Rare Jim Clark Edition: 1991 Lotus Esprit

Being one of 20 certainly places a car in rare company, and this Jim Clark Edition Lotus Esprit is certainly an eye-grabbing specimen both for its limited production and color combination. As one of 20 commemorative cars made in honor of legendary driver Jim Clark, who enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Lotus in open-wheel racing competition, it is a must-have for Lotus collectors and certainly an iconic edition of a peak 90s performance car. Find this rare Jim Clark Edition listed here on Hemmings in White Hall, Maryland, for $35,000 firm.

Now, I have to be fair and throw some mild shade at the Lotus special edition, as this really is just a paint job and painted wheels with a yellow interior. American cars that provide the same treatment to pace car replicas with no changes to the performance underneath don’t get much love here, but in the Lotus’ defense, at least the starting point was one of the 90s foremost performance cars and an especially impressive performer considering it relied on four cylinders. This is car number seven, and the seller notes that it belonged to Lotus Cars USA president Ron Foster.

Image courtesy of Hemmings.com

No pictures of the interior are included in the listing, so this is a stand-in photo that’s representative of what the Jim Clark cars came with. It’s called yellow in some listings, but it’s more of a butterscotch. The tricky thing with Lotus interiors (and why it’d be helpful to have a picture of this car’s) is that they can look fairly tired without much effort. Upkeep of the leather-covered surfaces is imperative for it not to look shoddy, so hopefully, the low mileage means this one has survived without too many flaws developing. The airbag steering wheel is a let-down, of course, but typical for the era.

When it comes to special editions and loud color schemes, the desirability factor is often subjective in nature. Even die-hard Lotus fans may find the yellow wheels and highlights offensive, and if you swap them out, you lose some of the key features that set the Jim Clark Editions apart. This one has some additional history in the form of signatures from the likes of Clive Chapman, Mario Andretti, and others, and it drove on the Indy 500 track – that’s because the car celebrated the 25th anniversary of Jim Clark’s winning the Indy 500. A lot of history, a special car, and super limited production – what’s not to like?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    1st thing I thought,,,GO PACK!!! The car? Too swoopy for this British car enthusiast. Tis’ more Italian than British.

    Like 3
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    We were the go to shop for the Lotus dealer for body and interior repairs and modifications when they introduced these cars in the ’80s. First ones had their problems but the factory used the “let the customer find the problems and we’ll fix them” style of warranty. Personally, I think it’s still one of the slickest designed cars ever built and the looks are still holding up well today among the latest designs.

    Like 10
  3. alphasud Member

    I agree the green/ yellow wheel combination is a little harsh to the eye. However it is a special model and has the legendary Lotus handling. I drove one and while the handling was like magic I did not like the lumpy 4 cylinder engine. I’m not sure that is why they don’t have the same desire as a Italian sports or super car but it is in my opinion. The last of the series finally got the V8 it deserved. I would consider one of those but preferably without the yellow wheels:)

    Like 2
  4. CCFisher

    I thought this was the John Deere Edition.

    Like 28
    • Steve

      I think you just gave whoever the future owner of this car is, an idea for some livery.

      Like 2
  5. Dcor

    Ever since The Spy Who Loved Me, I’ve always loved the lines of the Esprit. I get that it’s underpowered and the build quality and materials were questionable at best, but this is what a wedge design should look like. Still beautiful more than 40 years later

    Like 4
  6. David Miraglia

    Agree with Dcor any Lotus Esprit is desirable in my book.

    Like 1
  7. Martin Horrocks

    The yellow wheels derive from the early Team Lotus livery of green, yellow stripe and yellow wheels.with which Clark/ Lotus 25 won his first WDC in 1963 (seems that this was dropped from 1964 onwards).

    The Italian look would be because Giugario design the original Esprit, though this car is based on the softened down later version by Peter Stevens (also styled the McLaren F1).

    May only be cosmetic, but this would tug at the heart strings of any Lotus/Clark fan, so good value.

    Like 3
  8. Lynn Member

    I just watched a show on Netflix about the spitfire and it mentioned how great the English manufacturing was. I owned a TR-7. I didn’t see it. I like the lotus but u couldn’t drive it.

  9. Bruce

    Well I have a different viewpoint as I OWN an Esprit 1989 with just slightly less performance than this one. The color is a very mixed blessing. I looks amazing in the green and I like the yellow wheels as well but the problem is that the green is much harder to see than many other colors. Being seen is important because of the extremely low profile of this car and the lack of attention by others those yellow wheels just might save your life.

    Consider that the top of this Esprit is right at the bottom of a C-4 Corvette windshield. Now the car is amazing to drive, is able to get out of it’s own way, and after near 30+ years of age will still turn heads every time you drive it. Where the modern cars seen to need ever eye catching angle, scoop, fear or flash the Esprit is elegant simplicity. That is why it still looks good. That is can hold a weekends luggage for two and the two where others can hardly hold a brief case is another example.

    Yes the interior materials can fade but most cars do after they are over 20 years old. Those seats are however very very comfortable. The biggest problem with them is the fabric on the roof of the interior. It is a combination of foam and fabric and over time the foam deteriorates. It is replaceable but it is a pain in the ass to do so. The rest of the car with the exception of the gas tanks is near simplicity itself.

    As for the gas tanks they should be replaced on ALL ESPRITS. There is a foam below them to reduce sound but it also catches water and most of them develop pin hole leaks. NOT GOOD in the extreme. There are replacements of these tanks in Stainless Steel and Aluminum available and I would highly suggest the buyer replace his as soon as possible.

    I love mine and I do not let anybody else drive it. It is not for sale at any price. Most Lotus owner are that way.

    Like 1
  10. K

    “signatures are located on inside cover of headrest” Odd.

    Like 2
  11. Richard Martin

    There are plenty of pictures of the interior on Hemmings site – presumably a late addition. The interior looks many times better than the the one in the picture above.

    Like 2
  12. Chris Webster

    I wish Jim Clark was alive to sign it. I think of him every time I go to my local racetrack – Lakeside Australia. Clark raced there in the ’60s.

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