1981 Lotus Esprit Turbo

Courtesy of Silverstone Auctions
Courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

The Lotus Esprit was built between 1976 and 2004, and a future release is forthcoming in 2014. The silver Italdesign concept that eventually became the Esprit was unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in 1972, and it was a development of a stretched Lotus Europa chassis. It was among the first of designer Giorgetto Giugiaro’s polygonal “folded paper” designs.

By the close of 1980, Lotus was building three different models of Esprit, with distinct chassis designs and body molds — the S2.2, the Export S2 and the dry-sump Turbo Esprit. The Turbo Esprit had a common chassis, inheriting much of the configuration of the Limited Edition Essex cars released previously.

The interior was revised and featured new trim combined with changes to the body molds, which resulted in more headroom and an enlarged footwell. Externally, the Turbo Esprit retained the full aerodynamic body kit of the Essex cars, featured prominent “turbo esprit” decals on the nose and sides, and was supplied with 15-inch BBS alloy wheels.

First registered on August 25, 1981, this Lotus Esprit Turbo is a rare dry-sump original car in its original factory white paint with red cloth interior. The car was recently awoken from its long-term slumber, as it had been laid up since 1996.

The car was last running in 2010, and a sympathetic restoration was decided upon for the car to retain as much of its originality as possible. First, the engine was taken out to be inspected and refreshed — and then the restoration had to be halted.

The engine has been lovingly crated, wrapped and stored. It is ready to be re-gasketed and put back together after passing all the checks necessary to ensure it’s in good health. The crankshaft has been checked for balance and approved, oil pump also checked and passed and the cylinder head has been skimmed, polished and valves lapped in.

Presented with the car is a service history folder and original Lotus manual along with an old-style V5C.

A stunning iconic supercar with staggering speeds, handling and performance that is presented in terrific original condition.

Stephen Serio

Stephen Serio - SCM Contributor

Stephen is the president and owner of Aston Martin of New England / Lotus Motorsports Inc. in Waltham, MA, although for the most part, vintage European cars are where his heart is. His need to over-indulge in vintage European cars of the 1950s and 1960s inevitably leads to coveting one more car. Recent garage inhabitants include a Porsche 356A Speedster and 356A European coupe, Ferrari 275 GTS and 246GT, BMW 2002 and a Hudson Hornet. HIs vintage-Porsche-driving wife, Amanda, tolerates this all nicely.

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