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At $28,000, Does This 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 Offer Some Faded Glory?

Nice Price or No Dice 1977 Lotus Esprit S1
Nice Price or No Dice 1977 Lotus Esprit S1

Weathered paint can’t hide the inherent beauty of today’s Nice Price or No Dice Lotus’ iconic design, penned by automotive legend Giorgetto Giugiaro. Let’s find out if this Esprit’s overall package makes its price perfectly palatable.

Robert Frost may have had miles to go before he could sleep, but the 1995 BMW 540i we looked at yesterday had already done those miles and then some. That daunting distance that was revealed in the ad was a deal killer for most of you, especially at the car’s not-insubstantial $16,500 asking. The result was the car dropping in a 78 percent No Dice loss.

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Photo: Craigslist
Photo: Craigslist

This 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 is representative of that OG model, denoted by its tail lamps, taken from a Fiat X1/9 and its original 16-valve Lotus 907 engine, which it shared with the much shorter-lived Jensen Healey. This is one of 580 Esprits built for the 1977 model run.

In U.S. trim, where it was fitted with emissions-compliant Zenith Stromberg 175 CD side-draught carburetors, the 1974cc all-alloy four offered 140 horsepower. This was at a time when the base Chevrolet Corvette V8 only managed a meager 180 horses.

Here, those ponies are routed through a standard Citroën-sourced five-speed transaxle to the rear wheels. Disc brakes are fitted all around, mounted in front to suspension components that can trace their lineage all the way back to the Triumph Herald.

Photo: Craigslist
Photo: Craigslist

Per the ad, this Esprit has 47,500 miles on the clock and enjoyed a full body-off mechanical restoration about eight years back. The seller addresses the car’s aesthetics — faded paint and fabrics and some obvious wear — by noting that the previous owner purposefully left them that way. The claim is that the car “can only be original once,” which is hard to argue with. It should also be noted that nothing on the car appears overly worn or tacky, just weathered and a bit tired in places. On the plus side, plaid seats and trim!

Photo: Craigslist
Photo: Craigslist

The mechanicals are allegedly stout, with the seller saying that the car “runs strong.” That might be a given, considering the recent restoration, but you never know. A timing belt change was done three years ago, an important factor on such a rare and persnickety engine. As proof of the car’s viability, the seller offers links in the ad to videos showing the car running and driving.

It wears its factory Wolfrace alloys wrapped in tires that look to have plenty of meat. The only things missing are the original gas caps — yes, there are two — and the headliner, although a replacement for the latter will be included with the car. The title is clean, and the price tag is $28,000.

Photo: Craigslist
Photo: Craigslist

What’s your take on this rare and proudly almost all original Esprit and that asking? Does that seem like a deal to experience the 1970s from the Lotus position? Or is this car a little too original to ask that much?

You decide!

Norfolk, Virginia, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at remslie@kinja.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

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