Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pleasanton Street Sighting - 1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo

One of the first cars I photographed for this blog was a red 1988 Lotus Esprit. Now here's another. For some reason all the Esprits I find parked on the street seem to be red, as this is our third one. It's a very nice one, too.

The Lotus Esprit was always one of my favorite sports cars as a kid. The Giugiaro body design and James Bond pedigree always appealed to me. The fiberglass-bodied wedge and its curious parts-bin mechanicals were a unique alternative to the howling Italian stallions that adorned Ron Kimball wall posters and that other plastic sports coupe from Kentucky. This generation of Esprit featured a turbocharged 2.2 liter four-cylinder Lotus engine good for 215 horsepower, roughly the same as a V8 Mustang GT of the time. A few Citroen bits found their way into this car, among them the transaxle and side mirrors (European cars of this era had Renault transaxles). Yes, the taillights are from a Toyota Corolla AE86. This is an '88 S3 model with Bosch fuel injection, but '89s received General Motors Delco fuel injection. Just because it has a four-banger doesn't mean it's a slouch -- these cars can hit 60 in less than 5.5 seconds. Later models from 1996 on could be had with a 3.5 liter V8.

This is a very well-kept car with its original vanity plates, quite possibly a one-owner car. It reflects obvious pride of ownership. I don't know if the gold pinstriping is original, but it's kept simple and inoffensive. The body styling still looks relatively fresh for being based on a design from 1976. I still like it.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This is my car - 4th owner on July 2011 (30K miles, near excellent cosmetic shape given 23 year old age). FYI the pictures I believe are from 2013 as the wheels have been replaced. Guessing the blog posting of Jan 2015 was much later.

    1. Pictures are indeed from 2013. I frequently write my posts months after I take the pictures. Each car gets its own folder in my archives and I pick one depending on my mood or a theme I want to pursue (a week of station wagons for road trip season, a week of convertibles to kick off summer, etc.)

      Thanks for stopping by! What kind of wheels do you have on your Lotus now?

  3. Also - this car is a daily driver from San Jose <-> Sunnyvale - it now has 75K miles (about 1K miles/month) as of July 2015. Reasonably reliable (only broken throttle cables (twice) that required towing) and certainly more interesting to drive than my 'regular' car to work.

  4. The wheels are from a 1995 Esprit S4s - 17" modular OZ Futura: