Surprise, surprise – Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s company car was… a Lotus. A Turbo Esprit, no less, complete with large-scale ‘Turbo’ graphics, ruched red leather interior and wedge-tastic, gloriously Eighties Giugiaro styling.
Chapman’s Esprit was built in February 1981 (but not registered until August), and used by the Big Man until his death in December 1982. He covered just over 4,000 miles in the car, which was built to his exact spec. And as the man in charge, Chapman wasn’t bound by the same options list his customers were…
According to seller Mark Donaldson Ltd, Chapman’s car had lowered, modified suspension, slightly different bodywork, power steering, air conditioning and a pollen filter among other things. It was supposedly the first Esprit fitted with BBS alloys, too, and was maintained exclusively by the Factory Service Department.
While it was owned by Lotus, Chapman’s Esprit was also driven by then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and, according to an article published in Grand Prix International, Lotus F1 driver Elio de Angelis.
Since it was sold by the company in 1983, Chapman’s Esprit has gone through a number of owners, all of whom seem to have looked after it. Now it’s for sale, with only around 11,000 miles (slightly over 17,700km) on its odometer. You can buy these things for less than £40K (approx RM210k), but with such provenance and having been so well looked after, the seller is seeking more than double that.
Images: Mark Donaldson Ltd