First Lotus Certificate of Provenance goes to ‘81 Turbo Esprit driven by Margaret Thatcher

The 1981 Lotus Turbo Esprit pictured at Ketteringham Hall, Norfolk, where initial design and engineering development work on the original Esprit began in secret. The building was also home to 'Team Lotus' racing operations from the mid-1970s to 1994, and the Lotus GT race team from 1995-98.

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

To kick off their new Certificate of Provenance program, Lotus has awarded the first such certification to a 1981 Lotus Turbo Esprit that was the final company car owned by Lotus founder Colin Chapman.

The Turbo Esprit wears registration plate UVF 464X and was registered to Lotus on August 1, 1981 then allocated to Chapman for exclusive use. Chapman died in December 1982 and the company sold the car the following July. Since then, the car has always been in private hands, with just 11,000 miles put on the odometer. Regular maintenance was also performed.

1981 Lotus Turbo EspritThe 1981 Lotus Turbo Esprit pictured at Ketteringham Hall, Norfolk, where initial design and engineering development work on the original Esprit began in secret. The building was also home to 'Team Lotus' racing operations from the mid-1970s to 1994, and the Lotus GT race team from 1995-98.Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

The model was then as it is now, with a metallic Silver Diamond paint job, “Turbo Esprit" decals, a full red leather intro, air conditioning, a Panasonic audio system integrated into the headliner, power steering (it was the first Esprit to ever have this technology), a modified and lowered suspension, modified brakes, and BBS Mahle lattice alloy wheels.

This also just so happens to the the Turbo Esprit driven by former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a visit to Norfolk on August 5, 1981. After landing at the Norwich Airport and chatting with Chapman, she drove the model around on private roads telling local media, “I was tempted to drive away in it."

The model was recently acquired by Lotus and will now undergo a sympathetic restoration.

1981 Lotus Turbo Esprit with Margaret ThatcherMargaret Thatcher drives the Esprit around Norwich Airport.Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

The new Certificate of Provenance is designed for owners of Lotus cars from any era. Owners can purchase the certificate for themselves or receive it as a gift from friends or family.

Each Certificate of Provenance package is delivered in a “For the Drivers" Lotus presentation box that contains:

  • The Certificate of Provenance – printed on premium paper, this provides a summary of the car's details including the VIN, paint colour and specification. The certificate also notes the date on which the car completed its production at the Hethel factory and was passed to the Lotus sales team.
  • The Build Specification Letter – drafted using detailed vehicle information from the Lotus archive*, this document provides more in-depth information about the car, including its engine, transmission, standard features and optional extras.
  • A personalised letter to the customer signed by Phil Popham, CEO, Lotus Cars, thanking them for their purchase and updating them on the transformation which is taking place at Lotus.

The three documents are presented in a simple black envelope placed inside the presentation box. Beneath it is a selection of Lotus collectables, including an aluminium plaque engraved with the owner's name and information from the Certificate of Provenance; a leather Lotus keyring; a carbon fibre bookmark featuring the brand's nine most significant motorsport laurels; a presentation tin of four badges; and a Lotus ink pen.

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

The Certificate of Provenance is available worldwide through Lotus retailers.

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2021 Honda Ridgeline
Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The used car market is a tough place to be right now, as new vehicle shortages have driven big demand and big price increases across the board. Finding deals is harder than ever, and many models are being sold for nearly what it'd cost to buy them new. Certified pre-owned (CPO) cars can be a good alternative to new cars, and may be worth paying the price if you're desperate. Honda is looking to sweeten the deal by extending its CPO programto older vehicles. Called HondaTrue Used and Acura Precision Used, the program should attract younger buyers and people with stricter budgets.

Honda CPONo. 18 - Honda Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

It's important to note that Honda isn't slapping a 100,000-mile warranty onto a ten-year old car. The updated program includes coverage for 100 days or 5,000 miles on cars up to ten years old. That's a drop in the bucket compared to Honda's and Acura's traditional CPO vehicles, which get a seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That said, the older cars still get a 112-point inspection. Parts are replaced or repaired as necessary before the sale.

Honda CPO2015 Honda Civic Sedan & Coupe Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The move looks like a great one for buyers, who will get the opportunity to shop for older cars that still offer some degree of warranty coverage. Older models are less expensive but can be less reliable, so the addition of a manufacturer's backing makes buyers more comfortable and opens up more options to ease inventory shortages.

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The Emira will be Lotus' last gas-powered car.


Automakers of all sizes and shapes are going electric, and tiny British automaker Lotus is no exception. Known for building small, impossibly lightweight cars with amazing handling, Lotus is rolling out one last fossil fuel-burning sports car before its world changes completely.

Lotus EmiraThe Emira will be available with a four- or six-cylinder engine. Lotus

Lotus says the Emira will be its last gas-powered vehicle before its shift to an all-electric lineup. The Emira is available with both a V6 and a twin-turbocharged inline four-cylinder - a version of the world's most powerful four-banger. Orders for the V6 model have far exceeded expectations, and the automaker notes that traffic to its website has grown considerably due to the car's popularity.

Lotus borrowed the engine from AMG, but the power numbers are different than the specs announced in 2019. At that time, Mercedes-AMG noted that the engine could produce up to 416 horsepower, but Lotus is only squeezing 360 ponies out of the inline-four. That said, Lotus' ability to build featherweight performance cars means that 360 horsepower will be plenty to motivate the Emira with enthusiasm. An eight-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard and brings paddle shifters to a Lotus for the first time.

A load of options are available for the car, including seven interior color options, six exterior colors, four options packages, and multiple wheel designs. Though some sports and luxury automakers hold the best options back to charge more, Lotus offers a surprising number of standard features, including 12-way power seats with memory, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.

Lotus EmiraSeveral colors and options will be available. Lotus

Reservations for the First Edition model open on April 8 for customers in the UK with deliveries starting later in 2022. The Emira First Edition starts at $85,900, while the entry-level four-cylinder model starts at around $79,000. Lotus says more specs and pricing details will be made available this summer.

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