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What is it ?

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Hi there

Can any one tell me what car I have?

Its a 1989 Stevens car ok so far :P

Now as I understand it the first Stevens cars where really no more than a re body of the S3 G car,s with very miner changes to make things come together in to one package.

I have read that lotus just dropped the S3 bit from the cars title which would make the car just an esprit well that,s fine that makes sense, but the development code name of X180 seems to pop up all the time but surely this would apply to all Stevens cars :)

So can any one tell me what I have? An Esprit? An X180? Or An Esprit X180?

I don't really care what I have its just I would be interested in your thoughts on the subject


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People call them X180 and Stevens.

The S3 G-cars were badged 'Turbo Esprit'

The X180 or Stevens badged 'Esprit Turbo'

So theoretically you can tell the shape by how it is said.

despite this, you will see cars such as ours (my SE is an '89)

referred to as S4 or 'New shape'. Lotus should have called it

the S4 really, and then they could have called the later ones

the S5.

A lot of e-bay cars this model are frequently listed wrongly :)

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It was just known as 'Esprit' at the time. Chassis, running gear, and engine-wise it's an 1987 S3 'Esprit HC', but with the significant change of the Renault gearbox with outboard rear brakes - ooh, and different wheels :P . If yours is a very late 1989, then it may have the later 'Eagle' chassis that was introduced halfway through the Esprit Turbo SE and carried over to the S4 and (IIRC) S4s. I think the service notes mention that the normally aspirated cars transitioned at chassis number ...3525 (give or take a couple) - mine's ...3498 (registered in Nov '89) so I missed it by twenty-something. Not that I know what the real difference is, so I don't feel that hard done by :(

(Thanks, I needed to get some trivia out of my system - it's been one of those weeks!)

Not too fond of the 'X180' name myself, tend to refer to it as a 'Stevens Esprit na' as the most recognised and concise description when ordering parts or whatever. And as Paul points out, you see a lot of them mis-labelled on eBay - the worst has to be 'Esprite' - did they not even focus on one of the badges at any point... :)


"He who dies with the most toys wins..."

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I think them there boys and gals at lotus must have had brain fatigue after all that designing and could not remember what came after 3 until way down the line

I agree with you Paul should really have been a S4

Any way what's in a name its still a great car what ever it is.


Interesting to hear about chassis change I had no idea my number is ...3569 so it means that I my have the later one.


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  • 2 months later...

I have owned my '89 Stevens Esprit (fuel injection, Renault box) for about 18 months now, and have had the same question.

Most frequently nowadays, I hear the injected 89 referred to as a "non-SE." It seems a little odd to describe a model by what it doesn't have; I'm pretty sure the factory didn't advertise that way because there was no SE when the Stevens body was introduced in 1988.

To muddy the waters further, I've heard owners of Chapman-era Lotuses refer to their cars by factory Type designation, for example, a Type 26 Elan. Apparently that goes back to but does not include the Eleven and previous models, which were designated by either Roman numerals or spelling out the model number.

Soo, what Type designates the Esprit? Are they all Type 82, or does the Type vary through the Esprit model range? Or are there suffixes like on the F1 cars, e.g., 72D? Was there special factory nomenclature for the Jim Clark Edition? The James Bond Submersible Edition?

Carry on,


'89 Esprit Turbo, Type 82-FIRTNSENJCENJBSENVE

(Fuel-injected, Renault-transmission, non-SE, non-Jim Clark Edition, non-James Bond Submersible Edition, non-V8) Right?

"If everything is under control, you're going too slow." - Mario Andretti

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