounce up further) when going over bumps. In the down position the headlamps encounter a rubber stop. Unfortunately this stop rests against a plywood panel which can rot.

Engine mounts
These are prone to failure, especially on the left side near the exhaust. The usual sources sell upgraded components to replace these.

Subject to the famous red pipe problem. However, rather than replacement the clutch tube can be re-routed on the right side of the engine, away from the exhaust heat. I believe this may also entail a replacement fitting on the slave cylinder.

Engine mods

  • Replace the Strombergs with Dellortos or Webers. (or at least replace the plastic T between the carbs with a metal fitting) If you change the carbs you can also remove the plenum chamber on the air intake. 

  • Recurve the distributor and remove the vacuum advance (or replace the distributor) 

  • Fit a Lucas sport coil. 

  • Replace the fuel pump. 

  • Consider replacing the camshafts with the "E" cams (and sprockets?). 

  • Consider adding electronic ignition - Lumenition or the JAE unit. 

  • If you don't mind modifying the emissions system (let your conscience be your guide): 

  • Replace the air injector rail with small plugs. 

  • Remove the air pump and filter. 

  • Remove the drive pulley from the exhaust camshaft and cap the end of the shaft the same as the inlet side. 

  • If you remove the catalytic converter you will considerably reduce the risk of starting a grass fire! 

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