Car & Classic is offering the ultimate Lotus for enthusiasts of the brand, as it brings a 1976 Lotus Esprit Series 1 restored by Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars to its online-only auction site this week; and provides the winning bidder the chance to be on the TV show to collect it. Finished in rare original factory colour combination of Colorado Orange with a striking Seventies tartan interior, the restoration was initiated by Lotus enthusiast, Matthew Oxley, and was finally completed under the guidance of Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars’ Paul Cowland and Drew Pritchard with support from other key specialists.
The Lotus Esprit is one of the most iconic models from the well-known British sportscar manufacturer. A hit with James Bond and appearing in other films such as Basic Instinct and Pretty Woman, this Lotus Esprit is the latest screen star, to be broadcast on Quest in early 2022 and available on Discovery+, as the latest project the renowned Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars team has embarked upon.
It is now available to buy, via online auction on Car & Classic, direct from the production team, with the option for the winning bidder to take delivery of their new Lotus on the TV show. The early Lotus Esprit Series 1 found its way to Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars in an unorthodox way as it was delivered by its previous owner, Lotus enthusiast and skilled mechanic Matthew Oxley, as a box of bits. Matthew, who started the restoration and had completed a suspension and engine rebuild, sold this special early Lotus Esprit direct to the Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars team to put it back together, piece by piece.
With any fresh, body-off restoration, especially one that was essentially in boxes, they looked at what they had, what had already been restored and what needed work. Starting with the body, which was in excellent condition and free of the typical stress cracks and trapped moisture that can affect glass fibre, they handed it over to SMS Autospray, specialists in fibreglass work, who expertly repainted the car in its original colour. The factory finish was assured thanks to the team carefully applying all original-specification Esprit decals along with the Lotus badges and plaques. It even created reproductions of the number plates in the original style at the time of construction.
For its incredible tartan interior, Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars turned to none other than Steve Fulcher of Fulcher Coach trimmers to help recreate the exacting and desirable period look and feel. Trimmed in a stunning orange with green and red tartan, the interior of this Lotus Esprit Series 1 looks impeccable and fitting of a late-Seventies car.
Adding to Matthew Oxley’s work on the engine and suspension, the Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars presenters asked Matthew to continue where he left off and he painstakingly restored the five-speed manual gearbox to factory-correct specification. Having done less than the 500 miles of ‘run in’ on the engine and transmission, Matthew has said that he would be able to be on hand to help the new owner to ensure the running in goes smoothly and that any adjustments or changes are done correctly, too.
Chris Pollitt, head of editorial at Car & Classic said: “We rarely see such beautifully restored vehicles to their original specification. This is perhaps one of – if not, the finest examples of the Lotus Esprit Series 1 available to purchase. The time, effort and money that has gone into this vehicle restoration is truly incredible, so much so that that it could be part of a museum exhibition! We are very excited for its new owner, whoever they may be and hope to see them collect the car on the Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars TV show.”
The online-only auction for the Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars Lotus Esprit Series 1 starts on 3rd September at 5pm (BST) and ends 10th September at 5pm (BST).