2020 Shannons Spring Timed Online Auction
1989 Lotus Esprit Turbo 'Wide Body' Coupe
|Engine||In-line four-cylinder, 2174cc|
This lot is no longer available
The Esprit was Colin Chapman’s first serious attempt at building a supercar capable of taking on the likes of Porsche and Ferrari. Unveiled as a concept car at the Turin Motor Show in 1972 with radical wedge-shaped styling by the talented Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, it would be another four years before the first customers took delivery due to an extended period of development. The Esprit received a considerable publicity boost thank to the 1977 James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me”, with Roger Moore famously taking to the sea in one. Although it looked every inch the futuristic Italian-styled supercar, both inside and out, the Esprit remained true to Lotus’ philosophy of building lightweight car with small-capacity engines and handling inspired by the racetrack. The Esprit underwent a major redesign in 1987, this time with English designer Peter Stevens, who also penned the McLaren F1, responsible for the styling. Codenamed X180, the lines were successfully updated with a softening of the sharp edges, allowing for more interior space, while a lift-out roof panel (in either body colour Nomex or tinted glass) was a neat addition, along with new multi-spoke alloy wheels. The instrument panel was also redesigned and the ventilation system vastly improved. Mechanically, the Esprit Turbo was little changed from its predecessor, apart from a switch the new Renault transaxle, while boost from the Garrett T3 turbocharger was increased to 9.5 psi, raising output to 215 bhp at 6000 rpm and maximum torque to 220 lb/ft at 4250 rpm. The Esprit Turbo was capable of serious performance, sprinting to 60 mph from rest in just 5.4 seconds and dispatching the quarter mile in 13.7 seconds.