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'78 Lotus Esprit

1978 Lotus Esprit S1  |  Manual  |  2.0L  |  30k Miles

The Lotus Esprit is a British sports car that was built by Lotus Cars at their Hethel factory in England between 1976 and 2004. It was among the first of designer Giorgetto Giugiaro's polygonal "folded paper" designs. While the S1 Esprit was lauded for its handling and was said to have the best steering of any Esprit, it was generally regarded as being under-powered, the Series 1 embodied Lotus' performance through light weight mantra, weighing less than 1,000 kg (2,205 lb).


Production: January 12, 1978

VIN: 78010596H

Designer: Giorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign Giugiaro



Engine: 2.0 L (1,973 cc) type 907 I4

Transmission: 5-speed Citroën C35 manual

Transaxle Number: 0784



Wheelbase: 2,438 mm (96.0 in)

Length: 4,260 mm (167.7 in)

Width: 1,861 mm (73.3 in)

Height: 1,111 mm (43.7 in)

Kerb weight: 1,984 lb (900 kg)

This 1978 Lotus Esprit S1 is finished in Gunmetal, including lower front spoiler, color-keyed bumpers, and engine louver’s. Power is from a 1,907cc inline-four paired with a five-speed manual transaxle, and additional equipment includes air conditioning, engine cover louvers, and basketweave wheels. The car was acquired by the current seller from England, in a restored condition. Since then Joe has maintained the car at "Lotus Prepared By Claudius" where they recently overhauled the entire engine. 


The fiberglass body is finished in a two tone Gunmetal, and has been repainted and restored by the previous owner. This car is exceptionally well kept, and always garaged. Great car to showcase during Cars & Coffee or to use in Rally Races. Retractable headlamps are shown raised and lowered in gallery photographs below. This vehicle being European Spec does not have the side corner markers.


Two-piece 15″ wheels wear black basketweave faces, Lotus center caps, and Michelin Pilot tires. The Esprit featured four-wheel disc brakes, with the rears mounted inboard in order to reduce sprung weight, as well as independent suspension at all four corners. Front suspension consisted of upper A-arms and lower lateral links triangulated by the anti-roll bar. Rear suspension consisted of tapering box-section trailing arms and lower lateral links. The half-shafts had no provision for plunge and handled some of the lateral forces. There were coil-over shock absorbers and disc brakes at all four corners. Steering is by an unassisted rack and pinion.

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Black cloth upholstery covers bucket seats with fixed backrests, as well as the the dash and carpets. Chrome accent pieces run along the dash and center console. Door Card innards are wrapped in Light Gray. A Moto-Lita 2 spoke steering wheel sits head of a pod containing switchgear, in addition to green Veglia gauges including a tachometer, a 260-km/h speedometer, and a five-digit odometer showing 30,555 miles from new. 

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The 1,907cc inline-four is mounted longitudinally behind the driver’s compartment and features dual overhead camshafts actuating four valves per cylinder. Induction is via dual twin-choke Dell’Orto DHLA carburetors. A Citroën-sourced five-speed manual transaxle transmits power to the rear wheels. This engine had its crankshaft replaced and the engine rebuilt by LOTUS PREPARED BY CLAUDIUS. Additional maintenance that was performed includes timing belt replacement. Extreme care is put into maintaining the vehicle. This car is garaged and only stored with the amount of gas needed for the next trip, to preserve the fuel lines. Regular maintenance of oil changes, fluid top offs, verifying the U joints are lubricated and replacing the main belt every 5-7 years will ensure thousands of miles of enjoyable driving to come!

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Prior History

Circa 2013

May 4, 2022

June 30, 2022

September 5, 2022

The car was purchased from England by the current selling owner, Joe Tseng and driven on occasion to car shows and rallies. 

Engine Overhauled at "Lotus Prepared By Claudius"

Battery replaced at "Lotus Prepared By Claudius"

This Lotus will be auctioned on eBay to its new care taker. 



Windshield free of cracks

Body panel colors match

Not original paint job

Seams where the trunk and hood close are properly aligned

Seams where doors and fenders meet are properly aligned

Free of body dents

Windshields wipers and blades fully functional

Headlights and directional lights intact and fully functional



Tires are a reputable brand name (Michelin)

Tires are all of the same make

Tires are of free of any cuts, bubbles or cracks

Tread worn evenly (uneven wear indicates alignment and suspension problems)

Original spare tire


Recently overhauled

Battery terminals free of corrosion

Oil dipstick free of dark, black oil

Free of odors while engine is running

Exhaust pipe emissions are neither blue or black


Vehicle rests levelly

When bouncing the vehicle's corners, no creaking noises are made

All corners respond the same when bouncing



Seats have normal wear and are free of cracks

All doors open and close freely

Trunk opens and closes freely

All gauges work

No dashboard warning lights remain illuminated

Windshield wipers work

Windshield wiper fluid dispenses properly

All seats equipped with functional seat belts

All seats adjust properly

Power windows operate properly

Hazard lights function properly

Headlights, including High beams, work properly



Chassis is neither bent nor cracked

No signs of crumpling or straightening inside the trunk

No accidents

Manual 5 Speed Transmission

Transmission fluid looks clean, not dirty or gritty

Clutch doesn't slip when driving

Reverse gear and all other gears work properly

All gears shift smoothly 


Vehicle steers straight and does not pull to one side when applying brakes

Parking brake engages and disengages freely

No grinding noises when applying

Wheels do not lock when applying brakes



Vehicle is stable; no shaking or vibrating

No resistance in the steering wheel when turning

No clicking or clunking when turning



Service and repair records available

Owner has title

Photo Gallery