Lotus’ own-brand all-alloy twin-cam engine came in three guises: two-litre (type 907) and 2.2-litre (Types 910 and 912). If correctly looked after, they’re stronger than legend might have you believe. Six-figure mileages are not uncommon. Regular servicing is key.
Insist on starting a car from cold. If the exhaust starts blowing, the manifold is probably cracked. That isn’t unusual. Head gaskets were a cause for concern with the Esprit in period, and they can be a problem today, so a properly-functioning cooling system is key. Check to see if the pipework – of which there is plenty – isn’t rusty. This system will be a pain to fix, otherwise.
The transmission used in early Esprits was sourced from the Citroën SM. This means replacement parts are expensive, if you can find them at all. Also, you need to check that everything works as it should, and all ratios engage cleanly. It’s a reasonably stout gearbox, but, if the bearings are noisy, problems may be lurking around the corner.
There are no corrosion issues to worry about with the body, and the glassfibre ’shell is strong and built to last. Poorly-repaired crash damage and other such bodges are an issue, however. Be sure to check for signs of a car having connecting with something immovable.