Don’t Call It An E-Spirit: 1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo

I know what you are thinking. A ragged Lotus Esprit Turbo…you must be nuts? But hang on just one minute. We can all agree that the prices for late model classics are through the roof right now. Anything aircooled Porsche, or Toyota Supra, or Acura NSX — all insane $50k plus pricing for junk that was $15k a few years ago. So, if you want a $15k supercar, you’ve got to dig deep. And it was in a deep hole that we found one of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s polygonal folded paper designed classics with a 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-banger that put 250ish horsepower into the Citroën sourced 5-speed manual transaxle. And don’t think the Esprit Turbo was all looks and no go — because this slippery beast could hit 150 miles per hour when given the runway. Find this 1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo offered for $16,000 in Austin, TX via craigslist.

From the seller:

1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo
condition: fair
cylinders: 4 cylinders
drive: rwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 68500
paint color: black
title status: clean
transmission: manual
Up for sale is my 1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo.

I have owned this Lotus just shy of 2 years, but I am looking to downsize. No trades please. This car has good records for the parts and services that were done, as well as the original window sticker and owner’s manual. I will also include a thumb drive with various resources I have found and saved.

The basics:

  • About 68,500 miles
  • Clean Texas title in my name
  • Gates blue timing belt replaced in 2015
  • Willwood brake system.
  • OZ Racing Nova wheels. A little bit of curb rash, but well worth the look and fitment upgrade.
  • The front tires are in good shape, the rear tires are at the wear bars.
  • Flip-up headlights work. All exterior lights work as they should. LED fog lamps installed.
  • Custom oil cooler and liquid intercooler setup by previous owner. This specific car did not originally have an intercooler.
  • New battery in 2020, car charging system works great.
  • Stereo and speakers all work, including motorized antennae. Aftermarket all-in-one sub installed behind passenger seat.
  • I have the engine cover and the removable-top spoiler that will go with the car.
  • Interior blower fan and heater both work.

Done under my ownership:

  • Innovate boost controller and gauge. OEM gauge included in sale.
  • Spal cooling fans installed
  • Oil and filter replaced at 68,400 miles
  • Rebuilt fuel distributor and balanced the fuel injectors
  • 74 Celsius thermostat installed to replace the 82 stock one
  • New Half-shafts.
  • New battery

Some things that I need to list because it is a 30 year old British sports car:

  • Body has some paint defects/chipped fiberglass. The paint is not in good shape, but looks ok from 10 feet
  • There is a small coolant drip coming from the electric water pump.
  • The car is AC equipped, but not currently functioning.
  • Seats should be re-upholstered.
  • Engine leaks oil.
  • Fuel tanks are not in great shape.
  • Only the driver’s side mirror is visible while driving due to a previous owner “upgrade”. I have 2 OEM mirrors in primer grey that will go with the sale

This Lotus certainly has some things that could make it better (don’t they all), but it’s been a unique, fun car to drive 3,000 miles during my ownership. The car hasn’t left me stranded, and fires up reliably warm or cold.
Any questions you have please get in touch. Questions of “Is this still for sale?” will be ignored. Please respect my time and I will do the same. If you call, please leave me a voicemail and I will get back with you as soon as I can.


Cold start video:

Hot start video:


Drive by:

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