Copyright © Ian Russell 2005

I seem to be collecting Lotus motor cars—this is the latest...

Lotus Esprit S4


Once you go black, you never go back.  That was the verdict from a member of the Unity Esprit forum to the news that I had bought a black Esprit S4.

The S4 evolution of the Lotus Esprit was launched in 1993 and featured a number of modifications and improvements to key areas including major changes to the suspension dynamics and a re-modeled and slightly more spacious interior.  The latter is quite important when you are over 6’2”!

The S4 retained the chargecooled Garrett T3 turbo from the SE delivering 264 BHP from the mid-mounted 2.2 litre power plant.


My S4 was the 10th off of the production line and has been well looked after having been previously owned by Christian Silk - then a race engineer for the Benetton F1 team and now the Renault F1 team’s chief test engineer.  It’s funny but it seems that most Esprits have an interesting bit of history like this, though most of them are along the lines of “owned by Lotus Director” (I secretly think that every Esprit was owned by a Lotus Director for ten minutes after it rolled off the production line!) or “once sat in by Colin Chapman/Sterling Moss/Fangio/Nigel Mansell etc”.  It doesn’t seem to matter whether the individual had died by the time the car had been produced.  You’ll also find if you are browsing the auto ads that most Esprits are described as being in a rare colour or a Limited Edition or some other moniker of vanishing scarcity.  This is quite true, but because Esprits generally are like the proverbial Rocking Horse poo.  They just didn’t make that many.  During the entire 28 years that the Esprit was produced, Lotus made just 10675 cars.  Roughly the number of Porsche 911s sold in the UK every year.  When you take into account the number of cars that have been written off or scrapped, the Esprit is not a common car.  If you are lucky enough to see one, appreciate it.  If you are lucky enough to own one, rejoice!

My car has a stainless steel sports exhaust and the brakes have been upgraded to nice big Brembo units.  The interior is a bit tired after 63000 laps, but should be easy enough to sort.

It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.

(Sir Winston Churchill)