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'76 Esprits


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I just bought 76060104G, which I believe to be the 5th rhd domestic esprit.

Can someone veriy this?

It is in poor condition, but is the James Bond white with tartan and rhd.

I couldn't resist having one of the first esprits as well.

I noticed that Gordon Masson has 76080100G. Is this the first esprit?

If so, why does it have an 8 for the manufacture month and mine has a 6?

Mine also has the ashtray in the center console--does anyone know when this was changed?


James Strickland

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Welcome aboard and congrats on your purchase. Any pics?

I'm fairly sure Gordon's S1 was the first customer car off the production line. If I'm wrong, then I'm sure someone will correct me.

For more information about your Esprit, send the factory an e-mail and they'll be able to tell you when yours came off the production line and whether it was no.5 or not.

Good luck,


Wing Commander Dibble DFC<br /><br />
North Midlands Esprit Group<br /><br />
NMEG "the formidable squadron"<br /><br />
"probably the most active Esprit group in the world" Andy Betts, Castle Combe May 2007

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Hi James and welcome aboard.

Good to see another early car being saved.

The story as far as know it about the early cars is this:

A few prototype cars were built at Ketteringham Hall by Lotus Engineering.

Some of the cars were used for styling checks, some for interior design, some were runners and some were not.

I haven

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Welcome to the forum, James!

THANK YOU for saving that S1. Doesn't matter what sequence it was built in; it's one of the first handful!

- Tony K.

P.S. --

Regarding the sequence of cars, month on the VIN, and completion date: The month it was built in is not always the same as the date it is listed as (being finished) by Lotus, and there seems to be some variation among the VINs as to which (if either) month it goes by. There are also numerous cars that are WAY out of order sequentially; e.g. an "H" chassis in the low 200s with a "5" for May in the VIN.

- T

Tony K. :)


Esprit S1s #355H & 454H

Esprit S2.2  #324J

1983 Turbo Esprit, Investor Edition #03

1991 Esprit SE

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Owning JPS #002, driven by Mario Andretti, wasn't enough so you had to make us Esprit owners even MORE envious?! :wub:

You are one lucky man! Best of luck getting her properly fixed up!

All you need now is an Essex Turbo to round out your G-body Dream Team :D

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Well done on your purchase. Glad to see 104G is now in the hands of someone that truly appreciates it. If you start doing a resto please keep us updated with the progress.


Edited by GavinT
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I have a sales brochure from Lotus showing white, tartan, rhd 76 esprit with the center console ashtray.

I have been told that the center ashtray was only on about the first 40 or so cars.

So, possibly my newly acquired 104G could be this car.

104G seems to be the first white, tartan, rhd car. 100G and 103G were both red and used for some testing.

101G and 102G have no build or dispatch records and may have been crash test cars.

Does anyone know somebody at Lotus who might know about the production of the brochure and what car might

have been used for it?


More brochure photos

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I could be wrong but i think the car in the brochure is a later car by virtue of the fact that it has a Lotus badge on the nose rather than Lotus in print. All the early cars had LOTUS in the same type face as the ESPRIT logo.

Not sure when they changed over to using the badge but certainly wasnt on the Bond car which i think is something like 0122G.

There was an earlier brochure of a red car which is prety much identical with regards to the pictures.

I would imagine that the reason they produced a second brochure was to cash in on the fact that they were using the white car for the Bond movie (and because they look awesome in white :sofa: ).

If i was trying to sell a car ... and James Bond happened to drive the same model i would make sure that the brochure looked like Mr Bonds car.

Edited by GordonMasson
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I have the brochure in my hand and with a magnifying lens I can faintly see LOTUS under the round emblem.

My car 104G has both. Here are some pictures of 104G, and you can see both on the modified hood, which I will of

course return to original.

Can't seem to upload anymore pictures because apparently I can only use 1000k which I have already used.

However, the LOTUS is there under the badge on the nose of both the brochure car and my car.

Ok, deleted the interior shot to have space for the hood shot.

Edited by jamesws1
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As much as I would like to hope it's the brochure car, consider that the decal on the nose of the brochure car might say esprit (like most cars with the badge do) and not lotus.

To be honest, what Gordon is saying makes a lot of sense, but it's good to not rule out possibilities until they are ruled out for sure. What I would do to determine whether it is the brochure car is look at some details of fit/finish when you have the car in front of you, and compare to the brochure car (and of course continue to inquire with the folk at Hethel).

Either way, 104G needs nothing to aid its provenance; it's the 5th Esprit sequentially, the oldest white Esprit, most likely the 2nd or 3rd oldest Esprit in existence, and absolutely one of the first handful to leave the factory. One of 100G's long lost younger siblings has been found! :sofa:

Edited by Tony K

Tony K. :)


Esprit S1s #355H & 454H

Esprit S2.2  #324J

1983 Turbo Esprit, Investor Edition #03

1991 Esprit SE

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As I have the brochure here, I can Definitely see the letters LOTUS under the badge with a magnifying lens.

As 100G and 103G were both test cars used at the factory for a while, and 101G and 102G have no build or dispatch

dates in the archives, lending credence to the idea that they were the crash test cars, then possibly 104G was the

first actual car to leave the factory to be sold.

As I have mentioned to Gordon, you would think the factory would have been anxious to get an ad out and would have

used the first white car available, possibly 104G.

Anyone have any knowledge at the factory about which car was used for this ad?

Sure would be nice to have some proof that this was 104G.

Note that the brochure car has the very early center ashtray as does 104G.

Anyone know when the ashtray in the center console was switched?

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Hey James

Good to see her

Edited by GordonMasson
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My apologies. Just received the paperwork on the car from ups and have a pristine brochure of the white car.

date is 10/76. I do see the esprit on the 2nd page, so I yield that 104G must not be the brochure car.

It is strange though that 104G has LOTUS and the badge. Perhaps a previous owner added the badge.

FIRST thing I plan to do is correct the hood. Either replace it with another or take this one to the body shop.

I already have a list of missing parts to try to find.

Then I will try to get it running. It shows 34k but I don't think it has run in almost 20 years!

I know Nick's work is spectacular as I was parked by Jeff at LOG 29 in Birmingham this year.

I don't think I can afford Nick however. Perhaps I can ship the seats to him to be done.

Anyway, a nice piece of history for a Lotus nut like me.

You know I am a glutton for punishment as I have:

67 europa owned for over 30 years

73 europa jps #93

72 elan +2

79 esprit Commemorative Edition No. 002 (presentation car to Mario Andretti in April 1979)

And the only one running is the 79!

Interior shot of 104G

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  • 1 month later...

WOW! The transformation on this car in such a short amount of time is simply amazing.

I can't believe how good you got the interior to look. It was so faded. Did you re-dye the green fabric somehow?

I remember seeing the listing for this car on ebay. It looked like a lot of work, but the color combo was right on.

Nice work.

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Until you reported back with the info that your car was not the brochure car, I had been thinking those months the car was kept by the factory could account for it being in the brochure. It certainly seems to account for the May/Aug debate which to me makes sense. If it wasn't released for sale until Aug it's not unreasonable that the date could have been changed from the original of May.

I had a Brochure car, a Saab 900 Aero for quite a few years. I understand your drive and hope that it was 'the' brochure car. It gives a kind of validity to the car that you cannot achieve no matter what you do to it.

At any rate, Luck to you with the car. I'm having enough of a challenge with one S1, I don't know what I'd do your lot!

Mel Gibson only acted the part

Lotus Factory visit 1979

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My mechanic spent 3 days removing the pinstriping, sanding the paint and buffing it repeatedly. The black paint along the bottom of the car was painted white. The wheels were polished and ordered new lug nuts.

We lifted up the dash console and found green material that had never been exposed to light, so I had a professional interior dye guy redo all the green and match it to that. I also had him redye all the grey on the dash.

The new hood came from SJ Sportscars in England, along with new Euro bumpers, front and rear spoiler, waistband trim, power window and choke pod, wheel centers, gas caps, new alloy radiator and fans. The hood came in on Thurs., was painted on Fri., for the show on Sat., 9/12. Nick fulcher made new interior chrome trim for the console, dash, and doors. I bought new orange carpet for the interior and new black carpet for the engine compartment. All of the carpet came in on Fri. My walther ppk replica and submarine replica came in on Fri. We finished the car on Fri. night at midnight and I stayed up until 2:00 a.m Sat morining detailing it. Met the tow truck driver at 5:00 a.m. The total time spent actually working on the car, because we had to wait on parts, was just one week!

The car was the center piece for a show. I had been invited to bring my black 79 and some James Bond memorabilia that I have. The organizers had no idea that I had subsequently bought the white 76 and were suprised when I brought it instead.

Next mission is to make it run and drive after 20 years! We intend to jump in with both feet and see how fast this can be done as I am anxious to be able to drive the car and take it to other shows. Makes a nice combo with the black 79. So does this model.

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The car was imported in the early 80s into New York, where the owner performed his triangular-hole-in-the-hood experiments on it.

Yes, I got it from Phil Newey.

He bought it 3 days earlier from a guy in the area and paid $2,000 for it.

This guy bought it from a parts car guy in California who has the early red federal 76 for sale that has been mentioned here before.

I offered Phil $4,000, but he wouldn't sell it for less than $7,000--the nice guy that he is.

I said ok, as I wasn't going to lose the 5th esprit made over $3,000.

I have another $7,000 in it between parts and labor to just make it presentable.

It will take another $5,000 to get it running and driving, assuming the engine is ok.

Nonetheless, no amount of money can buy another 5th esprit made and First made in the James Bond livery of white/tartan/rhd.

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love the look of your faded (bluei-ish grey) tartan. interior... it knocks down the intensity of the original frog green tartan interior.

its more like what it looks like on the cinema screen shots of TSWLM S1 and the early Ital Design prototype esprits.

will you be filling in the sunroof and removing the side marker lights?

i bought some parts from phil last year, they werent the correct ones so he refunded in full. that dont happen that often for items bought over ebay.

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  • 1 month later...

Got the car presentable for a show in Atlanta

Next--simply make it run after 20 years.










Edited by jamesws1
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  • 1 year later...

Hi James

Just been reading your posts, very intresting. You are a lucky man indeed to have two such rare cars. I am currently restoring my S1 in the UK. Like you I am a true Esprit fan and have previously owned number 13 and 99 JPS cars as well as an original 76 early esprit in white which is now shown in the uk reg TNR 160R.

My current restoration is going very well and I hope to have the chassis powder coated this week.

I am contacting you for a big favour, please can you send me the dimensions of the 'LOTUS' decal on your car and a close up photo, I wish to get one made for mine as like you am a real bond fan, the original bond car is in the 'cars the star museum' which is over 300 miles away. I was planning on a visit to take the photo but never seem to find the spare time.

Your help would be really appreciated and I may be able to return the favour in finding some rare parts you may need in the future, I am breaking a S2 at present and have many S1 spares. I also may have just enough have Tartan material if you ever want to re-trim.

Many Thanks


E-mail [email protected]

Where did you get your orange carpet? Was it Nick Fulcher?



Do or do not, there is no try! 


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