Race Retro Classic Car Sale 2019

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1993 Vauxhall Lotus Carlton

Lot No.: 324

Registration: K909 MFG
Chassis Number: SCC000019N1231798
Engine Number: 30N60857
Number of cylinders: 6
CC: 3615
Year of Manufacture: 1993
RHD/LHD: Right Hand Drive
Estimate (£): 28,000 - 32,000
(+buyer's premium of 15% including VAT @ 20%)


  • One of 284 RHD Lotus Carltons produced. 377bhp with a superbly-balanced rear-drive chassis 
  • Original, unmodified, two owners in total from new, current owner for 23 years 
  • In wonderful condition that truly belies the indicated 99,150 miles
  • The Imperial Green pearlescent paint retains a deep shine. Unmarked Anthracite leather 
  • Original Grundig radio/cassette and CD auto-changer. Tracker on a lifetime subscription
  • Lotus Certificate of Provenance, and a rare Lotus Carlton Workshop Manual 


The legendary Lotus Carlton is the kind of car that comes along once in a generation. At a time when really fast four-door saloons were the preserve of BMW and Mercedes, this Vauxhall (Opel) derived super saloon arrived on the scene demolishing the opposition. Oddly, it wasn't its huge performance or masculine good looks that created the most fuss, but the fact that the Daily Mail was so outraged by its stated top speed of 176mph, that it declared it too fast for British roads. Of course, the Lotus Carlton - or Type 104 to Lotus aficionados - was nothing of the sort, and although it shared its major components with a mainstream executive car, its level of development across every aspect of automotive dynamics had resulted in a truly special performance car.

It was powered by a twin-turbo version of the venerable straight-six used in the range-topping Senator, which developed a remarkable 377bhp. To achieve that figure, Lotus had put a lot of work into the 3.6-litre power unit, uprating and strengthening the bottom end, porting the 24-valve cylinder head (from the Carlton GSI), and fitting forged 'slipper pistons' made by Mahle atop new Lotus-designed connecting rods tied to a counterweighted, forged steel crankshaft. The gearbox was the same six-speeder used in the Corvette ZR-1, the only transmission in GM's parts bin, capable of handling the car's monster torque. AP Group-C derived brakes - four-pot calipers with 330mm ventilated discs at the front and two-pot at the rear - sat behind specially developed Goodyear tyres.

Purchased by our vendor in 1996, Lotus Carlton #811 is one of the original 284 right-hand-drive examples produced between 1990 to 1992 and has been serviced only by Lotus main agents up to 98,000miles in 2006. The car became a second car from around 2000 and enjoyed its retirement from daily use on sunny weekend trips to local car shows clocking up around  5,000 miles over the following 18 years. Today the car presents in a condition the truly belies its 99,150 miles.  The Imperial Green 2-coat pearlescent paint (code E355) shines with a deep gloss and the Anthracite leather interior shows no signs of wear, in fact, this example will put many cars with a third of the miles to shame and is a testament to our vendor's fastidious care over a 23 year period. Sitting on a decent set of OEM Goodyear Eagle  Ώ' tyres and said to run and drive extremely well, the car is to be offered with its original book pack including a fully stamped service book, supporting invoices, spare keys, tool kit, current V5c, older MOTs, a Lotus Certificate of Provenance, and a rare Lotus Carlton Workshop Manual. Pleasingly, it remains fitted with the original Grundig radio/cassette and CD auto-changer - with security code cards and benefits from an integrated tracking system (Tracker) with lifetime subscription, a recent MOT and a full service from a marque specialist. 

To summarise, this low ownership, unmolested Carlton is in outstanding condition and is being offered at a realistic guide which represents great value and may also turn out to be a great future investment.