September 24, 2023

The early Nineteen Eighties weren’t a stellar duration for Group Lotus. Coming off what would turn into its ultimate driving force’s and constructor’s championship in 1978, the once-dominant outfit would input a duration of reliability woes and deficient tempo. After all, it didn’t assist that the innovative twin-chassis 88 used to be banned for the ’81 season, however this used to be the start of the top for one among F1’s all-time greats.

On the other hand, there are some positives to take from this turbulent duration. Initially, we were given probably the most underrated Group Lotus liveries of all time, when the F1 squad used to be subsidized through the now-defunct Essex In another country Petroleum Company. Granted, it’s no longer just about as iconic because the JPS colors (possibly because of the loss of luck), however the design proved simply how cool F1 vehicles can glance in chrome approach sooner than the Vodafone McLaren technology. And secondly, Lotus Vehicles used to be on a roll with the Esprit, which might obtain a wholesome efficiency spice up with a factory-fitted turbocharger in 1980.

Referred to as the Essex Turbo Esprit, the limited-run efficiency type would no longer best mark the corporate’s partnership with the short-lived oil company but additionally bring in the top of Collection 2 manufacturing. At the efficiency facet, the pressured induction represented a large bounce over the naturally aspirated type. The use of the two.2-litre inline 4 as a foundation, Lotus diminished the compression ratio, fitted a bigger radiator, new cam shafts and water compressor sooner than bolting on a Garrett turbocharger. The outcome? Energy larger to 213hp and 200lb toes of torque, leaping from 162hp and 160lb toes on faucet within the 2.2. A nil-60mph dash may just now be completed in 6.1 seconds, with 150mph succesful for those who stay the throttle pinned. Rarely crowd pleasing numbers through these days’s requirements, however Turbo driven Lotus into supercar territory through Nineteen Eighties requirements.

It had the appearance to again up the efficiency, too. The unique Turbo won the overall Essex paint scheme of blue-on-chrome, with horizontal burgundy pink stripes that persist with the Esprit’s signature wedgy form. Some would possibly name it a bit of garish, however I’d argue it’s one of the vital extra tasteful street vehicles to put on an F1 livery (take into accout the Mercedes A-Magnificence Version Hakkinen?). Then there’s the inner, which is only a sea of burgundy leather-based and carpet, with the five-speed handbook ‘field accessed by way of a wood equipment knob. Very tasteful.

The turbocharged Esprit would move directly to transform a core type within the vary, however the debut type used to be produced in minuscule numbers. The unique run used to be set at 100 devices, however manufacturing used to be reduce brief when the Essex deal used to be terminated after its founder used to be thrown in prison for fraud. This actual instance is indexed as being one among simply 22 Essex vehicles produced, although some assets have manufacturing quantity as prime as 45. What’s extra, the follow-up Turbo Esprit could be routinely just like the Essex type, minus the chrome detailing. A little bit just like the very burgundy, ski-clad instance within the James Bond film For Your Eyes Simplest.

However for those who’ve, er, best were given eyes at the Essex version then get ready to pay a hefty top rate. This automobile is indexed at £125,000 and, for that roughly cash, you will have to be expecting the perfect – which this automobile seems to be. Now not best does the paintwork glance immaculate, nevertheless it additionally boasts an excellent quantity of forms together with the unique gross sales bill and a certificates of provenance from Lotus itself. A surprising instance, then, for an similarly surprising charge. However given the cult-like following dodgy F1 sponsors appear to garner (cough, Wealthy Power), it’s probably a worth value paying for this slice of Group Lotus historical past.


Engine: 2,174cc, turbocharged four-cylinder
Transmission: 5-speed handbook, rear-wheel power
Energy (hp): 213@6,250rpm
Torque (lb toes): 200@4,500rpm
CO2: N/A
Yr registered: 1981
Recorded mileage: N/A
Value new: £20,000
Yours for: £125,000