SOLD 12/17

1985 Lotus
Esprit Turbo

Award Winning and Highly Original Example of the Iconic First Generation Esprit Turbo. Comprehensively Documented.

  • Exterior ColorGlacier Blue Metallic
  • Interior ColorGrey Leather
  • Mileage56126 Miles
  • Engine2.2 liter turbocharged inline-4
  • Transmission5-speed manual
  • StatusSold
  • StockFJ2161


1985 Lotus Esprit Turbo
Glacier Blue Metallic with Grey Interior

The Lotus Esprit was launched in 1975 as the replacement for Lotus’ previous mid-engined flagship, the Europa. After a meeting with Giorgetto Giugiaro in 1971, it was suggested that the recently shown Italdesign Maserati Boomerang be used as reference for the new concept. The design was formalized and refined, and the stunningly angular and thoroughly modern Esprit debuted at 1975’s Paris Motor Show. The fresh, distinctive design launched just in time to help define a significant shift in automotive design language. The new Esprit did not disappoint visually and handling was quite good, however power for the early cars ensured that they were still sports cars in the traditional sense, needing thoughtful driving in real world conditions and providing the most joy on backroads. The S1 (first series) and S2 (second series) cars were developed through 1981, at which point the S3 arrived with significant improvements and the iconic Esprit Turbo model. The 1985 model year included improved aerodynamic body changes including rocker panel body work derived from the earlier Essex Turbo Esprit, larger bumpers, wet sump 2.2 Liter Type 912 engine, improved interior with greater head and legroom, as well as convenience and luxury features. BBS alloy wheels and Turbo Esprit body decals flanking the sides and hood completed the final iteration of the original Giugiaro design, creating an evocative and wonderfully 1980s aesthetic .

This particular car is finished in beautiful Glacier Blue with silver metallic Turbo Esprit side graphics and nicely matching grey interior. The car has had four total owners, the two most recent of which were collectors. Prior to them two long-term Northern California owners have properly serviced the car, driving it 56,000 miles, maintaining a high level of care while showing it regularly at local events, where it has consistently won awards. Services of particular note include the installation of a new clutch, balancing the flywheel, crank seal and pilot bearing, new clutch master cylinder, and new LH motor mount, all of which was performed in 2012 at 54,124 miles. Earlier 2007 and 2006 services included at new timing belt, water pump and drive belts, spark plugs, new starter, and catalytic converter at 49,399 miles. In addition to the fine care and maintenance performed on this car, it is also accompanied by several award plaques, blue ribbons, and plates boasting First in Class awards from 2013, 2010, 2009, and Second in Class at the 2011 Palo Alto Concours d’Elegance.

The paint on the car is beautifully preserved and is believed to be original. The gloss and finish are quite nice throughout showing only minor stone chips along the lower edge of the air dam, which have been carefully touched up. Unlike many cars of this series, the body and trim display good fit and finish, panel gaps, and closures. The deck lid releases easily and the gas struts raise the deck, revealing a nicely carpeted storage compartment and factory correct secondary engine shroud. Doors and hood open and shut tightly. The emblems and graphics are in very good condition overall. All glass, lenses, and black trim are also in very good condition showing rich satin luster just as intended from the factory. The BBS wheels are in excellent condition with very nice finish and no curb rash. The overall presentation of the car is exceptionally crisp, and it is immediately clear when walking around the car why it has won so many awards.

The interior is a very handsome and a nice complement to the Glacier Blue exterior. All finishes have a very cohesive feeling, properly preserved and cared for as needed, and never having needed restoration. Instruments and switches are in very good condition overall, showing little to no wear from use. The seats, center console, and door panels have a nice mellowed appearance, enhanced by tight pleating and correctly furrowed leather. Light use is evident in the grey carpeting and center console. The steering wheel and instrument cluster are nicely preserved, as are the seat belts and various interior hardware.

The engine and engine compartment have been properly maintained and serviced per the records that accompany the car. The finishes, hardware, various trim and details are all correctly preserved. The engine has been nicely detailed and kept clean as evidenced by the excellent condition of the metal lines, hardware, fasteners, and assorted components. The front storage compartment remains original and in very nice condition overall with excellent finishes and proper factory items.

The car starts easily and runs smoothly exhibiting a nice throaty hum at idle, delivering sharp and snappy snarls when blipping the throttle. The choke functions properly. The gearbox is easy to use and the clutch operates properly, making off the line acceleration and downshifting a pleasure. The engine makes a lovely variety of turbo noises and is peppy even off boost. Driving manners are a nice combination of sporty and refined, with excellent response and nimble manners. Clearly the improved suspension of these Turbo series cars is evident in both cornering and highway speed cruising, and the relatively high profile tires ensure that ride quality is quite livable as well. The car has a snappy feel to it, offering delightful acceleration and confident braking. The underside of the car exhibits excellent structural integrity, validating the history and proper care afforded throughout the history of this car.

Beautifully refined from the daring original and innovative Giugiaro design, this Lotus Esprit Turbo is a wonderfully preserved and maintained example of mid-engine sports car design. A fabulously 1980s expression of the wedge design exotic, the Esprit Turbo has a wonderful period feel that instantly transports people who interact with the car back to the 1980s. These cars have always represented strong performance value, meaning that many fell into the hands of people who could not afford to properly look after them. This car is the complete opposite however. Beautifully preserved, this is an exceptionally nice Esprit Turbo, and even as one of the nicer examples that exists, it represents tremendous value, in terms of the performance, aesthetics, and condition. Included with the car are receipts and records dating back to 1985, awards and plaques, an Owner’s Manual and pouch, tools and tool roll, and a service parts list notebook.

The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.

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Fantasy Junction  •  510-653-7555  •  1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608