Well this is email that started the whole thing off in 2001:
From: Clark, John
Sent: 09 April 2001 16:08
Subject: Giugiaro Turbo Esprit
I'm looking for some idea on quotations for work on my Lotus Giugiaro Turbo Esprit. I would like the entire mechanical elements of the car (chassis, engine, brakes, suspension) to be completely overhauled, if not replaced with new parts.
I recently saw this car advertised:
Lotus Esprit Turbo HC 1987 D £17,995 Calypso red with magnolia full leather upholstery, factory sunroof, air conditioning. 6,000 miles since full rebuild including, 300 BHP fuel injected charge cooled Lotus engine, GT3 high torque gearbox, big brakes with 4 pot callipers, 17" wheels, fully sorted suspension. The quickest and best handling Lotus Esprit we have ever driven! Call for full spec.
Would you know whom would have been able to do such a conversion? ... do you have the capabilities to carry out this sort of work?
I am also reminded that Lotus have now fitted their own V8 engine to the Espirit. I would also like your comments (serious engineering views, I am aware of both the similarities and differences between the models) on what would be required to transform my Espirit into a "Giugiaro V8 Esprit". I would also be interested in a similar charge-cooled conversion to the car above but it would be my preference to transform my Giugiaro to a V8 with similar suspension/brakes.
So, could you please give me an indication of the approximate costs (not just an hourly labour & parts rate) for
1) The rebuild to original spec.
2) The V8 project.
3) Charge cooled project
Thanks very much, I look forward to hearing from you,
Reply from GK, whom I eventually bought the V8 engine from:
Sent: 19 April 2001 15:32
To: Clark, John
Subject: RE: Esprit V8 engine
I am sure your idea is possible but it would be a major engineering job to accomplish. The turbo Esprit was always designed with room to accomodate a V8 - the turbo was only developed because lotus could not afford to put their 4.0l V8 (909) into production ( but the chassis was designed with enough space for the V8 - just in case).
However - the Citroen transaxle would really not be up to the job of transmitting 350hp fom the V8 (918), nor 300 from a chargecooler engine. You would really need to put the renault transaxle in there from the later cars.
I have heard of an early shape Esprit being convereted to take the later chassis, this will then accept the later transaxle and the suspension that goes with it. I think the problem would be money, you would have to spend lots of it ! I guess the 4 cylinder chargeccoler engine conversion would cost you just as much as the V8 and the plumbing of the chargecooler etc would probably be a costly exercise. You could get hold of a transaxle and even a later chassis, but it would be a really labour intensive project - I think you might find it would be as cheap to buy a V8 Esprit !
From: John Clark
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2001 7:47 PM
Subject: RE: Esprit V8 engine
Thanks for your reply .....
As for the expense - I'm fully prepared for this. For me, the the Giugiaro V8 conversion is far more attractive than the new V8.
I'm very aware of the original Project M71 V8 Lotus and Tony Rudd's 909 engine ..... I have a detailed article & picture of it from CAR magazine, Nov 1984 and I've actually inspected the prototype unit at Hethel, during a tour (before they sold off the private car collection).
So really I'm trying to finish the original Lotus project. If there's really no other way ,I will buy a current V8 (preferably damaged, as I said) and use it as a donor car - but it might be better to build a rolling V8 chassis from parts (V8 engine, Renault transaxle, later chassis, suspension, 4 pot brakes etc. and then have the shell transplanted
1st email to friends about the project and launching the website!
From: Clark, John
Sent: 14 May 2001 16:57
To: 'Old Friends'
Subject: LOTUS ESPRIT .... the time has come!!
Yes, it really is true - things are moving pretty fast on my Lotus Esprit project now ......
It's really happening now because I'm spending some money on it - basically I'm transforming the car into a semi-race spec Esprit V8 using all new/refurbished V8 running gear (I'm building a rolling chassis and then having my Giugiaro Body transplanted). When the plan all comes together, it will re-appear as a 500 bhp+ Lotus Quad cam, 32 valve, twin turbo V8, fitted with twin chargecoolers and and around double normal boost (1.2 bar).
The current standard factory Esprit V8 is limited to 350bhp because the gearbox cannot take any more power/torque - I'm using a Quaiffe racing 6 speed transaxle - FYI the 350 bhp gives 178 mph and 0-60 in around 4.1 seconds. Stopping power will come from the huge 4 pot Brembo brakes from the Sport 300. I've already bought the engine.
I'm probably going to start a website as things progress, so I'll keep you updated.