Keep up to date
Keep up to date with all things Trade Classics, along with new cars.
Closed Auction- Unsold

1985 Lotus Esprit S3

This auction has now closed - click 'Register Similar' below to get notified when we consign a similar vehicle.

  • Mileage~9,545 on clock
  • TransmissionManual
  • Engine2.2L
  • LocationDunfermline


1985 Lotus Esprit S3

Register interest for similar cars


Colin Bashford
Professional Consigner

With its iconic wedge shape combined with the JPS colours, the Esprit holds a special place in Lotus' heritage.

First introduced to the world at the Paris Motor Show in 1975, the Esprit features a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout within a wedge-shaped body. The Series 1 Esprit packed a 2.0L four-cylinder engine producing approximately 160BHP in the rear, feeding the power through a 5-speed manual gearbox. Over the years, the Esprit evolved with new bodywork and upgrades to the powertrain. The S3, like this car, came into production from 1982 and features the 2.2L type 912 engine, giving a 0-60mph time of just ~6.7 seconds.

This car has recently had an engine-out service by Clydesdale Classic Cars, with belts and a clutch slave cylinder being replaced. Approximately ~£10,000 has been spent in the last year. The Esprit comes from around ~2 years of ownership having been passed down from an uncle, who had owned the car since 1994. It has a current MOT valid until 20.09.2024.

This listing was written from information supplied by Colin after meeting Ellya the owner, and having visited and photographed the vehicle.

Secure Auctions

We verify all our sellers and buyers to keep our community safe whilst also providing the highest levels of website security.

Full Transparency

8 out of 10 people that buy cars via our service don’t feel the need to visit due to the transparency and thoroughness of our listings.

Vehicle Delivery

We're there every step of your buying journey and will even arrange pick-up and delivery of your new vehicle.

Secure Auctions

We verify all our sellers and buyers to keep our community safe whilst also providing the highest levels of website security.

Full Transparency

8 out of 10 people that buy cars via our service don’t feel the need to visit due to the transparency and thoroughness of our listings.

Vehicle Delivery

We're there every step of your buying journey and will even arrange pick-up and delivery of your new vehicle.

Meet the owner

The Esprit transports you back to a time when sports cars delivered a truly analogue driving experience.

Ellya's uncle purchased the car in 1994 and enjoyed driving it on the lanes of Wales. Ellya took ownership of the car a couple of years ago after his uncle was no longer able to drive it, and the car having been in storage for some time. In his ownership, he has invested ~£10,000 in recommissioning the car, ensuring it runs in great condition.

He tells us "I aimed to get the car running well and usable. Although I considered addressing the paintwork, its current condition allows you to use the car without worrying about damaging the paint". Since getting the car into good mechanical shape, Ellya hasn't had much opportunity to use it, and so he has decided to sell it through us. Ellya will be available to answer any questions about the car in the comments section below.

Vehicle Owner

Ask Questions



The Esprit has all the styling cues you want from a classic sports car; pop-up headlights, wedge shape, and a mid-mounted engine.

Wheels and Tyres

Fitted with the factory BBS wheels, they had some light curb marks on the edges and some paint flaking paint on a few wheels, but otherwise looked in good shape.

The front wheels were fitted with Pirelli Cinturato P1 tyres, while the rear had Pirelli P600 tyres. All tyres appeared to have a good amount of tread remaining, with no cracking noticed on the sidewalls. Please have a look at the photos and video below to assess the condition of the wheels and tyres for yourself.


The bodywork of the Esprit looked in good condition. We noticed a few scrapes on the offside of the rear bumper, but nothing of major concern. The shut lines looked good, although we did notice that the passenger door seemed to have a larger gap at the top of the back of the door than at the bottom, so it could do with a slight adjustment.

We've highlighted in more detail our observations through our hi-resolution images and videos, so please take time to look through all the media files for a detailed view at what’s on offer, and for you to assess the condition of the car for yourselves.


Painted in black with gold detailing, a nod to the JPS livery that Lotus is synonymous with. The paint around the car was looking quite tired due to quite a few areas where the paint was cracking/crazing, and some places where it had flaked off such as the roof. Ellya feels this allows it to be driven without worrying too much about the paintwork, given the work actioned on the mechanics side of the car.

The images are taken from a few different angles to show off the car as you would see it if you were standing there for yourselves. So please take the time to fully assess these hi-resolution images and videos of the car, for you to make up your own minds about the condition of the paint.

Glass and Trim

The glass around the car looked in great shape; we didn't notice any chips or cracks on the windscreen or any discolouration on any of the glass.

The plastic trim around the car also looked in good condition. All lights and mirrors were in good shape with no cracks or chips either. Please view the photos and video below to review the condition of the glass and trim for yourself.


A driver-focused cabin features a large instrument binnacle providing all the information the driver needs.

Seats and Carpets

The sumptuous leather seats looked to be in good condition; however, we noticed a small rip in the left bolster of the driver's seat, and the base section had come detached slightly from the bolster, though not a major issue. Additionally, the bolster on the passenger seat had a slight scratch.

The carpet in the driver's footwell had a section missing, but all other carpet around the car was in place and looked to be in good condition. Under the carpet in the passenger footwell, it did feel slightly damp.

Please take a look at the photos and video below to decide on the condition of the seats and carpets for yourself.


The Alcantara-covered instrument binnacle looked to be in good condition on the outside. However, the inside of the top edge appeared a bit tired. The instruments themselves looked to be in good shape, with no fogging of the dials noticed. The odometer read approximately 9,545 during our visit.

Steering Wheel / Gear Stick

The original two-spoke wheel did show some signs of age but still presented well. The chrome gear knob looked to be in good condition, although the Lotus logo was upside down, which is an easy fix.

Please take a look at the photos and video below to check the condition of the steering wheel and gear stick for yourself.


Sitting just behind the driver is the 2.2L four-cylinder engine producing ~160BHP from factory, all to the rear wheels.

Engine and Gearbox

The Esprit fired into life on the first attempt, with no issues noted. We took a short drive with Ellya, during which the engine performed well, getting up to speed quickly with a lovely accompanying sound. We did notice a noise coming from the front, a kind of pumping noise.

The manual gearbox had a nice weight to it, and gears engaged well, as expected. No unwanted noises were heard coming from the gearbox. Please take a look at the cold start video below to see for yourself the performance of the engine and gearbox.

Suspension and Brakes

The Esprit held the road well, giving the driver confidence. Ellya mentioned that the car feels very light compared to modern vehicles, even without power steering.

The brakes stopped the car well, with no judder or other issues felt through the steering wheel. Additionally, the rear brakes are inboard, reminiscent of F1 cars of the day, as you can see from the underside photos.

The Drive

As mentioned above, the Esprit felt great on the road, accelerating quickly with a torquey engine and feeling planted in the corners. It's a fun car to take on a summer's evening drive on some country lanes.

Electrics and Other

We didn't test all the electrics on the day, but Ellya informed us that everything was working to his knowledge. However, he did mention that the speedometer does dance around a bit; this could require some investigation to remedy.

History and Paperwork

With ~£10,000 spent in the last year or so, including an engine-out belts service, the Esprit is ready for the road and comes to market from ~30 year family ownership.

Ellya has owned the car for around 2 years after taking it on from his uncle, who had owned the car since 1994 and enjoyed driving it in the lanes of Wales. Ellya's uncle loved taking care of the car, writing his own notes for the service team in the garage, which are included in the photos below.

Recent work includes an engine-out service with belts and the clutch slave cylinder being replaced. Over £10,000 has been spent with Clydesdale Classic Cars in the last year or so. Please view the history gallery below for more information on the work carried out. The car comes with the original workshop manual and invoice from 1994 when Ellya's uncle bought the car, it has a current MOT valid until 20.09.2024.

We’ve done all our usual seller checks including photo ID, V5 and also actioned a HPi check on the vehicle.

We've summarised our own view on the car based on information gained from the seller in the listing above, however, and as you can see, we go to great lengths to photograph and video the car in hi-resolution detail - this has been done for you to make your own assessment from the comfort of your sofa. So please sit back, have a cuppa and take your time to review everything on this listing in order to make your own assessment on the vehicle's condition. Viewings are also welcomed with all our listings, so please get in touch with us to arrange a suitable time - we just need to speak to you first and receive a valid photo ID before confirming.

If there's anything you're unsure about, no matter how small, then please first ask the owner in the comments area below before placing your bid/s, as bids can't be retracted and form a binding contract if you win the car - just like a traditional auction house.

Service History
Date Type Mileage
21.09.2023 MOT 9,494
18.08.2023 Recommission
12.05.2023 Engine Out Service
28.04.2023 Mechanical Inspection
09.08.2021 MOT 9,473
03.08.2021 Service 109,473
17.06.2019 MOT 8,009
18.06.2018 MOT 6,173
19.06.2017 MOT 5,048
20.06.2016 MOT 4,792
28.06.2013 MOT 3,850
17.06.2013 Wheel Bearing 3,697
02.07.2012 MOT 3,228
06.06.2011 MOT 1,555
02.06.2010 MOT 322
06.08.1998 Engine Rebuild 24,344
19.07.1995 MOT 82,450
Key Details
  • ModelEsprit S3
  • Transmission5-Speed Manual
  • Reg. Date01.08.1985
  • CC2,174
  • Mileage9,545 on clock
  • HistorySome
  • ColourBlack
  • Interior ColourTan
  • Interior TrimLeather
  • Chassis #SCC085912FHD12158
  • Engine #CC912850622531
  • Last Service18.08.2023
  • MOTYes Valid Until 20.09.2024
  • MOT ExemptAugust 2025
  • Road Tax ExemptAugust 2025
  • HPi ClearYes All Clear
  • Former Keepers4
  • Tyre BrandPirelli
  • VisitedYes
  • Sale TypePrivate
  • Owned~2 Years, ~30 year family ownership
  • Key FeatureRecent Engine Out Service
  • Auction ID1943

Auction Closed

Register your interest for similar cars.

This car didn't meet its reserve price and may soon be available as a private sale - please contact us for more information.

Ask Questions
Post a comment or ask the owner a question about the car.

Comments are closed.


Vehicle Location


Delivery Calculator

Thank You

Form Submitted

Your request has been submitted successfully and we'll keep you updated.