Lotus HistorySource: LotusColin Chapman
When the name Lotus is mentioned the man, Colin Chapman comes immediately into mind. The founder of Lotus, Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman, was born of ordinary, parents in the London area of England on May 19, 1928. His youth was filled with typical English boyhood antics and schooling. By the age of 17 he was entering the University College of London University to study engineering. And, as any story about motorcars would begin, Colin was already travelling about on his Panther 350cc motorcycle. Unfortunately the Panther was short lived and by the University's welcoming dance the Panther was written off, having been smashed into the door of a taxi. His interest motorcars had yet to be piqued but, with the arrival of Christmas Colin was presented with a '37 maroon Morris 8 Tourer.
The Morris was lavished with Colin's attention and was used for transporting himself to and from is home and the University. Often he would have fellow students Colin Dare and Hazel Williams, who Colin had met at a dance in 1945, as passengers in his journeys. These journeys were not without peril and adventure. But Colin had turned them into sport, always interested in setting new records for traveling the distance between home and Hazel's, Colin Dare's and school in the shortest amount of time.
It was soon after entering the London University, that he and Colin Dare began a second hand car sales business. The year being 1946 cars were scarce and the business boomed, growing to one to two cars being bought and sold per week. Often lectures were skipped in order that 'deals' could be secured. As the inventory of cars grew the space to keep the cars became insufficient and the two Colins were seen stashing cars in the lock up shed behind Hazel's home. The normal buying and selling became easy and the two Colins grew into modifying and improving their cars before placing them on the block. This brought greater profits, but more work. This booming business was not to last as in 1947 the British government did away with the basic petro rationing and new cars became plentiful and the demand for second hand vehicles crashed. The business was disbanded and what remained was an old clapped out 1937 Austin 7.
This old Austin was to be the basis of the first Lotus, the Mark 1. Only the chassis and drivetrain were retained as Colin fashioned a totally new body and modified the engine and suspension. The Austin was modified to be a trials car, a very English auto competition of driving cars through all sorts of terrain against time. Many of the construction techniques were those that Colin had learned while studying aircraft construction at school. Two trials were entered in the spring of 1948 and the Mark 1 Lotus scored its first two class wins. Colin continued to develop and modify the Mark 1. First larger wheels and tires were fitted and the front beam axle was split and hinged in the centered to provide independent front suspension. However with the coming of late spring work on the Mark 1 tapered off to benefit of Colin's studies. By the end of the year 1947 Colin Chapman had completed his engineering studies and officially attained B.Sc.(Eng).
By now Colin was quite familiar with the short comings of the Mark 1 and the construction of a Mark 2 appealed to him to eliminate those inadequacies. Work had only begun on the new car when Colin enrolled in military service in the RAF, where he learned to fly. He became even more intrigued by airplanes, specifically, in their flight and engineering. It was to be an important experience for this budding engineer. During his leaves Colin would return to the lock-up garage behind Hazel's home to work on the Mark 2. At times Hazel began to resent the attention the new car was getting. Colin had little time for dates, instead, before rushing back to camp, he would present her with a job list that had to be completed before Colin's next leave.
The Mark 2 was completed by late 1948. The speed and performance of the Mark 2 further enthused Colin's interest in motor sport, however this was not until a 1172cc Ford 10 engine had replaced the worn Ford 8 engine.
In September of 1949 Colin's term with the RAF was completed and a future in the RAF had no appeal to him, so it was he returned to civilian life. By December Colin was employed in a London firm of constructional engineers. A life of bridge building seemed to lie ahead for Chapman, something he secretly did not relish. By Christmas the Mark 2 had grown a shapely radiator cowl and an ingenious system for the headlamps. They were mounted in the cowl and made to turn with the steering. The spring of 1950 proved how competitive the Mark 2 was with class wins in trial after trial. The Mark 2 was sold to Mike Lawson, the uncle of Sterling Moss, and Mike continued to win in the next year. In the fall a new formula was introduced for closed circuit racing, 750cc Formula racing. Thus by January of 1951 work on the Lotus Mark 3, a car designed to meet the require- ments of this new formula, had begun. It was this third Lotus that really caught the eyes of the racing community.
With Colin in the driver's seat, the Lotus Mark 3 consistently won races- it was clearly the fastest of the 750cc Formula. The Mark 3 showed all of the now classic signs of the future Lotus. It was light, lean, innovative. It did not merely win, it pounded the competition into submission. It forced the racing governing bodies to regulate specifically against the Mark 3 to preserve equality. This was, as was to be seen in the future, only the first of such occasions where rules were written with Lotus specifically in mind. The die was set, the racing community had been put on it's ear. By November of 1951 Mike Lawson returned to Colin ready to purchase a faster Lotus. By the end of 1951 it was apparent that other competitors were interested and inquiries began to flow into Lotus about obtaining copies of this winning car. Copies of the Mark 3 were built and the Mark 4 was put into motion. January 1stof 1952 marked the official beginning of the Lotus Engineering Company, now located in Colin's father's building in Hornsey.
The Mark 4 was completed and was sold to Mike Lawson who scored class wins race after race in 1952. By late 1952 Chapman had noted the demand that existed for the sale of components that assembled into a complete car. The Mark 5 was shelved to design and build components to fill this market. So it was that the Mark 6 was born. Chapman had noted that the twin channel chassis construction of the Austins became heavy when properly reinforced, thus with his engineering knowledge Chapman designed a robust multi-tubular body-frame. The new structure was light, yet extremely rigid. There was no room for excess, every tube had a job. The resultant space frame for the Mark 6 weighed only 55 pounds, and when panels and mounting brackets were added the full up weight tipped only 90 pounds! The success of the Mark 6 was verified by the list of customers lined up to purchase copies of the winning car.
By late 1953 the Mark 8 was introduced and Colin finally married Hazel. The small firm cars continued to flourish, their cars finishing with numerous victories generating orders for the Chapman creations to pour in at rates far exceeding production. Finally Colin was no longer able to hold down two jobs, that with British Aluminum and running a full time car construction firm, the budding Lotus company was triumphant- Colin was theirs full time.
The next few years were spent pursuing victories at Le Mans, the cars; the Mark 9, the Lotus Eleven and the Lotus 14, Elite. By 1960 the Le Mans victories were in hand and Chapman's interests in racing turned from Sports Racer vehicles to open wheeled race cars, Formula Junior, Indianapolis Cars and the World Series of racing; Formula One, an arena dominated by the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, Porsche, Cooper and BRM.
From 1960 to 1981, Chapman and Lotus became the winningest Formula One Team, posting championship after championship. Establishing a tradition of winning by a total commitment to creating a superior performing car through superior engineering and innovation.
It was a dedication to superior engineering and innovation that took Chapman and Lotus to an Indianapolis victory in 1965 and fielding the infamous STP Turbine cars and 4 wheel drive cars of the late 60's. It was this same dedication that created the first successful full monocoque racing chassis, the first successful fully stressed engine for racing, and the first full composite chassis for a road car.
It was the Chapman connection that brought Ford's money to the small firm of Cosworth, operated by two old employees, Frank Costin and Keith Duckworth. From this came the winningest Formula One engine in history, the Cosworth Ford DFV. The first win came with Jim Clark at the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix. It was the maiden race for the sleek, ultra-light Lotus 49 powered by the Cosworth Ford in its first race. The competition was overwhelmed by the superior chassis and engine and victory was Clark's.
In 1978 Chapman unveiled the Lotus 78 Formula One race car and again the rule books would have to be rewritten as would history. The Lotus 78 used bodywork on the underside that effectively created a venturi, thus as the air rushed under the car the air was forced to accelerate and the pressure of the air was lowered dramatically. The result was downforce never before imaginable, in excess of 2000 pounds of downforce was created in addition to Lotus 78's 1250 pound weight. The Lotus 78 was said to corner as if truly on rails and it took six Grand Prix wins in 1978. The impact upon racing created by ground effects cars were so astounding that by the end of 1981 the ground effects Formula One cars were banned and replaced with flat bottom cars in 1982.
When Chapman died in December of 1982, from a massive heart attack, no one questioned the indelible influence that Chapman and his small English motor car company had upon the engineering and manufacture of automobiles both for racing and for street. Every single automobile on the race track and on the road today owes some part of its design and engineering to Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman and his company, Lotus.
What is missed by racing enthusiasts around the world is the sight of Colin Chapman's black cap sailing across the track as one of his Formula One race cars streaked across the finish line at one of the 78 Grand Prix races won by Lotus. What is missed by automobile enthusiasts around the world is the feeling of great anticipation of what the brilliant mind of Colin Chapman would bring to the roadways for them to savor and enjoy. And, yet the Lotus Legend lives within the walls of the Lotus factory in Hethel, England and with the current Formula One Lotus race cars.
It has been said by many that Colin Chapman accomplished more to influence the modern automobile than any other human. Quite a statement considering the greats who are Chapman's peers. It is enough to say that the automotive engineering and automobiles are in their present state of development due to Colin Chapman: innovator, genius, engineer, driver, founder, enthusiast.
Brief Year by Year History
1948 - First Lotus car is built, based upon a 1930 Austin Seven saloon. Used successfully for competition by Colin Chapman.
1949 - The second Lotus, Mark II is built.
1950 - Mark II successfully competes in British Trials.
1951 - The Lotus Mark III begins for competition in the 750cc road racing class. Dominates competition and customers begin to order copies.
1952 - Lotus Engineering Company is formed. Mark IV is built and Mark VI is designed as first Lotus road car.
1953 - Orders pour in for the Mark VI as it becomes a very successful club racer.
1954 - Work begins on the Lotus Mark VIII with aerody-namic body by Frank Costin. Mark VIII hits 125 MPH from 85 bhp engine.
1955 - Lotus Cars Ltd. founded by Colin Chapman. Mark IX is entered in Le Mans 24 hour race.
1956- Lotus introduces the Lotus Eleven. 270 were eventually sold through 1960.
- Lotus builds first single seat formula car, Lotus 12.
1957 - Lotus Elite introduced. The Elite astounded the motoring world using aeronautical production standards and designs. The Elite was featured Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic (GFRP) monocoque chassis, shaped into a wind cheating aerodynamic shape with 4 wheel independent suspension, disc brakes and a 1216cc alloy over head cam engine. Production was discontinued in 1962.
- Lotus introduces replacement for Lotus Mark 6, the Lotus Mark 7. Production continues through 1973.
1958 - First Formula One Grand Prix is entered, Lotus 15 with Graham Hill driving.
1959 - Lotus moves to new purpose-built factory in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, England.
1960 - Lotus scores it's first Grand Prix win at Monaco with a Lotus 18 driven by Sterling Moss.
1961 - Moss wins again at Monaco in a Lotus 18.
1962 - Lotus Elan is introduced. The Elan features a GFRP body mounted atop a now-famous steel backbone chassis, the powerful Lotus twin cam engine of 1558cc, 4 wheel independent suspension, 4 wheel disc brakes and the was the first production car to use hidden headlights. Production of the Elan continued through 1973.
- Lotus introduces first all monocoque Formula One race car, the Lotus 25, a landmark design.
1963 - The Lotus 25 in the hands of Jim Clark wins 7 Grand Prix and the first Championship for Lotus.
1964 - Lotus goes to Indy and wins 3 Grand Prix with the Lotus 33.
1965 - Lotus introduces the Elan Fixed Head Coupe (hardtop version).
- Jim Clark wins the Indy 500 driving a Lotus.
1966 - The Elan Drophead Coupe is introduced.
- The mid-engined Lotus Europa powered by a Lotus modified Renault engine is introduced.
- Lotus moves from Cheshunt to its present home in Hethel, Norfolk, England.
1967 - The Elan +2 is introduced (powered by the Lotus Twin Cam engine).
- Lotus introduces the Lotus 49 and wins the Dutch Grand Prix. Another landmark car, taking 8 consecutive pole positions.
1968 - Lotus Cars Limited goes public.
- Graham Hill becomes World Champion driving a Lotus 49.
1969 - Tony Rudd joins Lotus as Engineering Director. Engineering projects include more powerful version of Lotus Twin Cam engine and new Lotus 2.0 liter 16 valve 907 engine to address coming emission laws and preserve performance.
- Mike Kimberley joins Lotus as Chief Engineer for the Twin Cam Europa Project.
- Lotus brings 4 wheel drive cars to Formula One and to Indy.
1970 - Powerful Elan Sprint is introduced with 126 BHP Lotus Twin Cam engine.
- Yet another landmark Formula One car in the Lotus 72. A World Championship for Lotus.
1971 - Lotus introduces the Type 907 engine, 2.0 liter, 16 valves, the first 4 valve production engine
- Europa is updated using the 1558cc Lotus Twin Cam engine.
1972 - Emerson Fittipaldi is World Champion driving a Lotus 72.
1973 - Emerson Fittipaldi and Ronnie Peterson dominate Formula One and win the Championship for Lotus.
1974 - Lotus revives the name Elite for its newly-introduced four passenger model. The Elite is powered by the 2 liter, 160 HP, 907 engine. Exceeded all foreseeable European and U.S. safety and emission regulations.
1975 - Lotus Elite wins the Don Safety Trophy from the U.K. Minister of Transport for design and exceeding all safety and emission regulations.
- Worldwide introduction of Esprit S1 and Eclat, powered by the Lotus Type 907 engine.
1976 - The first ever ground effects car, the Lotus 78, is built and secretly tested.
1977 - Lotus Esprit featured in James Bond film 'The Spy Who Loved Me'.
1978 - Introduction of Lotus Esprit S2.
- Lotus agrees to provide design and development expertise for DeLorean DMC-12.
- Lotus wins the World Championship with Mario Andretti driving the Lotus 79.
1979 - Lotus Sunbeam Talbot wins World Rallye Championship with 2.2 liter version of the Lotus 907 engine.
1980 - Esprit, Eclat and Elite are uprated with 2.2 liter engine and chassis guaranteed for 5 years.
- Turbo Esprit introduced to the U.K. market with 210 BHP and revised suspension.
- Lotus Engineering and Technology unit announced.
1981 - Esprit S3 introduced for U.K. market. Uses chassis of the Turbo Esprit.
- Turbo Esprit featured in James Bond film 'For Your Eyes Only'.
- Lotus cars are not imported to U.S. during 1981 -1982.
1982 - Excel 2+2 is introduced. First car built by Lotus to use the VARI process.
- Colin Chapman, founder and chairman, dies at age of 54 on December 16, 1982.
1983 - Importation of Lotus cars resumes to U.S. market. Introduction of Turbo Esprit to U.S.
- Active Suspension System announced and demonstrated to the press.
1984 - Completion of 30,000th Lotus road car produced by Hethel, Norfolk factory; 1966-1984.
1985 - Group Lotus Car Companies renamed Group Lotus plc.
- Formula One wins with drivers Elio de Angelis and Aryton Senna.
1986 - General Motors acquires a complete shareholding in Lotus plc.
- Project M100 begins, for what becomes the new Elan.
1987 - Group Lotus forms U.S. distribution and marketing operation; Lotus Cars USA.
1988 - Heavily revised Esprit Turbo with new body and interior is introduced. Body construction stronger and formed with VARI process.
1989 - Esprit Turbo receives electronic Multi-port Fuel Injection (MPFI), distributorless ignition and stronger gearbox with improved gear ratios.
- Esprit Turbo SE is introduced with 280 BHP chargecooled engine.
1990 - Lotus Cars USA campaigns team of Esprit Turbo SE's in SCCA World Challenge Cup. 4 wins (out of 8 races); two 1-2 wins; 6 pole positions.
- Lotus Elan is introduced to U.K. market. Front drive roadster with 1588cc 4 valve twin cam engine. Available in standard, normally aspirated and SE, turbocharged, forms.
1991 - Introduction of the new Lotus Elan to the U.S. market, turbocharged model only.
1992 - Chris Boardman take Olympic 4000m Gold Medal on epoch-making 'Lotus Sport' carbon-composite monocoque bicycle.
- Boardman and the Lotus 'superbike' smash World 5km pursuit record by over 8 seconds. Boardman's unofficial Olympic 4km record is ratified also
- Doc Bundy, driving the Lotus Sport X180R, takes the Driver's title in USA national sports car series (Bridgestone Potenza Supercar). Tom Langeberg wins Dutch Production Car Series in Lotus Esprit
- Launch at NEC of Esprit Sport 300: -- the highest performance Lotus to date. Bases on the X180R, the Sport 300 blends racetrack performance with road manners in a dramatic variant of the classic Lotus Esprit shape.
1993 - Lotus Esprit S4 introduced -- new elegant bodyshell encloses dynamic improvements such as power steering (standard).
- Lotus Esprit Sport 300 goes into production
- Two Lotus Esprit Sport 300s race at Le Mans -- first works-supported entry for over 30 years.
- New Lotus Sport 110 road bike debuts on the Tour de France with Team ONCE
- Bugatti buys Group Lotus from General Motors; Romano Artioli of Bugatti Industries named Chairman, Group Lotus Limited (Millbrook Proving Grounds retained by GM.)
1994 - Elan S2 shown at Geneva Show. Featuring new 16' wheel/tire package and other improvements, car will enter production in June for limited run of 800 units only.
- Chris Boardman is re-united with a Lotus bicycle (the new Lotus Sport 110) for the first time since the 1992 Olympics, and wins 30km stage of Tour de Suisse.
- Boardman sets new record average speed on the Prologue for the Tour de France, riding the Lotus Sport 110. He keeps the 'yellow jersey' as Tour leader for two further days.
- Lotus Esprit Sport 300 driven by Thorkild Thyrring wins the British National GT series.
- Chris Boardman wins World Championship in Sicily, in 4km Pursuit and 30km Road Race -- both on Lotus Sport 110, proving its competitiveness and versatility.
- Esprit S4s announced at Birmingham Motor Show -- 300 hp peak power in S4-based body, with new wheels, Michelin tires, and revised suspension settings to suit increased performance.
1995 - Sad day for motorsports enthusiasts as Team Lotus (not part of Group Lotus since 1986, except in name and spirit) lays off all of its staff and finally joins forces with Pacific Racing. A sad end to an illustrious and unforgettable period of motorsport which saw Team Lotus win the Formula One World Championship seven times, the Indianapolis 500 once, and many other formula victories including class wins at Le Mans. Its success was a tribute to one man -- Colin Chapman.
- Lotus celebrates the completion of the 50,000th car since the birth of the marque in 1948. The car, a Lotus Elan S2, is donated to a major national charity with the help of former Lotus driver Britt Ekland. With the help of The Sun newspaper, over £65,000 is raised by the car.
- Lotus GT car, driven by Alessandro Zanardi and Alex Portman, stuns spectators at Donington, leading the GT2 class by over a lap and running up to third overall. Only a transmission fault five minutes before the end of the four hour race prevents the team from taking a fairy-tale result.
- Lotus Esprit sales worldwide buck static market, recording an 11% increase in the first six months against previous year.
- Lotus is the featured marque at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races in Califormaia,. Hazel Chapman attends as guest of honor. Unique collection of Lotus F1, Indy, sports and road cars on display; Lotus Enthusiasts attend from around the world.
- Lotus Elise is unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show. Immediately billed as 'star of the show', Elise is superlight at 1488 lbs with advanced chassis of epoxy-bonded aluminum extrusion -- a worlds' first. Other 'firsts' include extruded aluminum suspension uprights and aluminum metal matrix brake discs. Promising breathtaking performance(--60 in 5.9 seconds) at a price 'under £20,000' with stunning looks, Elise earns praise from onlookers, and many advance orders are taken. First deliveries are expected mid-1996
1996 - At the Geneva Auto Show Lotus introduces the Espirt V8, powered by a purpose-built Lotus V8 engine. The 3.5 liter, twin-turbocharged unit produces 350 hp at 6500 rpm and 295 lb ft of torque at 4250 rpm. The engine is impressively small, fitting comfortably inside a cube 28' high, 28' wide and 24' long with all ancillaries in place. Of modular design, the engine can support a 4-liter naturally aspirated version s well as a family of V6 and four-cylinder engines.
- All new Lotus Espirt GT1 car (type number 114) is unveiled at the Paul Ricard circuit for the first race of the 1996 GT series. The new racer features the Lotus V8 engine, a new six-speed racing transmission, F1-sytel aerodynamics, carbon brakes, and is down to the 900kg minimum weight limit. After showing early promise, the car retires due to a fractured exhaust.
- The Lotus GT Team finishes a credible second at the Silverstone round of the BPR Global Endurance series.
- On October 31 the Malaysian multinational DRB HICOM announces that is has taken a majority shareholding in the Lotus Group of Companies. Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad, Chairman of HICOM-PROTON Group names Modamed Zainal as managing Director of Group Lotus.
- The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, visits Lotus and lays the foundation stone for a new £7 million 'body-in-white' prototype development and engineering center.
- At the Bologna Motor Show, Lotus unveils the Elise Trophy car, a race-prepared Elise for a one-make racing series stages in Italy in March, 1997.
1997 - Lotus debuts its Espirt V8 PPG Pace Car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The car includes O.Z. Racing. wheels, Euro headlamps and a unique PPG paint containing special translucent particles held in suspension, allowing the paint to change color from black to gold as light conditions vary.
- Zytek's Electonic Lotus Elise powered by two Zytek electric motors, is the star of the 1997 SAE International Congress & Exposition in Detroit, reaffirming the fundamental correctness of the Elise's lightweight construction method and proving that EB's don't have to be boring.
- DRB HICOM Chairman Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad and his wife are killed in a helicopter crash near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
- The Lotus Esprit V8 earns an Exceptional Merit Award in teh Robb Report Exotic Car of the Year balloting.
- Lotus Cars USA dedicates a new 31,000 square-foot headquarters building at 500 Marathon Parkway in Lawrenceville, GA.
- The 1000th Lotus Elise (a left-hand drive model with red leather upholstery and Titanium paint) rolls off the assembly line at Hethel, UK. Elise production now stands at 11 per day.
- Group Lotus announces that appointment of Chris Knight, former senior executive with Royal Dutch Shell, as CEO and Paul Layzell as Director -- Cars, Sales & Marketing, Mohamed Zainal continues as DRB HICOM Chairman's representative.
- The Lotus Sport Elise is unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Conceived for road use, but designed as a race car, the Sport Elise is powered by a 1.8-liter Rover K Series engine with 190 hp. Ultra lightweight competition accessories, including specially manufactured front and rear clamshells, reduce its overall weight to just 1477 pounds.
- 1998 Lotus Esprit V8 debuts at the London Motorshow with a revised interior, improved shift mechanism, twin-plate clutch and new ABS system. A GT version of the V8 also debuts.
- Group Lotus terminates its agreement with GT1 Racing Ltd. GT1 ran the Type 115, and Elise- based GT-1 race car, in the FIA GT Championship. Plagued by a sanctioning body ruling which made the Lotus V8 turbo engine uncompetitive, the GT1 team switched to a 6.0-liter normally aspirated V8 as the 1997 season began, but never recovered.
1998 - The 1998 Esprit V8 is unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show. A restyled interior, new climate control unit, twin-plate clutch with revised hydraulic actuation, modified gearbox and selector mechanism, refined ABS system, new windshield wiper design, and upgraded alarm round out the changes.
- Romano Artioli, part-owner of Lotus and a former chairman of the company, steps down as Lotus Cars Limited's Director of Special Projects to pursue other interests.
- Malaysian automaker Proton purchases the 16.25 percent interest in Lotus held by the estate of former Proton CEO Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad. This gives Proton an 80-percent stake in the company.
- A big month for Lotus. On September 12, the factory holds an invitation only celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first Lotus car. Almost 2,000 Lotus cars and 10,000 Lotus car owners, dealers, clubs and enthusiasts make their way to Lotus headquarters to participate in the 50th Anniversary celebrations at Hethel. A 1/2 ton birthday cake measuring five feet by six feet is cut by Lotus CEO Chris Knight and Hazel Chapman, widow of the company founder Colin Chapman to mark the occasion.
- September also sees the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) president Ronald K. Leonard open Lotus' new Engine Test Facility in Hethel. It adds 19 new test cells, bringing the total number on the Lotus campus to 42.
- The Birmingham Motor Show is the setting for the launch of two new Lotus vehicles. First up is the Elise 340R an aggressive lightweight concept with production possibilities. It features minimal bodywork, cycle fenders over its otherwise open wheels, and does away with both the roof and doors. The Esprit Sport 350 heads to production with a lightened bodyshell, a carbon fiber rear wing and side fins developed for the Type 115 GT-1 race car, and magnesium O.Z. wheels. It is painted in a distinctive aluminum color with blue highlights and features blue cam covers on its 3.5 Liter Lotus V8 engine.