Start: Black '97 Car

Previous  Next

I don't know why I checked Ebay for Lotus Esprit stuff when the shop wasn't done and I had not been working on the cars for nearly two years but I did. There it was, a freshly wrecked Black '97 car with 14K miles on it and a clean (non-salvage) title for $10K. Hmmm ... when does the auction close? Saturday afternoon around 2:30p. The next day, I asked the seller about the car and received some additional pictures. Is there any frame damage I asked? No - says the seller - and the car runs.  Hmmm ... can't really be sure from these pictures. I worked on the yard Saturday and around 2:25p I looked at my watch and went in the house and checked the current bid amount. It was still low. Impulse forced me to make a bid. I walked away and got a drink and came back a minute later and low and behold I won the auction - $11,650.00.

The '97 car as I bought it

Now most folks know what the engine and transmission costs so... this was a steal and my belief was that this car could be repaired. The car arrived within a week from Los Angeles. I had to pick it up at a local salvage yard where other vehicles in the same load were destined.

Another patient

Colin the slave boy and I eventually got it off the trailer (using 3 dollies and jacks) and into the shop. Later on in the evening, I jacked it up and inspected the damage. And found this...

Bent Frame - Not Repairable

and this...

More Frame Damage

Hmmm ... I wonder why the seller did not send me these pictures? Sigh. This is why we say... NEVER by a wrecked car without inspecting it yourself - in person. The frame was buckled from the front impact at the cross member. There is a plate with circular cut-outs in it that is welded to the bottom of the frame whose specific purpose is to crumple on impact. Suspension attach points were ripped out and the engine cradle tubing was compressed. The frame could not be repaired.

I was very disappointed as I had hoped to repair the car and now I felt I would have to part it out. On Monday, I called my friend Jeff Robinson at JAE Parts and asked him to look up a price on a Lotus part number, which I then provided to him. He replied that the number had been replaced with another number and then said "Oh... you need a frame huh?". I said.. just tell me how much and the reply came back within a short while to be something around $7000 and.... there were none in the country - it would have to come from Hethel in England. I immediately resolved  in my mind that I would have to part the car out and as I was thanking Jeff he says .... "oh ...uh... I know someone who has a used one for sale though". Stunned and silent for a few moments..... I then asked Jeff "How is that possible?"

The odds of finding a good frame on a wrecked Esprit are .... well.... infinitesimally small. I was able to get one for the OTHER '97 car only because I bought a burned car that had not been in a collision. Jeff connected me with the seller who also had a number of other parts that the car needed and he sold everything to me at a price that has left me indebted to Jeff and the seller for all time. The exact circumstances by which that frame became available to me will not be disclosed in order to protect the guilty. I'll only say... it was not stolen ☺. It was delivered to a local freight terminal a few weeks later and I went and picked it up in the middle of the night.

I was Framed!

The frame is from an '02 car and it is in perfect shape. I also received a radiator along with its support tray, an '02 muffler and rear bumper grate, a spring, AC parts and few other things.

I got slave boy to help me carry it all into the shop and this is where things sit.

Waiting for Bandwidth

It sure is nice to have parts deals work out once in a while. Maybe this makes up for the parts that were stolen from me in the past??? ..... No it doesn't.


So it seems that this car will live to drive another day. Colin is 13 now and I have convinced him that if he helps me fix the car and do whatever I tell him whenever I tell him and stays out of trouble, I will let him have it when he is 16. Hahahahahahaha - and I think he believes me.

That's the end of this update as of November 16, 2006

Click here to see the next chapter in the saga.