Meeting Yoda

Posted: April 29, 2006 in Automotive, General, Lotus

I agreed to take a look at an ’84 Esprit for someone who was interested in buying it (but they live in West Virginia). So Saturday Justin and I drove up to South Windsor to take a look at the car.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The email correspondence with the current owner sounded more like a High School cheerleader (every sentence ended with at least one exclamation point). Parking in front of the house I noticed that there seemed to be a number of car lovers in the area. Next door a vehicle sat under a car port, disguised with a car cover. In front sat a speed boat next to a modified 2G Eclipse. Across the street sat an Audi A4 and another car under a car cover, and in front of the small unassuming house that we were walking up to, sat a modified MR2.

The house was very zen, with a little sitting area and a bridge over a rock garden, all freshly painted a bright yellow-orange. I rang the doorbell and waited while this short Asian man opened the door. He said something about coming out through the garage, then closed the door.

The garage door starts to open and I see a yellow car… it continues up and I see the familiar curves of a late model Esprit. I begin thinking that the car I was to look at has been modified in some obscene way, that the owner had grafted a newer body on an older car. As the door opened further I realized that this wasn’t the case, and that what sat in front of me was actually an Esprit V8, in bright yellow.

I peered around the V8, expecting to see the older Esprit sitting behind it. There sat a car in pieces, not the Lotus, but something else familiar.

“Is that a Z?” I asked.

In slightly broken english he told us how he was putting a Skyline engine into the Z. One of his projects. He then led us around his house and into the back yard where we walked towards a pair of sheds with doors wide open. Certainly these were wide enough to park a car within, but they were both empty. He began telling us a story about the Esprit, and I began to wonder where he was going (and why he was showing us an empty shed).

Justin later phrased thought it was very zen, that we were seeing “absence of car”.

I started to wonder if perhaps the car was stolen (or never actually there), when he started to tell us that he also owned the house next door, and the house across the street (and that both of his sons lived in the houses). We walked across the street to the covered car, which started to take on a familiar shape as we neared. I noticed a car back of this car too. A late model RX-7. We walked around the RX-7 as he removed the car cover off the Esprit. This car had been heavily modified as well. Carbon fiber hood, obvious work under the hood, probably a real screamer.

Justin and I looked over the Esprit, the owner and I went for a quick drive, then we came back and parked the car. My “duty” done he showed us one last thing.

We walked over to the covered car next door. I thought perhaps it was a three wheeled bike or something of that sort at first, but he hinted at the fact that it was also a Lotus.

I said “Eleven?”. Showing that I knew just enough to be dangerous. I of course meant Seven, but never being a big Lotus Seven fan I was thinking of an “E” name, and not the grandfather of the Esprits.

He corrected me, as he pulled off the car cover. He began telling us about this car. He told us how he had put a Hayabusa engine in the car (which Justin and I both were a little clueless about). The car weighs just under 1000lbs and has about 370HP. For a comparison, that’s 2.7 lbs/hp. Compare that to 6.33 lbs/hp for the Ford GT, 4.19 lbs/hp for the Ferrarri Enzo, and 4.15 lbs/hp for the Bugatti Veyron. This car is a monster.

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