HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo, an exotic sports car...

Pick of the Day: 1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo, an exotic sports car bargain

With superb style, handling and performance, the British coupe is an affordable choice


The Pick of the Day is a 1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo, finished in Calypso Red with a Pan leather interior that looks to be a nice driver-level exotic car driven just 44,000 miles.

The Lotus offers exotic car ownership at a lower cost than its contemporaries from Europe, according to the Morgantown, Pennsylvania, dealer advertising this car on ClassicCars.com.  


The idea of owning a genuine exotic car is something for with many people strive. These collectors are willing to deal with the limitations and compromises that come with owning an exotic car, all of which tend to offer limited interior room and luggage space, and which usually have more service needs than does the average sports car.

What they tend to offer in place of creature comforts is a high level of rarity, exclusivity and performance that offset their limitations. Another downside is that exotic cars tend to be much more expensive than other cars from their era, a notable exception being the second-generation Lotus Esprit.

The redesign of the Lotus Esprit that launched in 1988 offered all the world-beating handling and performance of the original Esprit with better build quality and a less spartan cockpit. These second-generation cars were better assembled and with better ergonomics than the original Esprit, and they are currently available at around half price of first-generation examples.

The second-generation of the aggressive Giugiaro wedge design was softened up by another great designer, Peter Stevens, who designed the McLaren F1.


Mechanically this Esprit has benefitted from an October 2020 rebuild of its 2.2-liter turbocharged engine, and the clutch was replaced at 36,000 miles.  While we would never go out on a limb and call an Esprit reliable, this one sounds as if it has no current needs and offers quite a bit for the money.

The iconic 1980s exotic car is being offered for the market-correct price of just $25,900, which is about a thousand dollars less than the cost of a new Mazda Miata.

Yes, Lotus is said to stand for Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious, but these cars have to be the absolute bargain exotic car and even when things do break, it will still cost less to fix than any car of the era from Ferrari or Lamborghini.

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.


  1. Actually the description on Hemmings says “In October of 2020 the Turbo on this 2.2 liter mill was rebuilt.” rather than the engine itself as stated in the “Journal” article.

  2. I owned two of these things. I once told my wife that a Lotus was like you got a bunch of Englishmen in a garage, gave them a pile of parts, and an unlimited supply of Guiness, and told them to build a car. Great car to drive, but very poorly built!

    • Hi Mr Nolen,

      I’m trying to get in touch with you regarding the 1982 Ferrari 308 GTSi you owned in the early 90’s

      Gabe Kobza


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