1993 Vauxhall Lotus Carlton
|Odometer reading||101,010 miles|
- Fully Restored example
- Award winning & Magazine featured
- Capable of 175mph when new
The legendary Lotus Carlton is the kind of car that comes along once in a generation. At a time when really fast four-door saloons were the preserve of BMW and Mercedes, this Vauxhall (Opel) derived super-saloon arrived on the scene demolishing the opposition. Oddly, it wasn't its huge performance or masculine good looks that created the most fuss, but the fact that the Daily Mail was so outraged by its stated top speed of 176mph, that it declared it too fast for British roads. Of course, the Lotus Carlton - or Type 104 to Lotus aficionados - was nothing of the sort, and although it shared its major components with a mainstream executive car, its level of development across every aspect of automotive dynamics had resulted in a truly special performance car. It was powered by a twin-turbo version of the venerable straight-six used in the range-topping Senator, which developed a remarkable 377bhp. To achieve that figure, Lotus had put a lot of work into the 3.6 litre power unit, uprating and strengthening the bottom end, porting the 24 valve cylinder head (from the Carlton GSI), and fitting forged slipper pistons made by MAHLE atop new Lotus-designed connecting rods tied to a counterweighted, forged steel crankshaft. The gearbox was the same six-speeder used in the Corvette ZR-1, the only transmission in GM's parts bin, capable of handling the car's monster torque. AP Group-C derived brakes - four-pot calipers with 330mm ventilated discs at the front and two-pot at the rear - sat behind specially developed Goodyear tyres.
First registered on 5th October 1993, this stunning 90’s icon is presented in Imperial Green pearlescent paintwork with Anthracite Connolly leather and has undergone a full photographic restoration that began in 2008, spanned two owners, and was competed in 2019. Once completed, this example, now in stunning order, won a best in show in 2019 at the Ace Café Concours event chronicled in a car magazine for which a cutting is found in the history file.
The car was first supplied by Browns of Loughton Essex. The first registered keeper was a Mr. R Parry on 5th October 1993; believed to be Mr. Rick Parry the then Chief Executive of the Football Association (then new) ‘Premier League’. The car left Essex and was owned and driven by Mr. Parry for the next 10 years before being sold in mid-2003. Unfortunately, little is known about the second owner other than he was a Metropolitan Police Officer who used the car for three years as his daily driver including commuting. At this point the car must have started to show signs of lower panel and underside body corrosion. It passed its MoT test on 21st November 2006 then in early 2007 (having done 1,591 miles since its MoT) it suffered a failed clutch pin and was taken off the road by the owner. It also required repairs to the lower car body and underside. The second owner then laid the car up off the road at his premises in Hemel Hempstead, where unfortunately the elements allowed further deterioration of the inner arches, sills, floors and rear wings. It was while here that the car was spotted by a Lotus Carlton enthusiast and classic car collector, Mr. Barry France from Leighton Buzzard.
Mr. France purchased the car for the sum of £7,000 on 7th June 2008. By this time the car was a complete non-runner and had not been in roadworthy condition since early 2007. The new owner trailered the car from Hemel Hempstead to Leighton Buzzard where it was placed in the care of Beechgrove Engineering UK (Ltd), a small company based in Leighton Buzzard with extensive experience in the renovation and repairs of Lotus Carltons, high performance and classic cars.
The Lotus Carlton then went through around 21 months of renovation and repair works starting with the removal of the engine and gearbox. The complete clutch was then replaced along with the clutch fork and the gearbox bellhousing (all known weak areas of Lotus Carltons – the later type gearbox bellhousing was fitted). The two engine turbos were rebuilt and the timing gears, camshaft chain and oil pump were all replaced with new items. Along with new fluids (oils, coolant and brake fluid) this dealt with the service items refreshing the engine at 97,308 miles.
While the engine and gearbox and front body panels were removed it could be seen that the oil coolers situated in the front bumper were in poor condition and in need of replacement; however, these were no longer available. It was therefore necessary to have these custom manufactured via PACE who completed a short production run for Mr. France - as he wished to supply these to the market. This allowed a new fresh pair of oil coolers to go on the Lotus Carlton. The supporting pipework was replaced with bespoke manufactured items via PIRTEC Ltd. All pipework was made to the original Lotus specification. During this work the engine coolant radiator was replaced with a custom made copper and brass item that has an enlarged staggered core allowing for 20% improved cooling while looking totally original.
The bodywork was next in line for professional assistance; new old stock original GM inner and outer sills were sourced from Germany along with many other panels allowing the car to be rebuilt to the highest standard and restore its ‘as new’ structural integrity. As original rear quarter panels could not be found, repair items were sourced allowing the lower half of each rear quarter panel to be replaced. Finally, the car was fitted with new brake discs and pads. The Lotus Carlton was then put through a vigorous inspection before passing its MoT test and getting back on the road on 10th April 2010.
The car went into new ownership on 15th August 2017 when it was sold to the present owner, Mr. David White. The car was not advertised as the sale was arranged through performance car specialist Motorsport PD based in Leighton Buzzard. Both Beechgrove Engineering and Classeparts have, for many years, worked closely with Motorsport PD. Mr. White is a former and current client of Motorsport PD and had interest in the Lotus Carlton and knew its history. Mr. White purchased the car knowing it required further bodywork repairs which would improve further on the first restoration and move the Lotus from a ‘running car’ to showroom standard. This second renovation project included: complete replacement of both rear wing quarter panels with original new GM old stock items sourced direct from Germany, replacement exterior lights, various small body and underside repairs, replacement doors with good used doors sourced from a standard Carlton and a complete respray. The Lotus Carlton also had a new immobiliser added and a ‘Tracker’ unit. The interior has undergone a light but quality restoration allowing it to be ‘freshened’ without removing the originality of the car.
Since 2008, when purchased by Mr. France, the history of this car can be fully tracked via Classeparts Limited (formerly Beechgrove Engineering UK Ltd) as well as Motorsport-PD, all based in the Leighton Buzzard area of Bedfordshire.
All photographs included in this file are from their workshops where the repair, recommissioning and restoration works were meticulously taken.
Service record as follows
03/10/93 Browns Loughton Essex
03/03/94 Kirby Centre Bolton – 8,920
29/07/94 Kirby Centre Bolton – 17,834
11/01/95 Kirby Centre Bolton – 27,007
08/09/95 Kirby Centre Bolton – 36,331
04/04/96 Kirby Centre Bolton – 45,439
14/04/97 Premier of Edinburgh – 51,890
13/04/98 Premier of Edinburgh – 58,800
14/07/00 Premier of Edinburgh – 68,600
10/10/08 BE771 – 96,000
Within the History is the V5 registration document, certificate of Vehicle Provenance, owner’s pack with stamped service booklet and a comprehensive file including tax discs, MoT test certificates, original sales brochure and full dated photographic restoration records. Offered with a current MoT test certificate until May 2020 and in a condition that can only be complimented upon, this is a fabulous opportunity to own a true 90’s icon capable of (when new) 175mph! M5’s beware.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.