1977 Lotus Esprit S1: Spy Gear Not Included


This 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 has been listed here on eBay for awhile. They’ve lowered the price from $30,000 to $19,995, but it still seems overpriced. (I thought these sold for $10k or less) It’s been a long time since that Jame bond film and I don’t think this one has rockets or any of Mr. Bonds cool toys. I don’t think a condition one car would sell for this much, but this one has been sitting since 1997 and is a survivor, well sort of. It’s very original except it was originally yellow. It certainly needs a new front bumper and a windshield, and the paint has the usual blemishes, but otherwise it looks pretty nice. One would want to carefully examine the fiberglass body for cracks and damage, of course, and the frame for rust. It is leaking oil, perhaps from the cam seals or other interesting places. So, am I missing something here? Is there an extra zero on the price? The speedometer was replaced when it was showing 23k miles, but that could be 123k, and the new one is showing 400 miles. The seller is a dealer and he’s had it 3 years, so surely he must want to sell it. Is there someone out there who appreciates this and can negotiate a reasonable price? What do you think this Lotus is actually worth?




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  1. DonS

    I had a ’77 about 12 years ago. It had similar needs when I bought it for $4500. I replaced the carpet and patched seats. Repaired leaks and tuned the engine and other mechanical repairs. Replaced the bumpers with some ABS ones and polished everything. She was my stunner for a couple of years until I sold her for $7500. I can’t imagine this one fetching $20,000, but it will sell for far more than I bought mine.

  2. Doyler

    Always wanted an NA S1. There aren’t many but this seems steep. Shrug

  3. DonS

    Photo of my car explained above. They are sexy and will draw a crowd.

    • Doyler

      That is indeed a sexy car. Original paint?

      • DonS

        Yes, original paint. She polished up well even with the usual hairline cracks.

  4. Dolphin Member

    I have never driven one of these, but I wouldn’t value this one as highly as the seller does.

    I have wondered what the later V8 version would be like to own. I’m guessing the V8 would be much better than this 4-cylinder version, but can anyone with experience driving both versions comment?

  5. Clay Bryant

    Always liked the looks of these,especially the John Players Edition but what gets my beef is the $145 dollar DOC fee.I know a lot of dealers get away with this because they know they can.I was a dealer for years and always was happy someone came thru the door and bought a car from me.I was smart enough to leave some room for “extras” without having to tell the person afterwards “Now I’m going to have to add on……………..” I guess that’s the Nebraskan in me although I know the DOC fees are added on in a lot of places in my state because “they know they can”………………………….

  6. CAR GUY

    Pricing is a little steep, put in reasonable offer ( not 20,000 for sure) , but it was rejected.
    Curious to see if it will sell.

    • Doyler

      I suspect this guy is doing his best to test the upper limits of the market

  7. mbell666

    Without doing any research I think a driver one of these is in the 20-30k range. Which means this car doesn’t make a lot of sense and I think the fact it not sold is the market speaking.

    An Esprit is next on my Loti list if I can get the wifey to remove the 1 play car limit I have. Like Dolphin wondering about the v8 S4 version as I like the styling of the newer models but can’t help thinking an older S1/S2 might be more enjoyable driving experience (driving a slow car fast is more fun than driving a fast car slow…)

    • John H.

      Mbell, here is how to get rid of that pesky one car limit your wife put on you.

      You start telling her if you ever were to buy another car in the future it would be “X”. But make sure you have the conversation with her when she is occupied with something else, but on a day where you can remind her of the conversation in the future. Six months later, buy the car you want and arrange to have it delivered to the house. Before it comes, ask her if she will be home to take delivery. Remind her of the conversation and how she was OK with it six months before. She will be flummoxed but not be able to refute you. A year later for your next car, think of something she might like as well as you. Give this one to her (for you as well) on Valentine’s day or Christmas as a surprise.

      Think this won’t work?? I’m currently procuring my fourth car, #2 and #3 procured with the above method!

  8. Chris A.

    What number wife John H?

  9. John H.

    #2; that is in order of marriage. not current condition.

  10. Ian wilkinson

    S1’s are starting to get silly, you could get a s2 for $20,000 or a non turbo s3 but not a good s1. The colour doesn’t help with this one.

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