World Championship Edition: 1978 Lotus Esprit S2 JPS

When it comes to collector cars, provenance is a big deal, but oftentimes a lack of it can be forgiven if the car in question is rare enough. In the case of this 1978 Lotus Esprit S2 John Player Special World Championship Edition, it is documented as being the first car built out of a narrow 100 car allocation for the UK. Not only that, it was reserved for predominant Lotus dealer Bell & Covill as their company car, and the example that they installed a turbo kit on the car when new, along with a sunroof. It is also the only one claimed to be titled as a ’78, with all others registered as 1979 models. Find it here on eBay with one bid to $18,500 and located in Pennsylvania.

The seller doesn’t provide much insight into how this desirable Lotus ended up covered in dust in a facility occupied by many other classics. The Esprit is clearly a British market vehicle due to its right-hand drive steering configuration, so it was imported at some point. The John Player Special Championship Edition cars were limited to 100 examples in Britain, 55 sent to the U.S.A., and an additional 30 examples for the rest of Europe. The special editions featured unique paint schemes with gold trim, including around the front and rear screens and along the doors where the words “World Champion” were displayed in celebration of the company’s 1978 Formula 1 World Championship .

The gold theme continued to a set of unique alloy wheels and the interior upholstery, which appears to be missing in this example. The wheels have also either been replaced or stripped of their gold finish. There’s a lot of work to be done to bring this rare model back to its original form, which the next owner will almost certainly do considering the rarity and desirability of this model among vintage Lotus fans. The question is what happened here? Why was it torn down, and was any actual restoration work completed before it apparently stalled in between phases? At the very least, what is present doesn’t appear to be damaged.

The engine in stock form is a 2 liter, 16-valve mill that produced around 160 b.h.p., good enough for a run to 60 in under seven seconds and a top speed in excess of 120 miles per hour. The engine is clearly in a state of disarray, with no background info offered as to whether it was healthy when removed or what is needed to put it back together. This is a rare specimen and I have to imagine Lotus fans are chomping at the bit to own one of the more desirable Esprits made even more so by its unrepeatable production number. This one will need many thousands of dollars of work, but for a car like this, it seems worthy of the expense. Would you restore it back to original condition?


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  1. alphasud Member

    The owner doesn’t give much to go on with those pictures. I don’t see any forced induction pieces either. Would also be surprised if the dealer installed turbo was a blow through set up. Typically with these old set ups they preferred to draw through but those Strombergs look like someone removed the turbo since they are bolted to the intake manifold.

    Like 2
    • Jeff Stauffer

      Those are the ‘breaking bad’ series Aztecs

    • Jeff Stauffer

      We personally spoke to someone at Bell and Covill , the car was definitely outfitted with a dealer installed turbo. The carbs and manifold set up that you’re seeing is non-original. The previous owner that purchased the vehicle in Scotland completely disassembled it before selling it. The original engine was unfortunately blown, disassembled and scrapped.

  2. CCFisher

    I see three Esprits, a Maserati, and two Pontiac Aztecs. Whaaaa???

    Like 3
    • LotusS777

      I actually knew someone that thought the Pontiac Aztec was the best car ever made, for real.

      • 86_Vette_Convertible

        Got a neighbor that has an Aztec, he drives it daily and from what I’ve seen it does not spend any time in the shop.


    More interested in the Maserati.
    Hard pass on the Lotus.

    Like 1
  4. John Walsh

    So, the garage has at least three other Lotus Esprit’s in there. Unusual to say the least.

    Like 1
    • Jeff Stauffer

      9 total, from 77’ – 01’

  5. Raymond

    Can’t call it a parts car cuz special John played with it….

    Like 1
  6. Steveo

    I have always been a big fan of Special Edition cars where the Special part is a daub of paint and some stickers. Yeah, that really makes it more valuable and desirable. Is this one of those?

    Like 1
    • LotusS777

      Isn’t that like ALL Special Edition cars?

  7. bobhess bobhess Member

    Too much world and not enough championship on this one.

    Like 2
  8. Howie Mueler

    If there was a bid its gone now.

    Like 2
  9. t-bone BOB

    Item location:
    Pottstown, Pennsylvania

  10. t-bone bob

    Bidding has ended on this item. The seller has relisted this item or one like this.

    This listing was ended by the seller because there was an error in the listing.

    Here it is again:

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