By on November 8, 2012

In honor of Skyfall‘s opening tomorrow, we bring you one of the better Frankensteins we’ve seen in some time; a white Lotus Esprit, in the same hue as Roger Moore’s own ride in The Spy Who Loved Me, with a heart transplant from a Taurus SHO.

The later era BBS wheels are a little incongruous, but the swap itself appears to be nicely executed, and the gleaming chrome intake plumbing is a lot more attractive than the turbo 4 previously in there. The downside? Whether you use the Esprit’s Renault gearbox or the MTX from the Taurus, both choices aren’t exactly the last word in refinement or shift quality. Check it out over at Bring A Trailer.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

39 Comments on “SHO Powered Lotus Is All Go...”


  • avatar
    noxioux

    Dereck, thank you for what has to be the coolest damn thing I’m likely to see all day.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Love it.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    SHOs haven’t had a manual transmission since 1996, so it appears from the Bring a Trailer site this is the Yamaha-produced 220 HP engine from the Generation 1/2 SHOs of 1989-1995. Having had one of those beasts, I can attest that the transmission was crude and “manly”.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The engine is a 1989 3 liter Yamaha, but the transmission isn’t from a Taurus. The Taurus had a transverse engine orientation while this car maintains the Esprit’s original longitudinal engine configuration. It has a built Porsche transaxle in place of the original Renault unit.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    There is technically 4 different SHO engines. 2 God like ones, one V8, and one POS V6 that drinks fuel like a V8.

    Which one is it?

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Man, what is the story behind so much hate? Were you the engineer that was supposedly fired for taking umbrage at the lack of an IRS in the S-197? Somebody the UAW couldn’t protect at a Ford plant? Or a disgruntled owner who was cheated by a dealer and shunned by Ford?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The Ecoboost probably wouldn’t be such a gas guzzler in this car, which weighs little more than half as much as the current Taurus.

    • 0 avatar
      Spartan

      Hmm, I own a 1994 Taurus SHO MTX and a 2010 Taurus SHO EB. The EB hardly drinks gas like a V8 unless you’re on the throttle. Oh yea, pretty far from a POS motor. I seriously doubt you have any experience with one. For the double whammy, I have a EB F-150 as well, and while it has similar MPG ratings as the 5.0, it makes the power of the 6.2L without burning nearly as much fuel.

      Hooray for real world experience!

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        If at a certain point, the power bands of the 3.5L Ecoboost and 6.2L intersect, they will burn the same amount of fuel.

      • 0 avatar
        Spartan

        At a certain point after owning a 6.2L V8, you’ll realize your wallet is a lot lighter than if you owned the 3.5L EB since the 6.2L has a 12/16 MPG rating.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I’d feel about 10 times better about the EB in the trucks if Ford offered it in Super Duty.

        It has big stats but keeping the engine confined to the half-tons makes me wonder how much faith Ford has in it as a workhorse engine.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Guys, read the E-Bay listing. This is one sweet ride. Uses Porsche transaxle — no funky Mazda transmissions to deal with. Uses rebuilt 1989 SHO engine, which is the original model Yamaha V-6 with addtion ported and polished heads and intake manifold, custom exhaust and 77 mm MAF with high pressure fuel injectors. Just taking a wild-ass guess, but this motor ought to be good for 240 – 250 hp. based on my recollection of the power added by various bolt-ons when I owned one of these in the early 1990s. It appears that all of this work was done by professionals, not shade-trees. If I’m not mistaken, the Yamaha V-6 was an aluminum engine, so the weight increase in the front of the car over the stock turbo 4 should be minimal.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    The wheels are OK looking but the wrong offset for the car which is why it looks so awkward. Too bad they put so much other effort into it and then messed up on something as simple as the wheel/tire combo.

    • 0 avatar
      thirty-three

      Thankfully the wheels and tires are some of the easiest things to change.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I’m not sure why the rear offset looks as off as it does. Clearly, the front wheels are about as extremely positive in their offset as can be while the rears are zero offset or even negative offset. The stock track widths were actually wider in the back than the front for this model, so that doesn’t explain it either. Both the front and rear offsets are wider than they were on the S1, which was the same front and back. Those cars also had the same wheels and tire widths front and back, although the rears were 70 series while the fronts had an aspect ratio of 60. Even if the front track has been increased by use of thick vented brake rotors, that doesn’t explain why the back tires are so inboard of the fenders.

  • avatar
    markholli

    Hell yes.

    • 0 avatar
      86SN2001

      I want what’s in your avatar hanging in my garage or man cave.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        I had a complete first Gen SHO motor, my old man gave it away to a guy who just took it apart for scrap… sniff…. Granted, unless you had deep pockets or were really handy with a multi-axis milling machine there wasn’t much hotrodding potential there, but altogether a great conversation piece.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    Three Words. Absolutely F-inglutely brilliant. When everyone else had Lamborgini Countaches, Ferrari 328GTS’s, and Porsche 944 Turboes decorating their bedroom walls, I had an ’85 Lotus Esprit Turbo; still my most favorite of the exotics. That purposeful straight line styling, a rare for supercars I-4 turbo, and equally as rare razor sharp cornering ability, the Lotus to me was penultimate only to the Peter Stevens redesign in ’87. The addition of the more-than-likely more reliable SHO engine is genius.

    • 0 avatar
      Kaosaur

      Amazingly there’s something we agree on.

      This was the car I most admired as a child. This was the Hot Wheels toy that I played with for 4 years and cried when it was lost.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I had a poster of Farrah Fawcett in a red swimsuit. And a poster of all the Mustang variants up thru the early 1980’s.

      Now I have a poster of Gandhi and a Chagall, I think I am moving backwards…

      Btw, does the Lotus have the version of the SHO motor that famously and fatally loses the connection between the cam sprocket and quill? If so, better get that joint welded, or it will all end in tears!

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    I had just watched Wheeler Dealers where they did an episode on the Lotus Esprit. Then I went to eBay and saw this car. I’m normally a purist, but this combo just makes good sense. But I agree that the rear wheel offset is all wrong. Those rears need to stick out a bit.

  • avatar

    I always thought the Giugiaro Turbo Esprits looked just right with the little BBS wheels that Lotus put on ‘em originally. I’d put ‘em back on, or maybe somewhat wider lookalikes. Nice build otherwise, though. I wouldn’t kick that out of my garage.

  • avatar
    phreshone

    Thankfully I’m too tall for a Lotus, because me wants badly

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Awesome!

    From the ebay ad: “’83 Lotus Esprit with a Ford SHO Engine. A rare, low mileage Lotus Esprit S3 with a Ford SHO engine and Porsche gearbox / transaxle with adapter professionally constructed by Kennedy Engineering. Porsche turbo CV joints / half shafts including custom axles by Strange Engineering. BBS wheels. New tires. Too many details to list. Contact seller for more information. ”

    So, Derek, where did you read be it in BAT or ebay that the car still had its Renault transaxle?

  • avatar
    USAFMech

    I would rather have that 60-degree Yamaha V8. I wonder if the adapter plate/bolt pattern is the same?

    Also, can someone ‘shop some HRE Vintage 501’s onto an Esprit?

    If I didn’t have a wife, I’d be homeless, but Esprit-ful.

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    A couple years ago I remember someone had a project Esprit with an Audi RS V8 FWD train. This doesn’t seem as cool as that.

  • avatar

    My favorite Lotus engine swaps usually involve the aluminum Buick/Rover V8, but I like this one. It’s appropriate to use a Ford engine in a Lotus. The somewhat legendary Lotus Twin Cam engine was a Ford “Kent” block with an aluminum DOHC head designed by Harry Mundy (who also worked for Jaguar), and of course there was Jim Clark’s Indy 500 winning Lotus 38, with a Ford V8.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I recall an exciting demonstration ride in a red Lotus Europa on Farmington Road at Shiawassee Road… Down one hill around the curves and up the other hill then reverse course, and repeat… all with a reasonable degree of throttle…

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    A Delorean with a SHO swap would be very neat.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Skyfall’s only started showing yesterday in the US? I saw it like a week ago. Great movie, BTW.

    Anyway, why the SHO engine? I would say any new, Japanese V6 engines, like Toyota Camry’s or Nissan Altima’s would be a better bet, likely more reliable (because it’s a garden variety engine, not an exotic engine like SHO’s Yamaha), parts are easier to get and probably cheaper too, far less likely to need those parts because it’s more reliable, and more power to boot!

    SHO engines are awesome when they debuted decades ago, just like those awesome Motorola flip phone back then. Today? Not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Why? You said it yourself, SHO engines are awesome. I also contend Motorola flip phones are still pretty epic, sir. They’ll have to take my Razor from my cold dead hands.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    Beautiful car, Toyota Supra tail lights and all!


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States