DT: 1978 Lotus Esprit S1

Available for auction is this 1978 Lotus Esprit Series 1 finished in Gunmetal over a black cloth interior. Produced from 1976 to 2004, the Esprit was launched at the 1975 Paris Motor Show and succeeded the mid-engine Europa in Lotus’s model range. This Series 1 example underwent restoration under previous ownership and was subsequently imported from England by the seller. It has since been maintained through Lotus Prepared by Claudius of Cerritos California, where the engine was recently overhauled. Equipment includes a 1.9-liter inline 4-cylinder engine paired with a 5-speed manual transaxle, staggered basketweave wheels, engine cover louvers, and air conditioning. Accompanied by a Certificate of Vehicle Provenance, this Esprit is now being offered for auction by its seller out of California.

The Giugiaro-designed Esprit features a wedge-shaped fiberglass body over a steel backbone chassis and was among the first of Giugiaro's polygonal "folded paper" designs. This example was refinished from its original shade of Black to its current Gunmetal color under previous ownership. During the restoration, the body was stripped bare before being primed and refinished, and the seller notes that the finish remains nicely preserved apart from some scraping beneath the front bumper and fine cracks on the fuel filler lid. Details include a Series 2 Turbo-style engine cover louver, a lower front spoiler, color-matched bumpers, pop-up headlamps, and staggered diameter 15”/16” basketweave wheels dressed in a set of BF Goodrich G-force Sport Comp-2 tires from 2011.

The cabin features fixed-back seats trimmed in black fabric with a matching dashboard, door panels, and carpets. The cabin is reported to have been reupholstered under previous ownership and shows normal signs of wear. Features include air conditioning, power windows, a wooden shift knob, an AM/FM cassette radio, a two-spoke Motolita steering wheel, and a suite of green Veglia instrumentation. The seller confirms that all gauges, electronics, and accessories remain functional.

Power comes from a Lotus 907 1,907cc inline 4-cylinder engine with updated Dell’Orto DHLA carburetors, MSD ignition, an aluminum radiator, and Spal cooling fans. The rear wheels are driven by way of a Citroën-sourced 5-speed manual transaxle. In May of 2022, the engine was rebuilt and given a new crankshaft by Lotus Prepared by Claudius at a cost of approximately $12k. The suspension consists of independent adjustable Koni shock absorbers at all four corners, and steering is handled by an unassisted rack and pinion.

This sale will include a clean title.

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Comments (20)

  • PinotDino (registered bidder) 3 weeks, 5 daysago

    .. such a beautiful Esprit.. sure it will sell soon... *or I might have to go have a look at it!

  • BavMus 3 weeks, 5 daysago

    Bid in the amount of $41,000

  • Desert-sun 3 weeks, 5 daysago

    Bid in the amount of $39,000

  • heritagegruppe (seller) 3 weeks, 6 daysago

    @JB455 Of course, I completely understand! Our mission at Heritage Gruppe is to be as thorough and helpful as possible so people like yourself across the country feel confident to bid. So please feel free to ask any questions you have and I'll try to be as helpful as I can, would love to have this Lotus go to a good care taker.

  • JB455 (registered bidder) 3 weeks, 6 daysago

    @heritagegruppe Got it- Thank You! I understand that it is a 44 year old car... and a hand built British sports car at that! I don't expect perfect, just nice to know what to expect- especially with the car on the opposite side of the country.

  • heritagegruppe (seller) 3 weeks, 6 daysago

    please see notes below not sure why the tag didn't work from the last comment

  • Desert-sun 3 weeks, 6 daysago

    Bid in the amount of $35,000

  • heritagegruppe (seller) 3 weeks, 6 daysago


    Here is the list of all electronics and the working condition

    - Windows L + R both work, all the way up, all the way down
    - Headlights + Taillights all work, headlights pop up and close when turned on and off
    - Highbeams work on both front lights
    - Brake lights work
    - Blinkers seem to be working fine in the rear but faint ( I did check in daylight so I'm sure it shows better at night) I did not see the front blinkers light up however it could be due to the sunlight. If they are burnt, the bulbs can easily be replaced, or the sockets cleaned.
    - Stereo works well as do all speakers
    - Blower fan works and the heater works as well
    - A/C does not work and needs to be recharged
    - Horn button does not work
    - Wiper works well
    - Aux lights work
    - Panel light adjustment knob works panel lights are dim however it was in broad daylight so it should work well at night
    - Choke lever in between window switches works
    - Trunk release works
    - Hood release works
    - Door locks and latches work

    Keep in mind this car is from 1978 so it's not a brand new car but is sure kept well for its age and the restoration job done on it is fantastic as well. Considering all other S1 Esprits for sale on the market this one is truly a gem with full maintenance done and just looking for someone to drive and enjoy it.

  • heritagegruppe (seller) 4 weeksago

    @JB455 sure thing. We’ll get those over to you by 5:00 pst

  • JB455 (registered bidder) 4 weeksago

    @heritagegruppe Thank you for checking. Can you just confirm that everything else works as it should, or list any issues that do exist? Wipers, gauges, lights, windows, ventilation, etc...

  • heritagegruppe (seller) 4 weeks, 1 dayago

    @JB455 From what I remember the turn signals were working, however I don't want you to go off of my memory, I'm going to be with the car tomorrow so I will double check all lights and any other switches and get back to you tomorrow evening.

  • JB455 (registered bidder) 4 weeks, 1 dayago

    Is there anything on the car that doesn't work as it should? I noticed in the video that the left turn signal was blinking fast, indicating some kind of issue. Just a bad bulb in front, or electrical issues?

  • JB455 4 weeks, 1 dayago

    Bid in the amount of $14,455

  • Magicalmachine 4 weeks, 1 dayago

    Bid in the amount of $12,705

  • JB455 4 weeks, 1 dayago

    Bid in the amount of $12,455

  • heritagegruppe (seller) 1 monthago

    @Nooooorm Hello,
    Unfortunately we can't share the reserve price that's why it's hidden, however, we set the reserves according to fair market value for each car.

    Happy bidding and please let me know if you have any other questions regarding the car.


  • Nooooorm 1 monthago

    @heritagegruppe Hello from Canada

    I don't see the resrve price for this Lotus Esprit

    Can you provide ?

    Best regards


  • Contender1 1 monthago

    Bid in the amount of $1,978

  • Mr.951 1 monthago

    Bid in the amount of $250

  • heritagegruppe (seller) 1 monthago

    Hi all! My name is Geghard Ohanian or G for short, I’m the owner of Heritage Gruppe, we’re an automotive brand helping collectors buy and sell cars through our White Glove service, and I’m here to answer any questions you may have about this gorgeous Lotus Esprit.

    We are helping the current owner sell this Lotus so if you have questions please comment here and I will do my best to answer. Good luck!

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DT: 1978 Lotus Esprit S1
Buy Now: $55,000 Final Bid: $41,000
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