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Just Listed: 2002 Lotus Esprit V8 25th Anniversary Edition

The betting man's supercar

Like thinking outside of the box? Sick of seeing endless waves of Ferrari 360s, C6 Corvettes, 997 Porsche 911s, and late-model GT500s at your local Cars and Coffee? Get your financial affairs in order, clear out some garage space, dust off your tools, deliver cookies to your neighborhood mechanic, warn your significant other, and check out this 2002 Lotus Esprit V8 up for grabs on Craigslist in the Denver, Colorado area.

With the appearance of a Ferrari, the performance of a Corvette, the brand recognition of a Panhard, and the reliability of a 1980s Alfa Romeo, the Esprit V8 turbo isn't for the faint of heart (or wallet). Serving as the final evolution of the mid-engine sports car, the Esprit V8 was a viable contender against the contemporary 996 Porsche 911 and a more affordable alternative to the Ferrari 360. For the majority of its 30-year production run, the Esprit pulled motivation from naturally aspirated and turbocharged four-cylinder engines, eventually evolving into the V-8 semi-supercar here.

This silver example is a 25th Anniversary Edition, one of just 158 made in 2002, and number 77 of 100 shipped to the U.S. Like other V-8 Esprits, power comes from a delicious 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, pushing out 350 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. Tipping the scales at right around 3,000 pounds, the Esprit scrambles to 60 mph in a contemporarily impressive 4.4 seconds—and on to a lofty top speed of 175 mph.

If you do muster the bravery to service and maintain the Esprit, you'll be joining an active and very enthusiastic community of fellow masochists. The aftermarket scene has enjoyed 15 years of development, resulting in viable fixes and upgrades that eliminate most of the Esprit's weak links, particularly upgrades to the transmission, which is about as robust as the Renault 5 it was initially plucked from.

This is a particularly clean and well maintained example, to boot. It's covered just 26,000 miles in the past 15 years and looks immaculate from the ad photos. There's no list of maintenance records or service history, but the seller does invite interested parties to inquire about the car's history.

In the end, the Esprit is a fast, striking, sweet-sounding supercoupe that's offbeat enough to attract attention at your local cruise-in or canyon run, and satisfying enough to justify the blood, sweat, tears, and money used to keep it on the road.

Head over to the Cragslist ad to pick up the Esprit for a reasonable $45,000.