Friday, September 18, 2015

White Knight: 1978 Lotus Esprit S1

You'd have to be brain dead to not love Giorgetto Giugiaro's Series 1 Lotus Esprit -- its polygonal folded paper design is drop dead gorgeous and beyond reproach. It is also extremely affordable compared to similar era supercars like a Lamborghini Countach or Porsche 911 Turbo.  It may have something to do with small inline-4 cylinder engine tucked under the stylish sheet metal fiberglass, but going slow is cool these days...right?  Find this 1978 Lotus Esprit S1 offered for $14,000 in Miami, FL via craigslist.  Tip from Greg.

The Series 1 Esprit was such a cool looking car when it was released in 1976 that it was even used by James Bond in the 1977 thriller The Spy Who Loved Me.  As far as Bond films go, The Spy Who Loved Me might not have been the best acted/scripted/directed one but it was clean and simple in its Bondness...sort of the same way the early Esprit is clean and simple.  No need for fancy ground effects and giant wings, just clean styling and good handling.

In the middle of the Esprit you will find a Lotus type 907 4-banger mated to a 5-speed manual trans-axle.  The torqueless wonder is a 2.0 liter DOHC 16-valve all alloy engine that pushes out something around 144 horsepower, but isn't known for low end grunt.

See a cooler S1 Esprit that hasn't been to the bottom of a lake?


  1. Aside from Mrs. Ringo (hubba hubba) that S1 is the best character in the entire flick. Roger Moore may have made for a passable saint but his Bond always lacked bite.

  2. "small inline-4 cylinder engine tucked under the stylish sheet metal"
    Oh I think the only sheet metal near the engine is protecting the garage floor from oil.
    The Lotus type 907 is a lovely engine, as long as the sundry fluids stay where they are supposed to be. The ones prone to infant death syndrome are long gone now.
    These look really nice in white

    1. Yeah, isn't the body fiberglass?

    2. I think with any Lotus of that design and construction (fiberglas body on a mild-steel backbone frame) you look for frame corrosiion, not body.

  3. Does it have slight water damage... ?

    could be a keeper...


  4. from the ad
    "He passed away 12 years ago and his wife stored the car under a tarpaulin in her carport and never started or moved it. "

    12 years under a tarp outdoors in Miami? Isn't there an ocean full of saltwater near there? That occasionally has hurricanes and floods as well as being a source of salt mist?
    Never mind what 12 years of whatever coolant is in the engine acting as an easy way for the iron and aluminium ions to visit each other.

    Still looks pretty though.

  5. Man, the best thing about this particular car is the interior. And they didn't even show a pic of it in the ad!


  6. Dang that seems cheap for something I could easily use to live out my fantasy of having a bunch of 70's style photoshoots with some local dancers, then park it in the garage to roll out on summer days and just sit next to adoring the simplicity of it all. I suppose after a year of that I'd find a way to swap in an S2000 F20 motor or something similar and then take it out for an actual drive. These look so good in white.

  7. I will note there's been a couple Duratec-powered Esprits done:

    It would seem to be a nice engine for the conversion, a little smoother, a little more grunt particularly in 3-liter form.


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