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Mark Blanchard's 1988

Mark Blanchard from Hammersmith, London owns a 1988 Turbo in Calypso Red, with a Black interior.


Year: 1988
Colour: Calypso Red
Interior: Black
Driving Style: Fast
Miles per year: 2,000 - 4,000
Owned Since: April 2002
Purchase from: Private
Serviced at: Esprit Engineering & Lakeside Engineering
Other Cars: Ford
Previous Lotus': None
Why an Esprit: It's the best car. Wanted one since I can remember.
Upgrades: Have upgraded the wheels to SE Turbo OZ Italia 7 spoke alloys Goodyear GS'A's all round to improve handling. Alloys are 7J X 15 and 8.5J x 16 and tires are front 215/55/15, back 245/50/16.
Problems: Oil leak from drive shaft seals. Steering rack gone. Gear linkage (no reverse gear, now sorted). Oil pressure gauge knackered.

December 1987 Steven's X180, registered in Jan 1988. Car No: 0064 off production line.



My car is an early 1988 X180 Esprit Turbo. It’s done 81,000 with a full dealer service history and in good condition. It’s calypso red with grey leather interior and in original condition.


I have had a passion for the Lotus Esprit for may years. It’s rare, it’s a super car and is massively under-rated. I’ve always liked the Esprit S2 with it’s clean lines, Speedline alloys and black valance, however, have never bought one due to the many worrying stories I’ve heard from owners.

I bought this car in April 2002, knowing it was a more reliable car than the earlier models. It needed some working doing to it including the gear linkage / cable, new disks and calipers and a C service.


For me the best thing about the Esprit is it’s design. The original Esprit was a classic, echoing the trends of the late 60’s and early 70’s concept cars; Masarati Boomerang, Alfa Romeo Carabo and Iguana and Countach LP 400.

By the early 80’s however, the design was looking a mess, with wings, skirts and splitters added to improved performance, which compromised the design.


Stevens updated X180 was a big improvement in 1987 and it’s a great design.

Can’t afford to do anything too wild at the moment, as it’s expensive enough just keeping it on the road. However, have recently fitted Turbo SE wheels and Goodyear GS-A’s tires all round, which has made a massive improvement to the handling and road holding. It was under-steering quite badly with the standard wheels and tires. Also "Leatheriqued" the black leather interior which has made a big improvement.


Did a bit of research into the car recently. Lotus said it was manufactured and release from the factory in December 1987, no 064 off the production line, and registered in early January 1988.


It’s been quite reliable so far, other than a small oil leak, which won’t go away, however much money I throw at it. However, always have a nagging feeling in the back of my mind something more serous will happen, and I’ll have to take out another 3 grand loan. So I make sure I drive it regularly (to stop it all ceasing up), and allow plenty of time for the Turbo to warm up and cool down.


I have recently had a new clutch fitted to the car as the last one was feeling very heavy. While this was being done, I had the red clutch hose upgraded to an SS braided hose and the clutch slave cylinder replaced.

Welding was also carried out to the chassis, as the chassis strut next to the manifold had rusted. This seems to be a common problem on Esprit's, because as the manifold heats up the chassis strut (which is close), and over time the strut's galvanized coating flakes off. Rust builds up as condensation forms (when manifold heats up and cools down). So the engine was removed, to get better access, and a shaped plate was mig welded on. After this a heat resistant paint was sprayed to protect it.



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