'Brother' Nicholas' 1992
Nicholas from London, UK owns a 1997 GT3 in Metallic Silver-Grey, with a Dark Grey leather interior.
GT3 Year: 1997 Colour: Metallic Silver-Grey Interior: Dark Grey Driving Style: “I only have one speed… balls out” Miles per year: Around 5-10,000 depending on weather Bibs has borrowed… Owned Since: April 2004 Purchase from: Richard Monkcom of www.SPORTOMOTIVE.com
(Formerly Haydon Lotus of Salisbury, part of HMM Group, site taken over by Richard to form his own dealership)
Serviced at: Sportomotive (Salisbury) / Sinclairs Motorsport (Romford) Other Cars: Vauxhall Vectra Gsi 2.6 V6 (MY2002) / Vauxhal Zafira GSi 2.0 Turbo (MY2003) / Volvo V70 2.5 Type R (MY2004) Previous Lotus': Lotus Esprit SE (MY1992/3) / 1 Esprit V8-GT (MY1998) / 2 Esprit GT3 (MY1998) Why an Esprit: See below Upgrades:
Problems: See Below! Info:
I think the question now should be, “Why another Esprit?” :-D
Those of you familiar with Pearly’s page will know that it all began there. She was my first Esprit, and I have had the good fortune to own and drive a few others (listed below). I bought Pearly in February 2002 after ten years of dreaming about owning a Peter Stevens styled ‘SE’. Surprisingly, my view has not changed since I wrote the following words about Pearly several years ago when LEW was in its fledgling stage.
Like many of you, my first introduction to the brand was seeing the submarine in The Spy Who Loved Me Bond epic as child. After that, I Lost touch with Lotus until saw the film ‘Basic Instinct’. Only car capable of upstaging Sharon Stone and Julia Roberts (in Pretty Woman) so how could I say no? :-) First instant I assumed it was a Lamborghini (my other supercar passion). Upon realising it was a revised shape Esprit, knew I identified with it perfectly. So the quest began…
In the intervening years, the usual reading of books, collecting the magazines, and playing the ‘Lotus Turbo Challenge’ computer game relentlessly were the status quo, whilst hatching my master plan of saving the cash needed to fund this dream.
… And ten years later, after numerous ‘careers’, one cool but sunny afternoon in February of 2002, I had driven to Haydon Lotus in Salisbury to merely view a car I saw advertised in a small print list in Top Marques. I had no contemplation to make a purchase as my only savings were for a deposit on a house. As I arrived on approach down the Newbridge Road, I saw her unmistakeable shape on the forecourt across a busy carriageway, the pearlescent cream-gold glowing in the setting sun – it was destiny, and the quest was over! Love at first sight. The house had to wait…
I had never seen the notorious ‘Highwing’ version except in one picture and preferred this SE not because of the wing, but because I was astonished to see a car of that era (pre S4 facelift) with less than 20,000 (genuine) miles on the clock and in a rare pearl colour. My Pearly SE was built the same year I left school and I had seen the black SE in the film knowing I had to have one of my own in the same perfect Stevens shape. The chase sequences in the movie made a big impact on me about the cars character and performance, and I was very surprised when I read about the engine with ‘only’ four cylinders. My impression of supercars, like most people’s, was based on at least six to eight cylinder engines.
However, nothing quite prepared me for my first ride in the car. On the first run I was a passenger, and needless to say my eyes bulged for the duration; especially when, on an overtaking manoeuvre the boost came in like the afterburner in a jet engine. The only comparable thing I had ever experienced on road was a two-stroke go-kart when it hits its narrow powerband and it is a case of ‘blast off!’ When it came to have a go myself, I was pretty under confident. The whole package of the power, the driving position and view out is an amazing mix that changes you and the way you drive.
Once you do, there is no better car to own, and no easier car to drive (parking took a while to crack). An Esprit has become, for me, a relationship of self expression rather than another statement of individual preference.
Although always having been into the ‘boy’s toys’, like bikes, aeroplanes and cars, I think my interest in the Esprit verges on an obsession. I think that I may go through many cars in my time, but I will always want to keep an Esprit, even if Lotus come out with a good successor. To me it is the last in the generation of traditional driver’s supercars.
Today, the modern supercar ethos is all about computer controlled enhancement and stability. The Esprit was a car inspired from a raw formula of track racing cars and designed by a man as uncompromising as his creations: The backbone chassis, mechanically dependant balance, and restrictive ergonomics are today not tolerated or excused as people expect cars like this to fit in with the everyday driver’s ideals, as well as provide rollercoaster thrills. The Esprit is a true racers sports car which you, the driver, have to earn the respect of. It’s as close as I’m likely to get to the Lotus 49.
The Esprit is also a car that I find people cannot place in their class prejudices like a Porsche, Ferrari or whatever. It’s not about what it costs; it’s about what it is. There is no stereotypical Esprit driver, you could be anybody. I would go so far as to say in my experience so far, the Esprit brings together some people with a lot of class, as opposed to people of a certain class.
In my time with this car, I have come to appreciate one of the most charming (if often annoying) characteristics of Lotus cars is they come to the owner largely unfinished. I have never seen any other commercially available car with the degree of involvement many owners consider normal for the Esprit, the depth to which owners feel obliged to tinker and personalise.
I have, however, at times when frustration mounts, asked myself why I don’t just buy another comparable but more modern car, like a Porsche or Honda NSX. Even though these are more expensive to buy on the outset, the money I spend on the Esprit modifications equates to similar amounts in the end. There’d be less hassle, less mad spending of money I will never see back, and more time driving rather than tinkering. But each time I have visited other showrooms or flicked through Top Marques, I have never been able to seriously commit to anything but the idea of another Esprit! Those other cars, as nice as they are to look at, don’t touch the emotions or stir the passion as much as this one does.
The only other comparable car I’d really ever actually consider would be a Lamborghini, but I will never be in a position to accept the unreasonable asking price or the high running costs. For the money spent there, I could buy several Esprits or have a large budget left over for mods to enhance the car. Also, I think Lamborghinis are too impractical to own and drive realistically on our roads and in traffic. However, I would like to get an Aston Martin one day, perhaps as a daily car. Like Lotus, they are hand built works of art, an expression of motoring passion rather than perfection.
The story to date:
As time has passed, I was interested in trying the more modern Esprit models and have owned GT3’s and a V8 and driven others. I liked the GT3 the best apart from its lower capacity engine. I felt that version combined with the S4S power would be the best driving combination. The V8 was a great car, but I felt it was let down by the engine which I felt should not have been turbo charged. It is less communicative than the slant-four and the extra weight can be felt in the overall balance of the car. The drivers choice for me would have to be the 4 cylinder.
My view on this inspired me to launch my own projects to modify my cars. This has lead me to some of the most talented people I have met and work has been on-going to push the limits. Project F.G.R.C. is the first and is nearing completion, but still some way off being finished.
1. S350 ultra-light Lotus/OZ Chrono Magnesio wheels(17”/18”)
2. Toyo Proxes T1-R high performance tyres
1. Braided steel hoses
2. EBC pads
1. Braided clutch hose
2. Wilwood master/slave cylinders
3. +25% Valeo Clutch
1. Post MY1998 Lotus V8 short throw shift mechanism
2. Quaiffe ATB Limited Slip Differential.
3. “High Torque” post MY1998 spec Gearbox.
Engine (“RED SONIA”)
(Standard Lotus 2.0 litre Turbo unit replaced by “RED SONIA” by KEMSHER Tuning)
1. Based on revised ‘Zeus’ S4 2.2 litre engine converted with ported/flowed head and increased size valves.
2. Moto-Concept (atmospheric) Blow-Off Valve
3. WC Engineering reworked low friction ceramic ball bearing T3 shell turbo with improved flow characteristics.
4. Custom WCE MEM-cal ECU to match the new engine/turbo characteristics.
(Target power in the region of 380bhp, transient at 400bhp).
5. Uprated primary injectors with improved flow and atomisation over the standard OEM ones, larger secondary injectors.
6. 104 degree inlet pulley for more aggressive low-mid range power.
7. High lift cams with 0.435" lift (compared to 0.380" of the standard)
8. Deeper steel cam followers
9. Uprated head stud kit.
10. Uprated head gasket to obtain 400bhp performance safely.
11. Larger P.U.K “Chargecooler” intercooler.
12. High capacity electric chargecooling pump.
13. K & N sports air filter.
14. LEW Ram-Air conversion.
15. Removed Air-Con compressor.
1. Light weight aluminium tanks with large bore balancing pipe.
1. CAT replacement down-pipe
2. Free-flow custom exhaust.
Lotus Esprit SE (MY1992/3) / 1 Esprit V8-GT (MY1998) / 2 Esprit GT3 (MY1998)
Vauxhall Vectra Gsi 2.6 V6 (MY2002) / Vauxhal Zafira GSi 2.0 Turbo (MY2003) / Volvo V70 2.5 Type R (MY2004)
Break it down!