This website is
dedicated to the Lotus Esprit Turbo X180, or as it is commonly known
as the "Stevens" Esprit. The Lotus Esprit Turbo was built
from 1980 to 1992. In it's day, it was one of the fastest accelerating
cars, with impressive handling and a top speed to matched most supercars
of it's day. By 1987, the original Lotus Esprit was looking a little
long in the tooth and needed an update. Lotus employed Peter Stevens
to redesign the car, retaining the essence of the original design, but
giving it a more contemporary appearance. Below is a brief history of
the Lotus Esprit.
of the Lotus Esprit
The Lotus Esprit
has been one of the most successful and longest running supercars, produced
from 1976 until 2004, and was developed and improved over time. The
car was famously popularised by the James Bond films, The Spy who loved
me and For your eyes only.
Esprit S2 1978 - Click on image to enlarge
The Lotus Esprit
began life in 1972 as a concept car (the "Silver Car"), which
was displayed at the Turin Motor show. Sat next to the Maserati Boomerang,
it stole the show. The original Esprit was design by Giorgetto Giugiaro's
of Ital Design as a styling exercise. He had met Colin Chapman the year
previously, from a chance meeting and Chapman commissioned the new Lotus
and as a result, decided to put the car into production. The Lotus Esprit
(or Kiwi as it was initially known) was developed over 3 years and launched
in September 1975, to replace the long running Lotus Europa (although
Owner's had to wait till 1976 to collect their cars). Like its forebear,
the Lotus Esprit was a GRP-bodied, mid-engined sports car with a steel
backbone chassis, but that's where the similarities end. Whereas the
Europa was aimed at the sports car market, the new Esprit was aimed
towards the luxury supercar market; ie. Porsche and Ferrari. From 1975
to 1978, the Lotus Esprit S1 was produced. Power came from the 907 engine,
also used in the Lotus Elite and Eclat. Although the car looked stunning
and the handling was impressive, the car only managed a top speed of
126 mph. There were also problems with unreliability, dubious build
quality, engine ventilation and electrical problems and the first owner
of the cars, were often regarded as guinea pigs. The Lotus Esprit was
developed and improved with the introduction of the S2 from 1978 to
1980. This car had improved engine ventilation, with the air intakes
behind the rear windows and an integrated splitter under the front bumper.
The S2.2 from 1980 -1981 had a larger 2.2 litre engine (912 series twin
cam) and a galvanized chassis.
It was the introduction
of the Lotus Essex (Turbo Esprit) in 1980 that brought the car into
the supercar league. There were 104 Essex branded cars built (with dry
sums). There were big improvements in reliability and chassis design
(better torsional rigidity) and revised rear suspension geometry (the
drive shaft no longer doubled up as the top link but was supplemented
by a transverse link). These improvements also followed through to the
normally aspirated S3 model of 1981. The Lotus Turbo Esprit was powered
by the improved 910 engine and featured an AiResearch Garrett T3 turbocharger,
which helped increased the engine power to 210 bhp. This gave the car
an overall top speed of 153 mph and 0 - 60 time of 5.4 seconds. In 1981,
the Essex name was drop and it was renamed the Turbo Esprit; with conventional
livery, optional leather seats and air conditioning and a cheaper stereo,
which brought the price down and increased sales. In February 1987,
the Turbo Esprit HC was introduced with a high compression engine, more
boost, improved carburetion, lubrication and cooling and the engine
power was increased to 215 bhp.
Turbo Esprit 1981 - Click on image to enlarge
Lotus Esprit Turbo X180
new-style Lotus Esprit Turbo was designed by Peter Stevens. Code named
X180. Lotus spent £2 million on the development and design of
the car. Worked started in October 1985, with sketches and colour renderings.
A full-size fibreglass mock-up was created in February 1986 and the
final design was approved in July of that year. The new Lotus Esprit
Turbo was launched in October 1987, with deliveries beginning almost
at once. The finished car was mechanically the same as the previous
Giugiaro styled Turbo Esprit HC, other than the transaxle and gearbox.
In place of the previous Citroen unit, Lotus fitted the Renault GTA
transmission. The new gearbox also meant a change in the rear brakes.
These became outboard, mounted on the cast alloy hub carriers. Inside
the car there was more legroom, an updated instrument display, revised
door panels and seats and better ventilation.
Lotus Esprit Turbo Technical Specification
mid, rear-wheel drive
block al. alloy/al alloy. 4 cylinders in line.
95.3mm, stroke 76.2mm,
gear 2ohc. 4 valves per cylinder.
ratio 80 to 1.
Dellorto DHLA 45 carburetors
pressure 9.5psi (0.67bar).
power 215bhp (PS-DIN) (160kW ISO) at 6000rpm.
torque 2201b ft (298 Nm) at 4250rpm.
drive ratio 3.88:1.
Renault UN1-16 all - Syncromesh
independent, double wishbone. co-axial coil springs, telescopic dampers,
and-roll bar. Rear, independent, upper and lower transverse link with
radius arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar.
wheel diameter l4ins,
turns lock to lock.
l0.1ins(258mm) dia ventilated discs.
l0.8ins (275.9mm) dia discs.
alloy,7ins rims front. 8ins rear.
Eagle NCT tyres
Speed: 153.5 mph (247 kpm)
0 - 60 mph, 5.4 Seconds
mile: 13.7secs, 103mph
KM: 25.0secs, 129mph
mpg: 19.6 (14.4 litres/100km)
tank: 18.0 Imp galls (82 litres)
recorder 4 per cent long
15lb; Travel: 6.O ins
Dry Plate 235 mm diameter, diaphragm spring cover assembly, hydraulic
% F/R 51/49
ESPRIT TURBO NEW IN 1988 - £29.950.00
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