Tuesday, December 22, 2009


In 2009 I purchased a 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 with the intent to fully restore the car in under 2-years. My main objective was to obtain an un-butchered car with the original power plant and all original equipment, and I succeeded big time. Although it had been stored for 15 years, the previous owner had stored it well and kept all the service receipts. The car was reported to have only 18,000 original miles when I took delivery. Whether that's true I'm not sure, but it seems to match the service history and the car was in remarkable condition upon taking it apart. Things like the brake rotors (front and rear), pads, u-joints and other common wear areas showed very little use. Still, the car had deteriorated badly after sitting for so long so it was necessary to examine, restore or replace virtually everything on the car.

As I start the monumental task of taking everything apart and eventually putting it all back together again, I hope my progress as its documented here will be of help to those undertaking a similar restoration.


  1. Good luck for the restoration of the Lotus '77.
    In the garage my father is restoring an old Fiat 500 Race '60 (http://500mania.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/500sport_11.jpg)

    I hope you do not scrap a piece of the engine, as has happened to us :)

    Nicola (iTaLy)

  2. Nice to hear from you Nicola! That is fantastic shot of the 500 and some great restoration photos. I'll be in Italy in February and hope to rent the new 500. I'll let you know when I pass through Padua and we can meet up again for a Spritz!

  3. Yes, if you come in Padova in February, we can meet for a SpRiTz. (let me know in advance when, so I can buy a little wedding gift for Eloisa and you).

    The body of the Fiat 500 must be repainted (I are undecided on sporting design) now, the car is completely disassembled in garage of my father, I'll show you this.

    I hope you rent a red Ferrari 458 Italia (http://cdn.ferrari.com/Italian/GT_Sport_Cars/Gamma_GT/458-Italia/Pages/458-Italia.aspx) or a Ferrari 430 Scuderia! (http://cdn.ferrari.com/Italian/GT_Sport_Cars/Gamma_GT/430Scuderia/Pages/Scuderia430.aspx)

    opsss, this time the passport is not needed, there will be no hostage :)))

  4. You're doing the world an invaluable service bringing an S1 back to life. My favourite car of all time by a long way. Not having the necessary skill or funds myself, I'm contenting myself by building a vintage 1:25 plastic model kit.

    Good luck mate - looking forward to seeing it take shape. Will you be going for the original orange and green tartan interior ? I thought it was bonkers at first but it's really grown on me.

  5. I just stumbled upon your blog looking for reference material to detail a 1/12 esprit S1 model I'm building. I own a 2005 Elise and have been looking at a 1986 S2 Esprit, not sure if I want to take the plunge. I notice an Elise parked in your garage and wondered what your opinion was on how they compared?

  6. Funny because I actually haven't driven a S1 Esprit yet so I can't compare the difference! When I took delivery of the S1 Lotus Esprit it was not running. The Elise is like a go kart, fast, and reliable. I love it. The Esprit is a classic super car, not so reliable, and not fast by today's standards. But that's ok. To me it's a trully elegant car fit for the period that it came. It's all going to be original!