Many car nerds – myself included – have spent countless hours crawling the internet for a story about a real barn find. The more stories we find like this amazing Lotus Esprit barn find, the more we can allow ourselves to believe that it’s still possible for us to find one. Every new barn-find story gives us hope there they are still out there waiting to be found.
This vintage Lotus Esprit is only a barn find in spirit
The Drive reports that last month a 1988 Lotus Esprit was found sitting in a field in north Texas. It spent 20 years parked inside a barn until a tornado swept through the area and snatched the barn as it went by. So it wasn’t technically found in a barn, but come it still counts.
Typically, the more difficult vintage car retrievals happen when trying to extricate a car from inside a building like a garage or a barn. Since this vintage Lotus Esprit was found in a field, you might think getting it home would be easy. Wrong.
The Drive says that when the buyer found the barn find (field find), it was missing wheels, and the one it had was wearing rotten tires. The Lotus got some fresh wheels put on, and in a very north Texas scene, a tractor showed it up and hauled it out of there.
How do you clean 20 years’ worth of dirt and grime off a car?
The YouTube video shows the very crusty Lotus Esprit barn find. The car was missing its front windshield for what looks to be a long time. As the new owner of the Lotus Esprit says in the video, the Lotus appears to be growing its own new carpet (moss).
Upon seeing this weathered shell of this Lotus barn find, most people would most likely take it apart and sell it piece-meal. However, that is not what the new owner intends to do. After he climbs through the vintage Lotus Esprit – and finds a bonus Joan Jett cassette – he begins to pressure wash the rotten old Lotus.
In most cases, a pressure washer might be a bit overkill for most car cleaning projects. In this case, the Lotus esprit was literally growing things on the outside. The owner shows a timelapse of pressure washing the Lotus. While it will still need a repaint, it looks about 100x better after the wash than when it started.
Because of the missing windshield, the interior looks to be completely totaled. I doubt there is any amount of carpet conditioner on earth that could undo the carnage.
The barn find Lotus will live again
Thankfully, the Lotus’ turbocharged 2.2-liter four-pot made it thorough its time in the field without seizing. The owner plans to do a full rebuild of the vintage Lotus Esprit’s heart. The second video miraculously shows the engine trying to fire up after a bit of fuel system work. This fella will surely spend a bit more than the initial $300 for his barn find, but I’d say overall, he did pretty well here.