I bought this car in 1991 when I had
3 small kids, with the vague hope that if I looked after it, it would last. It has, they are all grown up and we simply don't need a large car anymore.
The car has only had occasional use since 2002. It has only done 280mls since the last MOT in June 2011. Nevertheless I'm confident I could jump in it and drive anywhere without problems. It's still pleasant to drive, comfortable, steers, brakes and handles well with a positive gearchange. It is far better than it looks!
There is not much recent service history. Up to about 85k it was serviced by Renault West London. I grew increasingly fed up with their fondness for turning every service into a job creation scheme. 3 times in a row they insisted on replacing an oil seal on the distributor. The last time I refused, and it still isn't leaking 15 years later. We finally fell out over the paintwork, which was deteriorating rapidly. Renault pretended it was an unknown issue, that I must have cleaned the car with brake fluid or something. Except I had a word with the gate guard and he said there were a string of customers with identical problems. This was confirmed when I got chatting to another owner in a carpark. His Espace, also metallic burgundy,, was shedding lacquer and he'd bought it new from RWL. Renault were telling him too that they'd never seen any other cars with the problem. After that I decided they were not to be trusted and reverted to doing my own servicing, which I had always done with other vehicles. Receipts for parts ended up in my accounts files rather than in a folder. But there haven't been anything other than service items for a long time.
I have a lot of affection for this car, and really hope it will go to someone who has some appreciation for the Espace as a groundbreaking future classic of the late 1980's. This one is partly scruffy but sound and low mileage, and with TLC could easily last another 20 years. Mk1's are now rare. www.howmanyleft.co.uk says only 12 1989 Phase2's remain in use in UK, with another 10 SORN'ed. There used to be 1,800 but scrappage disposed of most of the survivors. Most service, mechanical and running gear parts are still easy to source as the Espace shares many components with the Laguna and other Renault models.
What's not so good
- No rust. All exterior panels on the Mk1 are glassfibre over heavily galvanised steel structure means that - unlike every other car I've owned - the Espace is pretty much immune to rot. The bodywork has a few chips and wear & tear, but no accident damage. The tailgate was replaced several years ago after a lorry clipped the original whilst the Espace was parked. The chassis looks less corroded than most 4 year old Fords!
- It's great to drive, and the 5 removable seats make it incredibly versatile.
- Decent sounding Blaupunkt MP34 FM radio & CD player fitted a few years ago, which plays MP3's recorded to CD-R and also has a flylead with 3.5mm stereo jack for MP3 player or whatever.
- Has just - 70mls ago - had an oil (semi synthetic) and filter change
- MOT'd to 10 June, taxed to end of August
- All tyres are good. Fronts are almost new, rears about 30% worn. Wheels are the original and sought-after "computer spool" alloys, in good condition & with 2 security keys.
- 111,800-ish miles - and these engines are capable of 3x that. It is quiet with no nasty noises, uses negligible oil and no coolant and sailed through emissions testing. Most of the mileage has been motorway, since I use a motorcycle around London.
- Cloth seats and carpet are not too bad - no rips or tears.
- Contrary to reputation this Espace has been very reliable and I don't see any reason it shouldn't continue to be. Cambelt renewal is not due until 140,000; alternator and clutch were replaced about 30k ago and master cylinder around the same time. In 2010 I flushed the cooling system and refilled with fresh antifreeze, new gearbox oil and it also had a new quality battery, new exhaust centre section, rear brake slave cylinder and brake pads and linings.
- This car has never failed to start, except twice when my dear children left the interior lights on and flattened the battery. I can leave it for weeks and it will start first turn of the key, even in freezing conditions.
- A towhitch and electrics for a trailer were fitted so I could transport dirt bikes but have never been used as circumstances changed before I could buy a trailer.
- Owners manual & Haynes manual with car.
- The lacquer has failed on the gloss areas around the midriff, making the car look very scruffy. It's been that way for 10 years and all Espaces in metallic paint suffer poor bonding between the paint and lacquer. At one time I had the bonnet resprayed by Renault as it was the first panel to show the problem. That cost me £450, but within 5 years it had failed again. Frankly I would not bother with resprays. It would be much cheaper and last longer to vinyl wrap the failed areas : 3M do a burgundy metallic vinyl KG9976 which looks like a good match to the roof and lower section of the car, which are a textured paint that doesn't have the problem.
- Heater blower fan is either off or full speed. The two intermediate speeds ceased working 15 years ago. It's probably the resistor pack - a few quid in parts but Renault wanted 7hrs labour to remove the dash and replace it. I decided to live with it.
- The headlining is fragile as a result of 20 years UV exposure. Whilst it isn't sagging it has quite a few small holes toward the back of the car, especially inside the C pillars, from taking garden waste to the tip..
- Advisories on the last MOT for n/s front brake hose "slightly deteriorated" and n/s & o/s outer CV boots "deteriorated". A new hose is £9, new CV boots are £12 each and it's about 2-3hrs labour to replace the lot. I have looked and deterioration is very slight. Still, they may need doing sometime soon.
- Central locking is not working on the rear passenger doors, having gone intermittent some years ago. I have a couple of spare solenoids if you want to try fixing them, or it may just be dirty connections. Central locking on the front doors, tailgate & petrol flap work fine.
- The n/s rear passenger door childlock is permanently engaged, and has been since before I bought the car. That door can only be opened from the outside.
- Headlight beam load adjuster hasn't worked for many years. It was pointless anyway.
- Only a few lines of the heated rear window element work.
- Has a Renault PLIP alarm, the third fitted. Like its predecessors it is utter rubbish and is disabled on the keyswitch.
- Speedo needle oscillates at low speeds. Has been like this for 20 years. Rev counter occasionally fails to operate on starting the car, a tap on the dash fixes it - just a poor contact.
- MPG is 22 around town, 30mpg on a run. I have kept a record of every fill-up since 1991 and MPG hasn't changed a bit, but the cost has trebled.
Cash on collection please. I will accept cheque or bank transfer but the car will not be released until funds have cleared. Delivery may be possible for the cost of petrol plus public transport but if you require this you MUST
contact me before bidding to agree terms. There is no reserve and unless the car is sold elsewhere I will let the auction run. You bid to buy, not to turn up and change your mind or try and renegotiate price. There is full information within this listing which, to the best of my knowledge accurately describes the vehicle, but you are welcome to view. To arrange this or if you have questions, please ask via eBay or phone me - Tony - on 07836 385040. The car is in W. Ealing, London W7.
On 31-Mar-12 at 16:07:26 BST, seller added the following information:
I forgot to say I have all past MOT's to verify mileage.