Films: This Lotus Esprit Is A Light Rider Reborn
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Made To Drive | S07 E04

This Lotus Esprit Is A Light Rider Reborn

Beautiful, punchy, and lightweight—what else could you want in a sports car?
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David Supple
David Supple(@davidsupple)
4 years ago

Haters gotta hate. I think it rocks, you should be proud of keeping it from the wrecker.

Richard Wise
Richard Wise
4 years ago

What a great film and I love that another Esprit has been saved and made unique. Some of the modifications to make it lighter I think Colin Chapman would have approved – make it lighter! Well done.
4 years ago

I have to watch this once a month. everything is on the spot. Only a designer can achieve this sophisticated Rebel Look ! You are years ahead. Shame on the German Colleague who destroyed this awsome design. Foregt about the philistines who never drew a stroke in their lives nore have the mind to mix rules.

4 years ago

Beautiful car and well done. I agree wheels are a bit much for my taste but the rest is perfect. Is wastegate adjusted too tight? I hear it clamping down a bit too much. That chattering sound when you let off the gas… anyway I’m sure jealous of your wonderful project.

4 years ago

Ive always admire Lotus’ designs. Great story of redemption-ill have my eye out for it

4 years ago
Reply to  AndrewAllred

it’s an awesome design, but is it me or do the rearlights resemble those of the AE86 Sprinter Trueno?

Sean Greene
Sean Greene(@sean_greene)
4 years ago

I’ve always loved the Esprit. I think that Spencer did a great job saving the car , and yes it’s not British racing green or Black but it’s a nice car. The guy is a fan and knows the history of it. Kudos.

Felix Trzetrzelewska
Felix Trzetrzelewska(@parrotboy3682)
5 years ago

NOT my cup of tea, but you have to respect a bloke who took that NIGHTMARE that the rest of us would have turned into razor blades, and restores it. Obviously, it’s in the hands of someone who loves it. Great film. Not so sure about the bumpersticker though. (And there is an RAF joke in there about the German guy who didn’t like it 🙂

5 years ago

“NOT my cup of tea,”
Agree and that’s why I like this vid so much; it made me appreciate the Esprit-cheers !

5 years ago

Put simply I adore these cars, and completely respect that you’ve applied what is clearly a passion, successful business and your own individuality also. Completely reborn, in a truly unique way. Many would have simply restored her to original form. Would love to see an aero dynamic, removable bike rack on the roof in matching colours. Maybe a crazy idea but for me it would further compliment your passions and the cars every day practically whilst still keeping its sporting appeal – blinding the two even further together.

Xxx Xxxx
Xxx Xxxx(@flyxnite)
5 years ago

Your story has inspired me at a time where I find myself at a crossroad. I have owned a black, 1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo for the last 23 years. It has been wonderful, yet aggravating experience at times. I have labored to keep it original at the cost of enjoyment. Most of the aggravation has been at the hands of mechanics who claim to be able to work on the car but were woefully in over their heads in a commercial shop environment. I know my car pretty well. I have a modicum of mechanical aptitude including two antique aircraft restorations. My trust in garages, as it pertains to this car has all but disappeared. While I own a “very good” example, the market value at this time is, well, pretty bad. It is a beautiful car and a surprisingly good cruiser. A bitch in the city though.

The inspiration? It’s OK to mod if it means I’ll drive it more. Thank you…

P.S. I get the same innocent stuff;
Is it a DeLorean? Is it a kit? Is it a Maserati? The James Bond car! (No, the “Pretty Woman” car). 4 cylinder?! I thought it was faster. Jeez, horrible mileage (Sorry, I get “only” 33 mpg).

Jaroslav Novak
Jaroslav Novak(@jarno)
5 years ago

Nice story. I have similar. But I trust in steel. So I build steel frames and ride 1987 Mercedes 190E. 🙂

Alessandro Comparini Basbaum
Alessandro Comparini Basbaum(@alecbasbaum)
5 years ago

Please, PLEASE make some HD shots of the clip available! I’d love to have the sunset scene over the bridge as my Wallpaper.

5 years ago

Love it!

Always been a fan of the Esprit, and to make it yours is even better. Love the overall look, form and function. very well done.

Thanks for sharing your story Spencer.

Enjoy that ride 😀

Don Clar
Don Clar(@12-boss)
5 years ago

Love the car. Well done.

stef cande
stef cande(@stefcande)
5 years ago

Fantastic car and color, well done Spencer Canon, you can be proud. Always loved the Esprit, as I used to subscribe to english car magazines… And I also love the ground clearance, to make it more usable in everyday life.

5 years ago

Great car and as a fellow Esprit owner, who also ignored the general advise to buy the best car I could find, I purchased a project as well and can truly appreciate the hours you put in to make this the stunner it is today. While my 83 turbo esprit is closer to stock in appearance, I did upgrade to later mechanicals where ever I could, so I see no problem making it your own and modifying it to your taste. To those who ever considered owning one – they are great and it brings a smile to my face every time I drive it! Thanks for sharing your story!

Mike Robertson
Mike Robertson(@viginia68)
5 years ago

Beautiful car, well done. Love the design connection to your bikes. But, I’ve got to ask, what’s with the Sylvester Stallone bumper sticker???

Robert Hiermeier
Robert Hiermeier(@robhimes)
5 years ago

I love this car, except that it could be a little lower to the ground. It would look better and give it better handling.

Alexandre Goncalves
Alexandre Goncalves(@cacem)
5 years ago

I never thought of the Esprit as an uknown supercar – probably because I saw 007 🙂 still, I never saw one running around in Lisbon or on Auto shows…

Thanks for sharing the car and your story – I love bikes (specially old school BMXs) and the color! I have a single speed that I also paited the same color (Hellblau) as my 68 opel .

All the best to you and Ritte!

Steve Barratt
Steve Barratt(@fb_893210410)
5 years ago

Spencer : I think you did a great job with this car, your individual touches brings back life to a classic design, and being a turbo makes it that more interesting. May all your drives and rides be on Curvey roads!

Robert Chave
Robert Chave(@robert-in-la)
5 years ago

I remember meeting Spencer Canon one afternoon at Pasadena’s Rosebowl park, which has a favorite circuit for road bikers. As I think back on it, it had to be Canon. After all how many people show up in a Lotus, and take a bike frame and bicycle wheels out of the passenger seat, assemble their bike and prepare to ride off? We talked for a while about the car, and I remember him as being as intense about it as he was in this film. His restoration includes some original choices. For instance the diffuser in the rear cuts straight through the lower sculpted rail of the original bumper skirt, which has been removed. This is done in a way which aligns with current thinking on the most effective way to dissipate the air emerging from under the car, but probably upsets purists. Similarly the riveted Neoprene air dam in the front is a good compromise for a street car which occasionally sees some track time, but Giugiaro would have done something else. Keeping these kinds of low volume production cars highly original is obscenely expensive. I find that you hesitate to touch a switch, or adjust a mirror, lest some phenomenally rare piece of plastic gives way. Parking a historically correct, restored car at the supermarket is out of the question. An intelligent answer which leaves you with a car that you can enjoy without worrying about every little ding, are restorations of this general type which are done in the spirit of the original, and free of any tedious adherence to the specifics of the car the way you might have found it on the day it was first commissioned for sale. To my eye, the way that the car was on that first day, was only a state of the vehicle at a point in time. And there will always be other states and other points in time.

Stephan P
Stephan P(@alfettaracer)
5 years ago

Great car and story, love the bikes too. But the ride height…..?

Robert Chave
Robert Chave(@robert-in-la)
5 years ago
Reply to  Stephan P

The ride height is a compromise that many people make in order to drive in the San Gabriel mountains where a lot of this video was filmed. The rock fall out from the canyon walls is more or less continuous. This is so much the case that the Country maintains a small fleet of snow ploughs which they use to clear away the rocks to the side of the road. So if you come around around a blind corner, and cannot leave your lane, because of the double yellow and also because you do not know what is further around the corner, and find a rock the size of an Easter ham, you are going to take a hit. And having a little ground clearance helps a lot in these moments.

5 years ago

This is wonderful car.
Does anyone know the title of the music used in this video?

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago

A) Everybody knows what the Esprit is and was . Its an automotive and cultural icon . Not to mention the press over the decades has covered the entire Esprit line up in infinite detail over the decades … not to mention the many books etc . So from GearHead … to movie buff and right on down to celebrity hounds … everybody knows all about the Esprits … or at least … everyone over the age of 50 does

B) Its an Esprit … better yet … its a rest-mod Esprit [ hopefully correcting the many ills the car has as well as modifying it for more up to date performance ] … so whats not to love . Heck …. Im even digging the color .. and normally I hate that shade of blue on most cars

C) It is though incomprehensible how Mr Canon can hope to have a truly successful bicycle manufacturing company when they have absolutely zero presence here in the US Capitol of bicycling [ not to mention the #1 market for high end and hand crafted bikes . I’m speaking of course of my beloved Colorado .

Seriously Mr Canon … get yer bikes out here … and fast .. if success is your ultimate goal . Cause when it comes to high end bikes … if’n y’all can make it here … y’all can make it … anywhere

Finally … Kudos for using the Esprit [ with the matching bicycle ] on your website Mr Canon . Tasty indeed ! And errr … if’n y’alls in need of some suggestions about the former … suffice it to say … my connections into the high end bicycle realm run long and deep … and I do mean …. high end !

Laurent Negroni
Laurent Negroni(@the-speed-merchant)
5 years ago

Beautiful story, the sunset part of the trip is mind blowing. owner of an Elise S1 i was waiting for a lotus movie.
‘”Bravo c’est magnifique”

Ronnie M
Ronnie M(@ronniem)
5 years ago

Wow. Fantastic car. Thank you for sharing.

Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick(@fb_1316606763)
5 years ago

Love the Esprit! Great color choice as well. Any of us who grew up in the 80’s most likely had a poster of a Ferrari and a Lotus on the wall. Glad you have the opportunity enjoy one!

Steve Grah
Steve Grah(@ltdumbear)
5 years ago

Lovely restoration; I didn’t see anything done that I would’nt’ve done myself, had I the mean$ to acquire such an important piece of Lotus history, and hardware. The Esprit is, has been, and likely will always BE my favorite ‘go to’ sports-car, whenever the subject of favorite-rides comes up in conversation among car-buffs. Someday I hope to earn the privilege of being invited to take one for a spin through the mountains of Wyoming. It is a dream I have…

Andy Efimovich
Andy Efimovich(@fb_747745991)
5 years ago

Looks just stunning!!!! You must be proud not feeling guilty!!! Amazing job!

Philip Hurlston
Philip Hurlston(@phurlston)
5 years ago

I think the car is really well done, and a well saved car. Bravo! The engine sounds great and seems to run great, which is commendable considering the previous state. What I think is polarizing are the over-sized V8 wheels and tires, the really high up ride height, and the riveted-style makeshift front air dam. IMO, the V8 wheels just don’t flow well on this body style without the V8 fender flares, especially when the car is so high up. The wheel offset is the problem, and that can’t be changed. If you went with a regular 93 1/2 SE rubber lip, original wheels with more meat on the sidewalls, and lowered the ride height, I think you would find the haters completely disappear.

5 years ago

The color is neat
The turbo flutter is addicting
The car and the owner are a perfect match

What’s not to like?

Jens Hoorn
Jens Hoorn(@jenshoorn)
5 years ago

Some people may hate it, but I love it!

Steve Fitz
Steve Fitz(@monovich)
5 years ago

Oh man. I’ve seen the teases of this car on Instagram and am so glad I saw the final product here first. It’s fantastic. The color is lovely, the story is wonderful, and the overall effect just makes me smile. Bravo for making it what you wanted it to be and for doing it with careful consideration.

5 years ago

Truly not a color I would chose but it’s YOUR car and if you are happy that is all that counts. Love the wheels, interior and great exhaust sound. Considered buying one for years but always afraid of lots of trouble usually serious. I think I was wrong and you are right. Cool bikes.

5 years ago

Screw them purists, this is one of the coolest Esprit I’ve ever seen, man. Great color, too!

Gábor Ugron
Gábor Ugron(@gabor-ugron)
5 years ago

You can pretty much tell whether or not you like how a car looks after the first second of looking at it. And with this car, what that crucial first second said to me was “ricer”. Granted, it does make up some points with its story and the dedication of the owner but for me, it’s still a thumbs down.

Hamish Cruickshank
Hamish Cruickshank(@molebert)
5 years ago

Absolutely fantastic!
Remaining true to the ethos of the mark, yet crating a personal statement, after all Colin Chapman only sold road cars to go motor racing!
Still my dream car.

Benjamin Shahrabani
Benjamin Shahrabani(@ben-shahrabani)
5 years ago

Oh dear. I have flirted with buying one of these for years. I know it will be a disaster, and parts will be hard to come by…but it looks and goes like a proper supercar.

Decisions, decisions…but perhaps best to stick by the boys from Stuttgart.

Christian Baumann
Christian Baumann(@controluce)
5 years ago

Another german guy says: fantastic car, brilliant job! 😉
Very nice film, thanks!

Kevin Lynch
Kevin Lynch(@kevin-lynch)
5 years ago

There is no one standard for the true car enthusiast, as one can’t complain when they see a well documented and cared for ‘survivor’, similarly when one sees a perfect concours restoration, and I would argue as seen in this film, when one sees an interpretive or personal build. I think you did a brilliant job of saving a treasure in this Lotus Esprit, your devotion to the project is undeniable, and the outcome fantastic. Bravo.

Graham Lawton
Graham Lawton(@grahamelawton)
5 years ago

Awesome. My favourite car ever (S1) and yours is absolutely wonderful.