An exceptionally original example which won the 'Judges' Choice' Trophy at the 2015 Cholmondeley Pageant of Power Concours and now for sale with H&H Classics on October 20th in The Fast Road Sale at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. This car would stand out in any Lotus Collection.
This car has featured in CAR and Classic Cars magazines and used by Omologato to promote their 'Heritage Racing Special' limited edition watch. As a ‘World Championship Commemorative Edition’, the Esprit wears a 'JPS' branded gear lever top, stereo knobs and even a door-mounted cigarette lighter.
Extensively ‘gone-through’ and checked over by marque specialist Paul Matty, less than 1,000 miles ago in 2019, this is a true time warp that, whilst not perfect, embodies the saying 'they're only original once'. Entered from a private collection of Lotus single-seaters and road cars.
The most successful Formula One team of the 1970s with four World Championships to its credit, that same decade saw Lotus launch a credible rival to the Ferrari 308 and Porsche 911. Unveiled at the October 1975 Paris Salon, the Esprit was notable as one of Giorgetto
Guigiaro’s earliest polygonal designs. A mid-engined two-seater equipped with all-round independent coil-over suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and rack and pinion steering, the newcomer also featured a recumbent, racing car-esque seating position. Powered by a 1973cc DOHC four-cylinder engine allied to five-speed manual transmission (housed in a transaxle), the fibreglass-bodied Esprit weighed just 900kg. Although road testers found it difficult to emulate the factory’s performance figures (0-60mph in 6.8 seconds and 137mph), their praise for the Lotus flagship’s ride / handling balance and overall poise was universal.
Arriving in 1978, the Series 2 (or S2) version sported an integral front spoiler, revamped interior, C-post ducts, bespoke 14-inch alloy wheels and new taillights. More refined than its predecessor, production lasted until 1981 by which time some 1,061 had been made. However, by far the most famous and sought after S2 derivative was the ‘World Championship Commemorative Model’. Built between December 1978 and July 1979, to celebrate Lotus winning its seventh World Championship title in 1978, and finished in the same, highly distinctive Black and Gold ‘JPS’ livery as the company’s Formula One cars, the original idea had been to build 300 (100 for the UK, 100 for America and 100 for the Rest of the World). In practice less than half that number are thought to have been completed with the UK receiving 92 or 94 examples (sources differ).
H&H Classics, well known for its creative ideas to benefit clients, have just launched their ‘Fast Road Sale’ a brand-new auction of 50 or so performance cars that will take place on October 20th.
The auction house is issuing an invitation to consign driver-orientated cars of the kind that have graced the big and small screens since the 1960s. Think everything from a Shelby Cobra laying down thick rubber lines through to a Volkswagen Golf GTi cornering hard enough to cock its inside rear wheel! If it is the sort of ‘motor’ that a professional wheelman would helm – imagine a camera zooming in on a pair of Raybans, driving gloves and needles dancing their way around rev counters and speedometers – then H&H want it for their October 20th sale.
According to an accompanying Group Lotus PLC facsimile, this particular example – chassis 79020641G – was UK car number 61. Completed on 20th February 1979, it was road registered less than two weeks later and supplied via the London Lotus Centre of Chelsea. Exceptionally original, the Esprit is warranted to have covered only 26,000 miles from new. The ‘JPS’ livery is no longer perfect with signs of crazing in the gel coat and micro blistering etc but, if anything, that only reinforces the car’s authenticity. The interior trim is notably well preserved with the model specific three-
spoke Mario Andretti-signed, leather-rimmed steering wheel and commemorative plaque remaining in situ. More unusually, ‘FBC 199T’ is also able to boast its factory-fitted Hitachi Digital stereo complete with ‘JPS’ knobs not to mention its ‘JPS’ logoed gear lever and door-mounted cigarette lighters.
Purchased by the vendor from marque specialist Bell & Colvill under the Lotus Approved Used Car scheme at 22,575 miles in May 2011, the Esprit joined his collection of Lotus single-seaters, road cars and memorabilia. Sparingly used over the past eleven years, the two-seater was entrusted to the renowned Paul Matty Sports Cars for a new exhaust and cambelt plus attention to its cooling fans and carburettors etc. during April 2019 at 25,822 miles (£2,882.69). Featured in CAR magazine’s ‘50th Birthday Special’ (October 2012) and the subject of a six-page article in Classic Cars magazine (June 2013), ‘FBC 199T’ was used by Omologato to promote their ‘heritage Racing Special’ limited edition watch and won the ‘Judges’ Choice’ Trophy at the 2015 Cholmondeley Pageant of Power Concours. Treated to a new Silver Top fuel pump by Simon Rudge Motorsport last October, No. 61 started readily and ran well during our recent photography session. Offered for sale with V5C Registration Document and history file, this special example of a special car is surely worthy of a place in another Lotus collection?
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