Mark Tate's 1984
Tate from Northriding, Johannesburg, South Africa owns a 1984 Turbo in
Metallic British Racing Green,
with a 2 Tone Tan & Brown Leather / Vinyl interior.
Turbo Year: 1984 Colour: Metallic British Racing Green Interior: 2 Tone Tan & Brown Leather / Vinyl (To change at some stage..) Driving Style: Careful Miles per year: 0 – 1,000 Owned Since: July 2005 Purchase from: Crestwood Classics, Fourways, JHB Serviced at: Will do some tinkering and the small stuff myself - Still need to find a decent mechanic. I wouldn't trust the guy who was recommended to me to fix a wheel barrow! Other Cars: 1977 Fiat X1/9 (Completely Restored - and 4 Sale - No Space), 1x Mini Panel Van, Full Custom Job - Massive Sound, Race Engine etc... 1x Mini Clubman (Same ultra spec as van and my daily run about. Has almost the same power to weight ratio, 90BHP, as Esprit and is great at traffic lights. Have outrun a BMW M3 :)) and the trusty sensible (wife's) family car - Mercedes Benz A-Class (But with a full AMG conversion, full suspension and tuning tweaks etc... Previous Lotus': Had a Lotus 7 replica for a while. Does this count? If not - No. Why an Esprit: Can't find or afford a Countach? - Not really - I've wanted an Esprit since I was eight years old. Got a really cheesy pic of me sitting in a Black S2 at my Uncle's wedding reception in England, just before the family emigrated to South Africa in 1981. Memory seems to have stuck. Had a poster of an Essex on my wall when I was a kid and always vowed I'd get the real thing one day. Wanted a Porsche 911SC a few years ago and was not impressed with it at all. Killed that idea rather quickly. Was on the market for a Ferrari 308GT4, which was the only exotic I could swing past the wife - 4 seats, so my five year old daughter could sit in the back. The Minister of Finance (Wife), put the brakes on that one soon enough! "You're NOT getting a Ferrari!!!" reverberated in my ears for a while. Took a while, but stuck to Plan A and finally got myself my Lotus. (Hope she never reads this article because she'll find out soon enough that the maintenance costs ae going to be horrific - All part of the fun I suppose... Upgrades: Only bought the car four weeks ago so no replacements. Yet. Have spent a fair amount of time cleaning and polishing my new toy. Spent about 3 beers a wheel rim polishing the damn things... Did take off about ten years of corrosion though... In for a Cambelt change soon enough. Just being cautious. And installing a Fire Extinguisher. Have had ONE engine fire in an old X1/9 and have always had preventative measures since. Will be tackling the interior first. Someone's used cheapo vinyl to recover the seats and centre consol. Not a bad job but not quite up to scratch. Will be keeping car as original as possible though... Problems: Have only done 450 miles and has suffered the indignity of being pushed out of my garage twice. (Won't start) Neighbours had a good laugh about this - Bastards! Something's draining the battery. Could be the ICE installation. Think? CD shuttle is drawing continuous current. VERY STRONG smell of petrol on the way home from my baby's first run. Got the car home and had a quick look. Screws on top of carbs loose and wet with fuel, fuel lines loose - in fact everything I touched with a screwdriver or spanner was loose!!! Suprised nothing has fallen off/caught fire/exploded! - 'slightly' worrying... Will be spending quality time this weekend doing up ALL the nuts and bolts properly. And trying to trace oil leaks. This thing leaks more oil than my Mini's - which is a lot!!! Oh the joys........ Info: I've been a regular visitor to this site for quite a while and have read & printed every article. One article buried deep somewhere is about the Unofficial Johannesburg Esprit Club. While organising insurance, I contacted one of the members on the list, Nick Young. Helluva nice guy and unofficial events organizer. Firm believer in rapid cross country events!!! Never driven that quickly before. Now I know why most of the cars had no number plates. The club is a motley collection of Lotus and TVR owners who like to give their cars a bit of stick. One member has 5 Esprits (Lucky sod). While restoring my X1/9 a few years ago, I hunted down the last windscreen in the country. I beat this chap to the supplier by a few hours. He got my number, we got chatting and eventually met up for a beer and to organise another windscreen. Met at his place and saw his impressive collection of Esprits. He won't admit it, but I'm sure he has central heating in his workshop (Ever seen a pic of the McClaren F1 workshop? That's what his place looks like - surgically clean). So thanks Joe - for hammering in the final nail in the coffin to Lotus ownership. May it be a long and reasonably happy one with not too much open wallet surgery required.
Only done 1200km in almost a year of ownership. Been in and out of the workshop for about seven months, waiting for parts and fixing one fault after another. Whoever (and I know who you are) did the work on this car should be shot.
Minor oil leaks became major oil leaks. The cam tower ‘O’ rings failed – Started dripping on the manifold, causing lots of smoke and panic. Pulled onto the side of the road with smoke billowing out the back. Thought the car had caught fire. (fire extinguisher now installed). Rear main oil seal went. Gearbox out to change it. Of course it contaminated the clutch plate, so new one of those as well. While it’s out, pressure plate, bearings, flywheel, syncros etc... Why stop there. Got a service kit from Steve at SJ (and everything else) – New filters, carb kit, HT leads, plugs, dizzy caps etc. Since the back of the car’s in pieces, it would be rude not to send a bunch of stuff off to get powdercoated. Bright red turbo induction system adds a bit of sparkle to the engine bay. Everything that was taken off the car was cleaned and polished then put back together using new yellow/gold galvanized nuts, bolts and washers. My mechanic really does take pride in his work and is sort of treating my car as a restoration project. Just damn slow.
Electrics. Oh dear. Where to start. Starter motor rebuilt, alternator rebuilt, new fans, but still getting a fan fail warning light and tripping somehow. Headlights work when they feel like it. No taillights or side lights. Fuse boxes have been replaced with a new pull out type, but the existing wiring has been bodged so badly, it’s an electrical fire waiting to happen. I’ll probably replace the whole lot for safety and reliability sake, modern relays, systems etc... Battery is constantly draining, so fitted a battery cut out switch. Works well and happy with the installation.
Busy refurbishing the boot area with new carpet and have stolen Troy Halliday’s boot cover idea. Should be finished this weekend with a bit of luck.
Still to do:
Brakes are pathetic – booster’s packed up or something (Just remembered clutch master and slave cylinders have been replaced)
Sort out the gear linkage properly.
Engine out at some stage – Bit of a bearing knock to get sorted, so might as well get the whole lump re-built.
New suspension bushes all round. Getting polyurethane ones made. Will dismantle the entire suspension, refurbish as necessary, powder coat and yellow/gold galvanize the bits that I can. Should look good when finished and will hopefully get id of the list to the passenger side when done.
Still need to re-do the interior. Pics are a bit flattering – doesn’t look as good in the flesh. That’s going to have to wait until after the engine’s sorted.
Not much else to do, apart from ripping apart the entire car and doing a nut and bolt restoration.