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Twin Turbos! 2001 Lotus Esprit V8

Lotus’ long-running Esprit model incorporated more than twenty variants, many of them made in overlapping production years. For instance, in 2001, buyers could opt for the Esprit V8, the V8 GT, the V8 SE, and the tremendous Sport 350. All of these were equipped with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V8 though the Sport 350 was the ultimate performer, being 160 lbs lighter than its siblings. Still, none were slouches when it came to blasting down the road. Here on eBay is a tidy 2001 Lotus Esprit V8 Turbo with an asking price of $59,900 or offer; it is located in Littleton, Colorado. Every inch of this Lotus attests to the seller’s claim that it has always been garaged.

The Esprit was launched in 1975 with a 160 bhp four-cylinder engine. The racy design – courtesy of that master of sheet-metal origami, Giorgetto Giugiaro – cried out for more power, but indulgence on that score was years away. Displacement wasn’t upgraded until 1980. The new motor was 2174 cc’s and still a four, but in that year, a limited edition turbo model was introduced. This was the Essex, and only 100 copies were made. Playing around with turbos put Lotus on a path to supercar status, but the company managed to turn that path into a long and winding road, dishing up several more four-cylinder variants before finally, finally coming up with a V8 in 1996. That’s what’s hiding in this engine bay – a 3.5-liter twin-turbo eight, good for 350 bhp, mated to a five-speed manual transaxle. Zero to sixty in 4.9 seconds. Top speed of 175 mph. Now we’re talking. This example has a slight mileage discrepancy: its odometer indicates 40,619, but the last mileage notation in the AutoCheck report (2023) was 41,049. AutoCheck also reveals front-end collision damage in 2018. Five owners are recorded.

The interior is delicious, cloaked in that supple leather Lotus favors, which doesn’t hold up particularly well but looks like your favorite leather jacket. These later Esprits came with a removable roof panel and air conditioning. This one has a radar detector – perhaps that explains why the clutch is new.

A rear wing arrived on the Esprit in 1989 and became a fixture ever after, though its position occasionally shifted. Fiberglass body panels helped these cars beat the tinworm, though the chassis should be checked. The Esprit desirability stack is shifting around; a few years ago, early cars were dissed by collectors, but now they have gained favor. The market wants to pay about $50k for a nice example of a later Esprit Turbo V8: both of these low-mileage cars were bid to exactly $50k just a few months ago.


  1. Avatar photo RayT

    Never drove a V8 Esprit, but found the late four-cylinder cars to be enormous fun to drive, and plenty fast. I can only imagine what four extra cylinders would do!

    If I’m remembering correctly, Michelle, I think the original Giugiaro wedge body was redesigned by Peter Stevens (and later Julian Thompson) to soften the lines. They’re gorgeous. I recall ingress and egress being a bit of a chore for me (6’2″, 195 pounds at the time), but that’s the only demerit I can hand out.

    Except for the elephant in the room: it’s a Lotus, so I’m certain longer ownership would reveal some dodgy components and assembly issues. And where would you get pieces for the Lotus V8?

    Still, as a fair-weather canyon-carver, there are few cars as nice.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Neil R Norris

      Fully agree Ray … gorgeous car. I even love the color.

      Like 1
  2. Avatar photo bobhess Member


    Like 3
  3. Avatar photo Howie

    What a beauty, must be a real blast to drive!!

    Like 1
  4. Avatar photo MMAK

    The love for all things Lotus is strong. I’m glad to see several examples featured here.

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Troy

    One of my favorite cars I just like the styling of them for the 5 previous owners thing I don’t know when I moved and changed states my vehicles history reports said another owner just because the title changed also if the finance company sold the loan to a different financial company that changes the title as well otherwise looks like a fun ride.

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo schooner

    The radar detector would not necessarily explain the new clutch. It would however explain the new brake pads.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Mark Ruggiero Member

    Arrest Me Yellow!

    Like 0

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