Start: Blue '99 Car


I had been keeping an eye out for a wrecked car that I could buy for the parts needed to get the Silver '98 car back together when I came across a blue '99 car that purportedly had an engine fire but looked pretty much intact.

Looks Good.

Engine had a little fire

Ok Ok... a medium size fire

The interior shot showed some sort of mess all over it.

What is that stuff???

I purchased the car at auction for about $14,600 and had it shipped to Oregon (for about another $1500).

Now in the shop

What I could not see in the auction photos was that the paint had burn marks from a fire in the engine / trunk body compartment in  the right rear along the hatch.

Bubble Bubble

Upon examination, I was able to determine that the fire started in the air cleaner and duct leading to it from behind the side window. Ahhhhh how could that happen? Could it be from some idiot who bought an Esprit, didn't drive it for a while, then could not get it started and then shot ether or poured gas into the air intake (instead of into the turbo)? YES IT COULD!


The shit flashed and then started melting and a rain of plastic on fire dripped onto the platform above the gas tank and eventually the carpet there above the rear wheel and it started heading rearward until it hit...

This rear relay box

Which in turn shorted and caused wiring in the rear to melt to itself - even though it was not directly in the fire.


BTW, the ECU was fine. The engine wiring harness was also toast but luckily when I started looking at this car Travis Andrews remembered harnesses being in the Lotus After-Sales list from March 2011 and on a chance I would get this car I bought two of them (dirt cheap).

Serendipity Baby

The main harness was burned from above the right gas tank all the way around to the left rear trunk. I did not buy an extra one of those harnesses so I had to find one.

Hey! What about this car?

Sure enough the burned yellow '98 car sitting outside in the rain had only one portion of its wiring harness that was NOT burned - you guessed it.... the exact portion of the harness that WAS burned on the '99 car! Serendipity Baby!!!

I cut the burned harness out of the blue car, I cut the harness out of the yellow car and spliced it in (including the relay box).



I can tell you that was a lot of splices and my eyes now need glasses to do it. I then set about taking off the plenum to replace the engine wiring harness. Upon it's removal, I got a little surprise.

Speaker wire and electrical tape

Now don't get me wrong, I love Radio Shack but speaker wire and black electrical tape are not the... Wait!!!! an idiot bought an Esprit  and could not get it started so he took off the plenum but it was stuck (because of some little wires) and he could not figure out how to unplug them so he just ripped the plenum off. For all my female fans (and there are a lot of them), please excuse the assumption that I am making that a guy did this. Then he (or she) fixed it with radio shack speaker wire and electrical tape.

Luckily the new harness has that part...

All new!

A lot of water and fire extinguishers had been dumped on the car so the right tank was rusting and the panel above was in bad shape so every thing was cleaned and painted.

What rust?

Looking Pretty

Now the day I bought this car, I got a phone call from Tony Richards at Autobahn Exotics in Texas asking if I needed parts from a recently totaled car. I bought the car to fix the Silver car but it afforded me some extra parts, which I used on the blue car including some of the engine compartment stuff. I then crossed my fingers and tried to start the car....... Nothing. Not even a click (besides the alarm interlock, which did work). I thought I could have made a mistake with the wiring but after a thorough tracing, I found things to be in order - i.e. the starter relay was being energized but no click. So I took off the plenum and had a closer look at the starter, which did not give me any cause for alarm earlier. Upon removal, I smelled a really nasty burnt smell .. oh that's right, an idiot bought an esprit and could not start it so he put gas in the intake and then kept the starter cranking until it exploded. Yep - the starter was complete toast - armature damaged beyond repair.

Hi Jeff (JAE). I need a starter. Jeff: "They don't make them any more but I may have a solution soon". Sigh... Wait what about the burned 98 car? Well its starter was under water and upon cleaning it just did not have the umph I needed  so I put that in for a rebuild and took the starter out of the 2001 totaled car I just bought and while I was at it I also used the plenum because the idiot also cut a nylon vacuum line and used nylon ties and a hose to fix it. I put it all back together and turned the key and.......Varoooooom. Well... had some problems at first but they sorted themselves out mostly. I had a little problem getting the ECU ready for emissions testing so I gave up and swapped in the one from the 2001 car, which was READY before its demise (shhhhhhhh!!!!! - don't tell on me).

All Fixed

The hatch was burned so I took the one off the '97 Blue car and installed it (since it matched) and headed down to the DEQ station forgetting that a hatch panel was not firmly attached. It only took me an hour of searching to find that (it will have to be fixed and repainted - sigh).

On the road

The next weekend I drilled the hatch and attached the '99 wing (fishing up the brake light wires).

What about that interior you say??? Yeah.... That crap was mold. I hate mold. Dragging out the floor carpet and pad was.....gross. I cleaned it up through a lot of effort and refurbished the leather. It looks good but I am not sure the smell is good enough. I may be heading to the upholstery shop for a new carpet and pad set.

That's the end of this update as of April 5, 2012