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1978 Lotus Esprit With Just 5,548 Miles

Lotus Esprit

Thanks to Robert R for this beautiful find. Yes, beautiful, I happen to admire the clean wedge of the Esprit shape! This Esprit was specially ordered back in 1977 and the seller asserts that the gold color is unusual. The less than 6,000 miles is definitely unusual! Currently located in Paramus, New Jersey, the car is advertised here on eBay where bidding currently is at $6,000. The ad tells us that the car has sat for at least 10 years, and that a battery and fuel system cleaning will be required. I’m guessing it will need a hydraulic overhaul as well, and if it’s been sitting that long I wouldn’t even turn the 907 engine over without replacing the timing belt. You may think that the deformation of the front bumper is evidence of an accident; I’ll bet it isn’t as I’ve seen the plastic (foam?) bumpers of Lotus’s of this era deform all by themselves over time. The interior looks nice, although parts may be discolored, and the paint is certainly good enough for now. I’d fix it mechanically, possibly install some of the 907 improvements that have been developed for reliability and drive it!


  1. Grr

    I like a nice early Esprit, too. The original shape without all the doodads was light and clean.

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  2. skloon

    But how many Nautical miles did it do under water ?

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  3. Peter


    Are you suggesting that Hurricane Sandy got this one? If so, what warning signs are you seeing, that I’m missing? His garage doesn’t appear to have been underwater, right?

    To All: weren’t these a turbo-charged engine? That would make me wary, but I have an irrational fear of turbo$. ;-)


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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @ Peter — I believe skloon was talking about the James Bond Esprit/Submarine that Elon Musk recently purchased. Also, the early cars like this one had a naturally aspirated version of the 907 engine; later ones had the turbo version.

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  4. Peter


    Ah…if I were more of a James Bond fan, I’d have known this!

    Thank you for clearing up the turbo issue for me. I have always liked these cars, but not been crazy about them. I think I like them mostly because they’re Lotuses (Loti?) LOL.

    I can still remember pulling up next to one of these–and it looked EXACTLY like this one, but I don’t remember the “S2” graphic. But it was the same color, but I believe it did say “Turbo” on the side of it.

    But it’s good to know there are non-turbo$ out there. For I fear the Turbo’$ bank account-eating potential, what with seized/oil-starved turbo bearings, the lack of “cool down oilers,” etc….

    So again, great post, and thanks for the update!



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  5. Peter


    I “timed out,” trying to find some additional research.

    I’m a HUGE fan of Lotus founder, Colin Chapman’s famous quote:

    “Simplicate and add lightness.”

    In fact, while I couldn’t find it in the wikipedia entry I’m about to link to, being an aviation buff, I seem to recall that Burt Rutan, of “Scaled Composites,” who built the first airplane to FLY AROUND THE WORLD WITHOUT REFUELING (in 1986, and NOT matched since, btw) actually consulted Colin Chapman, in the building of that historic aircraft.

    Here is a wiki on that plane, called “Voyager:”

    Many thanks,


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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @ Peter — cool information! Thanks for sharing! BTW, as a mechanical engineer by training, I have a lot of admiration for both Mr. Rutan and Mr. Chapman :-)

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  6. RockabillyJay

    Pull it out of the garage for pics! How lazy can you be?!?!

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  7. Dolphin Member

    Agree with Rockabilly, when a guy wants money for a car that he can’t be bothered to drag out of a garage for some decent pics, then I can’t be bothered to bid. Too bad that it got scratched up from being in that garage.

    The bumpers are awful, but does anyone have experience with these? I assume they handle as C.C. intended, but are they past the kit car category? Fairly reliable, relatively speaking given they are small-production British?

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  8. DonS

    Hard plastic bumpers can replace the OEM rubber covered foam. I know because I did the conversion on my 1977 John Player Special colored Esprit. I bought it for $3000, made more than a few budget repairs, and then practically stopped traffic every where I drove it. I remember a long line at the local ice cream shop as I pulled into the farthest stall. Nearly then entire line was around my car leaving me a short line for the ice cream. I never should have sold it for $5500.

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