Arizona | Lot 274
1977 Lotus Esprit Series 1
$50,400 USD | Sold
| Phoenix, Arizona
18 January 2019
- Single ownership for four decades
- Showing just over 15,000 miles
- Retains its numbers-matching engine and gearbox
- Original paint in rare and eye-catching Oxford Blue
- One of 36 examples delivered in this color
When the production Esprit arrived at 1975’s Paris Motor Show, it stood in marked contrast to the bug-eyed Europa. Finally, here was a Lotus that led the way not only in how the rear mid-engine coupe drove but in how it grabbed the spotlight. Underneath its fiberglass body sat a steel backbone chassis.
The S1 offered here is easily distinguished from a second-series car by its simple, unadorned look – created by the lack of rear-quarter ducting, black front and rear bumpers, and lack of side air ducts behind the passenger compartment. Parked next to the less angular update that carried the Esprit into the 21st century, this Series 1 is a throwback to another era.
Perfectly maintained in its original Oxford Blue – one of 36 such examples – over the original Oatmeal cloth and brown Marcasite interior, this first series Esprit remained with its original owner for 30 years. Purchased last year by the current owner with only 14,800 original miles, the Lotus has recently undergone a sympathetic mechanical restoration totaling 1,000 hours of work. All mechanical components were tested and rebuilt as necessary, while the body was separated from the wishbone chassis, which was blasted and repainted to ensure no corrosion. The work included a complete engine rebuild, along with attention to the suspension, brakes, and transmission – ensuring that the Lotus looks and runs as it did when it left the factory.
Offered today is a stunning example of the first Esprit with its unassisted power steering and sharp handling, considered the purest of a breed that lasted nearly 30 years. Included is a comprehensive selection of photos and invoices documenting the mechanical restoration, along with the Lotus Certificate of Vehicle Provenance, original Bill of Sale, owner’s manual, extremely rare complete tool kit, jack, and car cover. The car has been driven some 500 miles since acquisition, and it is ready for its next owner to enjoy.
A perfect piece for the new investor or those beginning to build their collection of modern sports cars, this highly original and low-mileage S1 Esprit is one of the finest extant.