The Start

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With seven trips to Asia, a trip to Berlin, a trip to Tel Aviv, and weekly trips to San Jose, 2003 turned out to be a tough year to get any work done on the '97 car. In May of 2003, a burned 2002 Esprit was listed on Ebay. The car only had 1045 miles on it and had endured an engine fire that had spread to the left rear quarter panel and bumper. The auction never met the reserve price and the car did not sell. I found out that the car was bought at salvage by a company in Pennsylvania that specializes in rebuildable vehicles ( They were asking $45K for the car. I almost went to see the car while passing through Maryland to see my family but decided to forego it. Then, in December 2003, the car was once again up on Ebay, this time offered by a broker who claimed he could bend the arm of the actual dealer and get the car for me for $38K. The auction ended once again without meeting the reserve price. I figured that if he could sell it to me for $38K then I could get it for $35K directly from the dealer. So after getting many more pictures of the damage, I convinced myself that the actual damage was minimal and made the purchase. My offer of $35K was accepted.

The '02 car as I bought it

There are some conflicting stories about what happened to this car. It was purported that shortly after its first service, where the oil filter was changed, the engine caught fire when the filter, which was supposedly not tightened correctly, spewed oil on the left turbocharger / exhaust. This supposedly ignited and then spread to the bodywork.


While it is unlikely that this is how the fire started, what came out from a posting on a BMW newsgroup was that this car was taken to the racetrack buy its owner and caught fire on the its fifth lap. From the picture below it is more likely that the left rear fuel rail connection to the secondary injector banjo bolt came loose and sprayed hot fuel on the exhaust and inside body panel - lighting it up.

Banjo bolt missing

The wind whipped the flames back and caught the left real wheel well on fire and then spread to the bumper. It seems that it was good fortune that this happened at a race track as the blaze was immediately extinguished. Otherwise, the car would have burned to the ground.

Looks fine right?

Look Again.


The good news is that while the car needs a new bumper, I already have a spare one from a previous parts purchase. Otherwise, the damage isn't that bad.

Not too bad

Not much burned here either

The engine cranks and has good oil pressure. It is my hope that repairs are not that extensive.

Sure! I can fix that!!!

I hope I am right. The interior is extremely clean with only 1K miles on the car.


I might mention that I got my long retired father, who lives in Maryland, to drive up and take some detailed pics of the car while delivering the down payment. What?!!????!!  Come on! The car was just one state away ... and he likes to drive in the cold snowy weather. I swear.

What? You want to know what the wife said when I told her I was buying a fifth non running Esprit??? What makes you think I've told her?

Next report when I receive the car.

Click here to see the next chapter in the saga.