I’d argue that there is no automotive company with a more emblematic figurehead than Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman. From 1952 until his death in 1982 he was Lotus Cars. The car company was inspired by his desire for lightweight and simplicity in a sporting automobile, and from the multifaceted racing team to the small manufacturing concern it was all his child. Now is your chance to own the big man’s own Esprit, as it’s for sale.
Built in February 1981 to Mr. Chapman’s exacting specifications, he drove this delightfully stripey silver Esprit back and forth to Hethel until his death in December of 1982. In that time he covered about 4,000 miles, and the car had barely been broken in. Not only was the Esprit Colin’s car it was his final car, as morbid as that may be.
The car was spec’d from the factory with a full bevvy of sporty options, including a blueprinted engine, lowered sports suspension, high performance brake pads, BBS alloy wheels, and one-off power steering rack. For the comfort of Lotus’ most important man, the Esprit also had a Panasonic roof-mounted stereo system, special bodywork to reduce wind noise, special pollen filters to assuage Chapman’s hayfever, and air conditioning. The silver outside is perfectly accented by a gorgeous blood red leather interior.
According to the sellers, the car is a “time-warp example” of the Giugiaro-styled wedgey Esprit Turbo. The true facts are that there isn’t another Esprit in the world like this one, and Chapman having owned it only exacerbates its cool factor.
The price isn’t listed, but according to Top Gear “You can buy these things for less than £40K, but with such provenance and having been so well looked after, the seller is seeking more than double that.” Anything with this kind of provenance and originality for under a hundred thousand dollars seems like a bargain. If you have money, this is a stellar opportunity to get a one-of-a-kind car. Just please promise you’ll drive it. Hell, bring it to a Radwood or two while we’re at it. Thanks much, ta. You can find more images and information at the seller’s website.