Ready To Drive: 1987 Lotus Esprit Turbo

Time is running out for this 1987 Lotus Esprit Turbo, and the reserve remains unmet at the moment. The details look mostly right with this classic Bond car, from the black-0n-tan paint scheme to the mesh wheels that fill out the fenders. The Esprit is a known quantity in the collector car world, but it hasn’t ascended the ranks of vintage sports car royalty quite like the classic Porsche 911 has. The seller’s car is supposedly very well maintained, benefitting from a costly engine-out service to chase down a water leak that led to a complete engine reseal. Find the Lotus here on eBay where bidding has crested $18,000 but the reserve remains unmet.

The Esprit is the quintessential 1980s sports car. The wedge shape, pop-up headlights, rear window louvers, and deep-dish wheels – well, it all comes together perfectly in the Esprit. I’ve always wondered why these aren’t more sought after for this reason alone, as plenty of enthusiasts buy vehicles based purely on aesthetics and not much else. Fortunately, the Esprit also packs a respectable punch in the form of a mid-engined turbocharged mill. Beginning in 1986, both the turbocharged and naturally-aspiratedd engines increased their respective outputs thanks to higher compression, resulting in a healthy 215 b.h.p. in cars like this one.

The seller’s car seems closer to a driver-quality example than Concours, which could be holding back bidders. I’ve learned over the years that when it comes to certain cars, buyers are only willing to trade real money for the best of the best. With regards to the Lotus, if $30,000 buys you one of the best Esprits on the market, it may be hard to justify $20,000 for one that has needs. This Esprit isn’t overly needy, but you can tell the interior isn’t pristine with signs of wear and age present on the seating surfaces and center console. The seller notes that with the exception of the turbo boost gauge, all electronics work, a major concern in any British car.

Now, cosmetic concerns aside, the major selling point of this Esprit is the scale of maintenance addressed by the seller. Photos show the in-progress shots of the engine-out service, which apparently rang in at $10,000 when all was said and done. New parts installed at this time included the water pump, timing belt, v-belts, and hoses, along with a rebuilt fuel injection system, new injectors, new transmission shift linkage bushings, new clutch, and new clutch master. This is in addition, of course, to the whole engine being resealed. With that work done, it would seem this Esprit has a good shot at being largely reliable for the time being, certainly long enough to focus on refurbishing the interior while you enjoy the fruits of the seller’s labor.


  1. alphasud Member

    That’s way too much anaerobic sealer on that oil sump. The reason most pass on the Lotus is the 4 pot mill. I certainly did when I drove a 88 turbo. Yea it handled and stopped like a super car but it lacked the sounds of an Italian super car. I got back into my Alfa Romeo Verde at the end of the day and smiled when I took that Busso V6 to its redline.

    Like 4
  2. Mikefromthehammer

    Current bid $29,100 with the reserve not yet met!!!

    “A fool and his money….”

    I like this car but not the price. Jeff says $30K buys you one of the best Esprits on the market.

    Like 1
  3. Racer3344

    Show me one of the best G-Body Esprit Turbos for $30,000 please. The great ones go for mid 40s and up. More than that in Europe. This one is not one of the great ones, and the bid reflects that.

    Like 1
  4. Racer417

    Show me one of the best G-body Turbos for $30,000 please. The best ones bring mid 40s and up, and much more in Europe. This car’s bid reflects the market on a driver-quality example.

  5. David Brassfield

    Lot’s of fun, but hard to drive if you don’t have small feet!

    Like 1
  6. chrlsful

    usually a build or maintenance run of pic is to seal the question deal. Here it opens more – copious amts of sealer=some in places U don’t want it; the outside line on R/L sides of block look like warpage?

  7. Howie Mueler

    I have always liked these, $30,100 now with the reserve still not met. Did you see the light bar collection in the garage?

    Like 1
  8. Mark

    Great looking car but needs a new crate V8, even a Chevy would do I guess.

    Like 1
  9. Bill the Engineer

    Wasn’t it James May that said that Lotus stands for “Lots of trouble, usually serious.”

    Like 2
    • Paul T Root

      I believe James did say that. Also, the Lotus he bought was the only one that didn’t break on the ill-faited Patagonia trip.

      Like 1

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