Roadfly Home | Features | Car Review Videos | Car Reviews | Cars For Sale | Used Car Parts Classifieds | Forum | Car Review Archives | Forum Archives Index


04-16-2004, 11:52 PM
I recently purchased a 97 Lotus Esprit from a sole owner in Palo Alto, CA. I've heard from a few Lotus owners that the 97's are a "bad year". This one came w/numerous service records and it seems like some things "out of the ordinary" have been replaced but nothing major.

The clutch was replaced and I know that it was always a complaint with this year Esprit. It has 37k miles and the tires were just replaced about 5K miles ago. It was always serviced at the same "Lotus authorized" dealer since it was bought out there until it was shipped to me!

I'm getting paranoid. Did I really buy a lemon year Lotus? I've had Hummers, Porsche's, etc. and I strictly use them as a "fun vehicles" when the weather is perfect. I don't think anything can be worse than a Hummer H1 maint. wise. Any Lotus owners... let me know your thoughts. It would be greatly appreciated,

LMG, "Excited first-time Lotus Esprit owner"

04-18-2004, 12:01 PM
There are some good things I read in what you wrote. Given that the car has 37,000 miles and the owner kept up with its service, it is likely that any little problems that were going to pop up have already popped up and been dealt with. Sure there are other issues that can arise, but you are better off starting with a car that has been driven and maintained than one which has just been a garage queen. A garage queen would leave you being the one to find all the little problems.

I have always heard that the best thing you can do for an Esprit is to drive it, and the worst thing you can do is to keep it locked up in the garage. Get it out on the road once a week (if not more!) and enjoy it.

So, tell us how you like it so far. Have you had a chance to drive it much? What color combo did you get? Do you have any pics to post?


04-22-2004, 06:23 PM
Hello LMG,

Welcome to the Lotus world! Don't worry, 97's are not any different than other years in terms of problems. The only big difference between a 97 car vs 98 to 2003 is the interior, wheels, spoilers, exhaust. In terms of the engine, clutch,'s all the same now (except ECUs).

97's got some bad press at the start mainly due to single plate clutch failures, as well as tranny housing failures. However, Lotus later replaced EVERY single one with an updated setup just like the newer cars. Further, 97 & 98 also got some bad press about having bad rims (AWIC) that cracked under stress. There were a few rims that broke apart on the track. Lotus had a big recall on them. Again, Lotus replaced them all with updated ones. Lastly, 97 has the "old" interior...which is viewed more like having a S4s with an V-8 engine to some (Not a bad interior though).

With that said, the 97's got a rough start. But, with all the updates, a 97 car should not have any more problems than a 2003.

I noticed you are up in Northern Cal. If you have not, you should hook up with the Lotus boys up there. I am up in that part of the country every few weeks. Perhaps you can join us for dinner sometime.

Anyway..enjoy the car!!

99 Sport 350

Roadfly Home | Car Reviews | Forum Archives Index