Sports this week: Lotus Esprit (1975 – 2003)

Lotus EspritIn addition to exceptional longevity (built from 1975 to 2003), the Lotus Esprit is primarily a forward-thinking sports embodies the philosophy of the brand.

Lotus enthusiasts in the confirmation of the arrival of a new Spirit in 2013 caused an understandable enthusiasm. Why? Simply because, with this announcement, we plunged back a few years back. The memories and images of the first Lotus Esprit come to mind. And it is quite pleasant as the sport has been a success.

The origin of the Spirit goes back to 1970. That year, Lotus project to control a Tony Rudd. It develops a two-seater sedan with four-cylinder engine in central position. His name internally: M70. Spirit is the future. To develop this project, Colin Chapman joins Italdesign which incorporates the opportunity for a concept car unveiled at Geneva 1972. The first prototype, based on an aluminum body, is presented in November 1972 and finally takes the name of Spirit. Development continues using the famous beam chassis, the front of the Opel Ascona and the gearbox of the Citroen SM. The result of this work, the Spirit S1 (here in orange), is presented in Paris in September 1975.

Equipped with a two-liter four-cylinder all-aluminum, the engine has two camshafts in the head and power supply by two Dell’Orto carburettors double body of 45 mm. With an output of 160 horsepower, the Spirit can travel up to 220 km / h. The style is very pure, excellent handling. Already popular, its popularity will explode in the late 1970s through its use by James Bond in “The Spy Who Loved Me” where the car will even be transformed into a submarine.

This is the beginning of glory, as the beginning of a great story. For the S1 will be followed by numerous upgrades. Starting with the S2 (pictured in front of the plane) in 1978 which includes some changes (new Speedline alloy wheels, new steering wheel, interior controls changed, new side skirts rear spoiler redesigned front, etc.).. Then the S3 in 1981, in addition to external factors change (bumper and taillights biggest in particular), has a turbo engine bringing 210 horsepower. The S4 landed in 1987 with new rear lights, front and rear bumpers for better integrated and rounded, new rims, turbo or atmo. Changes that, each time, do not do anything to lose the Spirit of his style and dynamism. As in 1975, special series come and go, and popularity remains high, especially when Richard Gere is used in the hit movie “Pretty Woman” in 1989.

After the sale of Lotus in 1994 by General Motors at Bugatti Automobili, things will change again. With, in particular, the restyling of S4 (shown in red) and the arrival of a 304-hp S4S, then a GT3. More importantly, his team Lotus Esprit in 1995 with a V8 engine “house” which was yet in the plans from the beginning. An all-aluminum twin-turbo V8 developing 354 horsepower for a top speed of 280 km / h. A nice parting gift for all fans of the Spirit. Because this version will be the last to be offered in the catalog Lotus until the end of production in 2003.

Produced 10 682 copies in 28 years, Spirit has maintained its style over the years, while improving its performance to compete with larger ones. Hence the undeniable success with brand fanatics who are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new Spirit in 2013. Lotus is known not to have the right to make mistakes Lotus Esprit

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