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Turbocharged Driver: 1985 Lotus Esprit

This 1985 Lotus Esprit Turbo has been nicely refreshed by its current owner who has seemingly done the work necessary to bring it back to reliable running condition. Now, it only has 63,000 miles on the clock but common sense says that a vintage British sports car like this needs plenty of preventative care. The bodywork looks quite nice and the original Turbo graphics are still present. It rides on the correct BBS wheels with new tires and the interior has recently been refurbished. Find the Lotus here on eBay with the current bid sitting at $25,000.

The interior is one of the first places you notice neglect in a vintage Lotus. The upholstery seems to break down after just a brief period of neglect. Unlike cars like the Mercedes-Benz W123 series which has absolutely indestructible material like MBTex, the Esprit of this period has very sensitive upholstery. Plus, the leather surfaces extend to the armrest and the door panels, so even a decent Esprit on the outside can look like total garbage in the cockpit. The seller notes that the air conditioning equipment is installed but it does not work at present.

The seller claims that since buying the Esprit out of Canada, he has focused on refurbishing the engine and gearbox. Some of the work includes, “…new clutch, clutch slave cylinder, stainless steel clutch line, GOETZ head gasket, ARP head studs, refurbished water pump, new cam/auxiliary belts, fresh battery, fresh oil and filters throughout. I have also fitted green dot cam pulleys that give better low down torque.” As a result, he includes this picture that shows the engine displayed near-perfect compression on a recent leak-down test.

The Esprit Turbo wears great colors with gold decals and striping over red paint, with gold BBS-style wheels to match. With the Lotus parked at what looks like a recent Radwood show, it becomes abundantly clear that the Esprit should sit high on the must-buy list for anyone seeking out a 1980s performance icon. If the air-cooled 911 market has you depressed, a car like the Lotus Esprit Turbo represents a great value with no loss in style or rarity, and still packing very respectable performance. Where do you suppose bidding will end up on this British exotic?


  1. David

    I grew up around two of these cars and therefore was a sort of enthusiast during high school. When many kids yearned for exotics with six-figure price tags, I was sufficiently awed by the Esprits I saw daily.

    My neighbor had this same year Turbo in the same color combination. For some reason my most vivid memory is breaking the collapsible cupholder that was mounted strangely inside the door panel.

    That being said, I’m no expert but I believe the gold stripe package should be paired with wheels that have gold spokes. That struck me as very odd for this particular car.

    Am I correct or is memory getting the best of me?

    Like 1
    • Richard Martin

      According to the text above, the car does have gold wheels but they are clearly silver in the photos – excellent photos by the way.
      The blemishes in the body appear to be confined to the clear coat which should be fairly easy to put right.
      Really nice car but I could lose the gold decals on the side.

      Like 3
  2. drew

    A feature story on BAT also covers the owners purchase and refurbishment of this car. Say what you will about Lotus, mid-engine was the way to go and is proven in today’s performance cars.

    Like 3
  3. Frank Sumatra

    Such a great looking car. Forgive me for repeating the story about living near a medical office complex and seeing two (Two!) of these beauties parked in front of an office everyday. Maybe owned by the folks collecting the rent, but it still impressed me.

    Like 2
  4. Frank D Member

    Nice clean Lotus! The best part its in one piece and running.

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