1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo
Produced from 1980–87, the Lotus Turbo Esprit is a forgotten gem in the classic exotic market. Beloved by both James Bond and (guessing here) Inspector Gadget, it offers excellent performance for modern roads, huge curb appeal, and rarity without expense.
Consider the old adage: fast, cheap, reliable-pick any two. The majority of people opt for the latter attributes, and end up with an old Civic or Camry. The well-heeled crack open their wallets and splash out on something like a Porsche 911 Turbo. The Esprit, as with most vintage cars of British manufacture, is generally considered to have the lasting build quality of a block of Wensleydale cheese. But hey you there, with the grease under your fingernails... care to roll the dice? Its British!
Among the earliest of Giorgetto Giugiaro's "folded paper" designs, the original 1976 S1 Esprit is a classic and unfussy wedge. This 1988 version holds true to that design evolving over time to this more rounded version of Giorgetto's vision. All bathed in red, the body is composite material, showing in crack free form, and just a few faults in the paint can be seen throughout. Black tinted windows and a slight hint of a gold stripe and with the black and gold badging harkens back to the old F1 JPS Lotus Special race cars. Sleek design emulates the more expensive Italian sports cars, but this car can be maintained at a fraction of the cost. Plus, you will not have to go out and buy a mustache trimmer and a bevy of Hawaiian shirts to go with those Ferrari repair bills!
Swinging the leather tan trimmed doors we now have access to the cockpit which is also adorned with tan leather. Sleek and simple design buckets emulating the "paper folded design" are trimmed in two tone tan leather (light and dark) and have a central console that bleeds late 1980's design. A black and tan square and rectangle designed dash fronts the Italian inspired seats and houses all the essentials needed to monitor the mechanicals and provide creature comforts to the passengers. Tan carpeting floods the floors and the rear section of the cockpit and is looking mostly clean. A pop-up roof which is also removable is noted up top and is covered in tan felting.
In October of 2020 the Turbo on this 2.2 liter mill was rebuilt. At this time new spark plugs and intake manifold gaskets were also installed. At the 36K mile mark a new clutch, new pressure plate and throw out bearing were replaced. This engine is fed by a Bosch KE Jetronic EFi system and has a 5-speed manual transmission on back. 4.375 is the final drive ratio.
Fully independent suspension all around, inboard rear disc brakes, and plenty of covering ground effects panels rust free, can be seen underneath. The front sports disc brakes too, and a trio of electric fans is upfront keeping things cool.
A quick starter, and great acceleration pushed me back into those simple paper fold design seats. All functions were working just fab, and all was well within ergonomic reach for my size. It handled like it was on rails, and also provided a nice comfortable cruise.
With consigner replacing timing belts at an earlier maintenance interval (29K), and some of the recent (10/2020) newer replacements, the drivetrain is now back to reliable status. It is bathed in nice red and its low and sleek design emulates the Italian's successes. In short, the beauty of the Esprit Turbo is that it offers something precious without being costly. Its price is within reach of the average enthusiast. Its mechanical simplicity rewards the hobbyist mechanic who blends optimism and a bit of research. And, with a bit of due diligence, one can be a faithful road companion. Fast, cheap, reliable. You can't have everything, but for those who are willing to put the effort in, you can have something pretty special.
2-Heater & AC
0-2.2L Turbo 4cyl
H-Hethel Assy Plant
F-50 State Chassis
6-50 State Engine
2088-Sequential Unit Number
Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special interest automobile showroom, featuring over 600 vehicles for sale with showroom space for up to 1,000 vehicles. Also, a 400 vehicle barn find collection is on display.
This vehicle is located in our showroom in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, conveniently located just 1-hour west of Philadelphia on the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike. The website is www.classicautomall.com and our phone number is (888) 227-0914. Please contact us anytime for more information or to come see the vehicle in person.