1985 Lotus Esprit Turbo S3

Lot Number: 804

1985 Lotus Esprit Turbo S3

On offer from a diligent 34-year ownership, this highly-original, unrestored example has covered a fully documented 74,000 miles.

  • Sold for: £37,125

LIVE AUCTION: This lot was auctioned on Saturday 20th May, 2023 at 1.00pm BST at Sywell Aerodrome, Sywell, Northampton, NN6 0BN

  • Body Colour

    Arctic White

  • Drive


  • Registration Number

    C703 BYJ

  • Odometer Reading

    73753 Miles


On offer from a diligent 34-year ownership, this highly-original, unrestored example has covered a fully documented 74,000 miles.


The Giorgetto Giugiaro-styled ‘Esprit’ was Colin Chapman's first serious attempt at building a supercar capable of taking on the likes of Porsche and Ferrari and was an early example of Giugiaro's polygonal 'folded paper' designs. First unveiled as a concept car at the Turin Motor Show in 1972, it would be another four years before customers took delivery of the first cars, however slow initial sales received a considerable publicity boost with the car's underwater exploits in the 1977 James Bond film ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.

The Turbo version was first seen in the distinctively liveried, 1980s 'Essex Esprit', a special-edition model named for its association with Essex Petroleum, a major sponsor of the Lotus F1 team at the time. Its engine, known as the ‘Type 910’, retained the 2.2-litre capacity of the naturally aspirated car but utilised a dry-sump arrangement and generated some 210bhp. 1981 saw the debut of Esprit Series 3 and, at that point, the Turbo became a regular production car powered by a wet-sump 2.2-litre 'Type 912' engine which generated similar power and torque figures to its dry-sump predecessor. The interior trim was revised which, when combined with changes to the body moulds, resulted in more headroom and an enlarged footwell. The Turbo Esprit retained the aerodynamic body kit of the Essex cars and featured prominent 'Turbo Esprit' decals on the nose and sides, plus bespoke 15'' BBS alloy wheels.

Although it looked every inch the futuristic Italian-styled supercar both inside and out, the Esprit remained true to Lotus' philosophy of building lightweight cars with small-capacity engines and motorsport-inspired handling and the Turbo versions of the S3 are particularly sought after today.

The car presented here is a 1985 Lotus Esprit Turbo (Series 3) which has been owned and loved by our vendor since 1989. Quite remarkable – and the car is too. With a fully verifiable 74,000 miles, this car is in exceptional mechanical health, unrestored and the recipient of huge servicing expenditure over its entire lifetime and is still accompanied by its original book pack, service/maintenance booklets and auxiliary Lotus leaflets (see images).

It was supplied new on the 26th September 1985 through Mann Egerton & Co. Ltd. of 14 Berkeley Street, London and, according to the huge accompanying history file, the original owner was a Mr D.H Brierton of Berkshire, who was apparently a friend of Colin Chapman and who requested that his new Lotus to be supplied without the ‘1980s flamboyant ‘Turbo’ decals and simply presented in its striking Arctic White paintwork.

Under this original ownership (1985-1988) it was routinely serviced back at Lotus Cars Service Department and/or Mann Egerton, up to 25,500 miles. The car then passed quite quickly through two more London-based owners, who continued the servicing relationship with Mann Egerton. Our vendor then acquired the Lotus in April 1989 as a company car (later buying off his company as his own in the October). This was a perfect match; he loved it and went onto cherish it until now. The history file tells a story of absolute devotion to ensure a car is kept as well as possible. In late 1989 and at 41,841 miles, he employed the expert services of Peter Day of Daytune in Cambridge, the Lotus-appointed classic dealer and servicing specialists. Daytune, and latterly just Peter Day, would look after this car for the next 25 years, and when this was no longer possible, ‘Moorland Jones’, another Lotus specialist, took over the duties before ‘GST Performance’ of Newmarket, run by expert Gerald Turner (formally of Day Tune), picked up the mantle. You get the idea – dedication. The old-fashioned servicing (and service) lavished on this car have been extraordinary, a proper and genuine trust built up over decades - it would often just get collected by the specialists, receive whatever attention was required, and then get taken back to the vendor’s underground garage in Central London. Gerald Turner of GST Performance, an old-school Lotus engineer in every good way, described to our vendor this car as one of the best’ he’s known, with all the suspension componentry still being all-original Lotus.

Some of the highlights of this servicing include, in 2001, at 68,000 miles, a complete (precautionary) engine rebuild done by Peter Day, costing £11,180.72 and in December 2022, at 73,769 miles, a full service (including cambelt and all auxiliary items) and four  new tyres costing £5,611.99.

If originality, mechanical health and a dedication to maintenance are factors you look for in a classic sports car - and why not -  this remarkable Lotus warrants very close inspection and is ready to be enjoyed by its next loyal owner. You will not find better.


Lot Number
Registration Number
C703 BYJ
Chassis Number
Engine Number
Body Colour
Arctic White



For further information regarding this lot please contact Joseph.




All cars must be removed from the venue between 9am – 2pm on Monday 22nd May. Full payment must be received before any items are available to be released.

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