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 Esprit 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

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 Thatcher Margaret 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

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

The Certificate of Provenance is available worldwide through Lotus retailers.

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Nuts & Bolts


The Lotus Evija is the most powerful series production road car ever built.

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

The Lotus Evija is Britain's first all-electric hypercar. Its powertrain delivers a minimum of 986 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, with its upper limits reaching near 1,973 horsepower, making it the most powerful series production road car ever built.

The British automaker is showing off the prowess of the Evija for the first time on the track. A new video (vailable below) showcases the model at the 2.2-mile track at Hethel, Lotus's headquarters.

Piloting the Evija is Gavan Kershaw, Director of Vehicle Attributes for Lotus. In the video, he provides extensive new commentary on key elements of the Evija project as on-board cameras reveal the capabilities of the car.

Gavan Kershaw, Director of Vehicle Attributes for Lotus Gavan Kershaw, Director of Vehicle Attributes for Lotus, pilots the car in the video.Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

In the film, Kershaw takes the audience through the development journey of the Evija from the earliest discussions amongst Lotus staff to today.

The model features five drive modes, each designed to enhance a different part of the Evija driving experience. Range mode is limited to 986 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, switching the Evija from four-wheel drive to all-wheel drive, in an effort to save power.

The City driving mode adds power Control, compared to the Range mode, by increasing regenerative braking ability, which is optimal for urban environments.

In Tour mode, the drive system is switchable to four- or rear-wheel drive. This drive mode delivers 1,381 horsepower and activates torque vectoring technology.

The car's Sport and Track mode deliver the most power and performance. Sport mode ups the power to 1,677 horsepower and 1,254 pound-feet of torque, and increases traction levels. Using Track mode, power is boosted to 1,973 horsepower. The car's Drag Reduction System is available on request to deliver the highest level of torque vectoring technology available. In this mode, the chassis setting is automatically switched to Track.

Lotus has given the Evija a top track speed of 200 mph.

Lotus Evija development prototype on test at Hethel www.youtube.com

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The new Lotus Digital Instrument Pack is perfect for a track day.

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

Life at the track in your Lotus is getting easier thanks to the company's new Digital Instrument Pack. The digital dashboard features integrated GPS technology and lap performance indicators allowing drivers to measure, display, and record data.

The system is designed for Lotus Elise and V6 Exige models that were built from 2008 to today.

It comes loaded with the details of 4,127 race tracks worldwide and, using GPS technology, automatically recognizes when a driver is near a track. Drivers are able to download start/finish line co-ordinates so they can calculate lap times, then analyze their performance in real time on the digital display or later by downloading data to a laptop.

Lotus Digital Instrument Pack

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

The system's branded start-up imagery appears on the display of the high-contrast six-inch TFT screen. The pack features a camera input that allows drivers to add a portable action camera that would capture the action from each lap.

Chris Hinks, Aftersales Director, Lotus, said the Digital Instrument Pack is designed for drivers who want to take their Lotus track day experience to the next level, "We know our customers appreciate the motorsport heritage of Lotus cars and love to use their own vehicles on track days. Integrating a Digital Instrument Pack into an Elise or Exige is only going to enhance that experience."

The pack fits into the Elise or Exige dashboard, seamlessly. It replaces the original factory instrumentation.

Lotus is making the pack available in all markets where the two cars are sold. In the U.K., the pack is priced at £1,470 including VAT and a fitting service is available at an extra cost. When fitted by a Lotus retailer the pack is covered by a two-year warranty. Prices in other markets will vary.

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