1976→1980 Lotus Esprit S1

1976→1980 Lotus Esprit S1

1976→1980 Lotus Esprit S1

With the Esprit, Lotus entered the modern supercar market for the first time. It’s exotic shape was good enough to extend production from 1976 all the way to 2004.

Featured in the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, Roger Moore showcased the Esprit’s performance by eluding a chasing helicopter. Unlike the Astons of Bond’s past, the Lotus transformed into a submarine and jumped into the sea.

The Esprit story started much earlier when Giorgetto Giugiaro debuted the Ital Design M70 concept at the 1972 Turin Motor Show. This car’s ‘folded paper’ front end was radical, yet production worthy. Four years later,a production version debuted at the 1975 Paris Motor Show.

At the center of the new Esprit was a Type 907 inline-4 which produced 160 bhp in European markets and 140 bhp in America. This was mounted at 45 degrees in relation to the chassis to keep a low center of gravity. The engine was supported by a steel chassis and covered in a sleek fiberglass body.

Despite modest power of its initial specification, the styling and handling of the car kept it selling. By 1980, the Esprit was upgraded Series Two specification including a new front spoiler and rear valance.

The Spy Who Loved Me Lotus

A white 1976 Lotus Esprit from the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me, starring Roger Moore and Barbara Bach, was sold by Bonham’s auctioneers on 1 December at its annual motoring Auction Sale at Olympia, in West London. The car fetched £111,500 GBP.

This Lotus Esprit is one of two complete, fully functioning cars that were used for the driving scenes in the motion picture ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, starring Roger Moore as secret agent James Bond, ‘007’. Approximately nine Esprits were used in different guises, but bar these two the rest were shells, some of which were used in filming the Esprit’s transformation into a submersible.

After the movie’s completion, the car was despatched Lotus and put back on the production line to be returned to standard trim and sold on. The mounting for the clock was removed, the seats and headrests returned to standard, the engine serviced and a black Lotus badge put on. This ex-Bond Esprit later passed into German ownership, its last long-term owner in that country carrying out a mechanical restoration.

In Detail

submitted by Richard Owen
type Series Production Car
production years 1976 – 1980
released at 1975 Paris Motor Show
built at England
body stylist Giorgetto Giugiaro
engine Type 907 Inline-4
position Midship
aspiration Natural
valvetrain DOHC, 4 Valves per Cyl
displacement 1973 cc / 120.4 in³
power 119.3 kw / 160 bhp @ 6200 rpm
specific output 81.09 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 167.89 bhp per tonne
torque 189.81 nm / 140.0 ft lbs @ 4900 rpm
body / frame Glass-Fibre Reinforced Plastic over Steel Backbone
front tires 205-16×14
rear tires 205-70×14
front brakes Unasissted Discs
rear brakes Inboard Discs
front wheels F 35.6 x 15.2 cm / 14.0 x 6.0 in
rear wheels R 35.6 x 17.8 cm / 14.0 x 7.0 in
steering Rack & Pinion
f suspension Double Wishbones w/Coils over Dampers, Anti-Roll Bar
r suspension Trailing Arms w/Lower Links, Coil Springs over Dampers
curb weight 953 kg / 2101 lbs
wheelbase 2438 mm / 96.0 in
front track 1511 mm / 59.5 in
rear track 1511 mm / 59.5 in
length 4191 mm / 165.0 in
width 1867 mm / 73.5 in
height 1105 mm / 43.5 in
transmission 5-Speed Manual
top speed ~199.6 kph / 124.0 mph
0 – 60 mph ~8.1 seconds

Lotus Esprit S History

1976→1980 Lotus Esprit S1

1977 Lotus Esprit S1 77030159H – sold for $20,900. Delivered by Lotus Cars USA to its first owner on the West Coast, this Esprit has always remained in that temperate environment, which shows in its outstanding original cosmetic condition. Displaying just over 27,000 miles on the odometer, which are believed to be original, this Lotus has been as enthusiastically cared for as it has been sparingly used.

Auction Source: The Amelia Island Auction 2012 by Gooding & Company