Esprit Concept Car
on image to enlarge
by Peter Stevens in 1986 as a design option for the forthcoming
rebodied Esprit, this full scale concept car was formed in glassfibre
from a clay buck and partly incorporated a chassis. Purely a styling
exercise model, it was completed over spring / summer of 1986 prior
to the launch the following year of the X180 Esprit.
The latter, code-named X180 and also designed by Stevens, was distinguished
by stunning, completely new, more rounded and softer coachwork than
the Giugiaro styled, sharp–edged original, and offered much
more interior space while retaining the same basic Esprit mechanical
components and dimensions; in comparison this styling exercise featured
more extreme styling changes, such as a significantly different
glasshouse area and roof treatment. The car was based on a Federal
chassis, with no engine, gearbox or interior.
The need to divert a large majority of Lotus’ resources into
the forthcoming front wheel drive Elan, however, again designed
by Stevens, ensured that the project – which, incidentally,
had begun after the takeover of Lotus by General Motors in January
1986 – remained still-born.
The Esprit Concept Car subsequently languished in a lonely corner
of a workshop. Quite why the car bears a 300 motif on the passenger
door, incidentally, is a mystery and has no connection with this
concept car, or the Esprit Sport 300 launched some years later.
Thanks to Brian Angus from Lotus Cars for this information.
Stevens' rendering of the car
Lotus Esprit Federal Concept car at the Lotus Factory
is some literary evidence that the car was intended to tap into
the US market, as a budget entry Esprit and it was to featured a
2.3 Quad 4 General Motors engine, with 180 bhp, however Brian Angus
new nothing of this.