1977 Lotus Esprit S1 Restoration

This 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 has underwent a full nut and bolt restoration by it’s owner, who chronicled the whole process on a website that he dedicated to the 4 year build. His goal was to bring this Esprit S1 back to the way it had left the factory over 30 years ago. The end result exceeds these expectations, a car that certainly would have made Colin Chapman himself proud.
The Lotus had only 18,000 original miles on the clock when he purchased it back in 2009, and he began dismantling it before ever even driving it.




The old radiator fans were replaced with more reliable 7 x 2 inch fans, and every other piece on this Lotus was either refurbished, replaced or improved with something improved over the original design.

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Evidenced in the photos, he is clearly exceeding his goal of having the Esprit as good as new.




The rolling chassis looks just unbelievable with it’s freshly rebuilt engine, gearbox, shift linkage, suspension, brakes, drive train, and wheels attached. As he states himself, it is a shame that 90% of the chassis will never be visible again.


No detail is overlooked in this rebuild. The body had many new layers of glass added behind the visible surfaces to make them stronger to avoid stress cracks, which are common problem with these fiberglass cars.



It looks fantastic in Monaco White, very reminiscent of the James Bond submarine car seen in “The Spy Who Loved Me”, which coincidentally just sold at London auction for  $966,560. The story is linked at the bottom of this page.


The Esprit has a glass rear deck lid (could this be the first mid engine sports car to feature the see-through engine cover?), so it was especially important to spend a little extra amount of time on refurbishing the Dellorto DHLA 45 carburetors after getting them to work properly.


Unfortunately the car failed it’s first attempt at a California smog, but his friends at British Sports Car in San Luis Obispo helped tune the carbs and then it passed. A few small ends to tidy up, along with an alignment and it was finished! This is the last post we hear from him, so we can hopefully assume he is busy driving and enjoying his ’77 Esprit.



Find his website here at:


James Bond Lotus Submarine Car Sells at London Auction:

3 Comments on 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 Restoration

  1. Hello
    My name is Carlos, I live in Lisbon, Portugal.
    Thanks for the photos, has helped in the reconstruction of my lotus esprit s2 1978 if you have more pictures send me to my mail. your work is fantastic, I think is the best reconstruction I’ve seen.
    thank you

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