Early -Turbo Esprit Dry Sump, one of only 143 produced between 1980 and 1983.
The Lotus Esprit made its debut at the Turin Motor Show as early as 1972. Designer Giorgetto Giugiaro’s M70 prototype received well-deserved admiration, and the Esprit S1 production model was presented at the Paris Motor Show in the summer of 1976. Colin Chapman’s idea gave birth to a purposeful sports car: light, fiberglass body, backbone steel chassis and independent suspension. A high-revving, longitudinally mounted DOHC 16 four-cylinder engine in the middle of the car, whose power resources were restrained by disc brakes installed in every corner. The end result was the familiar Lotus, a handcrafted car where driving was the focus. The selection of the Esprit as a secret agent’s diving vehicle in the 1977 film 007 – Spy Who loved me further increased the car’s international interest.
In 1980, Lotus wanted to create its own equivalent to the supercar market, and challenge the larger and heavier competitors of the major car manufacturers, such as Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche, who relied especially on the amount of top power. As a Formula 1 class and racing car developer, Colin Chapman knew the recipe for a fast car and good driving characteristics. Lotus had won its most recent world championship in motorsport’s premier class just two years earlier. Chapman stuck to his ideology of making a sports car as simple and light as possible that would be fast and efficient enough. At the same time, they wanted to visibly respect the F1 sponsorship agreement with the British driver David Thieme and the Essex Overseas fuel company.
As a result, Lotus got the power source it deserved and thus the Lotus Turbo Esprit Essex was born. The car’s 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine was equipped with a Garrett turbocharger and two Dell’Orto carburetors. Chapman wanted to ensure engine lubrication in competition use and the engine was implemented with dry sump lubrication. The peak power was 210 horsepower at 6,250 rpm’s and the acceleration to 60 mph’s took 5.5 seconds, with a top speed of 152 Mph’s / 245 kilometers per hour.
The bumpers and skirts of the car was more aerodynamically shaped compared to the basic model of the S3 generation, and the Essex model had an Essex blue body, taped with the Essex company’s red/chrome stripes. The Essex model was also equipped with air conditioning and a Panasonic cassette radio. However, the Essex livery with red stripes were not to the liking of all buyers, and in the end only 43 Essex cars were sold to customers.
However, the Lotus factory was prepared to produce slightly more cars, and the rest of the cars with dry sump engines were sold without the Essex livery. This car is one of them. Lotus produced about 143 Dry Sump cars, until Lotus decided that wet sump lubrication was a more affordable and reliable enough way to handle the lubrication of the Turbo Esprit engine.
This early dry sump Turbo Esprit was manufactured in April 1982 and was sold with the domestic market specifications. The first owner was the J.W Sharp who lived in Lincoln, UK and worked for Q.G.P.C oil company. The first owner has serviced the car’s first three scheduled services at Stevenson Motors in Inverurie, including receipts and service book entries.
The first owner kept the car until 1993, when it ended up in the Yackimini family in Aberdeen, Scotland. The car had been driven about 20,000 miles. The car sat in the Yackiminie family until the family’s son decided to restore the car after it was standing. In 2008, extensive repair work was done on the car, and for example engine belts, turbo, water pump, air conditioning compressor, brakes, clutch and much more. After the restoration of the car, Yackiminie decided to sell the car and the Turbo Esprit was bought by Finnish T. Hakoniemi who was working in Scotland.
Hakoniemi brought the car to Finland and registered it. The car was registered as a historic vehicle in 2013. The car has been in storage during Hakoniemi’s ownership, and hardly any kilometers had been accumulated.
We bought the car in January 2023 from T. Hakoniemi in Vaasa and decided to restore it with respect to its extraordinary originality and not only as a low mileage collector example, but for to drive and use also. The restoration was made at Grips Garage, which specializes in British classics. All spare parts were ordered from Lotus-specialized PNM-Parts.
All wearing parts of the car’s suspension were renewed, including all the chassis and suspension bushings and new adjustable shock absorbers designed for Turbo Esprit. The original brake calipers were overhauled with the new pistons and brake master cylinder were renewed. The master and slave cylinder of the clutch with hoses were renewed.
The engine’s cooling hoses and oil hoses were renewed. Timing belt with tensioner and Auxiliary belts were renewed. The valve covers were refurbished. The car’s electrics were refurbished and the electric fans were renewed. The gearbox shifter bushings were renewed.
In 2023, more than 200 hours and more than 21 thousand euros have been spent on the renovation. The end result is that the Lotus works perfectly and is really great to drive. Engine, suspension, electrics and all the electrics works simply perfectly.
The car stands out in its wonderful, very original condition, both inside and out, including the very first original Essex Blue factory paint with golden Turbo Esprit livery.
A wonderful and very rare Turbo Esprit Dry Sump with only 24,500 miles.
The car is located in Vantaa. Presentations by agreement.