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.
In 1993, another exterior and interior revamp of the car resulted in the S4 which was the first model to include power steering. The exterior redesign was done by Julian Thompson, which included a smaller rear spoiler placed halfway up the rear deck lid. Other major changes were to the front and rear bumpers, side skirts and valence panels. New five spoke alloy wheels were also included in the redesign. The S4 retained the same horsepower as the SE at 264 hp.
Presented in Lotus yellow with magnolia interior the example on offer presents very well, the paintwork is good with no real signs of wear and the interior shows little sign of its age. Included in the history file is a UK registration document and current Mot test certificate along with bills of maintenance work. In good driving order this Esprit offers a fantastic opportunity to acquire a much collectable model of the Lotus brand.
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