27th 28th March 2004, Donington Park
LEW attended Club Lotus, Lotus Festival for the fourth year in a row on Sunday 28th March. The format of the show has remained unchanged, but remains a good day out for all Esprits. The first big meeting of the year and nice to get out after a winter where most Esprits see little action. This page is dedicated to outside the show. The following page takes you inside the Festival. This is the first Donington Festival since Graham Arnold's passing and our thoughts go out to his family at this time.
Newport Pagnell Pre-Meeting
I met up with around 15 Esprits (and one Elise, which was my fault, as it was my brother!) at Newport Pagnell Service station on the M1 at 8.30am for the short trip up the M1 to Derby and Donington. The Newport Pagnell pre-meeting was early and busy! An enjoyable blast up the M1 was only interrupted by a single Police car doing 55mph. Not sure what he thought as 15 Esprit slowly edged past at 60mph!
Meanwhile the Oxford pre-met, lead by Yahoo! moderator Dermot O'Hare was blasting up the motorway to meet in the 'Lotus Only' carpark. Always the best part of the show. I have noted the Non-LEW tax disc on the Esprit in the first picture above. He will be shot at dawn!
'Lotus Only' Carpark
As usual, the most enjoyable part of the show is the 'Lotus Only' Carpark. With so many cars and owners in one place, it's the best place to take in the show. We tried to make Sunday 'Esprit' Day, so there were plenty of Esprits to drool over! With both the NP and Oxford groups getting in early, there was plenty of space to park. As you can see the fun started early as Dave Walters pulled a few wheelies on his 'Lotus' Mountain Bike!
Esprits easily out numbered other Loti in the carpark on Sunday. It seems that Saturday was Elan M100 day and the Elise's were split over both days. The only Esprit version I didn't catch in the carpark was a JPS and of course the S2.2, which is always difficult to spot.
LEW's Esprit as always had a banner in it's window, although it seems most owners who attended the show already know about the website. We arranged to meet at midday at the LEW Esprit for the group photo (at the top of the page, click for larger version). If you would like a larger version, I'm happy to email one. Just drop us an email and I'll send one out.
I think the foreign plated Essex is there every year I've been to Donington. We also met owners who'd travelled from France, Germany and Holland for the Festival. Including Graham Elliot, who must have the longest owners page. It was nice to meet him in person, after talking via email so many times. I also met Kim Charles, who hitched a ride home in my Esprit on his way back to France. Kim, came over to take in the Esprit experience before buying himself one in the very near future.
Lime Green Sport 300
This famous Sport 300 already has it's own feature on LEW from the official Lotus magazine. I've not spoken to the owner, but would love to have this famous Esprit on the owners section. Read more about this car here.
All Striped Up
This Esprit was first seen by LEW at the TeamEsprit launch at Stoneleigh last year. It also turned up at our Sliverstone meeting to watch John Hazzards V8 take to the track, before shooting off early. This year I managed to catch a word with the owner of the 'modded' Esprit. Most of the work had been done when he bought it from the previous owner from Manchester. He as a large file of bills for all the work that's been carried out. The most striking feature are the air ducts, which are apparently made for the Toyota MR2. Hopefully an owners page will follow soon.
Lotus Esprit S1
Paul Godfrey's White S1 was the star of the carpark, as it was when I first met him at Castle Combe and again at the TeamEsprit launch. Since then, Paul has been getting the S1 into top shape. The remaining bodywork has been resprayed and the interior has been retrimmed in tan leather. If anyone saw the 5th Gear 'James Bond' special on channel 5, just before the release of the last Bond movie. This was the S1 used on the show.
Paul has owned this car since new and has kept it in great condition while using it more regularly than most of us would. Paul has said he'll put an owners page together soon, so we can all find out about this beautiful car. I'm also hoping for another white S1 owner, who has been restoring his car, to also produce an owners page. Would be great to have two Bond cars on LEW. So come on Ken!
More information is being compiled on this Esprit. Said to be one of the first two pre-production Esprits, we think it's the brother of the 'Red Car' below. The owner is selling this Esprit and from what I can gather, it's actually a non runner. This car should have been inside the show, rather than outside on a trailer! One Esprit owner has taken an interest in this car and is researching it's background, so hopefully we'll know more soon. Any info would find a welcome place on LEW's pages.
THE RED CAR
The first Esprit prototype was silver and based on a cut and shut Europa chassis. Essentially it was a rolling chassis on which Giugiaro could develop his ideas for the project M70. He had the car display (rather than running) trim in 1971.
The now famous 'red car' was the second Esprit prototype and ran during 1972 and '73. Registered 'IDGG 01', the name 'Esprit' had yet to be decided on though and strong resemblance it bears to the series 1 production car is clear for all to see, right down to the distinctive Wolfrace alloy road wheels.
But look closely and you'll spot numerous detail differences. Most obviously, the 'red car' had its radiator in a pod beneath the bumper and its petrol filler cap just inside the rear window. Numerous facets of the car were 'productionised' not least the petrol filler caps which were moved out on to the upper flanks but the Morris Marina door handles survived right through to 1993 and the introduction of S4.
Continue the Tour inside the Exhibition Centre
**warning, large page with long downloading time**