1991 Lotus EspritX180R
Year of manufacture1991
Mileage499 mi / 804 km
Number of doors2
Number of seats2
1991 Lotus Esprit X180R #60259
Part of the “80s Time Capsule Collection”
One owner from New
1 of 20 produced
Based on U.S.-market Lotus Esprit SE 2.2 liter engine producing 335BHP Lightweight body shell with stripped interior and competition seat Suspension uses road car design with race settings Uprated brake system uses Lotus Carlton disc assemblies with race pads Revolution wheels shod with Bridgestone Potenza treaded tires
The Esprit model served as Lotus’ flagship car in different versions from 1976 through 2004, most famously a Series I model was featured as James Bond’s submersible car in the hit movie “The Spy Who Loved Me” and an Esprit Turbo which was used in “For Your Eyes Only” starring Roger Moore.
The Giorgetto Giugiaro designed Esprit made a big splash with its angular “folded paper” design and the car world took note that Lotus was back to compete with the likes of Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini with great looking and performing cars at a fraction of the cost in the great British tradition of high-quality, hand made and low-cost sports cars.
In 1987, Lotus began the project of building twenty Esprit X180R “production cars" for the US market, reimagined by famous designer Peter Stevens who went on to design the McLaren F1, the Esprit X180Rs made a big impact in the American GT sports car racing scene in the early 90s.
The Esprit X180Rs were not production type approved vehicles however as they were considered track cars. The cars were based on the Esprit SE (2.2 Liter Turbo). All of the cars featured an ID Plaque with the car’s VIN and Limited Edition Number attached to the facia with a less angular, rounded shape which was said to have pleased original Esprit designer Giugiaro.
The dramatic Lotus Esprit X180R race car first competed in the prestigious SCCA World Challenge which were undercard events for the big bore TransAm series. The X190R competed for three years in the World Challenge Series from 1991 to 1993 notably with American sports car racing star Doc Bundy taking the class championship in 1992.
The cars received performance updates and moved to the IMSA sanctioned Bridgestone Supercar Championship. The Lotus Sport-entered cars were driven by Bundy, David Murry, Andy Pilgrim, Bo Lemler, Michael Brockman and none other than Paul Newman among the interchangeable driver line-up. The Lotus team faced strong factory-backed competition from Porsche, Mazda, Ford and Chevrolet with all cars shod with spec Bridgestone Potenza tires.
The X180R was based closely on the Lotus Esprit SE road car which was marketed in North America, racing inspired chassis offered outstanding handling, grip and braking in true Lotus tradition. The 2.2 liter turbo charged engine produced over 330BHP with strong low-end torque - ideal for the road-race circuits of the IMSA-run series. Similar cars competed in Holland and Belgium and a 2 liter version that was campaigned in Italy.
The Lotus Esprit X180R program definitely had racing success which benefited the road cars. For example, the 1992 Lotus Esprit incorporated aerodynamics and interior improvements developed for the race cars. As is the usual case in racing, the competition also improved the construction and dependability of the Esprit road cars.
This Lotus Esprit X180R (#SCCFC20B1MHF60259) comes to Curated as part of the “80s Time Capsule Collection”. The car is a one-owner all original example and has been in climate controlled storage its entire life, showing only 499 miles with no competition history in traditional all-white livery and virtually a brand new car.
“At Curated, we do not acquire cars simply for inventory but rather based on what the car is. We love interesting provenance, very low production, very low mileage, very special and often weird cars.”
John Temerian, Jr.