deceased estate; recent nut-and-bolt restoration with bills for over £75k;
reputedly the first UK non-turbo X180 made; in the current family ownership
since 1994; detailed history file; requires cosmetic TLC
First registered in April 1988, this Lotus Esprit X180 (serial number 3056) is reputed to be the very first non-turbo UK market car to leave the Hethel factory following the restyling of the model by Peter Stevens. It comes with quite a tale to tell, as you will see.
Supplied new via London Lotus Centre of Edgware to fashion retailer Burton Group PLC, it was acquired in 1994 by a lady in Fareham (the car’s third owner) who was to keep it for the next 21 years. When she passed away, her son inherited the car and decided to restore it in honour of her memory. In March 2015 he sent it to Worcester Classic Cars with instructions to make it as good as new, no matter what it cost. 17 months and £52,000 later and the job was finally done – almost...
It seems from the MOT history that the car was only briefly used before being taken off the road, re-emerging in August 2022 when it was sent to Lotusbits Ltd of Warwickshire for a further bout of fettling which cost another £20,000. This included a full engine rebuild with new pistons, camshafts, carbs etc, new radiator and uprated cooling fans, work to the brakes and suspension plus much else besides, the mileage at this point being 69,605.
The full extent of all the work carried out is far too detailed to list in full here but is amply covered in dozens of invoices and an album of photos on file. Rest assured, no corners were cut and every aspect of the car was attended to, a quick trawl of the invoices showing that well over £75,000 has been spent on the car since 2015. An insurance certificate on file shows that as recently as October 2022, the car was insured with an agreed value of £62,100 – an astonishingly high figure for an X180.
By a cruel twist of fate, the son himself then sadly passed away and the Lotus was left standing outdoors under a tarpaulin for the next couple of years. This has caused some deterioration, primarily to the paintwork and the headlights, as shown in the photos.
On offer here by the executors of the estate, this extraordinary Lotus Esprit comes with a large history file housed in an aluminium case. This includes correspondence from the Lotus Archive confirming that it is the first of 108 non-turbo Esprits built for the UK market in 1988 and is one of only 8 such cars finished in Mediterranean Blue. Fitted with a 5-speed gearbox, optional extras included air conditioning, full leather interior, glass sunroof, metallic paint and a Clarion 950HX radio. These added £3,645 to the car’s £26,500 list price.
There are also lots of invoices going back to 1994 and a service book showing 15 stamps from new, the last at 68,755 miles in April 1995 – so the car has only covered 857 miles in the last 29 years, the odometer currently showing 69,612 miles. The original (complete) tool kit is present along with the original owner’s handbook, a Garmin satnav, two sets of keys and 7 old MOTs. The current MOT is valid until 28th July 2024 with just one advisory for minor brake pipe corrosion.
Various period sales brochures are also present along with two copies of The Sun newspaper – one from 7th April 1988 when the car was born, and one from 26th August 2016 when the car was reborn by dint of the restoration. The private plate shown is also included, E9 PRS (it was originally registered in London as E513 GLP).
Starting promptly and running well as we have moved it around on site, with healthy oil pressure, it will doubtless benefit from some precautionary checks before returning to the road. Given that it has only covered 7 miles since the engine was rebuilt, it will also require a careful running-in period before the performance is exploited to the full – Lotus claimed 172bhp for the naturally aspirated Esprit X180 with a 0-60mph time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 138mph.
On offer here at a very modest guide price, this remarkable Esprit has the makings of a real show-stopper and will certainly give the fortunate new owner plenty to talk about…
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
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