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1997 LOTUS ESPRIT GT3

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£27,237

This Lotus Esprit GT3 is a superb example of the rare British sports car, remaining in highly original condition and supported by an outstanding service history. Under the engine lid is a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four, producing around 240bhp and 215lb-ft of torque, driving the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. The odometer reads 56,500 miles.

First registered on 27 September 1997, this Esprit is an original UK-market model, though it is understood to have been on Jersey between 2000 and 2005. It has four previous keepers on the log book, and is now offered for sale by the trade. The GT3 variant was produced alongside the V8 during the Esprit’s twilight years in the late 1990s, and is now one of the most sought-after variants, with the likes of Jethro Bovingdon describing its performance as “mid-engined dynamics at their finest”.

Resplendent in beaming Norfolk Mustard Yellow, the Esprit has a deep and even shine across the panels, and it is believed to have had its paint refreshed in the past. Today, there are some minor stone chips on the front end, but otherwise this 1990s sports car presents very well indeed. The period-correct GT3 graphics are in good order, with the car also retaining its correct badging and headlight and taillight lenses. It rides on 17-inch OZ five-spoke alloy wheels, which are in superb order save for one tiny chip on the nearside front rim.

Inside, the black leather upholstery is believed to be entirely original, and is in very good order. There is some slight creasing and sagging of the leather on the driver’s seat in particular, though this is entirely commensurate with the age and mileage. There are also some superficial scuffs on the passenger side of the dashboard, but this Esprit’s cabin still looks smart for a 23-year-old car. An aftermarket Sony stereo head unit improves sound quality, and while the vendor reports that everything on the car is in working order, though one of the pop-up headlights can be occasionally recalcitrant.

The Esprit was last serviced in November 2020 at 56,419 miles by Esprit Engineering. This was a major service, with the engine oil, coolant and associated filters replaced, as well as a new timing belt. Prior to this, the Lotus was serviced in November 2018 at 54,649 miles by Steve Williams Sports Cars. A full summary of the superb maintenance history is included below.

The most recent MOT test was on 16 November 2020 at 56,419 miles. This was a first-time pass, with just one advisory regarding a slightly worn front anti-roll bar bushing. The wheels are shod in matching Toyo Proxes tyres, which have ample tread but are approximately 14 years old, so would benefit from replacement from an optimal performance perspective.

Offering an appealing colourway and excellent service history, this Esprit GT3 is a compelling example of the brand’s iconic wedge-shaped sports car, in one of the most desirable mechanical specifications. When Evo magazine tested various Esprit models back-to-back in a retrospective features, road tester Jethro Bovingdon concluded that the GT3 was “light and agile, trustworthy and adjustable, and keen to be driven on its door handles everywhere”. While it could be a welcome addition to any car collection, it would be best enjoyed on exciting road trips, weekend blasts, or perhaps even on occasional track days.

Summary of service history:

  • 14/11/1997 – 1,442 miles
  • 07/09/1998 – 5,842 miles
  • 02/05/2000 – 6,764 miles
  • 24/04/2001 – 13,796 miles
  • 10/07/2002 – 18,278 miles
  • 25/02/2003 – 19,413 miles
  • 23/06/2004 – 23,075 miles
  • 16/03/2006 – 27,100 miles
  • 09/08/2006 – 29,998 miles
  • 01/05/2007 – 35,264 miles
  • 09/05/2008 – 39,915 miles
  • 25/07/2009 – 43,153 miles
  • 10/11/2010 – 45,845 miles
  • 18/11/2011 – 46,310 miles
  • 21/12/2012 – 47,450 miles
  • 20/02/2014 – 49,443 miles
  • 31/03/2015 – 50,893 miles
  • 25/04/2016 – 52,973 miles
  • 13/07/2017 – 54,030 miles
  • 19/11/2018 – 54,649 miles
  • 16/11/2020 – 56,419 miles

The description of this auction lot is, to the best of the seller's knowledge, accurate and not misleading. Collecting Cars requests a range of detail about the lot from the seller, and performs a level of due diligence. However, bidders must satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of the description, and conduct any research they feel is necessary before committing to a bid. Please see our Terms and Conditions for full details.

All UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Collecting Cars are run through an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and has no finance owing.


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