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My (VERY short) S1 article


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Hi all,

I'm writing a very short article about the S1 for a non-automotive website about retro living. As this article is for primarily a non-car audience, it has to be light on technical details. I would love if people here would give it a quick read and set me straight if I've got something wrong or if something is just generally objectionable.

Also - I can find images anywhere, but if any S1 owners would like pictures or videos of their car featured, please let me know. 

Thanks again! Article below:


In the mid-1970s, English automaker Lotus replaced the Europa, a boxy, mid-engined pocket-racer for driving enthusiasts, with a now-classic wedge design, and called it the Esprit. With sharp ‘folded paper’ lines and flat surfaces courtesy of legendary designer Giorgetto Guigiaro, the outrageously low and wide Esprit looked like nothing before it - and nothing since. It represented Lotus’s attempt to step into the higher-end exotic market, competing with the likes of Maserati and Ferrari, but at a lower price and with more handmade charm. An early version debuted to acclaim at the 1972 Turin Auto Show, and the first production Esprits, retroactively known as the S1, entered the market in the summer of 1976, at close to £8,000 in the UK and $16,000 in the US.


The US models were subject to emissions restrictions which adversely affected performance, and while this was a disappointment for some, the nimble handling and attention-demanding looks ensured the Esprit gained a following. This was only enhanced when it featured in the 1977 James Bond film ‘The Spy Who Loved Me,’ where, among other fictional capabilities, it morphed into a submarine.


Small improvements came with subsequent models, while a turbo option in the 80s enhanced the power output. The Esprit underwent a major redesign in 1988 which softened its sharp edges, and it remained in production until 2004. But while other supercars of the era, such as the Lamborghini Countach and Maserati Bora, bested it in raw horsepower (and price), the S1’s simple, clean lines and playful colors - options included yellow, orange, and brown exteriors, and a tartan cloth interior - made it the Everyman’s Supercar, one that could have come only from the 70s - but happily, thanks to Esprit enthusiasts worldwide, has endured beyond.

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Thanks Scott. I struggled with describing the Europa. I would say it's an acquired taste. I was thinking of the rear end/engine cover when I went for boxy, but I'll see if I can do better.

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If I could ask for a little more help with this...the publisher wants Esprit pictures taken in the 70s (S2 pics also acceptable, as article is broadening to include it), rather than contemporary pictures. The pics also have to be big - at least 1000 pixels.

Thanks for any help. I'm not being paid for this article. Just a labor of love. :)

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Here's a 70s picture from the launch of the Esprit...


Wish I could get my wheels that shiny!

Edited by Paul Coleman

Lotus Esprit [meaning] a 1:1 scale Airfix kit with a propensity to catch fire

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  • Gold FFM

He's a real good edit then

In the 1970s a small Bristish company called Lotus launched its Esprit model. It's f@cking epic........

And the picture above is the best!!!




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Only here once

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2 hours ago, fourhands said:

Love the web site……….inspiring stuff!

Yeah I've enjoyed it for a long time, so pitched them on the Esprit representing all the best design instincts of the era, and they agreed. :)


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