The new Giorgetto Giugiaro designed Lotus Esprit was launched at the 1975 Paris Motor show, and in line with Colin Chapman’s obsession with weight saving, weighed less than 1000kg. It was a striking mid-engine two-seater with superb handling; however, the main drawback was the 2.0l naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine (160 BHP for European cars and 140 horsepower for US spec cars). In 1980 Lotus introduced the 2.2l engine and began experimenting with Turbocharging with the limited production Essex Turbo (Essex was the title sponsor of Lotus at the time). Power output increased to 210 horsepower. These Essex Turbo’s featured a new Giugaro designed aerodynamic package with a rear lip spoiler, louvered rear covers, a deeper front air dam and air ducts in front of the rear wheels.
The Lotus Esprit occupies a special place in popular culture with a white 1976 Lotus Esprit starring in “The Spy Who Loved Me” James Bond film as an amphibious car driven by Roger Moore. A second appearance in a Bond film (For Your Eyes Only) was made by a 1981 Lotus Esprit Turbo with ski racks fitted for its appearance in Cortina.