When straight lines and big 'turbo' badges were cool...
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What with all this talk of the impending arrival of the new Esprit, and Lotus's ambitious five-year plan, we felt that it was worth taking a moment to look at what was, with today's POTW, rather than what will be...
So, from an era when Giorgetto Giugiaro could create an arresting shape with apparently nothing more than a pencil and a ruler, we bring you the Esprit as it was in the early 80s. Yes, we know it's not the earliest evocation of Giugiaro's geometric wonder, but we thought the Esprit turbo was the appropriate choice, since it was the model that brought supercar punch to the Norfolk firm for the first time.
And for those who feel that Lotus is not a brand that can keep up with the likes of Ferrari in the mid-engined quasi-supercar market, think on this: the 1982 Ferrari 308 GTB Q4, with its 237bhp could muster a 0-60 mph sprint in 6.7secs and a top speed of 156mph. The Esprit turbo, with its 210bhp motor could hit 60mph from rest in 5.6secs, and topped out at 152mph...
I've always liked the Lotus Esprit since the first time I saw it in The Spy Who Loved Me.
The nearest I ever got to one was the Corgi toy version I had as a kid.
Recently though I went a bit mental and built a "replica". Well, sort of.
I built a raft that vaguely resembles the Bond car so I could enter it in loads of silly raft races this summer
In true, Top Gear style I gave it a silly name too - the FLOTUS!
You can see photos / videos of it at http://www.flotus.co.uk and you can see it in the flesh at a few raft races this summer on the south coast, starting with Paddle Round The Pier this Sunday, 3rd July.
Edited by FLOTUS on Tuesday 28th June 11:37
crackthatoff26 Jun 2011
proper motor, ask any kid to draw a fast car and that's the shape you'll get back time after time. I'd love to have one of the later ones to scratch an itch !
renmure26 Jun 2011
Be aware there are a lot of dogs and horror stories out there, buy wise with an inspection and you should be happy.
Agreed. In a fit of nostalgia I made an enquiry around 12 months ago about a Turbo advertised in the PH Classifieds described as "mint condition, no expense spared, Full Lotus Service History" blah blah blah, which I assumed related to the high price being asked. Turned out that the owner had it for 4 years but hadn't serviced it in that time since he hadn't done 12k miles since the last service!!
JMC126 Jun 2011
My family ran an original S1 followed by three S3 turbo's all were purchased brand new back in the day. About 8 years ago we got the bug to buy one again, having owned some older classics we knew that they all need a bit of pampering and we hoped that buying one as a classic did not ruin the good memories. We knew that we would be looking at cars 20 years old which would require a little love.
After spending 3 months travelling all over the South of England looking at cars that were advertised as pampered concourse cars that turned out to be utter dogs we nearly gave up. As a last ditch attempt before giving up we joined the Lotus owners club so that we could access the classifieds.
Within 4 weeks a car came up for sale less than 25 miles from where we lived from an enthusiastic lotus club member who was selling because the wife was making him buy a four seat Lotus so the kids could fit in. When we saw the car we had to have it it was a 1985 bright red esprit turbo fully loaded with glass roof, full leather, air con, 32,000 miles full history, many replacement parts and recently serviced £12,500. We drove the car hoping it would not disappoint and it did not so we purchased on the spot but the seller insisted that when we sold it again he got first refusal.
Over the course of 3 years spent approximately £1,000 having it serviced and new pads etc. We spent an additional £1,000 up grading the car over standard by having modern glass roof rubbers fitted so that the roof did not rattle when closed which was an issue when they were new plus we had modern door seals fitted which cured high speed wind noise. We had the wheels painted with gold centres to match the decals and interior, this was an option when new. When the car was new the only part of the interior that Lotus did not include in a full leather spec. was the felt roof lining and sun visors so we had these re-trimmed in matching leather.
So after 3 years ownership we had a lovely turbo which we had kept serviced and improved the car with some upgrades and were £2,000 down after a lot of fun. The car used to get some nice attention especially at race meetings where people appreciated it. It was now time for a change as we had agreed to buy a 911 convertible so as promised I phoned the guy we had purchased from to see if he did want first refusal. He was delighted that we called and the next weekend we took it over for him to see and he bought the car back for what we had paid him.
So £1,000 for running costs and £1,000 on personal upgrades and then purchase price back. I think this was pretty good for a great looking 150 mph car that stands out from the crowd. I miss the car a lot and wonder why we sold it.
Be aware there are a lot of dogs and horror stories out there, buy wise with an inspection and you should be happy. I think that the original S1 and S2's are a little slow in the modern world I think the S4's are not as stunning as the S3's and the V8's are a lot more expensive and I think less collectable.
A S3 turbo provides a decent level of performance with sweet handling as they are not that heavy (1,148kg)compared to modern cars. On a dry day driven well you will be as quick as most sports and very hot hatches and you will have a car that looks cool and makes you feel great that should not loose you any money other than running costs.
Many people criticise them saying they are old plastic rubbish they have most likely not had a fast drive in one otherwise they would be convinced. Quicker and better handling car than a 308qv for less than half the price.