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Autotrader Find: 1983 Lotus Turbo Esprit Special Edition


The Lotus Esprit was an interesting mid-engine sports car that served as a poor man’s Ferrari from 1976 all the way until 2004. Today’s Autotrader Find is a very special Esprit; a 1983 Lotus Turbo Esprit Special Edition. This is one of only 50 of these cars built for 1983.

What’s So Special?

The Special Edition of the Turbo Esprit was little more than an appearance package, but it was still pretty special. This one has a distinct gold paint job which adds to its characteristic 1980s flair. It also has “Special Edition” hand-painted on the driver’s door along with the number, which in this case is 23. A little plaque on the steering wheel also indicates that it’s the Special Edition.

The standard color scheme for these was silver with red stripes, but 33 of them were built with custom color configurations. This gold one is presumably one of those 33 examples. 47 Special Edition Turbo Esprit models were built for investors who supported Lotus and 3 were for sale to the general public.

This is an early example of the “S3” generation of the Esprit, which had some mechanical similarities to the DeLorean DMC-12. It was a little roomier on the inside than earlier versions of the Esprit while retaining the distinct origami-like styling.

Simplify and Add a Turbo

As its name suggests, the Turbo Esprit used a mid-mounted turbocharged engine. It created quite a performance boost over the base model. The 900-Series 2.2-liter turbocharged inline-four engine makes 210 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque. Not bad for a car that only weighs 2,653 lbs. It’s linked to a 5-speed manual transmission sourced from Citroen.

Sadly, the Esprit couldn’t compete when the Porsche Boxster and Cayman arrived. The Porsches made the Esprit almost irrelevant in the niche of small premium mid-engine sports cars. It never had a proper successor, but while we wait for a modern Esprit to arrive, this rare example can hold you over. It’s available for sale in Kutztown, Pennsylvania with an asking price of $45,999 waiting to be appreciated by an enthusiastic collector. Find a Lotus Esprit for sale

Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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