In 1970 Tony Rudd, who had arrived at Lotus the previous year, proposed two new model development projects. The first, Project M50, resulted in the 1974 Elite. The second, Project M70, meant to develop a successor to the Europa which, like the Europa, was to be a two-door fixed-head mid-engined coupé.
Work began on the new car in mid-1971 with production of a 1:4 scale model. According to Italdesign, Chapman was disappointed with the wind-tunnel test results with the model and halted the project, but the Italian carrozzeria pressed on and built a full-size mock-up on a stretched, modified Europa chassis. That nameless prototype, often simply called the Silver Car, appeared on the Italdesign stand at the 1972 Turin Auto Show and convinced Chapman to approve further development.
This Esprit S3 represents an example of the last of the line of the legendary Giugiaro designed classics, dating back to the legendary Esprit driven by Roger Moore as James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me, where the legend began.
This example is appropriately finished in the same white colour combination of the original James Bond car, with a red leather and cloth interior, and described by the vendor as good to excellent in all areas and running and driving very well.
Most recently, the car has benefited from important service items such as a new water pump and cam belt which has been fitted, along with a new battery, a key component of classic car reliability.
This particular Esprit boasts its own celebrity status, as it is featured in a number of television and media events, including BBC Celebrity Antiques Roadtrip, where it was driven in production by actress Claire Sweeney, and at the other end of the spectrum featured in a marketing campaign for bespoke Saville Row shirt maker and tailor Charles Tyrwhitt.
The vendor has also informed us that the car has recently featured in a music video for which at the time of writing information was under embargo, as the music track is yet to be released, but no doubt adding additional weight to the car’s already recognised celebrity status.
Estimate: £10,000 – £12,000
€11,000 – 13,000
$12,000 – $14,000