Buick-Powered Esprit Looks, May Be, Pure Evil

If the phrase ‘1979 Turbo Esprit’ causes you consternation, don’t be alarmed—the factory Turbo Esprit wasn’t launched until 1980. Of course, the phrase ‘GNX-powered Esprit’ may engender even greater shock, but don’t worry, both that, and the car, will soon pass.

Offered up on eBay, is this ’79 S2 Esprit whose 140-bhp 901 engine has been replaced with a Ken Duttweiler built 3.8-litre six from a Buick GNX, easily doubling the ponies.

In addition to the pro-built Buick mill, the seller claims that the car has undergone a makeover, incorporating a number of later S3 bodywork elements, only, as he puts it, done right. That means the fatter bumpers, duck’s ass spoiler and side skirts are appended to the S2 body. Over all that is a coat of mobster black that he also claims cost twelve grand in 1987. That may be the case, but a 23 year old paint job is still a 23 year old paint job, and as the Esprit’s fiberglass body suffers from greater temperature cycling pressures than does a steel one, it’s likely that it’s looking better in the pics than in real life.

That being said, getting in and firing up that Buick bad boy would probably mean it could be as ugly as a rhino’s nutsack, and you’d still love it. Quarter mile times are claimed to by in the 11s, and while lining up next to the Christmas Tree probably isn’t the first thing you’d think to do with an Esprit, it’s still nice to know you’d have that in your pocket, especially the next time some douche challenges your mettle at a stoplight.

The car looks really completely realized, but not in a show-car kind of way, but looking like a driver, and with the iffy Veglia gauges replaced with back-lit Smiths units, you can tell exactly what’s going on under that heavily slatted hatch.
Esprits have always been cars of compromise. Their extraordinary good looks and handling constantly tempered by ergonomic catastrophes and durability that would shame a Socialist. This black beauty has had a lot of wrongs righted, and if the claimed $84,000 invested is true, it was done with a modicum of professionalism.
As with any modified car sold, there’s no way the seller will get back his investment, but it’s always included as a way to engender a higher sense of value in the offering. Right now the Esprit is hovering around $16,000 with 24 bids and the reserve unmet. That indicates a good deal of interest in the car, although with 4 days to go, it’s obviously too early for any bidding wars to get started, still it’ll be interesting to see what happens come Saturday.
eBay (Thanks to both Justine Wallace and f86sabre for the tip!)

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  1. tonyola Avatar

    I don't think I'd like to own this evil thing but I'd sure like to drive it.

  2. Tiller188 Avatar

    Obligatory "Darth Vader, your car is here"… Seriously, though, this thing is beautiful, in a wonderfully brutal, 80's-razor-edged-styling sort of way. (I know, it's actually a '79…) There aren't many cars I can think of that do black-on-black as well…the GNX itself being one of the contenders, interestingly.