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Lotus Esprit

Colin Chapman (owner and founder of Lotus Cars) had a long-term sponsorship relationship with the John Players Special cigarette company. The relationship worked so well that "Team Lotus" was the most successful team in Formula one racing for its time. It still ranks near the top in most of the all-time records even though it has not raced in many years. The distinctive black and gold colours of the JPS sponsored Lotus cars is reflected in both the commemorative Esprit and the earlier JPS Europa.

The first and best known, Esprit limited edition of the early years was referred to at Lotus as 'Special' or 'Commemorative' and even simply as 'Black' but to the public in Britain, it always seemed to be 'JPS'. The latter is a reference to the gold on black colour scheme that will be forever linked with images of Lotus Grand Prix contenders of the ground-effect era.


Limited edition detailss included finishing the standard Lotus alloy-wheel design in gold. Another detail was to frame the bonnet badge with a wreath that reflected the success of the World Championship winning type 79 Grand Prix cars. The gold theme extended even to framing the windscreen of the special edition S2 Eprit and the use of gold for side stripes. Interior effect of the golden cloth upon the generally overcast interior of the first limited edition Esprit. The most practical addtion was the sports three-spoke steering-wheel in place of the standard plastic one.


The original intention of the JPS was not just to manufacture 100 for the UK but also 100 apiece in the 'rest of the world' or USA markets that provided up to a third of total volumes when the Lotus export effort was 'on track'. One Lotus employee did provide the JPS total and information is that 147 were probably made: 94 for Britain; 10 for California; 16 for the other 49 US States and 27 for the 'rest of the world'. The first commemorative JPS Esprit were completed by 13 December 1978 as unit number 73120550G. The last was ready on 27 July 1979, unit number: 79070278J.

Esprit Production Figures



Lotus 907 1973 cc four-cylinder in-line, 16-valve DOHC, two Dell’Orto carburettors.
Power and Torque
160bhp @ 6200rpm
140lb ft @ 4900rpm
Glassfibre-reinforced plastic body with steel backbone chassis.
Passenger compartment encapsulated in a 'safety-cell structure'.
Five-speed manual unit. Synchromesh on all forward gears; fifth gear is overdrive,
Clutch: 8.5in diaphragm spring, hydraulically operated. Rear-wheel drive
9.7in discs front
10.6in inboard discs rear
Dual braking system, split front/rear circuits
Castor: 3 to 3.5 degrees
Kingpin: 9 degrees.
Front: Independent unequal length wishbones and coil springs.
Telescopic shock absorbers. Anti-roll bar.Camber 0 to 0.5 degrees, 3 to 5mm toe in
Rear: independent diagonal trailing arms and lateral link with fixed-length driveshaft,
coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers.Camber 0 to 0.5 degrees, 8 to 10mm toe in.
Wheels & Tyres
Front: 7J x 14
Rear: 7.5J x 14
Goodyear Grand Prix
Front: 195/60 HR14
Rear: 205/70 HR14

1980lb (898kg)
Top speed: 124mph
0-62mph: 6.8 sec
Consumption: 26mpg.
Tank capacity: 15 gallons
Range: 450 miles


Your nearest LOTUS DEALER will be pleased to arrange a demonstration of a new Lotus.

LOTUS CARS LIMITED reserve the right to change prices and specifications at any time without notice. The information contained in this leaflet does not constitute an offer or form any part of a contract written or implied. Quoted power, speed and acceleration may vary with optional equipment and overseas engine requirements. Photographs may show optional equipment.


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