2001 Lotus Esprit V8 SE
$60,000 - $80,000Offered Without Reserve
- Showing less than 28,400 original miles
- Desirable SE model with wraparound rear wing and air-conditioning
- Finished in original New Aluminum metallic; the first of only seven in this color for 2001
- Powered by a 350 hp, 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine
- Recent comprehensive service at a cost of about $40,000
- Accompanied by tools, copy of its window sticker, Lotus Certificate of Provenance, and service records
The Lotus Esprit enjoyed one of the most storied production runs in automotive history. The Esprit is beloved and admired by owners and enthusiasts alike, given the car’s unique styling and mid-engine layout. Don McLaughlin, Lotus’s public relations manager in 1977, famously placed a badge-less Esprit in front of the James Bond production offices in an effort to lure executives into featuring the car in The Spy Who Loved Me. By the time the film was released, an Esprit would be seen sprinting up the hills of Sardinia as it was being chased by a helicopter. The Lotus eventually escaped underwater, where it transformed into a submersible. The time on the silver screen gave Lotus and the Esprit great exposure.
Over the next 20 years, Lotus continued to revise and update the Esprit into a formidable performance machine. In 1993 the model received a complete redesign courtesy of Julian Thomson. Among the upgrades, such as increased power and the addition of a rear spoiler, was the modification of the car’s shape, which was now much more contemporary and finally left the dated wedge-era design behind. In 1996 the Esprit received a well-deserved V-8 engine, followed two years later by a proper host of performance modifications. First and foremost, the Lotus-developed, flat-plane crank V-8 featured twin Garrett turbochargers along with a revised transmission and new interior. The 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 now produced 350 hp at 6,250 rpm and 295 foot-pounds of torque at 4,300 rpm. Coupled with decades of legendary Lotus handling characteristics and a top speed of 175 mph, the new Esprit made for a superb driving experience.
This Lotus Esprit V8 SE entered the United States in Charleston, South Carolina, and upon clearing customs, it was delivered to Criswell Lotus in Gaithersburg, Maryland. A largely original example throughout, this V8 SE is finished in New Aluminum metallic (B35), the first of only seven such cars finished in this shade for 2001. The Lotus rides on stylish O.Z. Racing wheels wrapped in Sumitomo HTRZ II tires, mounted and balanced earlier this year. As the top-of-the-line SE model, it was originally fitted with the large wraparound rear wing and equipped with air-conditioning as standard. Optional extras include a glass roof panel, which added $695 to the final price tag. The factory color-matched roof accompanies the car in a protective case. The interior is trimmed in luxurious black leather and features an upgraded Alpine UTE-73BT Bluetooth digital media receiver with hands-free microphone. The interior is in wonderful condition, with the only area of note being the driver’s seat, which exhibits typical wear on the door-side bolster from entry and exit, commensurate with the car’s low mileage. To date, the car has covered less than 28,400 miles since new.
The Lotus is accompanied by service records outlining work done over the past year to a total of over $40,000. Notable items include new tires, mounted and balanced; a new water pump, with the thermostat and hoses replaced in the process; a complete engine belt service; a transmission refresh, which included a new clutch and synchros, in addition to the installation of the EMCO UN1 upgrade kit with a new mainshaft and a taller first and second gear set; the heat and A/C system was serviced; and lastly, all fluids were changed. Service invoices for the work performed are available for review and will accompany the car. Rarely is any car as well serviced as this, making it immediately ready for its next owner to enjoy.
As with all cars of this age, there are some minor imperfections commensurate with its age and originality. There are small chips in the paint, with a larger one noted in the center of the bumper, and a paint scratch farther back on the rear fender. Small paint chips are evident along the lower rocker panels and rear quarters behind the wheels, as to be expected. The original protective film around the side-rocker duct entries as well as behind the rear wheels have yellowed somewhat with age, but have protected the paint underneath. The undercarriage shows very slight scrape lines evident both after the front wheels and before the rear wheels, a normal occurrence for a car with lower ground clearance such as this.
The car is accompanied by tools, a copy of the window sticker, Lotus Certificate of Vehicle Provenance, and a formal letter from Lotus Archives decoding the production specifications and outlining its rarity.
Among mid-engined Lotuses, the V8 is one of Lotus’s greatest models since the company’s inception. This example, having been meticulously maintained at great expense, is a wonderful example of the marque and one that is ready to hit the open road.