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Pete Hizzey's 2002

Pete Hizzey from Toulouse, France owns a 2002 V8 in Lazer Blue, with a Black interior.

Model:

V8
Year:
2002
Colour:
Lazer Blue
Interior:
Black
Driving Style:
Normal
Miles per year: 4,000 – 8,000
Owned Since:
2007
Purchase from:
Private
Serviced at:
Sportomotive, Marcassus Auto
Other Cars:
TVR S
Previous Lotus':
None, just jump in at the deep end :-)
Why an Esprit:
I had always promised myself a mid-engined supercar with the underlying idea that it would probably be red with a 'dancing donkey' on the front. An F355 looked like a candidate until I researched known problems and local servicing costs. About the same time I discoved LEW and the Esprit V8. Here was something that just looked so right and any further thought of Ferrari evaporated immediately.
Upgrades: The car wasnt 'standard' from day one as it was supplied with the OZ Magnesio wheels from the Sport 350.
Other than that the first change so far was the rear suspension bushes - the top link inner ones that are between the turbos and cats were comprehensively cooked. All replaced now with polybushes from PUK.
Problems:
Did suffer from the broken boot floor problem around the chassis mount. Sportomotive did a superb repair and all is now solid.
Info:
It turns out that this car is somewhat better known than I ever imagined - especially when I discovered the video of 'the Stig' driving it.

  

Now that the geometry and suspension bushes are done the car is so much better, both dynamically and visibly. There was so much rear camber that it was like the only thing I could see when looking at the car. In any case I am sure that 3,5° of camber would have scrubbed the rear tyres in very short order!

So, what's it like living with an Esprit?

After 3000km I can honestly say that I dont like the handbrake, all the rest is just great but the handbrake is awkward. For me the most noticeable thing about the V8 is the power delivery. My only experience of the 4 cylinder models was with an S4s which could best be described as having a somewhat non-linear power curve varying between 'ho-hum' and 'OMG' and kick in the back as the turbo suddenly spooled up. The V8 (or most likely, the ECU) doesnt have the same sudden kick but what is more like a wave of torque that just seems to pull harder and harder as the revs rise - an almost turbine like delivery. I feel more comfortable driving the V8 in the rain than I would the S4s as that Jeckel and Hyde peak in the power curve is not there. That said, you are going to be short shifting in the wet and only letting those turbos have just the slightest sniff of gas when exiting corners. This V8 revs very easily, no doubt due to the light flywheel and the fact that a flat-plane crank needs less dynamic balancing weights, give it a wet road and heavy right foot and it WILL happily demonstrate this fact....me, I prefer reversing when in reverse gear.

The other side effect of this combination of rev-happy V8, an undamped twin plate clutch and the handbrake (did I mention that I dont like the handbrake......) is that you can guarantee that you will stall it (several times) in the first few weeks. Rest assured that this is most likely to happen when there is an audience who will tut and think to themselves "should learn to drive before buying a something like that".
In any case this car is chalk and cheese to TVR. The only points in common are British and fibreglass. Notice that I havent said 'slightly dodgy electrics' because its not true of either. The only electrical problem with the Esprit was that the battery in the remote keyfob died - fortunately at home.
Well maybe there is another common point. "What is it?", "Who makes TVR/Lotus?", "Never seen a Ferrari this colour before", "Is that a Lamborghini?". Dont worry, you'll get used to it, along with all the people who will stop and take photos.

Life in a rural area with a car this low only means one thing - gravel rash. Fortunately the previous owner gave me a tin of touch-up paint because the front spoiler seems to attract gravel off these country roads like a magnet. It has now become a monthly ritual and I am seriously thinking about one of those film protection products for the front. Parts of the car are already protected as supplied but in my case, rather more is needed.

OK then, there are a few trivial 'issues' with the Esprit V8 but if I had to sum it up in one sentence.....

"It doesnt feel like this car accelerates..... it feels more like someone has grabbed hold of the horizon and has thrown it at you".

What more can you ask from a supercar?

Running costs
June 2008
There are many comments about the costs involved in running a V8. I have finally sorted out all the service records, invoices etc to create a table of what was changed when. Hopefully this will give some guide as to the longevity of various parts and approximate costings for typical services.

Certainly a 4 cylinder Esprit is not going to be as expensive for some items, notably the clutch which is a fairly special twin-plate unit. Note that any Lotus part described as ‘special’ is going to have a serious price tag even before you start adding labour.

Date

Miles

Description

Cost : Euro

3/02

1500

1st service

209

6/02

6000

Service (no invoice but nothing special mentioned)

300

11/02

12979

Service + Pads

1215

5/03

18000

Service + Pads

1147

5/03

18340

4 tyres

1012

12/03

23657

Fr disks + Pads

2900

1/04

24859

Service + Cambelts

1160

3/04

29767

Clutch , ARB Bushes + Exhaust

6910

4/05

36585

Ball joint, Trackrod End, Transmission seals, Fr pads

1443

6/06

39694

Service

330

5/07

Wheel refurbished, (magnesium – paint and lacquer)

1450

7/07

44934

Service, Cambelts, tensioners, Aux belt, water pump + Trackrod end

2519

10/07

46287

Exhaust, EGR pipe, Rear body mount repair

1525

11/07

47606

Rear suspension PU bushes, toplinks unseized, battery

300

6/08

48050

Transmission seals, seized RHS wastegate, transmission oil

250

Total

22,670

Overall this has come out to approx 0,50 Euro/Mile. There would certainly have to be other expenses to add as I’m sure the tyres have been changed more than once!

Many of these jobs are not going to be so different on a 4 cylinder model as the only real difference is the motor. The majority of the work has been done by Lotus main dealers and some by independent specialists. The final two I have done myself (hence the bargain prices).

I cant see anything special to comment about regarding the service life of parts and there doesn’t appear to have been any nasty surprises either.  Having researched other owners comments about what was changed and when, most the items covered here seem to fall within the norm for a V8.

Running costs
Autumn 2012

Having reached the point of five years of ownership it was time to update all the maintenance costs. Interestingly, since the first list I discovered (indirectly from LEW) that my engine had been rebuilt by Lotus at around 23k due to liner issues. As the motor is one of the later production it already had the better sealant but probably also had some production error issue. In any case, it’s still OK.

Hopefully this will give some guide as to the longevity of various parts and approximate costings for typical services.
Certainly a 4 cylinder Esprit is not going to be as expensive for some items, notably the clutch which is a fairly special twin-plate unit. Note that any Lotus part described as ‘special’ is going to have a serious price tag even before you start adding labour.

Date

Miles

Description

Cost : Euro

Mar 2002 1500 1st service 209
Jun 2002 6000 Service (no invoice but nothing special mentioned) 300
Nov 2002 12979 Service + Pads 1215
May 2003 18000 Service + Pads 1147
May 2003 18340 4 tyres 1012
Nov 2003 23K Liners replaced and re-sealed by Hethel. Possible assembly problem from new?  
Dec 2003 23657 Fr disks + Pads 2900
Jan 2004 24859 Service + Cambelts 1160
Mar 2004 29767 Clutch , ARB Bushes + Exhaust 6910
Apr 2005 36585 Ball joint, Trackrod End, Transmission seals, Fr pads 1443
Jun 2006 39694 Service 330
May 2007   Wheels refurbished, (magnesium paint and lacquer) 1450
Jul 2007 44934 Service, Cambelts, tensioners, Aux belt, water pump + Trackrod end 2519
Oct 2007 46287 Exhaust, EGR pipe, Rear body mount repair 1525
Nov 2007 47606 Rear suspension PU bushes, toplinks unseized, battery 300
Jun 2008 48050 Transmission seals, seized RHS wastegate, transmission oil 250
Sep 2008 48700 Service + Pads 798
June 2009 49860 Rear tyres 908
Sep 2009 50550 Service, new alternator and battery 900
Dec 2010 55800 Radiator lower hose Y connector leaking 100
Jan 2011 55950 Service + turbo oil feeds + lhs turbo coolant feed and new front tyres (+ many turbo and exhaust bolts) 2938
Mar 2011 56100 IAC valve, EGR pipe 300
Mar 2011 56150 Corroded connector on rough road sensor (P1313) ---
Oct 2011 57600 LHS rear wheel bearing + hub + GB seal 350
Jul 2012 58500

B Service + cambelts and tensioners
Remanufactured turbos, replace broken manifold studs. Readjust passenger window frame alignment. Split transmission and inspect clutch.
New : 200 cell cats, straight exhausts, heatshields, wastegates, boost solenoid, starter motor, slave cyl, engine wiring loom, turbo oil and coolant lines, radiator, rear valence, oil hose unions, engine and gearbox mounts, water pump, thermostat etc....

13,870

Many of these jobs are not going to be so different on a 4 cylinder model as the only real difference is the motor. The majority of the work has been done by Lotus main dealers and some by independent specialists. Many of the smaller ones I have done myself (hence the bargain prices).

I cant see anything special to comment about regarding the service life of parts and there doesn’t appear to have been any nasty surprises either.  Having researched other owners comments about what was changed and when, most the items covered here seem to fall within the norm for a V8.

That final one has resulted in car that now sounds like it looks. Should have done it years ago.

 

icom.flo@wanadoo.fr

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