Lotus through the years

CD, that buffest of auto buff books (to use a favorite Jalopnik pejorative term of endearment) has put up a gallery of Lotus – one of our favorite automakers – cars through the years. We cherrypicked some of our favorite models/photos to display here.

This oddball (looking sort of like a British Ford Sierra Saphire but actually an Opel/Holden Commodore at its core, it seems) is new to us:

The Lotus Carlton (in mainland Europe, the Lotus Omega) was a Vauxhall Carlton saloon upgraded by Lotus Cars to be a 177 mph (285 km/h) sports car. Like all Lotus vehicles, it was given a type designation — Type 104 in this case. The external differences were minimal to the five seater with only the rear spoiler, air intakes on the bonnet, Lotus badges on the front wings and bootlid, and considerably wider wheel arches telling it apart from any other Carlton. The car was only sold in one colour, a shade of British racing green called Imperial Green, a very dark green that in anything but direct light appears black.

Lotus’ modifications started with an upgraded engine, which was stroked from the standard Vauxhall 2969 cc 24v straight six unit, used in the GSi, to a capacity of 3615 cc. Lotus then added twin Garrett T25 turbochargers  to give 377 hp (281 kW). The engine was not strong enough and therefore a new under block was cast. Then A six-speed manual ZF transmission from a Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 was used to transfer this power to the rear wheels. The car was capable of 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds and had 12.5 in (330 mm) AP ventilated disc brakes with racing calipers all round. The car could hit around 50 mph (80 km/h) in first gear and achieve 0-100 mph and back to a complete stop in less than 15 seconds. The Lotus Carlton held the title of the fastest four door saloon car for some years. The cars are now starting to become modern classics as low mileage, well looked after examples become rare.

Production of the Lotus Carlton began in 1990, four years after the original Carlton went on sale. Opel had hoped to build 1,100 cars in total, but owing to the recession of the early 1990s, the £48,000 cars were not selling as well as anticipated and production at Lotus was halted in December 1992. Only 950 cars were completed: 320 Carltons and 630 Omegas, 150 short of the original target.

The Lotus Carlton and Omega were never federalized for sale in the USA, but as of 2007 the Lotus Omega is allowed to be imported into the USA under the DOT’s “Show and Display” exemption (source).

Sounds good to us. Moving on:

We want ’em— all of them.

Go here for the full story and gallery.


~ by velofinds on May 21, 2010.

4 Responses to “Lotus through the years”

  1. I saw an Evora at the local Lotus dealer launch – its a very handsome car but feels like it has shoddily put together – guess it was a true British car!

  2. Good news, I will read in this site oftenly. thanks

  3. @murph: further to your comment (jumping to 4:45 mark):

    doesn’t matter to me though. i still love it.

  4. Between a Cayman S and an Evora – I would probably take the Evora every time as it so much more rare. I see a Cayman once a day to and from work – I never see a Lotus, much less an Evora!

    The build issues aren’t huge – but when you take hold of the shifter it feels a bit clunky or wobbly, the action doesn’t feel as sharp as say a Cayman or S2000 box. That was my biggest issue with the interior.

Comments are closed.