Lotus awards first Certificate of Provenance to Chapman's '81 Turbo Esprit

British automotive marque Lotus has just launched a new Certificate of Provenance program, and revealed the first recipient of the award: a stunning and celebrated Turbo Esprit that was the final ‘company car’ of Lotus founder Colin Chapman.


The 1981 model, which was also driven by UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a visit to Norfolk, has recently been acquired by Lotus. The car will be restored to its former glory and will join the company’s collection.


Lotus Turbo Esprit


Lotus' new Certificate of Provenance program is designed to appeal to owners of Lotus cars from any era. Owners could buy one for themselves or receive it as a gift from friends or family. It is delivered in an exquisite ‘For The Drivers’ Lotus presentation box, which contains the following items:


Lotus Turbo Esprit



  • The Certificate of Provenance – printed on premium paper, this provides a summary of the car’s details including the VIN, paint color 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 personalized 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.


Lotus Turbo Esprit


The three documents are enclosed in a simple black envelope placed inside the presentation box. Underneath the envelope is a selection of Lotus collectibles, including an aluminum plaque engraved with the owner’s name and information from the Certificate of Provenance; a leather Lotus keyring; a carbon fiber 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. In the UK, it costs £1700 (Php 108,000) with an additional fee for postage, although prices in other countries may vary.


The 1981 Lotus Turbo Esprit that received the first ever Certificate of Provenance has the UK registration plate UVF 464X and was first registered to Lotus on August 1st of that same year. Its own Lotus Certificate of Provenance reveals it was allocated to company founder Colin Chapman for his exclusive use. Following Chapman’s death in December 1982, it was sold by Lotus in July 1983 and has been in private hands ever since, covering just 11,000 miles (17,700 km) and is regularly maintained.


The unit is wrapped in metallic Silver Diamond paint with ‘Turbo Esprit’ decals, with factory-fitted optional extras including a full red leather interior, air-conditioning, and a Panasonic audio system integrated into the headliner.


But what makes this particular car stand out than the rest of the Turbo Esprits of its time was that it had several features added at the request of Chapman to improve his own driving comfort and enjoyment. These features include power steering (it was the first Esprit ever to have this technology) plus modified and lowered suspension, modified brakes and BBS Mahle lattice alloy wheels.


Lotus Turbo Esprit


“What better way to launch our Certificate of Provenance than by showing how it has validated the celebrated history of an iconic and unique Turbo Esprit. The Lotus archive is a fully cataloged database of information and can provide a wealth of insightful facts on any Lotus car from any era. It’s the perfect gift for a Lotus owner anywhere in the world,” Phil Popham, CEO, Lotus Cars, commented. 


“This is an iconic and unique car from the Lotus back catalog, personalized by our founder Colin Chapman and with a truly fascinating provenance. It deserves its place in our collection and we’re looking forward to showing it off.” 


Photo/s from Lotus 

Recommended Articles For You