The Lotus Esprit represented a turning point for the company, and the Series 1 cars are the purest interpretation of Giugiaro's vision
Lotus turned to Giugiaro to design a flagship that gained instant pin-up status, and an appearance as a Bond car/submarine in The Spy Who Loved Me. Still using the established Elan system of a glassfibre body over a backbone chassis, the Esprit had its 2.0-litre twin-cam engine mid-mounted. That's a remarkably high output for an engine of such modest capacity, and placed its performance on the coat-tails of the junior supercar league. Handling was flat, grippy and nervous near the limit, but set new standards for the opposition to aim for. Reliability was – and is – a problem. Read the full Esprit buying guide here.