101Smart Ltd.

Sat 27th & Sun 28th January


LOT 259

Estimate:  £90,000 - £120,000

Remains available

  • V5 present
  • Chassis number: SCCFC20A8DHD10895

This unique Lotus Esprit Turbo was one of the last projects undertaken by the late, great Colin Chapman. It was leagues ahead of its time and featured on both Tomorrow's World and Top Gear - see YouTube: Esprit Suspension Top Gear 1983 series11 episode 1 (youtube.com)

The car was originally built as a pre-production Essex Turbo Esprit in 1980 and loaned to the DeLorean Motor Company. When returned to Lotus, it was then developed by Lotus Engineering and fitted with experimental Active Suspension for Formula One. Lotus was at the forefront of Active Suspension for some time. When the car stopped being used and developed, like many things at Lotus, the history was not deemed important and the Esprit was left behind in a hangar at Lotus and destined for the crusher. Fortunately, a former employee couldn't bring himself to destroy it, so kept hiding it and getting his knuckles rapped for doing so. Eventually though, Lotus' senior management changed their minds, tidied the car up, and put it on display. We're told that, with just the fuel lines changed, new battery and fresh fuel, the car spluttered into life. It remained on display at Lotus until changes in financial priorities led to the firm having to raise money and this very special Lotus was sold. 

The car has been owned by the vendor for seven years and extensively restored over the last two, costing in excess of £60,000. The work included the engine, rebuilt gearbox, wiring and brakes. The paintwork and interior remain mostly original. The car runs and drives although the active suspension has not been functional for many years and work will be required. The original computer control panel is still fitted on the passenger side. 

The V5C shows just two registered keepers, the first being Lotus until 2016, while the odometer shows just 6492 miles. There's no current MoT although the now the vehicle is over 40 years old, it should be MoT-exempt. The tax class will need to be amended with the DVLA however. Paperwork with the car includes the V5C, Lotus Certificate of Vehicle Provenance, a copy of Car Magazine from November 1983 featuring articles on the car, other magazine pieces concerning it, and some correspondence.  

Notice to Buyers: Please be aware that all lots are sold as seen and without any warranty implied or given. You must satisfy yourself as to a lot's description and condition before you decide to bid. We recommend that you inspect the lot in person during the general viewing days held prior to the auction or call us to arrange for an individual appointment when you can also employ the services of an expert. Please refer to the terms and conditions.