The History and Evolution of the Lotus Esprit

No other cars on the market could ever be mistaken for the Lotus Esprit; this iconic car has become a legacy on its own, starting with its most unique designs as created by designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. The “folded paper” look of the car gave it more than just stares; it also has turned it into the premier British sports car from when it first came into production in 1976 until the end of production in 2004. During that span of time, Lotus Cars has given us all the Esprit we could handle and more. Here is a brief look into the short yet fascinating history of the car and how it has evolved over time.

1970s

1976 was the year that Esprit entered into production with its Elite predecessor’s 2.0-liter V4. It was introduced during that year’s Paris Motor Show and replaced Europa in the usual lineup. At the time, it was capable of 140 HP and 0 to 60 in about 9.6 seconds—an impressive feat for a 70s vehicle. What wasn’t impressive was the price, as the mid-engine sold for roughly $16k, which translates to $60k today. However, the performance of the car was remarkably better than previous Lotus models. By 1979, a revised Esprit S2 could pull off 0 to 60 in 8.4 seconds. This happened without any significant modifications to the original Esprit. Either way, England had created an exoticar, something that was hailed a success already.

1980s

Right when the 80s hit, Lotus produced an Esprit that bragged a turbocharged 210 HP. It took 3 years for this car to hit the U.S. market however. By 1982, Lotus was selling the turbo car for just under $48k—a huge jump from what it was and an equivalent of $150k today. When tested in 1983, the Esprit Turbo was going 0 to 60 in 6.4 seconds. At 95 mph, the turbo could run the length of the quarter mile in just 14.6 seconds.

In 1986, Lotus attracted General Motors, which ended up buying a controlling interest in the company. 1987 came with a new designer, Peter Stevens, who restyled the look of the Esprit. The new Esprit designs still resembled the original but just with fewer angles. Lotus also picked up the specs so that by the time the Type 910 turbo engine came out, it was capable of 0 to 60 in just 5.1 seconds. The car had top speeds of 240 kmph or 150 mph.

1990s

The 90s came and a couple of Esprits were outfitted for the SCCA Escort World Challenge series. The resulting cars that were used in the race were designated as Type 105, and Lotus saw 20 of these cars made for the road. That version was called X180R. By 1993, the Esprit Type 105 was deemed ineligible for competition due to its weight.

In the same year, another designer, Julian Thomson, came into the picture and created the S4. With some notable exterior changes, the biggest difference about the S4 was inside. It became the first Esprit ever to have power steering. GM sold Lotus off that year to Italian businessman Artioli, who also happened to own Bugatti around the time. The following year in 1994, a sports model of the S4 was created, S4S. It still had the engine and specs of the 910-series, but with some modifications, the engine output rose tremendously so that the S4S was capable of going 0 to 60 in just 4.6 seconds.

In 1996, the Esprit saw production of its last 4-cylinder car, the GT3. It was made alongside the Esprit V8. The engine was completely updated using more modern designs as heralded by Derek Bell. With 350 HP and twin turbo V8, the Esprit V8 was an impressive feat of engineering that tackled 0 to 60 in just 4.1 seconds. By 1999, Esprit saw another version, the Sport 350, of which only 50 were ever made.

2000s

At this point, Lotus Cars had already passed its prime, with its age showing in the lack of big developments. In 2002, the cars would get another designer, Russell Carr, but no major changes would ever be made in the Esprit at that point. Production of the Esprit officially stopped in February of 2004. Only 10,675 Esprits were ever produced, a modest number considering its popularity. Esprits had an incredible production run of 28 years and remains to be one of the most iconic cars that came out during that time.


Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

JD Byrider
How JD Byrider Became a Leading Auto Giant
George Carlin
20 George Carlin Quotes That Apply to Business
Bob Ross
20 Bob Ross Quotes That Apply to Business
Pat Brown
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown
Ollie's Stock
Is Ollie’s Stock a Solid Long Term Investment?
State of Oregon
How to Apply for Unemployment in Oregon
Outback Steakhouse
Is Bloomin Brands a Solid Long Term Investment?
American Airlines
Is American Airlines Stock A Solid Long Term Investment?
Costa Di Mare
The 20 Most Romantic Restaurants in the United States
Ocean Drive
The 20 Best Things to do in Newport, RI For First Timers
Lake Merritt
The 20 Best Things to Do in Oakland, CA for First Timers
The 20 Best Hotels in Tucson, AZ
2020 Audi Q7 55 side
10 Things You Didn’t Know About the 2020 Audi Q7 55
Gumpert Nathalie EV
10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Gumpert Nathalie EV
Volvo's Polestar
Volvo’s Polestar May Be the Four-Door Electric Car of the Future
2021 Genesis GV80
10 Things You Didn’t Know About the 2021 Genesis GV80
Orrery Tourbillon REF. 2GGBP.U01A
The 10 Best Graham Watches Money Can Buy
Junghans Meister Pilot Chronscope Watch Black Dial Numerals 0273590.00
The 10 Best Junghans Watches Money Can Buy
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Moller Watches
The Iconic No. 1 by TID
The 20 Best Minimalist Watches for Men
Steven Crowder
How Steven Crowder Achieved a Net Worth of $3 Million
Don Lemon
How Don Lemon Achieved A Net Worth Of $10 Million
Sting
How Sting Achieved a Net Worth of $400 Million
Brooke Baldwin
How Brooke Baldwin Achieved a Net Worth of $1.5 Million