Lotus’s loss could be your gain though and the opportunity to own a better than new Esprit V8 will shortly be yours. Golubovic, like many of his colleagues, will be sorry to see it go. But how did the car come about?
So what did he do to it? “Well, it’s been completely stripped out, repainted – it was red originally – had a new interior, new suspension components, everything really,” says Danny. “The interior is bespoke because there was never an Alcantara dash at the time and the stitching is all different and you could never have bought one like this so it’s a one-off.” Mechanical changes are limited to adjustable height Bilstein dampers and a recalibration to the ECU that enables full boost in second gear as well as third, fourth and fifth – other than that it’s as stock.
A quick test drive round the Hethel test track reveals a car, just as promised, that looks, feels and smells like brand new though it’s in fact a decade old. Danny’s work really is top notch, the stitching all immaculate, the Alcantara tactile, smooth and beautifully finished and the look and feel all very dramatic. As is the driving experience, which is raw, physical and somewhat at odds with the luxurious feel of the cabin. The guttural flat-plane bark and whooshing turbos aren’t the last word in aural sophistication and the snappy triple-plate clutch, notchy gearchange and stiff throttle all make smooth driving a real challenge. This is a proper old-school supercar, 350hp not startling by modern standards but it feels properly quick and and pulse racingly exciting.
Is it tainted by its associations with Bahar and all it represents though? That’s a tough one to answer but for the opportunity to own the only new Esprit Lotus stands a chance of building for some time yet, if at all, it would seem an opportunity too good to miss. After all, it should be about the cars, not the politics. Viewed as such this Esprit is a bittersweet tribute.