Tony Krncevic's 1978
S1 Year: 1978 Colour: L32 Oxford Blue Interior: Brown/Cream Driving Style: Normal Miles per year: 0 – 1,000 Owned Since: 2007 Purchase from: Private Sale Serviced at: Tony's S1 Emporium" (aka my garage) Other Cars: 1985 Porsche 944, 1987 Jaguar XJ6, 2 other Esprit S1s Previous Lotus': 1977 S1, 1977 S1 Why an Esprit: 'I've wanted one for almost as long as I can remember. Read my answer to this question under my other S1 if you are bored!
It has been a lifelong dream; see description under my red S1.
As for this particular S1, I have been lusting after it since 2001 or so, when its then second owner posted pictures of it on a yahoogroup. I love the combination of dark blue over brown/cream. Also, this car has an excellent service history and working air conditioning. It owes its present day excellent condition to the good care that was taken by its previous owners.
SS brake lines, oil pressure tube, and clutch hose. Urethane bushings, Spax adjustable dampers. Dellorto carburetors (upgrade from federal spec Zenith-Stromberg), large 19-row oil cooler, R134a air con, jet-hot coated manifold and downpipe, SS silencer, engine stabilizer. Headlight, horn, and electric fan wired through relays. Cibie optics. Leather interior (in style of original).
Replacements: Engine rebuild, clutch, clutch hydraulics, brake calipers rebuilt, steering rack, hatch struts, wheel bearings, the usual things you would expect on a well-maintained S1.'
Problems: Lacquer check on nose, speedo and tach needles sticking to lenses, one damaged fan motor, oil leak, and a few small cosmetic issues. I will happily be sorting these things in the coming months! :) Info: I just purchased this car (May 2007). Read about my first driving experience with it here:
Mileage from new: 39,800 as of May 2007
First registered as a new vehicle in 1981 in Oklahoma. This car was part of the leftover inventory of a Rolls Royce dealership that went bankrupt.
A later S1 -- still single headlight and battery on the side, but it has four radiator fans.
I would like to know more about air conditioning in S1s. I have read that AC was not an option on the S1, but I have now seen at least half a dozen LATE S1s (October-December 77 build months) with S2 air con equipment, and they all looked like original factory fitments. As late S1s are known to incorporate a few S2 features (such as headlight motors and battery location), it seems logical to me that factory fitted air con could be another S2 feature that some S1s may have benefited from. If anyone has information one way or the other, I would be happy to hear from you.'
A night with a blue S1
Tony Krncevic, May 2007
First drive in 77090454H
It was a warm night, as most are, in Orlando, Florida. It didn't matter what night of the week it was, as every night seems to be vibrant with activity. The streets were misty from a recent rain, and flowed with the energy and motion of residents and tourists alike. We were not there, however, for the usual tourist attractions.
The key slipped crisply into the ignition. Choke lever up, two pumps of the accelerator pedal, a twist of the key, and the 16-valve Lotus engine rumbled to life behind my shoulder, wheezing through the super-rich mixture from the chokes.
The Pektron chime buzzed from somewhere under the dashboard, reminding me to fasten my seat belt. No need, as I always do.
In the darkness of the Esprit's small cabin, I am overcome by the aroma of the leather. I pause a moment; I could sit here and take it in for hours.
A flick of a switch floods the interior with golden light. Brown and creme leather surrounds me, while the slender chrome border trim glimmers quietly. A look around, and everything is in place. The S1 interior, which I am so familiar with, looks especially inviting in these colors.
Another switch raises the lights, and the instrument panel glows a soft green. A check of the gauges: oil pressure is good and the temperature needle is beginning to creep out of its resting position. I slowly lower the choke lever, and the engine settles to a lopey but ready idle.Out into the night we go. The engine quickly warms up to operating temperature. The S1 is ready and pulls strong in all gears throughout the rev range. There is a certain immediacy with the road I am not used to: This one's front suspension has been lowered an inch, and the difference of both the view and the feel from the driver's seat is like being thrust forward and to the ground. I am thus constantly reminded, making me extra cautious around bumps and potholes.
The sport exhaust is loud. The windows are rolled up, but the resonance under acceleration invades the cabin from seemingly all around. Under full throttle it is like a song, so welcome, so sweet, so right. Under lighter pedal, however, it is the jackhammer outside of your office window, or the loud party guest who won't leave.
The headlights flutter over the brick streets as hazy streetlights and willowy outlines of trees pass overhead in the darkness, silent above the echoing howl of the engine. This is standard S1 fare: The perfection of the experience is spoiled by the fluttering lights, resonances (exacerbated by this car's exhaust), and, in this car's case, a few squeaks and rattles.
But that's okay. Some people call it "character", and say that all exotic cars have it. For me it is a reminder that this is no ordinary car, and to make something so light and agile, you have to give up a little in the area of teutonic bank vault feel.
Turning on to I-4, the fluttering and creaking are quickly forgotten -- 60 mph comes quickly as the S1 rips through its first two gears. It seems to tear through third with equal alacrity, and suddenly all of the other cars are quickly falling behind. Oops, a little fast. This one moves out nicely.
I settle into fifth, and the S1 charges ahead, firm, comfortable, and surefooted. I smile and relax. Aaahhh, it is indeed a Lotus. As the streetlights and tail lights blur past me, I am in control, and every sensation is just so . . . right.
We arrive at our hotel all too soon. As we pull up to the entrance, people stop and look. I understand; It is hard not to. I climb out and walk toward the entrance, but turn around to admire the car, just as the others have done. The dark blue lacquer is subtle and sleek in the radiance of the lobby's glass doors. The lights shining down from the canopy dance across the car's low, pointed form, searching for subtleties of Giugiaro's design that are normally lost in the brighter colors.
I walk back to the car. Patty has the camera in her bag. I ask her to take a picture. This was our first night with 454H. We were borrowing it tonight. The next morning, a bank check and a hand shake later, it would be ours.