"CROSSING THE BLOCK"
Featuring: Barons Auctions
1999 LOTUS ESPRIT
The Lotus Esprit was launched back in the mid Seventies as a replacement for the Europa, having originally been shown as a Giugiaro design concept on a Europa chassis in 1972. Part of Chapman's move to take Lotus upmarket along with the Eclat and Elite, the Esprit utilised the marque's new 1973cc 'twin-cam' engine. As one of the most extreme examples of the wedge profile fashionable in the 1970s, the basic shape of the Esprit proved dramatic enough to continue virtually unchanged until 1987 when it was replaced by Peter Stevens' in-house design. Still high-impact but with much softer, friendlier contours, the new Esprit was available in S4 or Turbo guises (the latter model boasting 229bhp and a top speed of almost 150 mph).
The appeal of the Esprit was greatly enhanced by the appearance of "Wet Nellie" in the 1977 James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me". The name was a reference to Bond's "Little Nellie" gyroscope in "You Only Live Twice". The amphibious Esprit could perform all sorts of Bond-style tasks, including being a submarine, rocket launcher and canon firing, cement spraying menace to Bond's enemies.
Steady development meant that Lotus continued to find a small but appreciative market for the Esprit and it was a natural home for the new 3.5litre V8 engine developed by Hethel in 1996. Featuring twin turbos and producing 350bhp, this engine turned the Esprit into a premier league super car with a top speed of 175 mph and 0-60 time of under 5 seconds. Distinguished by its high-level rear aerofoil, the V8 followed true Lotus tradition in offering this level of performance at a fraction of the price of its Italian and German contemporaries.
Offered here is 1999 example of an Esprit V8, which has covered a warranted 61,000 miles in the hands of just 3 owners. The motor car comes complete with excellent service history, with 11 service stamps and various invoices. In 2014 the car has benefited from a cam belt change, including rollers and tensioners, plus a service by Stratstone of Leicester.
This Esprit V8 is described as being a very clean and tidy example needing nothing.