Most people who buy new exotic sports cars follow the same basic pattern: They buy a car because it’s new and cool, and then they trade it in when the next new and cool one comes out. It’s unusual when you find an exotic car that’s stayed with one owner for a very long time — but that’s exactly the situation here.
This is a 1997 Lotus Esprit V8, and it was originally sold new on April 4, 1998, in Bellaire, Texas. Now, almost exactly 20 years after it was sold new, it’s listed for sale. The interesting bit is what happened in between: It was owned by one person, who kept it the entire period, from April 1998 until it was listed for sale. Given the fact that it’s a Lotus, it may not surprise you to learn it’s only covered 12,000 miles since new.
If you’re interested in one of the few one-owner 1990s exotic cars available, this one is offered by Star Motor Cars in Houston for $39,940. I have no idea if that’s high or low, as I don’t much follow the Esprit market, but I will say this one looks nice: The red exterior is handsome, the interior doesn’t show much wear and, of course, the miles are low. It’s surely one of the nicest V8-powered Esprit models around.
And of course you’re interested, because who wouldn’t be? The Esprit was famous for its classic wedge shape, and the V8 model is the one to have; not only is it twin-turbocharged, but it’s tremendously exciting to drive, thanks to a 6-speed manual transmission and 350 horsepower. Lotus said zero to 60 was 4.4 seconds, but it feels faster; even though this thing looks more substantial than an Elise, the driving experience was just as buzzy and engaging — so 350 horsepower made it feel a lot faster than it is.
There’s not a lot of demand for used Esprit models, as many people are afraid of ownership costs — but if you’ve ever wanted one, this is probably the one to have. Find a Lotus Esprit for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.