Monday, March 11, 2013

Shaking Down the S1 Esprit, First Test Drive

After getting a 30-day temporary permit from DMV it was time to start driving the car and iron out the problems and get the Esprit ready for California smog. So today was the day. It’s nerve racking to shake a car down for the first time after a frame-off restoration. A lot can go wrong. Goal #1 was to confirm oil pressure so I primed the system with the spark plugs out (essentially cranking the starter for several seconds each time for about 30-seconds total). With the plugs back in, the car fired up immediately and oil pressure was building on the gauge so that was a good feeling.

Goal #2 was to then check for oil and water leaks, which there were several, although all easy to fix. Goal #3 was to select 1st gear, release the clutch, and pray that it engaged. It did, and with that I pulled the car out of the garage for the first time in 4-years under its own power. There were several stops along my 2-mile journey to check for leaks, smoke, steam, fire, anything potentially catastrophic.

I had spent a lot of time preparing for this step, so I was lucky not to have a lot of drama. The next step is to get the exhaust system welded up with the cat-converter so I can pass smog, install the rear valance and passenger side door, and the project is done!