Colin Chapman founded Lotus in 1952, initially running the company in his spare time with a group of enthusiasts to create lightweight and nimble sports cars fit for competition. An engineer by trade, Chapman displayed a knack for problem solving in innovative ways and unconventional methods which proved vital to achieving the automotive technological advancements he would eventually be remembered for. From Formula 1® to road cars, each Lotus was designed with handling being paramount rather than brute horsepower. Chapman passed away suddenly from a fatal heart attack in December of 1982, but his design methodology lives on to this day in both Lotus and the innovations he had developed in the years prior.
Among the most revered Lotus models is the company’s history is the Lotus Esprit, due to its unique styling and mid-engine layout. The first model was introduced in 1976 with sharp, polygonal styling and was among the firsts of Giorgetto Guigaro’s “folded paper” designs. Over the course of its 20-year production run, the Esprit received a complete redesign in 1993 at the hands of designer Julian Thomson, smoothing the bodywork and creating its distinguished shape for the next decade to follow. With the refreshed bodywork came a much-needed increase in power in the form of the V-8 engine.
RM Sotheby’s is proud to offer a largely original and well-kept example of the Esprit V8 SE through the Online Only auction platform. Click ahead to explore the highlights of one of Britain’s most beloved contemporary sports cars.