1997 Lotus Esprit GT3 S
Registration no. KAP-120C (ACT expiry 5/8/11)
Chassis no. SCC082910VHA62199
Engine no. LN910970829780T
Unveiled in 1987, the Peter Stevens redesign of the venerable Lotus Esprit saw the mid-engined rocketship's sharp edges softened, the interior revamped and the mechanical specification improved. Indeed, the Esprit was now a genuine supercar contender, with over 160 mph available from the Special Equipment model of 1989, largely thanks to the adoption of a water to air intercooler on the 2.2-litre four. In 1993, Lotus further updated the Esprit with exterior styling by Julian Thompson. Relatively minor changes to the front and rear bumpers, side skirts and a new wheel design were nicely resolved and the Esprit's dramatic styling was suitably updated for a new decade. It wasn't until 1995 that the mechanical specification came in for change, when the S4 was replaced by the S4S; power jumped to 300 bhp, with 290 lbs/ft of torque on tap. To achieve these figures, Lotus made changes to the cylinder head, enlarged the inlet ports and fitted updated an updated ECM and Garret AiResearch T3/60 turbocharger. This added up to serious on road performance, with 0-60 mph dispatched in a mere 4.6 seconds on the way to a top speed of 168 mph, impressive numbers in anyone's language. Equally impressive was the handling, with a 0.91g figure achieved on the skidpan. The S4S was distinguished by the larger rear wing from the Sport 300, new OZ five-spoke alloy rims and Brembo brakes and has the distinction of being the end of the line for the four cylinder Esprit. Despite its age, The Autocar magazine loved the new Lotus, concluding with the comment "...the Lotus Esprit S4S is, for the moment, the most complete British sports car - period".
Sold alongside the V8, the GT3 S was a model sold in Australia between 1997 and 1999, combining the mechanicals of the S4S with the updated GT3 interior features like the driver's side airbag, removable roof panel and a six-speaker CD system. Only five of these cars are believed to have been manufactured for Australia and with a list price of almost $170,000 it's hardly surprising few were sold here. This particular example is in very good cosmetic and mechanical condition, with 35,000 kms showing on the clock. The VIN indicates the car was built in 1997 but the compliance plate shows a date of February 1999. Currently owned by a Lotus collector, the car is a rare and sought after example of the ultimate four-cylinder Esprit model and is currently registered in the ACT until August 2011.