Lotus announced a limited edition of the mid-engined Esprit 2 at the NEC, painted in black and gold and fitted with various “goodies,” including a dashboard plaque signed by Colin Chapman, all this to commemorate Andretti’s World Championship win. Motor Sport was under the impression that the Esprit model was a limited edition product in any case, for try as we might, we have been unable to obtain either a Series 1 or Series 2 Esprit for test. Lotus have long been renowned amongst the motoring press for unreliability with the supply of press test cars. The classic example was a weekly contemporary’s experience early in the life of the Esprit. With the road test car promised, this respected journal scheduled the test into a specific issue and designed and printed the front cover (which has to be produced weeks in advance), complete with colour photograph of the Esprit and “screamer” point to the road test inside. But when the issue arrived on bookstalls, there was the outer cover, but no road test inside — Lotus had failed to deliver the car!
Lotus Press Officer Don McLaughlin promised Motor Sport several times that we were high on his list for an Esprit S test, but a car failed to materialise. The final excuse for the Series 1 was that the Series 2 was about to be put into production, so it would be more sensible to wait for that and naturally Motor Sport would be put at the top of the list. As yet Lotus do not have a Series 2 test car and now we are informed that if and when they do have one certain journals which have already tested the Series 1 are in the queue ahead of us.
The latest JICNAR readership survey shows Motor Sport to have a readership per issue of 1,512,000, the largest of any UK motoring journal. Its penetration into the over 25 years old, A-B social group, the very market into which the Esprit S2 is aimed, is one of the strongest in its field. So why the reticence? A number of dealers who have S2 demonstration cars have said they would only be too willing to loan them to us were it not for fear or retribution against their franchises.– C.R.