First Lotus Certificate of Provenance goes to ‘81 Turbo Esprit driven by Margaret Thatcher

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

The 1981 Lotus Turbo Esprit pictured at Ketteringham Hall, Norfolk, where initial design and engineering development work on the original Esprit began in secret. The building was also home to 'Team Lotus' racing operations from the mid-1970s to 1994, and the Lotus GT race team from 1995-98.

To kick off their new Certificate of Provenance program, Lotus has awarded the first such certification to a 1981 Lotus Turbo Esprit that was the final company car owned by Lotus founder Colin Chapman.

The Turbo Esprit wears registration plate UVF 464X and was registered to Lotus on August 1, 1981 then allocated to Chapman for exclusive use. Chapman died in December 1982 and the company sold the car the following July. Since then, the car has always been in private hands, with just 11,000 miles put on the odometer. Regular maintenance was also performed.

1981

The 1981 Lotus Turbo Esprit pictured at Ketteringham Hall, Norfolk, where initial design and engineering development work on the original Esprit began in secret. The building was also home to ‘Team Lotus’ racing operations from the mid-1970s to 1994, and the Lotus GT race team from 1995-98.Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

The model was then as it is now, with a metallic Silver Diamond paint job, “Turbo Esprit” decals, a full red leather intro, air conditioning, a Panasonic audio system integrated into the headliner, power steering (it was the first Esprit to ever have this technology), a modified and lowered suspension, modified brakes, and BBS Mahle lattice alloy wheels.

This also just so happens to the the Turbo Esprit driven by former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a visit to Norfolk on August 5, 1981. After landing at the Norwich Airport and chatting with Chapman, she drove the model around on private roads telling local media, “I was tempted to drive away in it.”

The model was recently acquired by Lotus and will now undergo a sympathetic restoration.

1981

Margaret Thatcher drives the Esprit around Norwich Airport.Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

The new Certificate of Provenance is designed for owners of Lotus cars from any era. Owners can purchase the certificate for themselves or receive it as a gift from friends or family.

Each Certificate of Provenance package is delivered in a “For the Drivers” Lotus presentation box that contains:

  • The Certificate of Provenance – printed on premium paper, this provides a summary of the car’s details including the VIN, paint colour and specification. The certificate also notes the date on which the car completed its production at the Hethel factory and was passed to the Lotus sales team.
  • The Build Specification Letter – drafted using detailed vehicle information from the Lotus archive*, this document provides more in-depth information about the car, including its engine, transmission, standard features and optional extras.
  • A personalised letter to the customer signed by Phil Popham, CEO, Lotus Cars, thanking them for their purchase and updating them on the transformation which is taking place at Lotus.

The three documents are presented in a simple black envelope placed inside the presentation box. Beneath it is a selection of Lotus collectables, including an aluminium plaque engraved with the owner’s name and information from the Certificate of Provenance; a leather Lotus keyring; a carbon fibre bookmark featuring the brand’s nine most significant motorsport laurels; a presentation tin of four badges; and a Lotus ink pen.

The Certificate of Provenance is available worldwide through Lotus retailers.

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Lotus Certificate of Provenance

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

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