Market Watch: Lotus Esprit price surge rebounds from peak

Price bulletin, 30 June 2021.

Classic Cars magazine

by Phil Bell |

After five years of strong growth, the normally-aspirated Lotus Esprit S3 has started to fall in value. Our latest roundup of Price Guide Movers On The Slide shows a 6% drop.

That means you’ll typically pay £5.7k for a rough project car, £10k for something presentable, £17k for a superb example and £23.5k for a concours contender. But after perennially occupying underdog supercar status to all of that V8 and V12-engined Italian exotica, Esprits of all flavours have been enjoying much-deserved and long-overdue appreciation for just how special they are.

First it was the rare, earliest and purest Series 1 cars that jumped, helped – eventually – by a starring role in Seventies James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, followed by the not-exactly-numerous Series 2 that looks similar enough to the untrained eye. The general rise in the Esprit tide came later and lifted all boats, but that tide has receded first for the Series 3 models, launched in 1981 as a normally-aspirated sibling to the Turbo that appeared a year earlier.

In production terms, the Series 3 is one of the scarcer models, despite a production run from 1981 to 1987, but low survival rates for the earlier cars counter that.

So, falling it is, but even with the latest drop, the Series 3 is still nearly 9% ahead of where it was 12 months ago, and a commanding 58% up on values five years ago. Our latest roundup doesn’t show any downward pressure across other Esprit models. It’s worth keeping an eye on where values go from now on. If they all start becoming more affordable, it could be the time to treat yourself to what has long been a smart alternative to pricier mid-engined fare wearing Ferrari, Lamborghini or Maserati badges.

Price Guide Movers On The Up is part of 18 pages of market tips, analysis and buying advice in the latest issue of Classic Cars

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